Pics by Nic Montagu
Pre 31 Section rally to Nannup…
Pics by John Wightman
Beverley Re-enactment 2014
I could smell it before I saw it, enticing and heady. Weaving along Spencer’s Brook road on my DKW, I recognised the whiff of Castrol R and some unburnt fuel from a high performance vintage motorcycle. Bill Young and Charlie Lawson would have approved. I went over the second railway crossing, almost sideways, caught the edge of the bitumen with my front wheel and I hung onto the wires, with an almighty roar we hurtled forward, towards Northam, there were more bends in the road than a bucket full of brown snakes. There were flak bursts of daisies and bluebells along the roadside. I came over the brow of the next hill with both wheels clean off the ground, like a pedigree racehorse executing a steeplechase manoeuvre. At the apex, I stood on the footpegs and looked forward, there he was, darting towards the next sharp left turn. It was John Sinclair on his Grindlay Peerless.
We were doing Beverley again. Not the actress Beverley Mitchell, Esmeralda but the re-enactment of the first motor race in the Southern Hemisphere, from the small wheatbelt town of Beverley, 100 miles to the east of Perth. Back in 1904, a handful of dedicated motorcyclists would have set off from the hamlet, along rough gravel roads or rudimentary paths back to the fledgling town of Perth on the lower Swan.
Several people have been muttering about the preparation that I do on my mounts for an event, so for this year’s event, I decided to ride the old girl from Adelaide to Darwin, to iron out all the bugs, once and for all. Indeed, I was deep down an opal mine in Coober Pedy, with Graeme Hammond and he said to me “Hey cobber, your back tyre doesn’t look so flash” So shortly afterwards, he changed my tyre and also sprayed some release fluid onto the pivot of my points cam follower. He also encouraged me to polish the bike about two or three times a day.
So by the time it came to the Saturday event, Phil Skinner’s the “Day before” event, the red charger was fully sorted. I rode out to Bill Cowlin’s house, where Roger Bowen was already drinking coffee and kicking Sloper tyres with Bill. We loaded up the DKW on Bill’s trailer between the green Slopers, like a Bull Mastiff between two Pomeranians and Val drove us all out to Karagullen.
It was a glorious midday setting, with Chris Whisson, Kevin Badby, Ken Vincent, Dave Weeks and Gary Tenardi all eating a sandwich in the seated area adjacent to the servo. Shortly afterwards, Colin And Delys rolled in, Delys riding the British racing green Indian, and Colin with the ’23 Scout on the trailer. Seems the old girl had a hissy fit and had refused to start, yet fired instantly on the back of the trailer under four tensioned tie downs. We wouldn’t give up this biking lark for anything! Then Phil rolled in on the tan coloured Harley, seems his Indian also had a last minute sulk. Lat Fuller rolled in to say hallo on a new era classic Beemer, also Richard, of Velo fame, even riding a few kilometres out with us.
By 2 o’clock we were heading east under a warm sun, no wind but a cool airflow proved to be a tonic for man and mount. Phil’s points started unwinding just before the customary tea spot in the woods requiring a cool down period and a reset of the points gap. After a quick drink we were off again, winding through oceans of canola fields, almost mesmerised by the freshly shorn lambs in the fields contrasting with the granite outcrops. By 4.30, we were all parked at the back of the Beverley Hotel, that 1886 structure, which has withstood 130 years of hard living. There was a 1926 AJS parked there waiting and after booking in, we all stabled the bikes up for the night in the parking garage and Dave parked up his van, having had no customers for the day. The evening was spent in the normal fashion, appropriate for the exponents of our noble sport, with all of the riders tucked up in bed relatively early, whilst the rough element in the Commercial Hotel, carried on right through the night, slaves to the karaoke machine there.
The next morning, there was the usual assemblage outside the hotel, no Beverley would be the same without Spencer and Joyce Sheffield, who rumour asserts, have attended every Beverley re-enactment since its restart back in the ‘80s. Spencer was riding his gleaming, trademark ’28 Indian, Rene on the ravishing ivory tan ’16 Harley Davidson and Ron Morrison Snr and Jnr in the SS80 Brough Superior. Both Rons looked amazingly fit and well. Other omnipresent starters were Clive Oakes on the unique AMAC and John Sinclair on the Coventry Eagle lookalike G.P. Colin’s Indian started on the first kick, so Delys loaded her Indian and drove shotgun with the back-up. It was about a 20 degree morning, with no clouds and not a breath of wind. The local townfolk were flabbergasted, as they normally are, with the firing up of the old steeds and their gracious departures. Gary’s ’27 Ariel battled to start, on a brand new plug, so the old, sooted up one went back in, after a rough scratch and a quick gap check with a South Australia vernier gauge (oily left thumbnail).
