Kel’s quip

Old Bike Australasia - - MOTO GUZZI SUPERALCE -

While talk­ing to Kel Car­ruthers at the re­cent Syd­ney Mo­tor­cy­cle Show, the spritely 77 year old said , “You know Jim, I re­ally en­joyed your book (“Along for the Ride”) but there’s one thing you have to get right. My 250-4 Honda was not ‘ex-Tom Phillis’ as you said. It was given to Ben­nett & Wood (NSW Honda dis­trib­u­tors) in late 1960. They asked Jack (Kel’s father) if we would like to race it, but be­fore we took de­liv­ery they also asked if Tom Phillis could ride it at Phillip Is­land at the New Year meet­ing. Of course we said ‘No prob­lem’ and we got it af­ter that. We took it to Bathurst at Easter (1961) and it broke down, so they flew some parts from Syd­ney to Bathurst and we fixed it overnight and won the races (Light­weight and Ju­nior). They (Ben­nett & Wood) even sent a bloke to Ja­pan to learn how it worked, but we’d fig­ured that out for our­selves.” For the next five years Kel and the Honda were vir­tu­ally un­beat­able, but it was not the arm­chair ride it may have ap­peared from the side­lines. “It went OK, but it didn’t han­dle and had no brakes”, Kel added. Jack and Kel mod­i­fied the frame, fit­ted a Fon­tana front brake, and en­gi­neered the grem­lins out of the en­gine. In the en­tire time it raced in Aus­tralia, the Honda suf­fered only four me­chan­i­cal stop­pages.

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