St Ouen (Marne)
and how it looks today, 2 Fore St Lostwithiel, Cornwall, completely changed….
Marche en Famenne Belgium
Pau Grand Prix, France 1949
Charleville, the romance has been lost…..the WW2 image probably explains why, Charleville was in the path of the German Ardennes offensive in May 1940.
Albany Rd, Peel, Isle of Man 1906
WW1 – war damaged Thann, Alsace
How the mighty have fallen……. Hotel Aubin, Vic sur Aisne, France
A moment in time preserved….
Trees, statue and charm lost….
Baraque de Fraiture, Vielsalm, Belgium
Still a Cafe Mazarin in business, in the same building…….Giromandy, France
Saint Victor et Melvieu
Mazamet in the 50s….
Le Thor, France
Virage Impradin, Lavigerie, France
Krieger-Gnädig 1922 500 cc OHV
The brothers Karl, Oskar, Max and Peter Krieger lived in Berlin around 1900. Three of them were technically gifted and Peter had commercial talents. In the years before the war they started to experiment with building airplanes and they became rather successful in that. Regretfully Karl lost his life during a test flight at the end of the war. After the war planes were not in demand anymore so the remaining brothers decided to put their efforts in the design of an innovative motorcycle. They met designer Franz Gnädig who stepped into the business and they bought a factory in Suhl in December 1919. They hired personnel and developed the plans for the first series of six test models. These machines were equipped with overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves and were ready by April 1920. The definitive design got a full ohv engine ( 80×99 mm) and was the first German motorcycle with shaft drive. Other modern points were the dry sump lubrication system, the very stiff triangular frame construction and the quickly detachable and interchangeable wheels. The 3 speed gearbox was fitted in line with the engine. The first series had cast iron pistons and were capable of 75 km/hour at 3000 rpm. Later series got aluminium pistons and could run safely at 4,300 rpm. In June 1921 there was a celebration at the occasion of the finishing of the hundredth machine. the Kriegers proved very successful in races and reliability trials. However, the manufacture of the innovative and luxurious K-G turned out to be very expensive and the factory soon got into financial problems.
In 1922 the CITO bicycle and motorcycle factory from Cologne took over the production. In the years after that various factories tried to produce the design on a commercial basis: Cito – K.G., Allright – K.G. , Original – Krieger, Gnädig and Henkel K.G. were all names under which in the twenties and early thirties the design was produced, albeit in modest numbers.
A ride from Pingelly to Perth, Western Australia in 1925
To the Kimberley, Western Australia and the Northern Territory by Moto Guzzi le Mans…
THE MONA LISA SMILE – by the late Bill Young
It is a great pity that I can’t find the newspaper cutting. It would be the only proof that the following tale is true.
Not that the crumpled cutting itself was over elegant, its ragged outline betrayed the fact that it had been hacked from the page with a blunt screwdriver or similar object. Certain cynics upon hearing my story are apt to scoff and loudly express doubts of its authenticity but – hand on heart – I can only tell the tale as it happened and leave it to you, dear reader, to decide.
It was so long ago that the passing years can muddle memory but you don’t have to be a quiz whiz to pinpoint the period
The change over from garden gate to featherbed.
Dead easy for the faithful followers of the hallowed name of Norton, as for the rest of you infidels –serves you right. At the time I was employed by Norton Motors in a roving capacity and as I was one of the few interested in off road activities and as I suspect no one else wanted the job, found myself in the competition department. If the name conjures up visions of clinically clean benches occupied by gleaming machines being carefully prepared by the white coated specialists, conjure again, it wasn’t like that at all. Just a crowded corner of the Manx shop littered with tyres, wheels, a miscellaneous muddle of parts of all descriptions and me! As a matter of fact, it was known by some of the coarser members of the staff, as the mud and slush department – which on reflection was probably a true and apt description
Most of the machines which came my way were covered with a copious coating of sodden soil gathered from various venues of the U.K.and it was often necessary to excavate the excrement before one could confront the complaint. Naturally the floor, bench and close surrounds soon assumed the appearance of an over populated pig pen in a wet winter and had I been a keen gardener with all that prime earth available I’m sure I would have been well on the leader board at the next plant pageant. Not every ones cup of char but it suited me, I had played in the mud from early childhood and I could put in plenty of over time, quite a help in the financial field which usually bordered on insolvency.
