Monday, 24 January 2011

The Veteran Vintage & Classic Motorcycle Club of ACT - Annual Rally - what a blast!

Note: this is being written in a David Attenborough nature documentary semi-whisper, so you need to read it the same way.

1914 Monarch - yes, it goes! Magnificent!

In the genus  Motorcyclista there  exists a somewhat peculiar species of enthusiast known as the motorcyclo aficionado superretro.  Often (but not always) characterised by grey hair and an ingenious emergency toolkit, individuals of this species are solitary creatures, often spending months – even years - secreted in large backyard sheds and garages with their ancient machines, performing fascinating rituals with spanners and oxy-torches, paints and polishes,  and pistons, plugs and points, or scouring eBay for spare parts. 

Once a year, at the height of summer, the individuals heed a mysterious visceral Call to Assembly with others of the species, and Nature pulls them inexorably to a meeting place like the Carotel motel in Canberra. They come from all over, and in large numbers, in cars or vans, towing trailers loaded with precious cargo. A hardy few even risk riding their lovingly-restored motorcycles - if they don’t have to go too far.
Once there, they indulge in time-honoured rituals like beer-drinking and bike-judging, and they tell restoration sagas and breakdown stories in the lost and lyrical language of imperial measurement. Iconic names trip from their tongues - Rudge, BSA, Ariel, Indian, Vincent, AJS Matchless, Triumph, Harley Davidson, Ducati...
They go for short rides that culminate in magnificent morning teas. (A keen eye can identify their feeding places by the spots of engine oil that speckle the car parks where they have congregated).

They have a Presentation Dinner that honours the most perfect and noble among their number.

Individuals of the species trailerus breakdownii  exist in happy symbiosis with the aficionado superretros, and can often be seen retrieving those unfortunate superretros whose ancient machines have broken down in ways that will not be remedied easily by the roadside. Nobody sneers or scoffs. Instead, they applaud the pluckiness of the individual and the bike, and thank the Powers That Be that it wasn't them.

On our journey this weekend, one fortunate BSA devotee had his sidestand returned to him from whence it had fallen off on the Cotter Road, but the owner of the lost Triumph footpeg cover remained elusive, as Triumph devotees often do. 
1923 Rudge - the King of the Rally.

Yes, that is carpet on the footboards - carpet your great gran would be proud of!
Thank you to the VVCMCC for a lovely weekend. Great bunch of people, a great event. I had a lovely time tagging along on my brand new Suzuki SV650S,  and nobody made me feel like a fraud, ha ha! Here’s their website – enjoy!


lemmiwinks said...

The Rudge is king of the rally, and deservedly so! Love those bonkers old bikes.

Anonymous said...

Lov ,n your work,copya,Popeye

Geoff James said...

Cracker post Sue - thanks so much for the photos. I came over all weak looking at the Hailwood replica!

I really must take issue with you about Triumph owners being elusive. The only time I display that trait is if the red and blues start flashing in my vicinity ;-). Not surprised that things fell off the Triumph; all the nut threads on my old T100 were coated in Loctite to avoid unplanned losses en route!

Sue said...

lol Geoff, I don't know what came over me when I wrote that - channelling David Attenborough is exhausting *chortle* Given the number of Triumphs there on the weekend, they weren't elusive at all (until you tried to find the one with the lost footpeg cover!)

My fav bike of the weekend (and I didn't even get a pic!) was a Trumpy... although I was also rather taken with a BSA that had a lovely cylindrical fuel tank... and a beaut box on the back labelled 'Spares'. If you check out the VVCMCC website over the next couple of weeks, I bet there'll be pics.