Ken Du­per­ouzel

Old Bike Australasia - - BUZZ BOX -

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.

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