John Bur­rows

Mud in his veins

Old Bike Australasia - - FRONT PAGE - Story Peter Drake­ford

John Bur­rows, “JB”, mo­tor­cy­cle leg­end and some­thing of an enigma now re­sides in the Ade­laide Hills. Since his wife died years ago (he mar­ried Heather Binger in 1955) he has lived alone in a stone house in beau­ti­ful Aldgate. On the day that I called I was half ex­pect­ing the solid, im­pos­ing, square jawed fig­ure with the fa­mous ‘comb-over’ hair­style who would block the light in the door­way of his Malvern shop. Yet for the bit of weight he has lost the fea­tures are still im­pres­sive. This is a man who al­ways com­manded re­spect from all sides of the mo­tor­cy­cling com­mu­nity; and has never been afraid to give or take ad­vice…well; he would let you know pretty quickly if he thought you were talk­ing rub­bish.

JB was born in 1933 and raised in Box Hill; on the eastern fringe of Mel­bourne’s sub­urbs. He at­tended Box Hill State School and then the Tech­ni­cal School to In­ter­me­di­ate level (year 10 now) and took the harder of the two streams, the Pro­fes­sional. “God knows why as I got 51 for Maths 1 and 49 for Maths 2, they must have fid­dled the books to get me into it!” The sub­ur­ban houses of the city to the east merged into or­chard coun­try and it pro­duced an un­usual amount of fast rid­ers. Clubs ac­tive in the sur­round­ing ar­eas in the 1950s in­cluded Box Hill, Mitcham, Nu­nawad­ing, Ringwood and down to Hartwell in Cam­ber­well. Scram­ble events were pop­u­lar with spec­ta­tors and the tracks were al­ways close to pop­u­la­tion cen­tres. It seemed every­one rode mo­tor­cy­cles in those days. Even JB’s fa­ther, Harry, rode speed­way at Olympic Park just be­fore WW2.

Harry joined the firm Rus­sell and Co Agri­cul­tural Ma­chin­ery as a mo­tor en­gi­neer and later bought into the place in the de­pres­sion. The com­pany man­u­fac­tured spray pumps for the or­chard in­dus­try (they made ev­ery­thing in-house bar the mag­ne­tos) as well as pro­duc­ing mu­ni­tions for the war; and Harry built a suc­cess­ful busi­ness de­spite ma­te­rial short­ages, be­fore adding the Fer­gus­son trac­tor fran­chise af­ter the war. He then sold Stan­dard Van­guard cars and was in­vited by GM to be a dealer for the then new Aus­tralian Holden car. Box Hill was a ‘dry’ area at the time (no al­co­hol sold in the vicin­ity) and a very con­ser­va­tive one and it took

