Wally Martin

Old Bike Australasia - - BUZZ BOX - Ivan Turn­bull.

A fa­mil­iar face as a rider and later an of­fi­cial in the New­cas­tle dis­trict, WALLY MARTIN was brought up at Hex­ham, where his par­ents owned the gen­eral store, fill­ing sta­tion and also op­er­ated the Post Of­fice. Wal did an ap­pren­tice­ship with Bram­bles Trans­port as a mo­tor me­chanic, he topped ev­ery year at Tech and used the bonus money to buy a mo­tor bike. One of his later jobs was work shop fore­man for P & R Williams Car Deal­er­ship, ser­vic­ing MG, Ri­ley and Wolse­ley. His own car was an im­mac­u­late black 1951 2.5L Ri­ley, well known for be­ing the fastest tow car to Gunnedah and Tam­worth, where he rode short cir­cuit and scram­bles meet­ings reg­u­larly. Wal bought his XB 33 BSA new in 1948 and used it for rac­ing as well as his ride-to-work bike, as was the case with most rid­ers those days. Over time he de­vel­oped the mo­tor to Gold Star stan­dards. He also rode Jack Leach’s Ban­tam. Wal was a very safe and good B grade rider and he prob­a­bly won more 125cc races than any other rider in his time, in­clud­ing the 200cc Ul­tra Lightweigh­t races unique to the Tam­worth Club. Wally was a mem­ber of May­field MCC, and was for many years a club del­e­gate to the North­ern Cen­tre ACU and later as a North­ern Cen­tre del­e­gate to ACU NSW. When Wal’s rid­ing days fin­ished, he be­came an ACU ste­ward. He was also one of the May­field mem­bers who was a guar­an­tor for the de­vel­op­ment of the Salty Creek cir­cuit, with his home on the line. He al­ways had the sup­port of his wife Marie. To­gether, they helped with raf­fles, work­ing bees and fund rais­ing events. He was a best friend to me, al­ways sup­port­ive, pre­pared my bike over many nights in his garage un­til he had taught me enough to be able to carry on my­self. I would never have been able to race with­out his in­put. We started with my 1951 BSA 350cc com­pe­ti­tion model, and I raced that bike on many dirt short cir­cuits, Ben­de­meer scram­bles, Bathurst road races, with a good share of suc­cess. Wal fab­ri­cated the fuel tank, seat and tail piece and mud guard brack­ets etc and noth­ing ever failed or cracked. He was a wa­ter skier un­til heart surgery stopped that, but he con­tin­ued to teach many to ski be­hind his boat. He played bowls and was awarded life mem­ber­ship for his vol­un­teer work with the club. He was also a val­ued mem­ber of Probus in Raymond Ter­race in later years. He passed away on 20th March 2018 aged 91. His guid­ance to my­self and many oth­ers will not be for­got­ten, he was a true sportsman and gen­tle­man.

Wally Martin in ac­tion – a keen racer and hard worker for his sport.

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