A life in the trade
While reading OBA 72 there was a story on Brian Collins, and also mentioned were Harry Bartrop and Stan Buckingham. I started work in the warehouse at Bennett & Wood in the early ‘sixties at Joynton Avenue Zetland (Sydney). They had a great range of spare parts for Holden and Ford and were also the NSW agents BSA and Honda, and they also made Speedwell pushbikes in a factory in Redfern. I worked my way up and after a run on the motorcycle and pushbike counter Harry Bartrop was my boss and a good man to work for. I bought my first bike in 1964, a Honda C200 90cc. I rode that bike everywhere and in 1965 made my first trip to the Bathurst races. I spoke to Harry and told him I was heading up there on the Wednesday and he told me to come and see him and he would give me an entry pass and a pit pass. When I arrived I located him and he said I had to earn these passes. He was the head man at Bathurst and rode an A65 BSA sidecar and he said to jump in and he would take me around the track so we could give the locals who lived around the circuit a program so they could see the times when they were able to come and go, as Bathurst is a public road. Harry always wore a suit and hat and that hat never flew off. The number plate on the BSA was NSW 1. After I had done my chore with Harry, I jumped on my trusty Honda and went up to the mountain where I could camp until the rest of the Bennett crew arrived later in the week. I only had a cheap sleeping bag but a chap who came into the shop to buy parts told me I would freeze and offered me his large tent to bunk in until his family arrived. His name was Shaw Crymble and he raced a 125cc Honda. After the races we decided to go to town to have a look, with my mate on the back of the bike. Going down Conrod Straight a police car pulled me over for doing 45mph in a 35mph zone and that was ten pounds thank you. I was only earning nine pounds a week and this was the first booking I had ever had. I worked for Bennett & Wood until they started Bennett Honda in Gardners Road, Mascot. Stan Buckingham was the manager and he asked me to work as a salesman. Harry was not very happy with me for doing that and it was a big mistake on my part. I was a good spare parts salesman but not a good salesman so I left after a couple of years and went to Tom Byrne in Wentworth Avenue, then Amalgamated Scooters, selling Bridgestones. Chatsworth Motorcycle Accessories which I started up was another mistake as I had no idea how to run a business on my own but one day a fellow named Mike Steele walked in and said he was taking over, so I left and ended up with Hazell & Moore selling Triumphs and Suzukis, until they closed in 1976. I have many tales of my years in the trade and many legends and characters that I met and rode with. I am now 74 and still ride a 1969 Ko Honda, and a 2003 900 Triple Thunderbird. Peter Wishart Culcairn, NSW
ABOVE Harry Batrop with the ‘official’ outfit at Bathurst, circa 1980. ‘His hat never flew off’. BELOW LEFT Peter Wishart with his 900 Triumph at a Triumph Rally at Trunkey Creek, NSW.