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Old Bike Australasia

Old Bike Australasia Issue 85

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Old Bike magazine is a must for those who ride as well as the dedicated enthusiast and rebuilder, covering everything from Vintage to early 1980s bikes - marvel at the restoration of machines that could still sit proudly on the showroom floor. Each issue brings you the latest news and results from recent events, race reports and Rally Roundup, along with new and old bike news and reviews, readers letters, Club Directory, What’s On and much, much more.

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Nextmedia Pty Ltd
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
editor’s letter

Feed a town There is scant need here to recap on the disastrous summer of 2019/20 – the so-called ‘Fire Season’ (I wish the media would stop using that term). The death, destruction and devastation are unprecedented in many of our lifetimes, but even in the wake of this, life must go on. That’s why we encourage those in our community – united by a camaraderie bonded by an appreciation of classic motorcycles, to vote with our wheels. Whole towns and communities have been virtually wiped out, but what will assist in the rebuilding process, and there will be one, is the patronising and support that individuals can provide. I have a good mate of many years standing who, with his wife and their circle of motorcycling friends, regularly pick a town…

8 min.
letters to the editor

Frank and Alan Frank Sinclair (OBA 83) and his Vincent became legends in Australian history; probably the longest competing and competitive Vincent in Australia and the world. My uncle Alan Smith (0ne of Frank’s passengers) was a great and quiet guy who loved racing motorcycles and cars. He taught me to ride my first motorcycle. Dad and Alan were in the RAAF together, and Alan worked all his life after WW2 in the PMG. My dad married Alan’s sister. Alan was cashed up and single after WW2 and a couple of his mates wanted help getting an auto workshop established. Alan was their silent partner and financial backer. The brothers? Norm and Harry Firth. The rest is history. Frank’s garage was on the corner of Bourke Road and Toorak road which when…

2 min.
my black knight

In 1954, I bought an Ariel 500 Twin and used it to travel 12 miles to work as a plant operator with the forest commission. I had a mate who raced at Fishermans Bend and was Vincent mad. The Ariel was a real bomb. We saw in the Saturday Age, an ad for the Vincent Comet, and travelled 200 miles down to Centre Road, Bentleigh and came home with the Comet at a cost of £180. At this time I was still only 18 and a half. I used both bikes on bush tracks with other mates as well as for work transport. I always used to buy English Motorcycle magazine, where I saw a road test of the Vincent Black Knight by Vic Willoughby. My mate said, “Why don’t you…

4 min.
out in the shed

Malcolm Mapperson: Sidecar Champion My old friend, the late Gordon Hellyer worked for many years at J.C. Cameron Motorcycles in Maitland and won two Australian Sidecar Titles. I recall him telling me that if Malcolm Mapperson, also simply called Mappo, turned up at a meeting to run in the sidecar events then you were only competing for second place. He claimed that Mappo was unbeatable. Mapperson won Australian and State Sidecar titles on Short Circuit accompanied by his ever reliable passenger Russell “Rusty” Scrivener. Mappo came from the small village of Premer and Rusty from nearby Gunnedah. His first road race was at Bathurst in 1966 but there were no major results with his short circuit 650cc Triumph-engined sidecar. This machine was a ‘sitter’ as opposed to the regular kneeler type outfits,…

1 min.
norton goes under?

Based at Castle Donington in the British Midlands, the company employed around 100 people. A spokesman for the administrators BDO said, “We are taking all necessary steps to ensure that customers, staff and suppliers are supported through the administration process. Our job is to determine and execute the most appropriate strategy as swiftly as possible to protect creditors’ interests, bearing in mind the need to minimise distress for all parties.” Norton Motorcycles owner Stuart Garner, a prominent property developer, told British media that the company owed £300,000 (approx. A$600,000) and could be liquidated if it was not given more time to pay. It was Garner who rescued the Norton brand in 2008, commencing production of a substantially redesigned version of the 961cc Commando model that had been built in small…

2 min.
bonanza set to boom at easter

Following last year’s blockbuster Speedway Spectacular, Dirt Track organiser Rick Wason has amassed a sea of talent for the oval events. Stars include Kiwi Mitch Shirra whose spectacular riding was such a hit in 2019, plus former World Under 21 champion Steve Baker, Jason Lyons, and Eddie Argall. Some of the other invited personalities yet to confirm for this year’s event are Phil Crump, Phil Herne, Gary Flood, Cameron Woodward, Leigh Adams, Jason Stewart, Craig Boyce and Todd Wiltshire. The speedway sidecars will once again be out in force, with legend Dennis Skinner returning to the track on a Vincent outfit. Denis Nash, Peter Tolley, Doug Cotterall and Rory McEnroe will also be back, and thanks to Jon Heavyside once again for rallying around so that the Vincent Sidecars will be…