a gen­tle per­sua­sion to sell cars there. So it seems in­evitable in hind­sight that JB would pick up his fa­ther’s me­chan­i­cal and sales in­flu­ences and con­tinue in a sim­i­lar vein. As keen as he was to get a mo­tor­cy­cle, his early years were spent lairis­ing around on his push­bike. While he used it for trans­port to far away or­chards to earn money he was also the scourge of the lo­cal park care­taker do­ing skids as fast and as far as he could on the grass. This only stopped when the care­taker told his dad. JB’s busi­ness acu­men was ev­i­dent even from an early age. He was get­ting half the wage of older work­ers on the or­chard so he ap­proached the owner and asked for a raise. He got his way, much to the sur­prise of his fa­ther. The push­bike an­tics con­tin­ued with a lo­cal mo­tor­cy­cle hero Ed­die Tap­scott tow­ing the boys down White­horse road to 50 mph (80 km/h) and then let­ting them go, broad­s­lid­ing their pushies to a stop in the gravel! Do­ing it later on a real mo­tor­cy­cle must have seemed so much tamer. When he turned 17 he bought his first mo­tor­cy­cle, an ex-army Match­less for thirty pounds and as his dad and mum were ex-Box Hill mo­tor­cy­cle club mem­bers, he snuck into a few in­ter-club events. His first ride was at Spring­vale in 1951. He won first time out so it fired up his in­ter­est. Since you had to be 18 to earn a road li­cence to get your com­pe­ti­tion li­cence he had to cool it for a year. Then in his sec­ond Open scram­ble he won his first race at Bea­cons­field, ahead of sev­eral prom­i­nent ‘A’ graders. ‘Johnny’ Bur­rows was on his way. Lo­cal Neil (Billy) Street was Vic­to­rian 350 cc scram­ble cham­pion and his bike was much faster than JB’s so JB asked him to make a set of cams. Billy did all his work at Turn­ers the tool peo­ple; and JB turned up at the Streets and took the top end apart un­der a pine tree. Billy came out with the cams, eat­ing toast in one hand and slipped them in. JB asked if he wanted a de­gree wheel to time them but Billy said “No, don’t let them fall out; you’d bet­ter mark them when you get home”. It made a huge dif­fer­ence. Those very same cams are now be­ing used in a present day vin­tage road racing bike. The early model Match­less JB stripped for the dirt had no work­ing front brake and lo­cal wis­dom was you didn’t need it as you were meant to pitch it into the cor­ners to scrub off speed. The push­bike prac­tice cer­tainly helped. All the lo­cal lads got around cor­ners by ‘broad-sid­ing’ them. The tracks were pretty smooth then but it took a vi­o­lent ma­noeu­vre to get them slid­ing. You couldn’t ar­gue with the area’s cham­pi­ons; Billy Street, Al­bert Flood, Harold Traps-cott all rode speed­way style. The lo­cal area fa­cil­i­tated prac­tice; any open area around they would sim­ply go and ride on, and the younger Keith Stacker could be talked into try­ing the creek jump first in any new track they set up. Keith was fear­less, and if any­thing looked doubt­ful they got him to try it first. JB said Keith was the best rider of them all. The lo­cal com­mu­nity of com­pe­ti­tion rid­ers all looked af­ter one an­other. Cams were made, parts swapped, ex­per­tise shared and all on the ba­sis you did what you could to help each other out. JB’s dad had a three-ton truck he used to haul trac­tors around on; so for a meet­ing in Gee­long he loaded up eleven rid­ers and their bikes and with them all hang­ing on went and raced. Leon Street was towed be­hind a car by his brother Billy to a short cir­cuit meet­ing in Gee­long, only hav­ing the rear brake on his Matchy to stop. He was white as a ghost by the time he got there, so JB’s truck would have been a lux­ury. JB was train­ing as a pat­tern maker and with the knowl­edge gleaned from the lo­cals got his bike as good as it could be, but then he went away from lo­cal wis­dom (“…you can’t slide a sprung frame”) and bought a 350cc AJS with a swing arm frame and tele­scopic forks and a work­ing front brake. The rigid Matchy with girder forks used to rip off all the skin be­tween the tip of his thumb and to the end of his in­dex fin­ger at a race. Ac­quir­ing the AJS took him up a level with­out pun­ish­ing him so much and in the first years JB got lap records at Lys­ter­fied, Point Henry, Tower Hill, in the Aus­tralian cham­pi­onships in 1953, and at Cran­bourne, Eltham, Dayles­ford, Kor­wein­gu­boora and St He­lena in 1954. He had a ‘pur­ple patch’ in 1953; win­ning amongst many others the twenty lap Grand Na­tional at Lys­ter­field and the 350cc Aus­tralian Scram­ble Cham­pi­onship and was sec­ond in both in 1954. In a press ar­ti­cle in Aus­tralian Mo­tor Sports, May 1955, he con­fessed that while he was keen on watch­ing road racing and speed­way he ‘wouldn’t have a clue’ in a road race. In that same year the Cham­pi­onships were to be

The rigid Matchy with girder forks used to rip off all the skin be­tween the tip of his thumb and to the end of his in­dex fin­ger at a race.

held in Western Aus­tralia. The ACU of­fered to pay for pre­vi­ous cham­pi­ons to travel to com­pete but such was the state of the roads there that you had to fig­ure in the cost of a new car to get there, said JB, as your old one would be de­stroyed. JB got into the mo­tor­cy­cle trade in­ad­ver­tently when af­ter con­stant ar­gu­ments with a drunken and dis­in­ter­ested boss at the pat­tern-mak­ing fac­tory, he rode into Mel­bourne to S R Evans, AJS dis­trib­u­tors, who promptly of­fered him a job. JB was there for six months when Guil­foyle, the BSA dealer who pre­pared his bikes in Deep­dene where Keith Stacker had worked un­til re­cently, asked him to drop in and gave him a job run­ning the shop.