In York, most of the bikes refuelled and a quick coffee was had at the Tatty Parrot café or the Penny Farthing store. Next stop was the Broome Terrace lookout on the rather low Avon, in Northam, where once again the townfolk rolled out to welcome the posse with the tumultuous excitement that one would expect. The Brough was running a bit rich on the one carby, so Ron leaned her off. Ken’s little cammy Velo was flying like a rocket through the countryside, stopping only once to help Gary put the old “new” plug back into the Ariel.
Then it was off to lunch in Toodyay where we were lucky to arrive as a bunch of bikies rode out….we took the front row outside the hotel. One of the barmaids asked Kevin Badby if she could sit on the back of the Henderson. Then it was off on the final, longest haul, back to Mundaring, travelling along Clackline, a short stretch of GEH to Baker’s Hill, then slightly north of it, along the fabled Old Northam Main road through Wooroloo and Chidlow, where I bowed briefly, in deference to old Clubman Richard Matthews, who is still recovering from a hamstring rupture (not inflicted by trying to kickstart his BMW, Esmeralda but loading a bale of HAY!).
I had a couple of minutes on the next rider, so I stopped at the St Helena Tavern for a while, taking pictures of the blossoms and chatting with some of the hotel patrons. They were astonished to hear that the Re-enactment would pass shortly, right in front of the hotel. The points fairy struck again, this time Kevin’s Henderson, with the bike only just firing fully retarded. You could have ridden a horse through the point gap, which was quickly reset and Kevin was able to catch up. Then finally on the last strait to the Mundaring Hotel where there was a fair in full swing. The first people we bumped into were John and Melissa Branton, John is still looking for some bikes for the 2016 calendar. Bikes do not have to be concours, he said. Terry McKie also rolled in for a gander, having just completed a marathon open water swim at a local venue. Dave had come close to picking up a few customers but their sheer determination kept any further retirements from happening.
The trickiest part still lay ahead, negotiating the hills back home. Phil did another route sheet from Mundaring to his workshop and we almost made it back without incident. Bill’s clutch kept going out of adjustment and then the tensioning bolt fell off completely. Phil’s HD ran hot just waiting so he held back. Bill in the meantime had parked again, out of view and we all flashed past. Luckily Bill found a matching bolt in the gutter, fitted it and rode triumphantly into the carpark before a search party was called.
All in all a wonderful day was had and enjoyed by the relatively few that took part. Thanks need to be extended to Phil for organising such a great event and for the back-ups, Delys, Joyce and Dave.
This, the 110th commemoration of the first race followed the original course with the following changes. The original start was from Beverley Post Office, a couple of hundred yards down the road. The original finish was the Victoria Park Hotel, on Albany Road, via Midland, a total distance of 116 miles. The competitors rode up by train from Perth to Beverley on the preceding day.
The first race took place on 1st October 1904, after it was rescheduled from 10 September, due to storm damage to the primitive roads. The winner, Perthite Mallabone, riding a Minerva, edged out Fremantle rider Jewell, on a 21/2 hp homebuilt motorised bicycle in a thrilling finish.
Favourite, Gilmour on a 2 hp De Dion, was leading, on handicap, when his handlebars snapped, 2 miles out of York. He pushed the bike into York and fitted a new pair of bicycle handlebars. Another competitor, Gato rode into a ditch and destroyed his front wheel. He walked to Northam train station and caught a train back to Perth. Henley pranged his steed out in the bush and hiked back to Perth in disgust (without notifying anyone). A massive thunderstorm lashed Mundaring in the early afternoon, turning paths into rivers.
The winning time was 5 hr and 41 minutes for an average speed of 20 mph. Of the 17 entrants, only 6 started. 3rd home was Perthite, Ward who arrived after dark at the Vic Park Hotel. The Organisers were the League of W.A. Wheelmen, who already organised and ran the annual bicycle race from Beverley to Perth, since 1897.
