All British Rally
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the conversations have changed tone a little (prostate problems seem to out way sexual conquests), the Bull Ring has been replaced by a live band (the last few years it’s been The Cutest Little Monsters) and for us they play rock and roll covers – just perfect.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.