JB re­lates, “The mo­tor­cy­cle in­dus­try was full of drinkers in those days. Those were the days of ho­tels shut­ting their doors at 6pm and the Em­pire Ho­tel in El­iz­a­beth Street was the fo­cal point for all the trade. It was chock-a-block and the deals that were done there kept the in­dus­try go­ing. If you wanted to find some­one, that’s where you went. Be­fore six o’clock you’d buy a dozen glasses of beer and take your time to fin­ish them. The spare parts in­dus­try was thriv­ing as most parts for racing bikes could be made here, in Ade­laide in par­tic­u­lar. A lot of guys were happy rid­ing stan­dard ma­chines but I al­ways thought it made my job a lot eas­ier if I had a faster bike. I sub­scribed to the English mo­tor­cy­cle news­pa­pers and had them air­freighted out here within a week of pub­li­ca­tion. I would study ev­ery­thing and see who was do­ing what. I found an ad for Greeves bits and pieces, which we couldn’t get here. I wrote to in­quire about some parts and next thing a par­cel lands on the counter. He had sent the bits with­out so much as a bill. I rang him to get the amount and posted off the cheque. How’s that for trust? That was the start of a long re­la­tion­ship that saw me get rare and use­ful parts that the Greeves fac­tory couldn’t sup­ply or didn’t want too. He was the in­side line to in­for­ma­tion that Greeves wouldn’t give you as their com­ment was al­ways …“Oh no, we don’t have a prob­lem with that.” Like gear shift­ing pawls. They were made of some cheap pot metal and were al­ways break­ing their tips off. Dave Basham, a South Aus­tralian spon­sored rider had his me­chanic change the pawls af­ter ev­ery race! I was talk­ing to a cus­tomer, a tool­maker, about it and I showed him one. He made a set up out of good steel, cut­ting them out with a hack­saw and a file, got them hard­ened and no more prob­lems. Why couldn’t the fac­tory do that?” “I met the guy who brought over the first Greeves. He lived at War­ragul and loaned the 250 to a lo­cal rider. A mate told me there was one in the coun­try and he saw it at an event but I didn’t be­lieve him. I had seen them in the UK mags and knew this was the new thing, a light­weight that could beat the big four strokes. Fi­nally I tracked the guy down and had to have it and he gave it to me to ride. A mate was go­ing to Eng­land and I asked him to look up Derry Pre­ston-Cobb, the Greeves sales man­ager and try to get the deal­er­ship here. As it tran­spired he had a pre­vi­ous spo­ken agree­ment with this other guy but when it tran­spired Pre­ston-Cobb and my mate went to the same school in Eng­land, the deal was done.” “I broke my right wrist at a meet­ing at Arthurs Creek in 1967. I had seizure prob­lems with my Greeves all day and when the race came up I missed the start. I al­ways liked to go hard at the start so I flew into the dust cloud and hit a straw bale and went over the bars. I lost too much move­ment in it and was just go­ing too slow when I came back. I re­tired at Christ­mas Hills Grand Na­tional that year when I was strug­gling around and then Stacker came past yelling ‘Get mov­ing lad!’ I thought… I’ve just been lapped! I rode up to the pits and young Jacky Pen­gelly was there and as he was af­ter a Greeves I said “Do you want that? Take it away.” I could trail ride but not race. I couldn’t use the front brake and the throt­tle to­gether.” JB dealt in his High Street Malvern shop ‘Bur­rows and Stacker’ with a lot of English mo­tor­cy­cles. Greeves, Cot­ton, DOT, Metisse, as well as hav­ing a good work­ing knowl­edge of all the old Bri­tish stuff. He sold what he could get and what worked.