John Wightman #811
2014 ROARING TWENTIES RUN RESULTS – VMCC PRE 31 SECTION
IN THE SPIRIT OF THE EVENT JAKIE BADBY
CLOSE TO THE SPIRIT CARL MONTGOMERY
BEST VETERAN DAVE ALDERSON
BEST VINTAGE DARRYL WARNER
BEST SMALL BIKE KEN TERRY
HARD LUCK GARY TENARDI
39 STARTERS 12 VETERAN 27 VINTAGE
ANDREW BARTLEET 1914 DOUGLAS
COLIN BUTLER 1915 P&M
JEFF BROMILOW 1912 ROVER
STEVE TURNER 1912 CORAH
HAMISH COWAN 1913 INDIAN
DAVE ALDERSON 1913 TRIUMPH
BILL COWLIN 1915 SUNBEAM
MURRAY RUDLER 1915 TRIUMPH
CARL MONTGOMERY 1913 RUDGE
PETER McDONALD 1913 JAP
PHIL SKINNER 1918 TRIUMPH
BOB WHITTINGSTALL 1918 HENDERSON
MICK TESSER 1926 TRIUMPH
JOHN WIGHTMAN 1929 DKW
COLIN BRAZIL 1923 INDIAN
DELYS BRAZIL 1929 DOUGLAS
KEN TERRY 1930 VELOCETTE
GEOFF COOLE 1922 RALEIGH
JOHN COLEMAN 1926 TRIUMPH
ELLIOT MONTAGUE 1927 TRIUMPH
TIM HARDING 1926 CALTHORP
RODGER BOWEN 1929 BSA
SPENCER SHEFFIELD 1928 INDIAN
NEIL BROMILOW 1926 TRIUMPH
BRUCE KIRK 1928 TRIUMPH
KELVIN MERS 1926 NORTON
PAT MILLER 1928 HARLEY-DAVIDSON
JOHN ROONEY 1929 ARIEL
TERRY McKIE 1926 TRIUMPH
DARRYL WARNER 1927 BSA
DAVID MAIN 1929 VELOCETTE
CHRIS WHISSON 1930 NORTON
KEVIN BADBY 1923 HENDERSON
IAN TERRY 1929 SCOTT
REX EDMONDSON 1928 BSA
GARY TENARDI 1929 ARIEL
DAVE WEEKS 1928 BSA
JOHN SINCLAIR 1930 GRINDLEY
KEN VINCENT 1929 VELOCETTE
Hi there, I am a long standing member of the VMCC, having been the OEC Marque Specialist for about thirty years. I recently acquired a fine early Blackburne engined motorcycle <http://www.prewarcar.com/magazine/previous-features/hemmings-motorcycle-019191.html> and with this bike came a dossier of papers including some correspondence from 1990 between the then owner, Michael Brown and the late Peter Groucott, in which he mentions owning an early Blackburne engine which he hoped to put into a suitable frame.
I realise that Peter died some time ago, but I wondered if his effects are still in the family or whether perhaps his collection has been passed on to other VMCCWA members. Maybe someone has his Blackburne engine or possibly a complete bike fitted with it! Its a 550cc 4 1/4HP engine from perhaps 1922, and is engine number E1841.
I myself have been interested in Blackburne-engined machines for a long time, and in the 1980s corresponded with the late Jake McConnville of Rockingham who had several such machines including Cottons and OECs himself. In the mid 1990s, I found myself seconded to work for DITAC in Canberra and spent a happy two years travelling the subcontinent and meeting up with many like-minded enthusiasts and racing Rudges belonging to well known Aussie enthusiasts, Rob Hart and Peter Scott.
One one occasion, I managed to fit in a visit to Jake but by that time he was fairly elderly and frail and although he was pleased to see me, his collection was mostly dismantled in in rather bad storage so was not what i had expected. I gather that his son inherited the collection but have not tried to find out whether they are still around in WA.
Hoping that you can help me get in touch with the Groucott family and perhaps solve another Blackburne related mystery!
VMCC OEC and Blackburne Marque Specialist
Member VCC and VSCC
pics supplied by Ken Vincent
Roaring Twenties Ride 4/5 May 2013
Ken Vincent’s name is spoken in hushed tones of respect from Mt Clarence to Phillip Island but it is not his prowess on the race track which endears adherents of our glorious sport to this particular event. By registering early, one escapes the possibility of relegation to Nannup Hotel’s (in)famous Pink House, a ramshackle, turn of the (nineteenth) century with a motley assortment of rooms. The last nine to enter are booked into this place which contains a number of double beds in pokey rooms.
