Vintage Motorcycle Club of Victoria Inc.

  • Vintage Motorcycle Rally
  • Vintage Motorcycle Rally
  • Vintage Motorcycle Rally
  • Vintage Motorcycle Rally
  • Vintage Motorcycle Rally
  • Vintage Motorcycle Rally
  • Vintage Motorcycle Rally

BRASS MONKEY RALLY 16th & 17th July, 2011

I arrived at Mirboo North to be greeted with a cold crisp morning, with the Temperature gauge showing 3 degrees, sky was clear except for the odd wisp off cloud. Quite a few bikes and car were already at Neil Edney's Bus Depot. Neil had the BBQ set up for bacon and eggs, we started cooking, the aroma of the cooking must have attracted the entrants, every time I looked up, there seemed to be more and more bikes and cars arriving.

One of the earliest entrants from the first Brass Monkey in 1975 Ernie Jeffrey arrived from Yarrawonga, Neville Christie had his lovely Indian Prince, which I had first sighted in the 1976 Brass Monkey, the bike had been off the road since 1988, other entrants from the earlier Brass Monkey's were also in attendance. Bikes and riders kept arriving, Neil Barnard had postponed his return to New Zealand so he could ride brother Keith's AJS Big Port and Rudge in the Rally.

Bikes in attendance included, AJS, Ariel, BSA, Bultaco, Harley Davidson, Indian( including a beautiful 4 cylinder and an original Los Angeles Police Force Bike siren ,lights and all), James, Jawa, Nortons, Rudge, Scotts, Triumphs, Velocettes and a Vincent.

As the food and the weather warmed everyone up we departed for Boolarra following Rally leader Ivor Awty, 67 bikes were counted leaving the depot. What a fine sightseeing this line-up of old bikes heading down through the bendstowards Boolarra. Then on to Yinnar for our first stop and regroup, then on to Driffield. We then turned onto the old Princes Highway through the Haunted Hills, it’s hard to imagine that this was once the premier highway through the area, we had this great piece of road to ourselves and the corners were great. Second regroup and refuel at Gunns Gully B.P. Service Station, what a fine sight seeing so many Bikes altogether. Clive Williams BSA M20 refused all attempts to start it, so onto the back up trailer, the only bike all week-end to require a lift.

Out through Moe South South onto the Coalville- Narracan Road, vintage bikes on a vintage road, just great. Arrived at Ivor and Robyn Awty's at Narracan for lunch to be greeted by a roaring fire in an old 44 gallon drum, the homemade soup was simmering away, the hay bale seats were waiting and the food kept coming. After the food the stories started, Tony on his Bultaco entered a tight right hander a little fast, decision time, straight up the farmers track or take the bend, decided the latter, this is where his dirt riding experience came in, into the grass and mud along the embankment, back onto the bitumen barely even slowing down.

Michael Morse and his wife attended the lunch, he had spotted me putting away my AJS after Maryborough and stopped to tell me he had one the same and was going to restore it. The bike had laid in their shed in Canberra since the end of the 2nd World War minus a gear box, he was introduced to other AJS owners, Andrew Jeffrey has located him an early gearbox and the bike is already started to be restored. We had great difficulty getting the rally underway again everyone was enjoying the ambience and the comerardie. Off we went down to Narracan, through Rogers Road to Moe South and back through Narracan to Thorpdale, a figure eight around Thorpdale and back to Mirboo North.

Every one arrived back with wide grins and thumbs up after the days ride. Comments were passed on how tinney I was with the weather, I replied if you speak nicely and ask he who has the power, he will deliver.Neil and Keith Barnard approached me to enquire about Sunday's ride and stated I would have to present something special tomorrow to top todays ride, I stated in my humble opinion tomorrow's ride would be better than todays, we'll see was their synical reply.