Picture me there in the morning the factory gaffer bore down on me, his florid face bearing a semblance of cordiality, but then I couldn’t be sure, it was a bad light. Skidding to a stand still on the slimy surface, he commenced “Lud” said he, ( every one under half a hundred was a lad ) “ Lud, we have decided to give you a rise!” This was good news indeed, no more twelve days, or occasional week end work , up to Scotland for the grouse season or Majorca for sun, which incidentally was an almost forgotten memory. The cautiously “How much”? I queried. “Thruppence an hour” he replied in the condescending tone of the chief beefeater giving away the crown jewels. “It’s good money” Disappointment over came diplomacy “ But very little of it” I rejoined.
In previous encounters with him I had noticed that when he was upset it showed in his breathing. He was inclined to inhale and exhale with a noise closely resembling that of an ancient steam locomotive ascending a steep slope. Now low wheezing noises were starting to be apparent while his hue deepened and a swelling in the vicinity of his collar stud suggested goitre. At moments like this it’s funny how self preservation and the vision of a dole queue can humble a man. I made a quick decision “ Thank you so much sir” I simpered, barely suppressing the inclination to curtsey, “ It will be a great help”, of course it wasn’t really, that’s why the following Saturday saw me slaving in the Manx shop with several other impoverished people.
Now if the rise had been in keeping with my considerable talents more likely I would be found at the local park burnishing a bench and breaking bread for the muscovies or some similar exciting exercise. .But then you wouldn’t have a story any way so maybe it all worked out for the best. So what’s all this drivel got to do with that enthralling anecdote you promised us? You may well ask. Settle on the settee Syd or Cynthia as the case may be, all will be revealed in good time.
As afore mentioned it was Saturday in the Manx shop and happened to be the day of the Ulster. Between breaking our backs we were listening to the commentary of the races on the radio borrowed from the gaffer’s office as he wasn’t there at the time. Compatriot Ken Kavanagh on his first real works ride was runner up in both Junior and Senior to , you know who, a certain G.E.Duke. There was great joy and jubilation in the camp, Norton’s 1 and 2 and it wasn’t hard to imagine the scenes in Ireland, happy riders posing for the post race pictures flanked by the Norton hierarchy all wearing the self satisfied smiles of people who knew the answers before the questions, running races had only been a formality. At the time Alan Wilson was competition manager and usually his face was prominent in the pictures, this time he had missed the trip and was here with us but determined to get into the act – and so he did.
We had just risked a double hernia by hoisting a garden gate Manx off the bench and Alan lost no time by leaping up on the vacant space as it was a stage at the local Tivoli. Being fresh out of evening dress, I was not a frequenter of the Old Vic but I am sure that no greater dramatic art could have been enacted there by Sir Lawrence Olivier himself that which we were about to see. He shook imaginary hands, bowed to invisible admirers, nodded to all and sundry but mainly that enigmatic smile was the climax of his performance. It was Joe Craig to the last wrinkle, not to much or to little, mystic, is the only way to describe it, if I’ve got my words right. This act was repeated several times to much applause, loud cheers and countless encores then it gradually dawned on him that perhaps he was unworthy of such enthusiastic adulation. Maybe his audience simply preferred sitting watching him to straining theirs sinews lifting over weighty bikes, so we all called it a day and went home for tea.
It was a few weeks later that the Eric Oliver episode occurred. He was a familiar figure around the factory, often his large van, proudly displaying the sign “Campione del Mondo” was parked in Brace Bridge Street while he ran around his business in the works. He was the sort of person who never had enough time, he was always in a hurry which may have had some bearing on why he was so successful in the racing arena. I well remember the evening, there was a trial coming up and I needed entry fees and travelling expenses, so was doing a bit of over time to raise the ready. There I was, digging the dirt out of the rear of a chain case of a trials bike, when the silence of the deserted factory was broken by the clatter of the iron wheels rattling on the bare boards. Then Eric loomed into sight wheeling a Manx engine and balancing a box of various accessories on the cam box
It appeared that he had arrived from the continent the previous day with a tired engine under his arm, on the bus too, would you believe? Cajoled the boys on the engine bench to give it a “ go faster “ transplant and was due to return for another meeting later in the week. There was a bit of finishing off to do on the engine and he was looking for a spare bench top to complete it, so he could get an early start in the morning. This was the time when the rules were changed to limit side cars to 500cc and before he had a joe motor, the engine was standard Manx and only went quicker because that was the way he rode them.