For the 2013 event, the buxom barmaid, Priscilla, convinced those people to put a row of pillows down the middle of each bed and dream earnestly of Elle McPherson. A determined deputation stormed the front desk and a couple of the troops were assimilated into the “upper storey” hotel rooms, more about these later.
It all started off at the quirky, rural transport museum in Boyanup, where local impresarios Murray and Sharon had gotten into the museum early on the Saturday morning, so all the Perthites (and Bunburites/Albanites) could park their vehicles in the back, secure carpark of the museum. Meantime, Ken and Dave Weeks, the nominated back up driver set up the Club’s Gazebo and starting boards on the exit road towards the South West Highway. Colin Brazil, whose vintage Indian’s magneto packed up on the eve of the departure, along with wife Delys, gallantly offered to stand in as reserve back up drivers in place of Lyn, who was unable to make it.
So, by 9.30, a very respectable line-up of 28 pre 31 bikes were parked in a dazzling array along the old railway line. Furthermore, Murray and Sharon were dressed up in contemporary clothing, including tartan dress, stockings, top and tails, trilby for Murray and the de rigeur Mike Hawthorn racing bowtie. Andrew Barleet, also dressed up, in tweed and bulging “plus fours”. No deerstalker suits though, and clay pipes, something for next year maybe?
The usual criminals were lined up on the start, Terry Mckie and Elliott Montagu on ’27 Triumph flat tankers (the ex Phil Skinner Triumph was in there somewhere too), Bill Cowlin and Rex Edmondson on the ubiquitous Slopers (Weeksy looked on forlornly, knowing that his own Sloper is already breathing Liverpudlian sea air). Kevin Badby was there on his glistening straight 4 Henderson, Spencer and Joyce on their veteran, tan coloured HD combination and Carl Montgomery on the well- travelled 1916 B.S.A. The weather was cool and dry with a few odd clouds scudding across the horizon but no rain was to dog us for the entire trip.
At ten o’clock, Ken rallied the recalcitrant troops together and dished out the day 1 route sheets (in miles, Esmeralda, to confuse those metrically inclined) which had the juggernaut moving off, in a large snake off towards Capel, and then Kirup for lunch. Each bike had a number, starting from the slowest, veteran bikes, and ending off with the 1930 screamers. Some of the oldest bikes picked up some minor running problems, such as a dicky clutch on Robin Bromilow’s little 250 B.S.A. and a loose HT cable on Murray and Sharon’s BSA outfit. Just as were entering a deep part of the forest, I encountered Barry Berkshire on his Sunbeam, son in law, Kyle in slipstream tow on a Norton. Chris Whisson flashed by on his Norton too and looking over my prehensile girder forks on the red DKW, it was like we were all back in England again. In a flurry of dense smoke and acrid fumes, the father and son duo of Ken and Ian Terry stormed through on their Velo and Scott TT Replica respectively.
Half way between Capel and Kirup, there was mounting apprehension for the looming Moonrising Hill, after which Oxfordshire’s famous “Sunrising Hill” is named. To make matters worse, that area had received 85mm of rain in the last week, causing large rivers of topsoil to be left on the road surface. Ian Brashaw, the customary marshall stood by at the bottom of the pass to warn the riders of the impending challenge (and a few yards of twine, just in case any of the bikes carked it going up the hill). My little 300cc DKW single motor spluttered once and I eased her down into second, with my tank mounted gear change and she glided up the pass like a witch. Just as were entering Kirup for our first refuel stop and a quick nibble, Terry’s back wheel lost all its drive. We loaded the Trumpet up, determining to find a woodruff key for the shaft, which transferred drive onto the belt’s driven pulley.
