23rd May 2014
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Nippy Newstead - The 38th All British Rally
Frost and fire and fabulous rock and roll; Nigel Green reports on an Australian rally where the prizes only go to bikes that take part in the Saturday ride-out...
It may have been the 38th annual running of the ABR hosted by the BSA Motorcycle Owners Association of Victoria, but it still has some surprises up its sleeves and this year treated the nearly 1,000 rally goers to freezing overnight and early morning conditions that left their trusty British steeds covered in a luxurious frosty coating. As always though the BSA MOA had arranged for supplies of firewood but the rally goers' bonfires managed to consume 14 tons of wood in two nights!Just what a rally site should look like
The standard of bikes on display just seems to get better each year and once again the judging panel had a mighty tough time. Motorcycles on show ranged from Mark Gascoine's wonderful century old Triumph in glorious oily rag condition that won Best Original and Unrestored through to Marcus Doller's stunning and extremely rare BSA M24 Gold Star that deservedly took Best Bike at Rally. However it is worth pointing out that the ABR honoured its eccentric but proud tradition of only considering bikes that at least took part in the organised ride on Saturday, so a number of immaculate machines with clean mudguard undersides and exhaust tips were politely declined.
Saturday night saw the cognoscenti treated to a slap-up roast supper cooked by the local schools and sports clubs (who use the ABR as their prime fundraiser for the year) and the more hardy souls danced (and possibly drank) into the wee small hours to local band 'Cutest Little Monster' who performed a fabulous rock 'n roll set.Best Single: OK Supreme - Alex Jackson
Brian O'Shea made himself public enemy No.1 by winning the 1970 BSA 441 offered as the Gate Prize, but in a weekend full of stories and yarns around the campfire perhaps the one which captured the ABR spirit most aptly was that of the winner of Best British Bike Ridden by a Female - Rachelle Edwards. Having finished her 1958 BSA Bantam and got it registered just the day before the Rally, 20 year old Rachelle rode it approximately 120 kms to the Rally only for it to expire with duff ignition just 500 metres from the Rally. Undeterred, she insisted on pushing the bike into the Rally unaided and was rewarded with a rousing round of applause from the crowd at the trophy presentation.Best Competition Model: Weslake Longtracker - Jeff Millward
We'll leave the final words to BSA MOA President Craig Burke who summed up the Rally perfectly - "The ABR, something I am proud to be a part of".
Words: Nigel Green (VP - BSA MOA of Victoria) Photos: Rick Gardner
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