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