The afternoon ride consisted of a pleasant back road route, bypassing all the feral interstate and modern vehicles. We all arrived in Nannup at about the same time, and formed two rows of 14 bikes each, in front of the Nannup hotel. Bill Cowlin and Gary Tenardi, having parked his ’29 Ariel up, rushed into the bar and started a tab going. The troops moved round to the back counter to get the keys for their rooms. Kevin Badby was already in an earnest discussion, in his customary East Yorkshire lilt, with Chris Whisson, on how he was going to weld a fifth cylinder onto the end of his Henderson motor to dispatch “once and for all” the racy Scott of Ian Terry. Spencer, meantime, delved into the nether recesses of the HD and pulled out a whole box of woodruff keys for Terry, who had his pulley back on the shaft, in a jiffy.
At 4.30, the street show was over and everyone moved their machines inside the hotel grounds. Chris Whisson, Ian, Terry, Chris (AJS rider), Bill, Terry and I parked under the eaves of the Pink house and made ourselves at home. Chris immediately started a roaring fire in the immense hearth and the lads ordered ales from the bar. Ken rallied the three vintage Velocettes together and took some formation photos against a circular water tank and some trees. Ron and Lyn Cherrington, already fully recovered from the “Busselton 2 Day” only the weekend before, hove into the bar as well, as cheery as skylarks after a good day in the saddles of their BSA combination.
Gary Tenardi and Delys were speaking to the younger barmaid, who told them that a band, Braxton Hicks would be playing shortly and would put on a town shaking performance that night. After talking to the third barmaid, we also discovered that Priscilla, the barmaid who disappeared with one of the member’s commemorative jerseys last year, actually knew Esmeralda Gutierrez, from the Swan Valley and the two, when young lasses were the only gals in the valley that could dismantle and replace all the bearings in a unit construction BSA gearbox and refit it, all in under an hour. The supper was scheduled for 6.30 and all the participants eased into the Dining Room for the sumptuous spread, which included lamb shanks the size of baseball bats, huge steaks, chicken schnitzels and an ocean of fried chips.
Happy hour was in full swing after dinner and Guinness was on Special. Carl was relieved when Ian Brashaw actually returned from a push bike cycle he did up along the Blackwood River road, so jealous was he, that we were all enjoying ourselves on vintage bikes while he was relegated to marshall duty in a van.
Braxton Hicks, two guitarists and a lady lead singer, duly made an unforgettable appearance and literally blew everyone away with a barnstorming performance of blues, country and western and popular music. Ken and Colin Brazil made them perform another four or five songs to a rapturous applause from the bikers (and the local townsfolk who had gathered on the tradesman’s side of the bar) Even though it all eventually came to an end around midnight, Weeksy, on one of his nocturnal trips to the shanks, swore that he heard the sound of someone seemingly falling up the stairs (because the sound increased with every bump).
Nevertheless, at 7.30 the next morning, the whole cavalier contingent shuffled in for breakfast, where Ken handed out the Day 2 routesheets. Malcolm, a visitor from the U.K. and on a loan bike, Matchless, 350 was totally charmed by the whole exercise, advising that if any of us came past his place (Sammy Miller country), we would be most welcome to drop in and view his Japanese collection of motorbikes. After we had all packed up again and loaded our haversacks into the back up vehicles, we made off back to the main street for our ticker tape exit from Nannup. Once again the mystery vintage bicycle was locked up again, to a lamppost on the pavement, with no brakes and about a one inch thick layer of “street cred rust” on its frame.
The veterans were once again, first off, rattling along the fabled Black River road, one of Australia’s most scenic 40 kilometre stretches of road to be found anywhere. Once we came into Balingup, we peeled off left, towards Donnybrook for Lunch. Along the way, Terry’s Triumph picked up a few specks of dirt in the carburettor, causing the needle to not seat properly. Barry’s Sunbeam’s clutch started slipping on one of the hills, so he was also loaded up to Donny brook, where he was able to take up some adjustment on the throw rod. Elliott was officially declared “missing in action” and Weeksy was dispatched to recover our lost comrade.
Lunch over, it was off on the last leg, back to Boyanup, where a barbecue awaited and all the bikes were loaded back onto trailers/vans/utes. Within the fabulous gardens of the museum, Ken awarded all of the trophies and held a raffle of about fifteen prizes. Elliott, meantime had been recovered from somewhere near Busselton, lost and with a kickstart that had parted company with the motor, just in time to be awarded the “Hard Luck Trophy” It was a well contented mob that made off back home, with thanks to be extended to Ken for a jolly good outing.
John Wightman #811
The next thing to do was to set the timing.
The “Instruction Book” says to set the points breaking with the piston 7mm before TDC and ignition lever fully advanced.