Read­ing the over­seas pa­pers he “wanted in” on the Ja­panese deal and was able to get Yamaha and Bridge­stone. He also sold Ho­daka but wanted a dirt wor­thy trail bike from the big firms to sell as trail rid­ing as a sport was start­ing to take off. As he was on his way to reg­is­ter two Bridge­stones he stopped out­side May-fairs the Honda dis­trib­u­tor­ship in El­iz­a­beth Street. A man­ager asked what he was do­ing with that shit in his ute to which JB replied “… cause you wont give me Hon­das to sell.” Well, he bolted up­stairs and came down with the pa­per­work and ‘Bur­rows and Stacker’ be­came the first dealer out­side the city to sell Honda. They also sold CZ on con­sign­ment, Ossa, Can Am, Husky and never dis­counted the bikes but added value to them as they would fix flaws they knew about. You knew you had JB’s years of ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind ev­ery pur­chase. The shop was a mag­net for scram­ble rid­ers. JB and Keith opened the shop due to their dis­sat­is­fac­tion with Guil­foyle. They vir­tu­ally took all his cus­tomers too as they were the brains and driv­ing force be­hind the shop. JB had a con­tact who knew of a mo­tor­cy­cle shop in High Street Malvern that had been closed for years with the owner liv­ing above it. All the tools and equip­ment were there so the tran­si­tion was easy. Bur­rows and Stacker be­came the cen­tre; a home away from home for all scram­ble rid­ers. “There were hun­dreds milling about the shop. I knew all the young rid­ers and their par­ents. We got girl road rid­ers too com­ing in for the Ja­panese bikes and we dealt with them sym­pa­thet­i­cally, es­pe­cially work­shop head Tom Web­ster. He was able to talk to them in plain fa­therly lan­guage”. Deals were done amongst the rid­ers for cars, bikes, you name it. JB’s ad­vice was al­ways sought and he of­ten fa­cil­i­tated a deal with a loan. Even when his rid­ers went over­seas they would ring when they ran out of money. He al­ways got it back. Hartwell club alone had nine­teen ‘A’ grade scram­ble rid­ers and most rid­ers had a book to write up their pur­chases in and were billed ev­ery month. The sys­tem re­lied a lot on trust and con­tin­ued for decades. The in­fa­mous ‘Isle of Malvern’ was a route through the streets that the boys ‘tested’ cus­tomers’ bikes on. Wrecked bikes and maimed rid­ers were re­paired as best they could and it all had to be hid­den from JB. A young Trevor Flood was sent there by his mother as he was out of con­trol at home; yet if it was right that JB had some in­flu­ence it didn’t stop his an­tics. Ser­vic­ing a bike, he fired it up, spun it around the oil soaked boards spit­ting tools like shrap­nel; and with JB yelling at him jacked it up on the rear wheel and some­how wheel­ied crossed up through the door and out the back al­ley. Jack Pen­gelly was show­ing the boys how to wheel-stand a TL125 when he lost it and slammed into the cy­clone wire fence, rip­ping his pants off. Too many test rides ended up un­der or in a car; then it was up to the boys to fix it with­out help from the shop sup­plies. Low-level fun was also had. Play­ing on JB’s mu­si­cal in­tol­er­ance and gad­get pho­bia, they would tune his car ra­dio to a heavy rock sta­tion; turn the vol­ume up to max and then switch the ig­ni­tion off. Get­ting in to drive home would be a ca­coph­ony of noise and swear­ing as he fran­ti­cally stabbed but­tons try­ing to turn it off. JB was both sup­port­ive and tough on his staff. One ‘Isle of Malvern’ in­ci­dent al­most killed a me­chanic racing with Rob Gor­don when he jumped the rail­way bridge into a car driven out of the side road by an el­derly gent. As the bike ploughed into the side of the car the rider was launched into the air and then smashed onto the road. Rob thought he was dead and pan­icked; rode back to the shop where JB took charge and or­dered him home. Luck­ily the in­jured rider landed out­side a doc­tor’s surgery and got im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion that saved him. Me­chan­ics and counter staff de­scribed it as one of the most dy­namic work en­vi­ron­ments they’d ever been in. If you were a cus­tomer, you had bet­ter be pre­pared for de­ri­sion if you ven­tured an opin­ion not backed up by facts. In the early 1970s, JB had two shops in High street. The main one (mainly Yamaha/Ossa) was sup­ple­mented by the Honda shop a few doors down. The sec­ond was the show­room and used for pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions that didn’t need the in­ter­rup­tions of the main shop’s hurly-burly. Un­for­tu­nately re­struc­tur­ing the part­ner­ship be­came a point of mis­un­der­stand­ing be­tween the part­ners and Keith Stacker pulled out of the deal. Keith then went on to in­de­pen­dently set up Stacker Mo­tor­cy­cles in Kilby Road, Kew. JB rode the trail bike boom of the late 1960s and early 1970s and the de­sire for all ages and sexes to get on two wheels saw great pros­per­ity. This was helped along with the re­lease of the Yamaha DT1 which rev­o­lu­tionised off road rid­ing. This multi pur­pose bike did ser­vice on the street, the trails and scram­bling with the GYT kit. The Vic­to­rian im­porters of Yamaha, Milledge Bros, saw the po­ten­tial of trail rid­ing as a recre­ational sport and Alex Milledge brought to­gether a nu­cleus of off road rid­ers and deal­ers to set up a trail rid­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion, the Aus­tralian Mo­tor­cy­cle Trail Rid­ers As­so­ci­a­tion which is still thriv­ing to­day. JB helped or­gan­ise the first trail bike ride in the hills of Pow­ell­town in the Yarra Val­ley and from there the sport took off.

