Friday, August 27, 2010

Hume Weir, a road racing circuit on NSW/Victoria border..come back with me to January 1964....

Early in the 1960's I joined the Sydney motorcycle Club, the Eastern Suburbs MCC...I lived nearby to where it met in Waverley School of Arts, had become old enough to obtain a NSW riders licence, bought a Lambretta 125cc LD scooter, soon replaced by a 1958 Velocette MSS with Murphy sidecar and become chummy with Ted Greenfield who was in the club and raced a Manx Norton.
Ted had entered to ride at the Australia Day race meeting at the Hume Weir circuit on the NSW- Victorian border. 
Fellow club-member Kel Carruthers was riding his 1961 250/4 Honda sent out from Honda for a local Australian rider to "wave the flag" and presumably win races ( which Kel did...in fact he won over 150 races from as many starts on the Honda before he left for Europe and the "Continental Circus" several years later) and international Honda works rider Jim Redman would be there with 125cc and 250cc works Hondas as it was the European racing off season...would I like to ride a sort of lashed up G80 Matchless that Ted had.....?
I'd never been further south of Sydney than once to a farm at Braidwood, some 18o miles south and it all seemed pretty exciting...things like an ACU licence were needed, I guess I likely forged my mothers signature, I had a helmet, gloves and boots...Ted would loan me his leathers as we wouldn't likely be in the same race.....
Roll on 26 January 1964....
Hume weir is an actual weir on the Murray river, the border between the Australian states of NSW and Victoria and the circuit was laid out close to it, east of the border town of Albury.
Left click on images to enlarge....
The drive was some 8-9 hours south in those days, the State roads were usually a single lane each way and traffic travelled slower than today.
We camped nearby to the circuit with fellow Easts members Terry and Keith Smith, with who I became good friends.
I had a Kodak Box Brownie camera, so the following photos are not a patch on today's efforts, but they form a record, although regrettably I should have taken more and there appears not any record of the Matchless G80 I was to ride....


The circuit was poor in surface condition, but we knew no better then...following is a sketch I made at the time and a photo or two of some of the various corners....








#4 is Victorian rider Ron Angel,#88 is ex International Aussie rider Dennis Fry, Manx Norton, who campaigned Norton's in Europe for several seasons. Dennis and I became friends and remain so today with his other common interest, Velocette...
#80 is John Dodds on a 350 7R AJS. 
John was to travel to Europe to race and never to return to Australia...he married a German lass and settled into a small German town where he ran a florist.
Kel Carruthers, in leathers, back to camera with Jim Redman next to him.
Kel's 250/4 Honda in a restored condition, years later , the day before it was loaded on a Qantas jet to be sent to Kel, longtime resident in San Diego, California.
I believe it was in Kel's lounge room for many years and was eventually sold to the Barbour Museum in Georgia, USA.


After all that, what happened to DQ and his G80 ride?
I recall little  of it other than we suffered machine problems with the Matchless  and I retired...
A not really auspicious start to my foray into motorcycle road racing......
However the Victorian based motorcycle newspaper, Australian Motorcycle News...started in the early 1950's by the late George Lynn and still publishing today as one of the longest running motorcycle newspapers worldwide....did a report in their 7th February 1964 edition and the four relevant pages follow.
Read on to get a feel of the motorcycling journalism of the era and to find out who of the two works Hondas were the victors....







1 comment:

MC Dreamer said...

I had plenty of exciting times at Hume Weir, helping a mate race. We would ride up on his Kawasaki triple, pull the lights off it, put the numbers on, he would race it, crash it, and then we would limp home. We would camp at the camping ground under the weir, just sleep on the ground in our sleeping bags...in the rain. Then race the next day...we where young. Happy times. Thanks for the post.