There has always been a little rivaly between Bathurst and Goulburn. Who is the earliest inland city, who had the earliest motorcycle races? Well, on the first front, Bathurst is the first inland settlement, we are celebrating our bicentenary this year, whereas Goulburn is the first inland city, having been granted that status before us.
When it comes to motorcycle racing, Goulburn held a “TT” or Tourist Trophy in 1913. However, it has recently been discovered that the first race with the title of “Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix” was held at Kirkconnell, just out of Bathurst in 1914.
As you know there is any excuse for a party and this was a pretty good excuse. The local Rotary Club together with the Historic Car Club decided to host a rally to celebrate. The original race was won by a Douglas (fine machine – yes, I’m biased, as we own one). The fellows approached the National Douglas Club to see if they would be interested in being involved. Well, they just happened to be looking for a venue for their National Rally. How good was that!
There are actually a few old Douglases in Bathurst.
The rally ran for a week, but we were only able to attend two sections. There was display of old bikes in the centre of town on the Friday Afternoon. I’ve never seen so many Douglases together.
The mascot for Douglas is a little Scotsman, so it was appropriate to have a piper, the bike at top right was ridden by a lady, some more modern Douglases and our fine steed. “Doug” was the roughest bike there and created lots of interest. Whereas most bikes had signs telling you to look and don’t touch, Mick had kids sitting on ours having their photos taken. Were’ not too precious about him.
There were lots of other fine old machines on display as well.
On the Saturday there was a run to the original circuit.
We were impressed with the effort people went to to look the part. The lady in red, was quite elderly. She did well to get on a bike. I love her helmet.
We took “Olga” the old black sidecar for the run, so I was able to get some great shots of the old bikes trundling along.
Members of the Historic Car Club acted as the corner marshals.
One of our members is a photographer as well as Douglas owner. He got into the spirit of things with his old camera.
The main venue was the Kirkconnell Church. I didn’t even know it existed. It is tucked away down a little side road. It really is gorgeous and is still used for services.
While the boys were looking at bikes, I went for a stroll through the graveyard, looking at interesting old headstones.
Just to keep it real, from one angle you see a sweet church in the scrub, but when you turn around there are powerlines and the pine forest has recently been harvested. I’m sure they will have it planted again soon.
People really did look the part.
We took a short ride to Sunny Corner where the Progress Association had the most lovely morning tea available, with beautifully presented jars of fresh flowers. There was an interesting display of old photos. Coming back along the dirt road gave a bit on an indication of what the original race would have been like.
And the grand finale, was a re-enactment of the start of the race. Mick and Norm had their own little race start. The organisers getting everyone ready for the Mayor to wave them off. The bystanders are a little different to 100 years ago. Our own paparazzi.
It was a great day. The small organising committee did a wonderful job and should be proud of their efforts.