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26th May 2006


BSA Motorcycles Owners Assoc, All British Rally, Newstead, Victoria, Australia

One thousand people through the gate, a T150 raffle prize and a free lunch. Melbourne Metisse has a confession to make...

Firstly I have a confession (no I'm not an alcoholic!). I have joined the Dark Side - yes I've become a member of the BSA Motorcycle Owners Assoc. There I've said it. Don't worry though I haven't actually bought a BSA (yet…) but the club committee and members are such a great bunch and made me feel so welcome, it was an easy decision to join.

Thought we ought to at least start with a photo of a BSA

The first club event I attended was their flagship event, the 30th running of the All British Rally (ABR). Sadly despite putting in many hours of work on my Métisse, I was not able to ride it as it developed a pretty serious oil leak when I fired it up on Friday evening. (I've subsequently traced the leak to over-oiling of the rockers and a stripped thread on one of the rocker box studs so there's a bit more work to do - sigh.) A big thank you at this point to my long suffering wife Sarah and to Mike Poynter and Richard Cummins who all provided much needed assistance and support to even get the Métisse this close to attending. Also a big thanks to Rhys Miller of the BSAMOA committee who approved my bike at the last minute, thus enabling me to get the club registration plates it needed to be roadworthy.

Rickman Métisse - my favourite (now there's a shock!). Lee Goodall won Best Oil in Frame with his Métisse. Note that it is road registered.

Anyway back to the RealStory™, for the past few years the ABR has been held about 160kms north of Melbourne at Newstead in country Victoria. Newstead, at first glance, appears to be just another country town, but when the local racecourse was deemed to be no longer fit for purpose and the possibility of a prison being built on the site was raised, the locals actively looked for ways to utilise the facility to bring much needed revenue and vitality to the area. Consequently they welcome the ABR with open arms and do everything they can to make the club and rally-goers welcome. This year a new toilet and shower block was evidence of their ongoing commitment and how many site owners do you know who make a presentation (a wonderful photo album with images from previous rallies) to the visiting organisers? Very impressive and the Newstead Racecourse and Recreation Reserve Committee deserve to be very successful.

BSA M20 - not quite as nice in green but still better than black!

BSAMOA president John Williams and his band of hard working committee members put the Newstead facilities to great use and not only organised a ride-out with free lunch to nearby Maldon on Saturday, put on 2 bands on Saturday night, had 33 sponsored trophy classes, on-site catering and bar facilities, a splendid range of memorabilia (I was too late for a stubby holder though 9) but also the gate draw prize was a T150 Trident!

Any ideas? Tassie plate, carbide lamps, definitely not over restored!

Unsurprisingly the ABR proved to be very popular with nearly 800 people paying for full rally entry and well over 200 more day visitors came on Saturday to see the 400 British bikes on display in the central area. There were also one or two Japanese, Italian, American and German bikes in the 'second class' parking area!

Double engined Triumph, winner of Best Special. 1500cc with 10-1 pistons! The compression made short work of the Woodruff key so we didn't hear it run.

With so many bikes to choose from, the judges' task was a tough one as I found out first hand, when for the first time I was asked to assist with judging a couple of classes. Space limitations preclude me listing all the winners but my personal favourites were;

  • Best BSA (sponsored by Modak Motorcycles) - M21 & Dusting sidecar

  • Best Special (sponsored by Hydro Blast) - Double engined Triumph

  • Best Off Road (sponsored by Mobile Auto Hoses) - Triumph-Honda Trixr

  • Best Competition bike (sponsored by BSAMOA) - Triumph flat-tracker

    The BSAMOA even arranged for some authentic British weather as it rained during the judging and prize giving but it wasn't enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the rally-goers and I'm sure the 31st ABR will be equally well supported and successful.

  • Random BSA Stuff on eBay.co.uk

    Trixr 750 - unit Triumph 750 in Honda XR chassis, winner of the Mobile Auto Hoses sponsored Best Off Road Bike. It is a very tight fit in there!

    As a final note, there was a special presentation to 5 club members on Saturday night when the club recognised their mightily impressive achievement in attending all 30 ABR's. They tell me there is another member who says he should be included as he was officially 'dead' in hospital for one of the rallies so it shouldn't count! They re-started him and he was back this year. I'll be back next year too.

    Norton ES2 - has a certain charm beneath the patina of use!

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