BSA In­ter­na­tional Rally

In­ter­na­tional BSA Rally • 9-15 Novem­ber, 2018 – Hall’s Gap, Vic­to­ria

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS - Re­port Gor­don Star Pho­tos Jess Fraser, Gor­don Star and Brad Gor­rie

“BSA: the most pop­u­lar mo­tor­cy­cle in the world”. This slo­gan from the 1950s cer­tainly rang true in Hall’s Gap for nearly 10 days. One of the stand­out bikes which was ini­tially thought to be the new BSA from the Clas­sic Leg­ends/Mahin­dra con­cern in fact turned out to be an­other in the Em­pire Twin range from Emu engi­neer­ing. This plus an­other 220+ mo­tor­cy­cles and some 320 en­trants ex­pe­ri­enced a truly great week of ev­ery­thing BSA in a won­der­ful part of West­ern Vic­to­ria. With six days of rid­ing, a large and var­ied area was ex­pe­ri­enced: the wheat belt of the Wimera to the north and the rich vol­canic plains to the south plus many great hilly and twisty roads in be­tween -some­thing for ev­ery­one. Of the 320 en­tries, 70 were from over­seas rep­re­sent­ing thir­teen dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Speak­ing to our over­seas friends, all seemed to be very im­pressed; not only with the ex­cel­lent in­dige­nous-based wel­come and Bram­buk Cul­tural Cen­tre but also the abun­dance of gen­er­ally well be­haved wildlife (read, no close shaves). One of the stand out rides for me was Mon­day’s tour to the north into the Wimera area. Our first stop was Ra­pa­nyup: the be­gin­ning of the Silo Art Trail. Also there, at our morn­ing tea stop, was this amaz­ing and huge mu­seum – a col­lec­tion amassed by two brothers over some eighty years and well worth a look next time you’re there. If I thought this was good, we only had to travel an­other twenty min­utes up the road to Ma­toa to be blown away; the home of the last stand­ing “Stick Shed”. Over the road from the stick shed was one of the high­lights of the rally for me, an old freez­ing works con­structed pre-First World War and in the ad­ja­cent shed were the four orig­i­nal Rus­ton sin­gle cylin­der gas en­gines rang­ing from 58 to 115 horse­power. Best of all they started them up for us – mu­sic to my ears. The BSA MOA VIC ran the rally through a sub-com­mit­tee and from an out­sider’s point of view they couldn’t have done a bet­ter job. I know they have been run­ning the very suc­cess­ful All Bri­tish Rally for longer than any­one can re­mem­ber but the sheer lo­gis­tics was noth­ing short of stag­ger­ing. Just feed­ing and guid­ing 320 peo­ple and 220+ bikes in and out of small and large coun­try towns, all with a cour­tesy bus and back-up trail­ers (al­though never used of course) was way too much for me to get my head around. And noth­ing to say of the mag­nif­i­cent three course din­ner dance and wel­come and good­bye BBQs.

A nice touch, I thought, was the nam­ing of two ar­eas in the Park­gate re­sort: The as­sem­bly area for the ride de­par­tures was Ar­moury Rd and the huge mar­quee where all evening en­ter­tain­ment and the din­ner dance was held was named Um­ber­slade Hall. Those who knew BSA his­tory thought this was great. The next In­ter­na­tional Rally to be held in Aus­tralia looks like be­ing in SA in 2023. So there you are: you’ve got just five years to fin­ish off that project and in the mean­time there’s al­ways the ABR each April. n

The Rus­ton Gas en­gines at Ma­toa. The awe-in­spir­ing Stick Shed, built in 1941 to store grain.

ABOVE Doug Fraser’s lat­est V-twin cre­ation con­trasts with a BSA vet­eran; Dar­ryl Jef­fries’ 1911 Model A. RIGHT More than 220 en­tries made a grand sight at Halls Gap.

“Big Pete” – Peter Turner’s elec­tric start 916cc Light­ning. LEFT Rob North triples. Looks like Day­tona 1970 all over again! BE­LOW Grey frame Rocket 3s.

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