Thursday, December 18, 2008

Racing in Australia. with the emphasis on Velocette…more photos from my archive….

I’m continuing with some racing photos that are either in Australia or feature Australian and New Zealand riders overseas in the period before 1970.
A small hardy band left Australia, by ship as air travel was out of the question cost wise then, usually around late April to arrive into the UK, at Southampton or Tilbury docks in time to look for a cheap van, meet up with other Aussies who had stayed over the UK winter and worked, they sharing travel and accommodation costs.
Often, having worked in up to three jobs over the Australian summer saving hard, they went to AJS, Norton and earlier Velocette to purchase a new production racer…Manx, 7R,G45, G50, KTT.
The IOM TT was high on their list and three riders were selected to represent Australia and given a small support by the ACCA, the ACU of GB equivalent, such as a free entry into the TT races etc.
Riders such as Stuart Williams, Dave Brewster, Cec Weatherby prewar… Eric McPherson, the Hinton family- father Harry (Senior), sons Harry (Junior), Eric and later younger son Robert , Keith Bryan, Sid Willis, Alan Burt, Bob Brown then later on Jack Ahearn, Dennis Fry, Kel Carruthers and so on made the trip, often over several years.
The ultimate aim…to get a factory riding contract for Norton, AJS etc was only achieved by a few…
Keith Campbell and Keith Bryan-Moto Guzzi.
Harry Hinton- Norton
Tom Phillis and Bob Brown –Honda
To name some, a by no means complete list….
So for those interested in the racing history of Velocette and as I've expanded it a little to cover other riders and machine brands, a perhaps new source of material for your own use or for publication in the future… please acknowledge the source should you capture an image and feel free to do so.
The first photo show Alan Burt on his Junior TT 348cc 7R AJS in the 1958 IOM TT. Alan first went to the IOM with Western Suburbs MCC club mate Bob Brown ( killed in 1960 on a works Honda) in 1955. Regretably Alan crashed on the first lap of practice at Ballacraine and his injuries meant he spent 8 months in the IOM in the care of a family recuperating ( with whom he corresponded with until just recently). The 7R hit a brick fence, breaking Alan's leg badly. The crashed 7R is seen outside the AJS factory race shop in Plumstead, London, awaiting hurry as Alan didn't ride again until 1957.
The third photo is diminutive Sid Willis, the ideal 250cc rider ( 4'10", 8.5 stone wringing wet....) at the start of the Leightweight TT, Little River circuit, Victoria in mid 1950s. Sid is on his Beasley/Smith framed ex works DOHC Velo engined special.
The fourth photo is either Bobby Brown or George Campbell on a Mk.8 KTT.. I think it's George.
The final photo is me..on my road 1958 MSS Velo, ridden to Oran Park race circuit, south of Sydney in 1964, stripped of some gear and a racing we went.
Came nowhere I guess....
Left click on images to enlarge, where possible.

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