A ride from Pingelly to Perth, Western Australia in 1925
To the Kimberley, Western Australia and the Northern Territory by Moto Guzzi le Mans…
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.