A lot of mystery had gone for me of what lay behind the muddy chain case and it was the work of a moment to sweep away the top soil on the bench and slip the motor into the waiting cradle Then a funny thing happened, I had been hooking on various bits and he was fitting the carburettor when, out of the corner of my eye I saw him put the tapered throttle spring in the side down, from memory I think the carb was a G.P. – D.K. Before you rush into print to tell me that they were not available at this time, certain selected people had got their hands on them and he was that sort of bloke. Anyway I knew from previous experience that if the spring was up side down it restricted the full opening of the slide – try it some time. I felt like a junior foot man at the Buckingham palace standing on the balcony over looking a sea of loyal subjects as Prince Charles strode out with an important part of the regal attire unzipped: What do you do in a case like this? me, a boy from the black stump, which is a popular Australian colloquialism, and he a world champion. But then I knew that the engine was being nobbled which was hardly fair to man or motor, so I discreetly pointed it out to him. He told me he always fitted them that way but was convinced by a glance down the throat, sure enough the slide wasn’t fully opening, reverse the spring and it disappeared completely. There was another meeting in a couple of days and he assured me that he would let me know how the engine performed then.
If you are inclined to raise a doubting eyebrow at my story I will test your incredibility even more and you wouldn’t be the first. With the engine completed Eric asked me to give him a lift as he was living near me, My transport was my trials bike, naturally with no passenger accommodation. He hunted around and discovered a sponge rubber pillion complete with steel base which caused me to protest at the thought of scratching my polished alloy mudguard. This did not deter him for long as a hacksaw blade soon removed the steel base, he placed the rubber on the guard, hopped on and I dropped him off at his place. When I returned to work the next morning, both he and the engine had gone and I gave it no further thought until the letter arrived later that week. Not that it was a letter really just a newspaper cutting which was totally lost on me except for a couple of words as it was in a foreign language, completely foreign in more ways than one. A quick trip to the drawing office soon offered a translation, a friend of mine laboured in that holy of holies and had a double advantage over me, clean hands and an education. Roughly translated it said that the English driver E..Oliver had convincingly won the three wheel contest as the circuit le Citroen, or some other unpronounceable name, on his British Norton which had been tuned by Joe Craig.
I lost no time in taking the cutting up to the boys on the engine bench, who, to a man, smiled smug smiles and bowed in all directions. This pantomime was enacted for a week or more after first making sure that the boy from Ballymena was not observing their antics. Although I have no longer got the crumpled cutting, I still have my trials bike and I wonder had I let Eric put that steel based pillion on my guard, the resultant scratches, even now, would bear mute testimony to the truth of my story. When I think back all those years and recall that upside down throttle spring, I wonder if I could be permitted a little lopsided smirk myself.
Bill Young’s Norton 500T in 1988
ON THE GOLDIE UP THE GREAT NORTH ROAD: By the late Ken Duperouzel
Recently I related how Gerry Smith and I had ridden across the Nullarbor in April 1951. Gerry was on holidays and after some days in Adelaide he returned to Perth. As soon as I could I sold the AJS. A close friend, Ron Bradbury, had shipped my 1950 350 BSA Goldstar to Adelaide. Prior to dispatch, Bill Anderson with my permission raced the bike at the Yanchep TT – 8th April 1951 where he crashed it and dented the tank.
Ken on 350cc BSA Gold Star – Woodside – South Australia
I joined the Atujara Motorcycle Club in Adelaide. It was astounding the members who were either “big names” or went on to become big names. Dennis Minnett (ex England) – well known Brooklands/TT rider, Laurie Boulter – later killed in IOM, Rex Tilbrook – manufacturer of the Tilbrook sidecars/125 race bikes, Jim Silvey – top scrambles rider, and Les Diener – very well known successful rider/tuner 250 Velocette. It was a great club, with great camaraderie, and I believe it still is. The highlight of the year was the annual “Advertiser” newspaper 24-hour ReliabilityTrial. Not for me this type of event as I had recent bad memories of the “Prince of Darkness”.
A story worth telling is riding the Goldie up the Great Northern Road (main road to Port Augusta) past Parafield Aerodrome about 30-miles from Adelaide. This ride was for the purpose of tuning the bike in preparation for Woodside and later Gawler airstrip road races. In company of a friend, Brian Floyd (Ariel), we had passed several riders and mechanics also doing tuning and high speed runs. Some miles further on, having found a quieter section of road (less traffic), It was time to prepare the Goldstar.
