30th Australian Rudge Rally
3-4 March, 2018 – Orange, NSW
The 30th rally was based at the Conobolis Caravan Park, Orange, a beautiful area over the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Numbers were down but Harry Scoble (from Victoria), now 86 years young, was very proud to be riding with us. We had 23 Rudges and 30 people including two new riders: Ben Morgan on his freshly restored 1932 full radial Ulster and Rick Nabkey on his 1927 350cc ‘Sports’, while Graham Goodwin had finally finished restoring a 1911 500cc single speed veteran. Friday afternoon saw the gathering of ‘clan Rudge’ with much fun while renewing friendships and getting to know the new faces. Riders registered and received their ‘Goodies’ bag and celebratory bottle of 30th Rudge Rally wine (a top vintage by all accounts.) Locals, Bernie and Liz Schell had spent twelve months planning the routes to keep us on the better roads with visits to local places of interest. They did a great job organising corner marshals and support vehicles as well. Liz had also spent the previous month, by the look of it, cooking up a storm for our delicious morning and afternoon teas. An early start on Saturday morning was called for as we had almost 200km to travel with two interesting stops. We left Cook Park in central Orange at 9am. The roads were very motorcycle friendly with plenty of bends and pleasant scenery, but little traffic to contend with. Our first stop was Manildra. The ‘Amusu’ (amuse you) picture theatre is one of only two remaining original picture houses in Australia. The old motor mechanic workshop next door is now a museum – primarily movie cameras and movie memorabilia including hundreds of original, authentic posters along with other interesting everyday items too. We had our fabulous morning tea, then were ushered into the Amusu Theatre for a showing of three silent movies, car chases of course. Allan Tom, who set up the picture house in 1923, had previously run a travelling picture show. His daughter, now in her 90s, was our usherette. She does enjoy people coming to visit, so we made a fuss of her. It was then on to Canowindra for lunch. Not everyone needed to eat so wandered around town after a welcome beer at the local club. It had been a hot trip. Unfortunately, Grahame Heath had a flat front tyre on the return stretch to Orange, but a local motorcycle shop delivered a replacement tube to the caravan park that afternoon and would not accept payment. Good people! The evening ‘gettogether’ and presentations was at the motel restaurant next door to the caravan park. A lovely meal and great company. Sunday began with a Rudge ‘swap-meet’ at the caravan park followed by more of Liz’s spectacular morning tea. We left the park at 10am and rode the roundabout way via popular motorcycle roads towards Bathurst before turning back to Millthorpe. A shorter run of about 100km as some riders wanted to get away early for the journey home that afternoon. We stopped in the historic ‘town’ of Millthorpe where there is a very interesting museum full of early implements and machinery. The main street has plenty of old buildings, some now trading as cafes and antique shops. For those still around at 2.30pm we hopped into several cars and Bernie led us out to visit a local car club member’s home, a beautiful 1920s farm house. We were treated to his Chevrolet collection of several veteran cars and a couple of trucks. The eye-opener was his three ‘big wheelers’, basically horse carriages with a motor. They were designed to persuade people to transfer from horse drawn vehicles to motor cars and the large wheels handled the rough tracks well. He has restored them all himself with the help of the apprentices he teaches at the Technical College.
As Russell Court, from Victoria said, “This is the rally that keeps on giving”. Keen to contribute to that theme, Russel and several other Victorians have offered to plot the runs for next year’s rally at Corryong, Victoria (just over the NSW border). We look forward to another great weekend at our 31st Annual Australian Rudge Rally.
Graham Goodwin with his newly-restored 1911 model.
Dan Morgan with the Rob Hart Trophy for the Best Rudge.