Saturday night about thirty of us went to the Grand Ridge Brewery for the evening meal and a beer. Ernie was really enjoying himself and told me a story of him leaving Mirboo North heading towards Boolarra on his Ariel in the 1950's. He approached the notorious Cannizzo's Corner to fast, this used to be a tight right hand "T" intersection with gravel road making up one side of the "T", he had to decide whether to take the corner and risk losing the bike because of the gravel or brake as hard as he could before he ran off the road, he decided the latter, but alas too late, into the gravel, then the grass, then the bracken ferns' then the blackberries, only to be stopped by the farmer’s fence. It took him and his mate about half an hour to get the bike back on the road, and he swears a dog sat watching both them getting the bike back on the road the whole time. There is a sequel to this story. Cannizzo,s Corner was where the locals tested their bike riding and car driving skills against the corner, my father was the local tow truck driver at the time and would attest to the number times he had to tow someone out. The local council cut the bend off, spoilsports. President Phil, free from tail-end charlie duties, told the story that he was enjoying himself thoroughly till he noticed how much the front forks on the BSA were flexing, he then remembered the bike had an outfit attached and to make matters worse Val was in it, a more sedate ride was called for. I'm pleased to report the only official duty Phil had to perform all week-end was to counter sign the Sunday Lunch cheque.

Off to bed very contented with the way the rally was going so far, only to be wakened around 3.00am by rain falling on the roof, the thought went through my mind one great day out of two, after all we are at Mirboo North in the middle of winter and it is the Brass Monkey. Woke to overcast Sunday Morning, no rain and a good chance it might clear.

Arrived at the depot for a hearty breakfast, the bikes started arriving and kept arriving, the comment was made that there appeared to be more than yesterday and there was. Impossible I thought, but it was true.

Somebody pointed out that there was a lot of smoke coming from the local service station across the road, it’s somebody burning off, but no it was Peter Smith's WLA Harley Davidson, it had backfired through the Carburettor and burst into flames, quick action by the service station attendant saved the bike, sustaining only minor damage. The morning's ride out the Grand Ridge Road to Allambee, Hallston, Leongatha, Mardan and back to Mirboo North for a great lunch provided by the Church of England ladies, across the road from the depot.

The afternoon's ride saw us going out through Mardan, Mirboo, Boolarra and back to Mirboo North, in my opinion, the best ride for the whole week-end. I would lastly like to thank my helpers, Ivor and Robin Awty, Leanne Graham, Neil and Jenny Edney, Darren Reed-Smith, Chris and Tony Seufert, and lastly I would especially like to thank the entrants who took the chance and got their bikes out in the middle of winter to attend the rally. Lastly I was approached by Daryl Stayches, he asked me how I was going to top this year’s rally next year, something’s been ticking away in my mind for two years now, but I'm afraid you'll have to attends next year’s rally to find out.

The grins on the riders faces and the thumbs up says it all, great bikes, great companionship, great roads, fine food, fine weather, that’s what riding old motor cycles is all about.

Denis Reed-Smith

Those attending were:

Andrew Jeffrey

1937 AJS

Mick Chegwidden

1944 Indian

Neville Christie

1927 & 1929 Indian

Malcolm Day

1951 James

Connor Murphy

1944 Indian

Ian Reid

1938 Rudge

Ern Jeffrey

1938 Triumph

Ian Rhook

1944 Indian

Daryl Stayches

1938 Harley Davidson

Andrew O'Sullivan

1970 Jawa

Royston Stayches

1938 BSA

Ken Miller

1942 Harley Davidson

Neil Barnard

1929 Rudge

Peter Welding

1949 Ariel

Ken Cross

1940 Triumph

Peter Smith

1942 Harley Davidson

Lindsay James

1941 Indian

Trevor Northey

1955 Velocette

Philip White

1957 BSA

Ian McDonald


Neil & Patsy Earnshaw

1929 Scott

James Brownlee

1939 Harley Davidson

Ian Morrison

1944 Indian

John Street

1924 Triumph

Clive Williams

1942 BSA

Alan Scoble

1929 Indian

Frank Hutchison

1944 Indian

Keith Barnard

1926 AJS

John Allen

1930 Norton

Deborah Allen

1937 Norton

Michael Guilfoyle

1942 Harley Davidson

Ted Lhuede

1938 BSA

Denis Reed-Smith

1938 BSA

Tony Edwards

1929 Scott

Lindsay Urquhart

1928 Indian

Phil & Val Long

1937 BSA

Mark Campagnola

1940 BSA


1947 Harley Davidson