I should say that the Goldstar was both my personal transport and race bike. Change the silencer for a megaphone, other adjustments etc. Now it was ready! I did an almost top speed run to the north checking road conditions, then a full bore run back towards Adelaide, made a U-turn for another high speed run north and back to where Brian was waiting for me.
Imagine my surprise – shock – horror when slowing to stop, I looked around and there was a South Australian Motorcycle Police Patrolman on a 650cc Thunderbird Triumph right on my tail. I felt sure he would ‘throw the book’ at me. On stopping he came alongside me.
“How fast was it going?” he said. Utter despair gripped me and I thought there was no use in denying I was speeding. I thought he would probably do me for excess noise too, and maybe even dangerous riding. “About 85/90 mph.” I said in reply, since I was using a rev counter – no speedo.
“I thought so.” said he, “My Thunderbird was showing 95mph, and you were pulling away from me!” Speedos were optimistic then and still are now. Next thing he said was “Have you seen Jack Pengelly anywhere, he is supposed to be out here too?”
I said that I had not. Then to my surprise he put the Triumph in gear while saying “he must be further up the road” and rode away. My mate, Brian, was incredulous at the turn of events , while I was dumb-struck too. It turned out that the motorcycle patrolman was a close friend of Jack Pengelly’s, but he sure ‘shocked the hell’ out of me. I duly raced at both Woodside and Gawler race meetings with moderate success. Maurie Quincey was a star of these races, also Bert Flood on his 125cc Lambretta, and Alan Wallis (later long serving ACCA National Secretary) on the works Tilbrook, which he still has.
Kevin Cass retraces Arthur Grady’s circumnavigation of Australia
Seventy years on, the first circumnavigation of Australia by a powered vehicle has been retraced by an
motorcycle identical to the original.
The rattling crack of an open-piped exhaust split the lazy air of a sunny autumn morning. The motorcycle
Wollongong historic enthusiast Kevin Cass spent the Australian winter following in the wheeltracks of
Cass left Wollongong on May 19 and a week later arrived at Adelaide’s Birdwood Mill motor museum via
Grady’s exploits, a publicity stunt organised by the West Australian Douglas agent Armstrong, achieved
After completing the lap of Australia, Grady was immortalised by a small, pen and-ink-illustrated book
Grady travelled alone, without any support. His swag consisted of an army oilskin ground sheet and
Just four days after a rousing send-off from Perth in October, 1924, Grady literally ran out of roads and had
As he headed north-east into the edge of the Simpson desert, the station homesteads were 80 miles apart.
It was tough country. One station bunkhouse he dossed down in had the beds suspended by chains from
Station owners often gave Grady vague instructions, such as “Ride across the paddock until you reach the
Perhaps the worst incident was when he spent a day retracing his steps and found his waterbag had
“Everything was hushed and awfully still” he wrote. “I would reflect a little faintheartedly on my journey,
Eventually he abandoned the bike, tying his mosquito net on the end of a stick as a marker, and set off on
In the dawn light he returned to his bike. started it up and stumbled over the faint marks of a buggy track.
Now a new problem faced Grady. How to cross the swollen creeks.
“Collecting a few handfuls of grass I stuffed them tightly into the exhaust pipes and, with a piece of fat, kept
His oil supply dried up once, and he made do with a home-brew of six bottles of medicinal castor oil, half a
One station Grady crossed was 14.000 square miles. Loneliness was not a problem as he befriended some
By the time Grady struck Brisbane the worst of his trip was over, despite the fact he was only halfway
The great journey is finished and I am quietly satisfied with the honour of being the first to do it.
The Douglas was eventually returned to England and put on display but what happened to it after that is
Grady was later offered a large sum of money to repeat the trip on an lndian but declined. He later raced
RECAPTURING THE MOMENT – 1995
KEVIN Cass, of Wollongong, started from the opposite side of the country to Grady, not that it matters
“I’m doing it for the whole movement of historic motorcycling,” he said when he was in Adelaide. “I want to
Cass made it around the country without any major dramas, but he was nearly stopped with mechanical
In 1924, Arthur Grady of Fremantle, Western Australia, made the first motorcycle circuit of Australia on a Douglas in five and a half months. Neil Bromilow of the VMCCWA also replicated this on a 1922 678cc Martinsyde, from 2 June to 5 July 1984 covering over 15,985 km.
Fabulous period photo taken in Tasmania, featuring a Zenith, Moto Reve and a Gradua tucked away behind
Pic by Murray Barnard