More mys­tery

Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

There is a bit more his­tory on Allan Saun­ders’ SS250 in Dar­win. The photo on page 73 in OBA57 cap­tioned as Char­lie Lack, is ac­tu­ally of Char­lie Sum­mer­ton, who was born in S.A. and was en­listed/mus­tered in WW2 as a “mo­tor cy­clist”. Char­lie’s photo ap­pears on his War record and it is in­deed him in that photo. Af­ter the war it ap­pears Charles trav­elled over­seas to Eng­land at some stage and by 1949, he was liv­ing in Dar­win, work­ing for the Shell Oil Com­pany and rac­ing mo­tor­cy­cles. His main pref­er­ence ap­pears to have been Nor­tons, with one in 1954 be­ing re­ported as a “spe­cially im­ported ex­works Nor­ton of Eng­land”. In Fe­bru­ary 1953, Laurie Jamieson of S.A. still had the 2 DKWS, the SS250 and the 250 “prac­tice” bike, when he bought a 350 Camshaft Nor­ton. It ap­pears that in the re­main­ing months of 1953 Char­lie Sum­mer­ton ac­quired the DKW SS250 from Laurie Jamieson as by 27 Septem­ber 1953 it is re­ported that, vet­eran rider, Char­lie Sum­mer­ton rolled “his su­per­sonic spe­cial an im­ported job from the south­ern states (which) is still on the se­cret list” onto the track that Sun­day af­ter­noon and gave it a “work out”. This “work out” was in prepa­ra­tion for the fol­low­ing week­end’s Dar­win MCC Cham­pi­onships at the 21 Mile Airstrip. The Cham­pi­onship race was to be 50 miles which was 25 laps of the cir­cuit and was duly held on 3 Oc­to­ber 1953, be­fore 300 spec­ta­tors, with Club Pres­i­dent, Bob Balder­son, win­ning on his 1936 BSA 500, with Char­lie on the DKW SS250, sec­ond, from a field of 14 rid­ers, which in­cluded a HRD, Gold Stars, an In­ter­na­tional Nor­ton and Thun­der­bird Tri­umph. Char­lie con­tin­ued rac­ing in Dar­win till the end of Oc­to­ber 1954, when it ap­pears he headed over­seas to Eng­land again re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia in Oc­to­ber 1955. It was af­ter this time that Char­lie Sum­mer­ton moved to Syd­ney and no doubt took the DKW with him. This time­line of the ap­pear­ance of the DKW in Syd­ney, cer­tainly fits in with Allan Saun­ders meet­ing Gar­net (Arnie) Coglan with the DKW in about 1956. Gar­net had a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence in mo­tor rac­ing cir­cles. In Septem­ber 1949 Gar­net had raced his MG at the Ley­burn, Queens­land, Aus­tralian Grand Prix and by 1951 had raced in the Easter Sports car races at Bathurst and the Qld. Road Race Cham­pi­onships (cars). By 1952 Gar­net was an ac­tive Speed­way rider the Syd­ney Show­ground and in 1954 he be­came en­tan­gled in a fa­tal solo ac­ci­dent at Bathurst Speed­way in which he was in­jured and this no doubt con­trib­uted to his with­drawal from mo­tor rac­ing.

It is in­trigu­ing that there still ap­pears to be one rac­ing DKW un­ac­counted for, and that is the rac­ing DKW ad­ver­tised by Hazell and Moore in March of 1939 which was also re­ported in the 13 April 1939 edi­tion of Brisbane’s Courier Mail (above), where it is stated that “it is now be­ing shown in Syd­ney” and is de­scribed as hav­ing front sus­pen­sion that “is car­ried out by long rub­ber bands in­stead of springs.” This is not Allan Saun­ders SS250 as it has a spring front sus­pen­sion. The “prac­tice” bike had rub­ber bands on the front sus­pen­sion. So is there any truth to the de­liv­ery to King’s Mo­tors of a 1939 works spec DKW and to its sub­se­quent spir­it­ing away? Is there re­ally a ‘miss­ing DKW’? This miss­ing DKW is de­scribed as hav­ing rub­ber band front sus­pen­sion, which was not a fea­ture of a 1939 spec DKW.

Don Bain (right) winces while Kluge poses.

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