Stalwart of the West Australian scene Ken Duperouzel passed away in July, aged 88. After attending a course at a business college and working in a few jobs, in 1951, Ken set off on a great adventure to ride his 1948 model 350 AJS across Australia with his friend Gerry Smith on a 350 Douglas. Back in those days, the bitumen finished at Southern Cross in WA and then the road became a rough dirt track for hundreds of kilometers before the bitumen started again near Port Augusta in SA. They had to advise the police at each stop and the police would telephone or in some cases telegraph to the nearest roadhouse for the people there to keep an eye out for them. Ken continued to Tasmania for a six-week visit and ended up staying six months because he liked the place so much. After that, he headed up the eastern coast to ride his motorbike to Bathurst in New South Wales where the famous Mount Panorama race circuit is located. In 1952, he entered the Clubman Race there during the Easter Classic. Ken met his soon-to-be wife Audrey while he was in Bathurst working a part time job at the local Edgell’s factory where they were both packing vegetables. The couple did all their courting on the back of Ken’s bike and when he raced in the Easter Classic at Bathurst, Audrey was there cheering him on. When they decided to get married, Ken came back to Western Australia as he couldn’t get a permanent job in NSW. Over the next year, they both skimped and saved for their wedding and wrote regularly to each other. Audrey finally flew to WA and they were married on the following day on 15 September 1953. Ken had several salesman type jobs while Audrey raised the four kids. Then on 1 April 1963, Ken and his brother Jack, who had recently been discharged from the Navy, set up WA Chain Saws Sales and Service and they became the State Distributor for Stihl Chainsaws. The company continued to grow and was very successful. In his 40s, Ken was able to import a stunning, Italian racing red, 350cc Aermacchi racing bike and he raced it for several years at Wanneroo Raceway before finally hanging up his leathers for good. Ken was the President of the Motor Cycle Racing Club of Western Australia and was made a Life Member of that organisation in 1972. Ken led several Australian motorcycle racing teams, made up of Bryan Hindle and other top Australian riders at the time, to events in South East Asia, including the Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesian and Penang Grands Prix. After 22 years in business, Ken retired at the age of 55 and he and Audrey set off to travel the world. In 2008, they travelled to Doha in Qatar in the United Arab Emirates to watch the very first Motorcycle Grand Prix to be held there under lights. Ken and Audrey had been married for more than 62 years when Ken passed away.
LEFT Ken Duperouzel, aged 22, about to set off on his great adventure. BELOW Ken with his pride and joy, a new 250cc Aermacchi, at Wanneroo Park.