VMCCUK old Triumph expert, Peter Cornelius, (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ) recommended setting the timing at full retard on top dead centre. He maintains that the fuels we use now are so different to those used in the twenty’s that the tuning figures are no longer relevant. With the points breaking, the piston at TDC and the lever in the fully retarded position it is only necessary to advance the lever until the engine sounds and pulls OK. Not very scientific but apparently it works.
The timing was set and with a couple of mates watching I kicked it over. It didn’t start because we had set the timing with the lever in the fully advanced position! The timing was reset and amazingly the engine fired and ran on the first kick. This was quite a moment for me. Perhaps in the fifties, after being thrashed around a paddock for years the bike was discarded. The engine hadn’t made a sound for maybe sixty years and there it was running again with that old fashion characteristic exhaust note.
The valve timing was obviously out as the engine was blowing back through the carby. The valve timing was altered by one tooth and that fixed it. (These engines don’t have valve overlap).
There were a few small problems to fix. The petrol cock fitted is a tapered rotary type and it was leaking about half a cup of fuel overnight. Lapping with polish got this down to about half a teaspoon overnight. The difficulty in seating the needle valve in the float chamber is apparently common to these carbys but it appears that once the engine is running it’s not a problem. I have tried lapping the needle in, making a new needle and attaching a short rubber tipped needle from a modern carby to the needle. This didn’t work because when the diameter of the short rubber tipped needle is reduced to fit, the flutes disappear and the fuel flow past the tip is reduced.
The oil system on this engine is interesting. It is a total loss system. Oil is carried in a tank integral with the fuel tank and is delivered by a hand pump on the tank or alternatively by a dripper type system that is driven off the end of the crankshaft by a helical gear. This system was intended to be the primary system and even though a sight glass was incorporated the hand pump was retained because of customer distrust for the automatic system. We had several goes at making a helical gear which drives the automatic dripper but it was not successful. The shaft on which the gear is fitted runs at right angles to the crank shaft and is mounted directly in the crankcase. There is no bushing and it’s difficult to fit bushes so as the casing wears the gear doesn’t mesh properly. I decided to stay with the hand pump. Prior to starting the engine for the first time the pump is operated four times and oil runs down the pipe from the pump, through a non return valve and directly into the crankcase. The spring loaded non return valve in the pipe prevents a continuous feed into the crankcase. The revolving flywheels throw the oil up into the cylinder to lubricate the piston and the cams and associated gears located in an adjacent chamber are lubricated by oil mist. The external valve stems are not lubricated but do run in guides. I’m told that as money saving measure valves in earlier Triumph engines didn’t have guides. The stem ran in the barrel/head casting. Riders now give the valve stems a squirt of chain lube at refreshment stops. I couldn’t get the piston in the oil pump to seal using two leather buckets as was the original set up so I made a brass piston with two rubber rings and fitted it to the plunger. This was tested by pumping into a container and the volume of oil delivered was consistent with the volume of the pump cylinder. When riding the bike the idea is to operate the hand pump every ten miles and if you’re worried that there isn’t enough oil in the engine the operator’s manual suggests an extra pump and observe the exhaust. A slight blue trail of smoke behind the bike indicates you’re OK. I bought one of those $15.00 matchbox size speedo odometer things so I would know when its ten miles since the last pump. I was told that initially one gets over concerned about the amount of oil in the engine and the rider pumps too often. Even after being told I did this on my test rides at home and oil ran out of every orifice onto my rather lengthy drive. She was not pleased.
I was able to ride on my drive but as the bike is fairly highly geared I couldn’t get past second gear. The hand change is challenging but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
I contacted a 1st Time Examiner and made an appointment for an examination. The machine was loaded into my van and we went to the Club rooms on a fine Wednesday morning where Norm Chester carried out the inspection. The bike was passed and the paper work was submitted to the DOT who wouldn’t license it until I produced a receipt and a statutory declaration saying where and from whom I purchased the bike. This is not necessary if you can produce the transfer papers that go with the purchase of a licensed bike. They also wanted a statement from Canberra to the effect that according to their records the bike wasn’t imported after a certain date. Surprisingly DOT in Canberra was able to respond in about nine days. The statement was duly provided and a plate was obtained after the usual hour wait at the licensing centre at Midland. With a plate I was now able to try it on the road.
