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8th November 2004


The Sydney Classic Show, Part 1

When your Britbike is stuck in the shed there's only one sensible thing to do - sneak out for the day and admire other people's Britbikes. Ozboy discovered so many interesting classics we couldn't fit them all on one page...

If you had an 'old' bike in Sydney back in the early 70s your only choice of club was the VMCC. Nothing wrong with that, but in mid-74 the Classic & Enthusiasts MCC was formed for owners of post-vintage 'classic' machines.

After three days of lashing rain (yes, even in Sydney) the club's annual show day was in doubt. Doubly frustrating as it had been postponed from its usual April date due to (you guessed it) the last round of storms.

The weather eased on Friday, a quick phone around established it was on 'regardless' and hallelujah! the day dawned dry and sunny. A guilty sideways glance at the one-wheeled B40 (sigh) and we're off.

Three classics and a CB400F

We arrived to the delightful aroma of the BBQ and the sight of a CB400F in the first line up of bikes - Rowena's argument proved? (See RC07 for the gory story. TP). Then we spotted a gorgeous blue Triumph ridden-in and parked up, beautiful. Then a pair of Goldies, so we knew we were in the right place after all.

'Well mate, it's called a Golide, but it looks silvery to me...'

From the sublime to the, er... 'interesting', a '49 LE Velo in a fetching shade of deepest black. This 'advanced commuter bike' boasted hand-change gears and 8 sidevalve horses from its 150cc... don't laugh but I always quite fancied the 200cc ohv Valiant 'sporting' variant.

The JPS Racing Team's early entries are best forgotten.

Then to something so completely different it stops you in your tracks! Denis Tobler's 1915 Motosacoche outfit is simply stunning in the metal (and leather). The huge armchair has you looking round for your slippers, pipe and remote control. French brothers Henri and Armand Dufaux started up in Geneva in 1875 building, like so many others, bicycles with removable engines. Amazingly, two-wheelers were a sideline to fund their real passion for aviation, like their 20 cylinder 1905 helicopter. The company closed in 1956, but imagine what they might be building today if they'd been serious about bikes.

Insert your own French and Italian national stereotpyes here...

The lone red Laverda was causing a little anxiety, its Italian after all, but ten minutes later was bellowing energetically, a lovely accompaniment to the gentle waft of the BBQ (it was nearly lunchtime OK, and we'd left home without breakfast).

Are those 3s just 8s that have been cut in half?

Bill Powell bought his methanol-drinking Hagon BSA from the man himself in 1971. The little Beeza features a BTH racing mag and a gas flowed Barracuda head. 'I could enter the 250 in the bigger classes too' reasoned Bill, 'that way I'd get more rides and have more fun, even if I was outgunned.'

Aooogah! Aooogah! GSX-R Alert! GSX-R Alert!

Roy Kilgour is known for his meticulous Triumph builds. Here's his lovely '83 registered TSS Bonnie, the one with the 8-valve head (as seen in RC08). Roy says the bike has a July '82 build date and arrived in the Sydney dealer's showroom on 17th November just three months before Meriden closed its gates forever. The TSS is a beauty, well used and with that 'take me for a quick spin' stance that Triumph do so well.

Now that's a proper colour scheme for an old Brit.

What could top that? How about this sensational V-twin AJS. Just look at the sweep of those 'bars and the gleaming tailpipe. The hand-change on the left side of the tank is linked to a well engineered cross-over connecting to the right side gearbox lever.

Had lots of questions but couldn't locate the owner. This machine had Real Presence and was rightly attracting an appreciative audience all day.

But, we can resist no more, time to visit the BBQ before the line gets too long. After that we'll take a look at Roy's other Triumph as well as the rest of the show... come back soon for a second helping.

AJS Stuff on eBay.co.uk

Remember sunshine?

Parched grass, shadows... Sigh.

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