Old Hat

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Editorial

This is my (our) favourite time of the year; when sum­mer’s in­ces­sant heat has abated and win­ter has not yet un­leashed its full chill. It’s also when we throw off the dust cov­ers and roll out the bikes for a se­ries of ral­lies that we look for­ward to im­mensely – a chance to es­cape the of­fice and the city and take in some coun­try air, catch up with friends that we haven’t seen for twelve months, and roll out on coun­try roads free of the con­struc­tion traf­fic that is Syd­ney these days. For us, this begins with the Bathurst Easter Tour – one of the long­est run­ning such events in the coun­try and one that draws bikes from the full gam­bit of mo­tor­cy­cling his­tory. Al­though it’s pretty dry out west and you have to feel sym­pa­thy for those try­ing to make a liv­ing from the parched pad­docks, the Bathurst Rally is vir­tu­ally unique in pro­vid­ing a dif­fer­ent run on each of the eight days, al­though our work sched­ule means we can only sam­ple about half of those. Still, we motor through some great coun­try, al­ways fin­ish­ing up back at the Car­a­van Park for the manda­tory cool drink and nat­ter.

For a decade now, Easter has also be­come syn­ony­mous with the Shan­nons In­sur­ance Broad­ford Bike Bo­nanza – not a rally as such but a mas­sive gath­er­ing of mo­tor­cy­cles and mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­asts in a lo­ca­tion that Alan Cath­cart has de­scribed as be­ing unique in the mo­tor­cy­cling world, with all sorts of tracks, camp­ing, dis­plays and swap meets and ca­ma­raderie galore.

A few weeks later comes the Sin­gle­ton Rally in the pic­turesque Hunter Val­ley, which al­ways has a de­cent ride of sev­eral hours on the Satur­day prior to the pre­sen­ta­tion din­ner. Then comes the in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar Vin­tage Ja­panese Na­tional Rally, which, af­ter two years in Tam­worth, hits the glitz and glam­our of the Queens­land Gold Coast. There’s plenty of great rid­ing coun­try nearby, and the dis­play of rally bikes, which this year will take place in the car park of the Aus­tralian Out­back Spec­tac­u­lar, is al­ways a feast for the eyes and a free mo­tor­cy­cle show for lo­cals.

Of course, all this is just in our patch, and all around the coun­try – and in New Zealand – sim­i­lar events are tak­ing place. It all goes to show that clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cles are not just things of value and beauty des­tined for a quiet re­tire­ment in mu­se­ums or pri­vate col­lec­tions, but ma­chines that cry out to be rid­den – let off the leash so to speak. So that’s enough rhetoric on the sub­ject, it’s time for me to head into the garage. There are chains and tyre pres­sures to check, paint­work and chrome to be pol­ished, ca­bles to be lubed, gear to be packed.

It’s rally sea­son!

JIM SCAYSBROOK Ed­i­tor

There’s noth­ing like fresh coun­try air to blow out the cob­webs.

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