The road that goes past my place is downhill in both directions which means an uphill climb to get home both ways which is not good for a new engine. There is one shortish flat road off the main one so I decided to use that. I put a temporary basket on the carrier and loaded up some tools and went for a ride. The bike rides quite well. The front forks absorbed the bumps in the road and the generously sprung seat took care of the rear. The front brake, when applied, doesn’t produce any detectable change in the speed of the machine but the rear brake works well. One has to judge these things by the standards of the day the bike was built. The gear lever isn’t all that positive as the gear box is connected to the handle with a turnbuckle. The original connecting rod had a spring arrangement in the rod which apparently makes the gear selection more positive. I’ll have to borrow one as a pattern and make one. Hopefully that will fix the problem.
I think I’m going to like this old bike and now I must get a few k’s on it before the roaring Twenties Ride on the 4th of May. There are a few other jobs to complete. I managed to scratch the tank when the valve lifter control made contact on full lock. The lighting set (which took a couple of years to collect) has been panel beaten and nickel plated along with some more bolts and washers. These items and a more suitable basket have to fitted. It’s been a long time since I started this project and at times it’s been challenging but always interesting. I’ve learnt a lot and had a lot of help and advice from members of our Club. This is part of what this Club is about.
The first object of the Club is “to encourage the ownership, use and preservation of motorcycles and other similar vehicles more than 25 years old” That doesn’t only mean old English bikes it means what it says and that is bikes over 25 years old. You don’t have to be an expert (this is only the second bike I have restored). The way I see it is that you should start with a bike that is not too exotic, one for which parts are readily available eg Matchless, Triumph, AJS or BSA etc. You need some mechanical knowledge, a reasonable tool kit and at times, access to a lathe or someone who can turn bits up for you. Parts sometimes need to be bronze welded, silver soldered or electric welded. There are people around who can do this for you. Why don’t you consider giving it a go?
Riding notes from the Running Instructions issued to the new owner of a Triumph model N.
“To start away with the engine running hold up the clutch lever, which is placed on the left hand side of the handle bar, place the gear lever in low gear position (right back). Very gradually release the clutch lever, at the same time opening the throttle slightly as the engine takes up the load, when the machine will glide smoothly away. If the machine starts with a sudden jerk, the clutch lever has been released too quickly. If the machine jerks forward slightly and the engine stops the throttle has not been opened sufficiently to enable the engine to take up the load. When the machine has attained reasonable momentum, raise the clutch lever and at the same time move the gear lever forward into the second gear position, gently releasing the clutch lever as soon as the gear lever is in the second gear position. Top gear which is right forward is engaged in a similar manner as soon as sufficient road speed has been attained. If after changing up from low to second or second to top the machine goes forward jerkily it is a sure sign that the change of gear has been made to early i.e. before sufficient road speed has been attained. The present day motor cycle is controlled more easily than a car so riders should understand that it is a simple matter to get away quietly and smoothly. The road speed should be controlled by the throttle control with the air lever fully opened. Never allow the engine speed to become so low that the motion of the machine becomes jerky as this put severe strain on the transmission and is bad for the engine. When approaching a hill the best climb will be made if the throttle opening is increased sufficiently early to allow the machine to start the climb at a good speed. Similarly if the hill will not be surmountable in top gear the change down to second gear should be made before the speed is too low for top gear. To stop the machine at the conclusion of a run declutch and close the throttle using the foot brake to make the machine come to rest at the desired stopping place.”
Some notes on starting a cold engine are also of interest.
“When the engine is stiff to turn owing to the oil being cold the engine may be freed as follows: Close air lever, open throttle lever about half way, raise exhaust lever and slowly depress kick start until the inlet valve commences to open. Now release exhaust lever and continue the stoke of kick starter until resistance due to compression is felt. The engine will now have sucked in some very rich mixture which will thin the oil slightly making the engine easier to rotate by means of the kick-starter. Repeat the above once or twice, return levers to the position normal for starting. Press the tickler until petrol pressure is just felt. Fully advance the ignition lever, open the air valve half way, open the throttle slightly, raise the exhaust lever, smartly depress kick-starter at the same time releasing the exhaust lever just before the kick-starter reaches the end on its stroke to allow the exhaust valve to close just before the moment of firing. After starting regulate the speed of the engine with the throttle”.