Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

I am a happy sub­scriber to your mag­a­zine, and this is my first con­tact with you via E-Mail. I am cur­rently 91 years of age and ride a 250cc Over­head Valve Le-Grande Cruiser. I started rid­ing mo­tor­cy­cles be­fore the first Tri­umph Speed Twin came to Aus­tralia. I had learnt to ride and got my li­cence on a Pre War MSS Ve­lo­cette, that I pur­chased from Vic Hux­ley. This was an ex-Army MSS, and I thought it was just won­der­ful. I pur­chased one of the first Tri­umph Speed Twins that was sold in Bris­bane by Mor­gan and Wacker. My Dad knew Wacker Se­nior, and this got me one of the very first ones avail­able. The ride and feel of this ma­chine was nat­u­rally colos­sal com­pared to the girder fork Velo. I rode this Tri­umph on sev­eral long dis­tance trips, Bris­bane to Syd­ney, and Bris­bane to Cairns, etc. When the ad­ver­tis­ing came out, about the soon to be re­leased Nor­ton Dom­i­na­tor, I im­me­di­ately placed an or­der from Bob Todd’s Nor­ton Dis­trib­u­tor, on the South Side of the Bris­bane River. When the Nor­ton was about to be re­leased in Bris­bane, I im­me­di­ately put the Speed Twin up for sale and it sold within a week. When I ar­rived at Bob Todd’s to ride my new Nor­ton away, he asked me how much I weighed. I was about 70 kilo­grams and told him so. He then said that I might have some trou­ble start­ing it, be­cause the en­gine was tight. I came to ap­pre­ci­ate his words of wis­dom. It needed a Heav­ier foot than mine to kick start it. One of his Sales Per­sons came out and started it. Then I was ad­vised to take it for a good long ride to set­tle every­thing in smoothly. I took it for a 200 mile trip and it set­tled in beau­ti­fully. I could then kick it over my­self. Even though the Speed Twin had been such a won­der­ful step up from the Pre War bikes on the road, the Nor­ton’s steer­ing pre­ci­sion, gen­eral road­hold­ing, and ab­so­lute joy­ful cor­ner­ing was a plea­sure to par­take in. Our club used to have week-end friendly rac­ing meets, with quite a few other in­ter­ested bike groups at an airstrip at Strath­pine that was aban­doned by the Squadrons of Amer­i­can Mus­tangs that had been there for the De­fence of Bris­bane dur­ing the War. There was an AJS 500 that had been breathed on very heav­ily and went like the clap­pers. I took my Dom­i­na­tor off the road and started to do some se­ri­ous warm­ing up work on it. I spent 8 week­ends match­ing all joints, pol­ish­ing al­most to a mir­ror fin­ish the in­duc­tion air­ways, the cylin­der head, re­mov­ing the dy­namo and plug­ging the hole with an alu­minium disc, and also re­mov­ing the front mud­guard, and part of the rear guard. I worked in a Tool Room as an En­gi­neer­ing Cadet at the time, and made a for­ward-fac­ing pos­i­tive air in­take for the car­bu­ret­tor. On my first test on the strip, I saw 115 mph on the speedo. This also meant that I beat the socks off the hot AJS, so I had lots of friends beg­ging for a lap or two. What a won­der­ful bike it turned out to be.

I no­ticed in your Ar­ti­cle, page 98, Is­sue no 60, that you had a pic of a Dom­i­na­tor as be­ing the First Dom­i­na­tor and it had a sprung rear end. Mine def­i­nitely did not have a sprung rear end. I read an ar­ti­cle a few years ago that the fac­tory had cob­bled to­gether some of their new twin mo­tors with some un­used rigid frames to dump off to Aus­tralia to whet their ap­petite, un­til they had enough of the new frames to take over. How­ever, sprung or un­sprung, it was a won­der­ful step for­ward. David Grif­fiths Bris­bane, Qld. In OBA 51 we fea­tured the rare rigid frame Dom­i­na­tor – the Model 77, which was sold in Aus­tralia around 1953. – Ed

David and his cur­rent ma­chine.

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