All Bri­tish Rally

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS - Re­port Gordon Star Pho­tos Thomas Weitacher

The 43rd (yes it’s hard to be­lieve there has been that many) All Bri­tish Rally (ABR) was held at its now wellestab­lished home of New­stead, near Castle­maine in cen­tral Vic­to­ria. New­stead, un­like a few other places the rally has been held at, is in a “rain shadow” so this year like most, the weather was kind to us. If you haven’t been, this is a big event: 900+ fully paid en­tries as well as day vis­i­tors and trade dis­plays and the lo­cals who sup­ply a won­der­ful range of qual­ity food and bev­er­ages. This year’s rally was mar­keted as a three-day event, but as AN­ZAC day fell the day be­fore, many de­cided to make it a four-day af­fair. The rally is di­vided into two dis­tinct ar­eas, the main area be­ing only for tents and bikes (this rule is nor­mally well ob­served) and the larger sec­ondary area, the old race­course, is for ev­ery­thing else. As time marches on the av­er­age age of at­ten­dees seems to go up by nine months ev­ery year. So, whereas fortytwo years ago, at the Cheshunt Rally, every­one was in a tent, these days a lot more are opt­ing for the com­fort of a car­a­van or mo­tor-home. That said, the ma­jor­ity by far still camp.

Fri­day saw a short ride for those who wanted or wished to use it as a warm up for the main ride (via the scenic route) to Mal­don. Mal­don, in the last few years, has be­come an event in its own right. The lo­cal po­lice close off the main street to all but mo­tor­cy­cles and from about 11am they start pour­ing in. By the time the rally ride ar­rives it’s a tight squeeze. 800-odd bikes from the rally and many hun­dreds more vis­it­ing bikes as well, all adds to quite a car­ni­val at­mos­phere. The rally sup­plies a free lunch for all pre-paid en­tries, so you can imag­ine the queue out­side the lo­cal bak­ery is quite some­thing. Still, they’ve had a lot of prac­tice and they get through the queue very quickly. A few hours were spent in Mal­don and then it was time to find our own way back to the rally site for the judg­ing and prizes on Sun­day morn­ing.

In years gone by, Satur­day evenings would be spent sit­ting around camp­fires, con­sum­ing re­fresh­ments and re­count­ing tales of mo­tor­cy­cling and some­times even sex­ual con­quests. Then at some point a Bull Ring would start up and the at­tend­ing crowd would wit­ness mo­tor­cy­cles be­ing tor­tured at the hands of once lov­ing own­ers. These days, there are still many camp­fires, how­ever the con­ver­sa­tions have changed tone a lit­tle (prostate prob­lems seem to out way sex­ual con­quests), the Bull Ring has been re­placed by a live band (the last few years it’s been The Cutest Lit­tle Monsters) and for us they play rock and roll cov­ers – just per­fect. Half­way through the evening the raf­fle prize was drawn and this year the prize was a very nice look­ing G80 Matchless. Ev­ery en­try re­ceives a ticket. The odds are bet­ter then Tattslotto. All in all, a great week­end was had by all. And if, when you wake up on Sun­day morn­ing, you are feel­ing a lit­tle worse for wear, the lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cer (a great guy) will give you a breath test be­fore you leave the site! Look­ing for­ward to see­ing you there next year.

Jon Munn’s re­cently com­pleted Rick­man Tri­umph. Spot­less T100 out­fit in a sea of tents. A good mix­ture of older bikes and not so old bikes in Mal­don.

1939 BSA Gold Star sparkles at the camp­ground.

ABOVE Glenn Olsen’s fully reg­is­tered, rally-win­ning 7R AJS. BELOW LEFT One of the newly built Se­ries A HRD Rapi­des. BELOW A Grind­ley Peer­less blots its copy­book.

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