An in­flu­en­tial vis­i­tor from the USA called into the shop in 1968. He was Dave Latham, an as­tronomer with NASA and he had seen a shop sticker on a DT 1 in El­iz­a­beth Street and caught a taxi out to Malvern im­me­di­ately. He was due to fly home at 4 pm the next day and won­dered if he could squeeze in a trail ride. No prob­lems. Dave was or­dered to catch a taxi out to JB’s at 5am and they’d be on the trails at

first light. JB lent Dave his ‘mod­ded’ RT1 and took on an old Sachs 125 with Titch Jor­dan on an­other DT1. They re­ally cov­ered some ground and each was im­pressed with the other; but I can imag­ine what Dave thought of JB’s ‘deer­stalker’ hel­met. It turned out that Dave was a mem­ber of the US Yan­kee Im­ports Ossa team and a man of some in­flu­ence in the New Eng­land Trail Rid­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, and soon cor­re­spon­dence was flow­ing back and forth. The up­shot of it was that JB was in­vited to ride the In­ter­na­tional Six Day Trial in Mas­sachusetts USA on an Ossa pre­pared by Yan­kee Im­ports. Even­tu­ally the deal was or­gan­ised for 1973, the year the event came to Amer­ica. A three man club team of JB, Win­ston Stokes and Bob Walpole was or­gan­ised through Aus­tralia’s ACU and the UK rul­ing body as we were still af­fil­i­ated with them and had to be in­cluded as part of the Bri­tish team al­lo­ca­tion. JB rode the Ossa 250 Bob Hicks used in the 1970 Span­ish ISDT and Dave had been us­ing in events since. It was com­pletely re­built and was a rev­e­la­tion for JB. “It had so much smooth power, it seemed bet­ter than the cur­rent mod­els, han­dled well too de­spite the tri­als tyre on the front 19 inch rim.” Then the tor­ture be­gan as Dave in­tro­duced him to the New Eng­land ‘bone­yards’; acres of round rock, mud and slip­pery tree roots. As JB strug­gled through the ob­sta­cles Dave kept shout­ing “Keep your feet up!” This phrase was one any rid­ers on the trail with JB in fu­ture years would hear shouted at them con­stantly. Throw­ing the bike down a wet road wasn’t the ideal way to start an event but de­spite the pain he was shouted out of bed ev­ery morn­ing by Dave to fin­ish for a bronze medal. Once back in Aus­tralia, he took on Ossa at the shop and built a rep­u­ta­tion for the brand in early en­duros. His rid­ers, brother Mike, De­nis Lock, and Norm Watts and all were on Yama­has but once on Ossa did the im­porter Manilya (a branch of Milledge Bros) proud, win­ning ev­ery­thing in Vic­to­ria and NSW in 1973 and 1974. Mike Bur­rows was a suc­cess­ful scram­bles and short cir­cuit rider who was also a top bare­foot wa­ter skier, but achieved his main suc­cesses in the boom­ing en­duro scene in the ’seven­ties. JB re­turned to the ISDT in Italy in 1974 on an Ossa SDR pre­pared by him and he had to or­gan­ise all his own pa­per­work and got there to be told he needed in­sur­ance to ride the event. The only com­pany will­ing to do it was in Rome, half the coun­try away. JB found the place and then they weren’t in­ter­ested, so he just said “I’m not leav­ing this of­fice with­out it’, sat on the chair and re­fused to leave. Come clos­ing time he couldn’t be moved and only the fear of a de­ranged Aussie loose in their of­fice overnight got the pa­per­work he needed.

