Saturday was for show; Sunday was for go
IT’S one of our favourite events on the motorcycle calendar; a two-part feast of old bikes in Western Australia’s oldest town. Saturday morning is a good old-fashioned bike show, with enthusiasts from across WA rolling out their best two-wheeled machinery and lining them up along Albany’s historic Stirling Terrace, overlooking Princess Royal Harbour, one of the world’s biggest natural harbours.
For a few hours, the bike boffins walk up and down the terrace, gawking and drooling over one another’s bikes and keeping an eye out for something extra special — and this year that something special came in the form of a locally owned 1935 Brough Superior SS80.
And then on Sunday, 100 bikes get to do what they really want to do — no namby-pamby spit and polish here, let’s go hell-for-leather up a mountain in a 60-second blast that takes in a left-hander, a right-hander, and a glorious view over stunning Middleton Beach and King George Sound.
We soaked up the vibe and almost wore out the Nikon’s shutter, trying to capture some of the stunning moto-talent.
SATURDAY October 31
CAPTION: If there’s a secret to the appeal of the Albany Classic Weekend, it’s visible right here — where else do you find a Commando and an RV90 wheel-to-wheel in an open-air setting as nice as this?
CAPTION: We’d smile too. Bob Whittingstall spent Sunday as event coordinator of the hill climb; but on Saturday he was showing off a few of his bikes including this star of the show — a 1935 Brough Superior SS80. The world generally recognises the SS100 as the most famous of the Broughs (TE Lawrence of Arabia fame died on his) but it all started with the 80. George Brough created the SS80 and raced it 52 times. He won 51 races and crashed once, giving him an eight-month stint in hospital. Broughs initially ran JAP engines, then switched to Matchless in 1935. Bob says his was the second bike made with the ‘new’ Matchless motor. It sure pulled a crowd.
CAPTION: There was a time, 100 years ago or so, when Americans could buy this bike from a Sears catalogue. Yes, really. Just like Amazon, but lower tech. It’s another bike from Bob’s stable, an American-made Sears boasting a single gear, a clutch and pushbike-style pedals. You pedal it forwards to make it go, and pedal it backwards to make it stop … eventually. It looked superb.
CAPTION: Not all the bikes on show harked back to the ark. Lovely Ducati 916.
CAPTION. Dog 1: “I just peed on a Z1. You?” Dog 2: “Brough.”
CAPTION: British bikes like this beautiful Vincent Black Shadow felt right at home. Yes, of course it rained. It’s Albany.
CAPTION: Barbara Kay rode her GSX1400 from Boyanup to Albany, using every gravel road she could find. “The bike carries plenty of gear, is great at highway speeds, and is geared to pick it’s way around rocks,” she says. “It’s better than sex.”
CAPTION: The old post office has seen some sights in its time. None better than this but.
CAPTION: A dour Brit, a flashy Italian, and a functional German. There was something for every taste.
CAPTION: No-one does big fins like BSA.
CAPTION: David Munro had a ‘for sale’ sign on his lovely Yamaha HL500 Aberg Replica. The engine is XT500, while the frame, swing arm and exhaust are from renowned Aussie fabricator, Geoff Morris. (Interested? Find out the asking price here.)
CAPTION: No, we’ve never seen one before either, but the Vee-Two Alchemy SV-2 stickers suggest it’s one of Brook Henry’s creations. A wonderful blend of modern and classic. (Who’s Brook Henry, you ask? Read more here.)
CAPTION: Big Heritage Softail Harley had street cred and bulk presence.
CAPTION: Even bigger Indian looked plush. We rode one once, a lot like this. It was fun. Read our report here.
SUNDAY November 1
CAPTION: On your marks …
CAPTION: Yellow Dukes looked and sounded superb.
CAPTION: And what we have here is one of them, er … ah heck, we don’t know. The engine’s a JAP, and it looked way-cool.
CAPTION: Brook Lawson’s 1910 Norton looked superb and conquered Mount Clarence. No, that’s not a typo. She’s 110 years old.
CAPTION: And she’s still too fast for our camera-panning skills. Check out the size of that drive belt!
CAPTION: Dan Talbot and his cool-as ’48 Vincent Rapide.
CAPTION: George Todoroff and his well-sorted BSA 500. The engine’s from 1946 (with some Gold Star bits), the frame’s a ’49. Sounded awesome.
CAPTION: 1950 Triumph rescued from an exploding paint factory, just in the nick of time.
CAPTION: Glorious Matchless was perhaps the best-looking bike in the pits. Art in noisy motion.