Out pre-rid­ing the ISDT he watched with in­ter­est the US rid­ers’ style on the dirt roads. They were on mod­i­fied SDRs with Phan­tom specs and their ap­proach was to break hard for the apex of the cor­ner and ac­cel­er­ate hard out of it. JB just used the smoother road tech­nique and kept up with­out much ef­fort. JB rode an Ossa SDR pre­pared by him and Tom Web­ster back home, shipped it over and then DNF’d when the trou­ble­some cush-drive spring broke. All the mod­i­fi­ca­tions tested by him were in­cluded in the price of the SDRs sold from his shop. Fork kits, Koni shocks, jet­ting etc re­fined the pack­age and he sold a lot of Os­sas. He watched the Amer­i­cans de­velop their race bikes with in­ter­est and was up­dated by Dave Latham. They con­verted the light­weight Phan­tom mo­tocross mod­els that were get­ting rave re­views in the press for en­duro use, adding the SDR en­gine to the rolling chas­sis. Fur­ther re­fine­ments to the US bikes saw them use Phan­tom en­gines with SDR gear­boxes, longer swing arms and big­ger tanks, so JB wanted to fol­low suit. He was laughed at by the im­porters when he asked for three Phan­toms as the model had been de­layed and all were presold. How­ever, a week later the im­porter rang and asked how many he wanted. The rea­son for the change of heart was a con­tainer load had been dropped on the wharf and many were badly dam­aged. JB scored three rolling chas­sis and got Keith Stacker to straighten the frames and then added the SDR mo­tors and big­ger tanks. The Team now had com­pet­i­tive mounts and their suc­cess showed how good they were. They were the pre­cur­sor to the Su­per Pi­o­neer model that were lightly mod­i­fied each year fol­low­ing the Phan­tom trends un­til the fac­tory’s demise. JB also used and sold Can Am, Yamaha again and Husky into the 1980s. He then con­cen­trated on the Met­zeler Tyre dis­trib­u­tor­ship be­fore clos­ing the shop in 1983 and mov­ing to a ware­house sup­ply­ing whole­sale tyres only. Once the fas­ci­na­tion with trail rid­ing ceased he bought a TY 250 and dragged pun­ters out into the Lance­field for­est ev­ery sec­ond Sun­day for ex­er­cise. Then it came time to re­tire so he sold the busi­nesses and af­ter a while he and Heather de­cided to move to South Aus­tralia to be near their mar­ried daugh­ter and her chil­dren. As a re­place­ment he re­turned to a pre­vi­ous in­ter­est in model air­craft. He is fas­ci­nated by the en­gi­neer­ing and the science and builds and flies these free flight air­craft pow­ered by diesel en­gines when­ever the wind is right in a cer­tain lo­ca­tion where the Mur­ray River cliffs give way to the flats. He leaves by 4 am and doesn’t come back un­til dark. JB is still ac­tive in mind and body, and still re­calls de­tails of events that can be ver­i­fied as true. While he has no par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in mod­ern mo­tor­cy­cling he still keeps up to date and keeps in con­tact with many friends formed over all spec­trums of mo­tor­cy­cling. How­ever, it’s in­struc­tive how he treats his past suc­cesses: he has ar­ti­cles and pho­tographs thrown into a card­board box with lit­tle re­gard and doesn’t like mak­ing a big deal of his time in the lime­light.

Come clos­ing time he couldn’t be moved and only the fear of a de­ranged Aussie loose in their of­fice overnight got the pa­per­work he needed.

Photos John Bur­rows, OBA ar­chives.

MAIN Hard on the gas at Spring­vale in 1953. ABOVE Try­ing his fa­ther’s AJS for size. LEFT Air­borne on one of the first Cot­ton scram­blers.

JB’s sta­ble; road and racing AJSs. Mul­ti­ple Aus­tralian cham­pion Ge­orge Bai­ley checks the rear as JB charges.

A bit out of shape on his 350 AJS in 1954.

Plough­ing through the mud at Moore­bank (NSW) on a DOT in 1966. Dic­ing with busi­ness part­ner Keith Stacker (31). On the 250 Cot­ton in 1965.

ABOVE Touch­ing down on his Greeves. RIGHT JB (4th from right) on a Tas­ma­nian tour and a happy group with a pair of early Cot­tons.

At Christ­mas Hills in 1966 with John Map­per­son (32) and Ray Fisher (42). A clas­sic shot from the fab­u­lous Christ­mas Hills cir­cuit with John on his Tri­umph Metisse.

DOT mounted at Moore­bank in June 1965.

John Bur­rows in 2008.

JB had a suc­cess­ful day at the 1966 Aus­tralian Scram­bles Cham­pi­onship at Christ­mas Hills, fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the 250cc and 500cc ti­tles.

LEFT JB in the rear of his Malvern shop in the early ‘seven­ties. RIGHT Aboard a TT250 Yamaha at Pos­sum Hol­low in 1980.

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