DJ RUN
The Classic Motorcycle Rally
THE DJ RUN - YEAR BY YEAR

2012
The 2012 event, promoted by the Vintage and Veteran Club, started at 06h00 on Friday, 9 March 2012 from the Hillcrest Corner Centre, Old Main Road, Hillcrest, Durban with an overnight stop at Newcastle.

Re-starting from Newcastle at 07h00 on Saturday 10 March 2012 it finished at about 15h00 on Saturday 10 March 2012 at the James Hall Museum of Transport, Pioneer Park, Rosettenville Road, Johannesburg.

A strong field of 133 competitors on pre-1937 motorcycles will contest the 99th anniversary rally of the motorcycle epic between Durban and Johannesburg, starting from the Hillcrest Corner Centre at 06:00 on Friday, March 9, 2012, and finishing the next day at the James Hall Transport Museum at Wemmer Pan, Johannesburg.

Originally this famous event was a road race on public roads which was staged for the first time in 1913, with 66 entries, but in 1936 motorcycle racing on public roads was banned by the authorities on the grounds of safety. A commemorative rally, where competitors have to ride at prescribed average speeds, has been staged between the two cities since 1970.

“The organising team is delighted with the size and quality of the entry for this year’s event, both in terms of numbers and quality,” commented clerk of the course, Pierre Cronje, of the Classic Motorcycle Club (CMC), who heads up a committee of members from several clubs that organises the event on behalf of the Vintage and Veteran Club of SA (VVC).

The DJ Rally has international status and is the most important annual event of its kind in SA, which has once again resulted in several entrants from across the borders. There are three from Australia and one each from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Zimbabwe. The rider coming from the UK is in fact SA-born Alastair Gibson, who was formerly the chief mechanic with the Honda Formula 1 racing team. All the entrants from outside SA are riding motorcycles provided by local enthusiasts. In the case of Alastair Gibson this will be his father’s 1936 BMW R5.

History will be made at the start in Hillcrest when a woman will be first off on the ride to Johannesburg. The rider is Samantha Anderson who has done several DJ Rallies previously. She will be riding the oldest motorcycle in the field, being a 1909 Humber pedal cycle, which will require plenty of leg power to help the single-cylinder engine climb the steeper hills.

The oldest rider will again be Stewart Cunninghame, who is now 90 years of age. He will ride a 1930 Norton International. His son, Allan, is also in the field. He will ride a 1936 Velocette MSS.



INTRODUCTION TO THE 2012 DJ RUN

STRONG FIELD FOR 99TH ANNIVERSARY RALLY OF
DURBAN-JOHANNESBURG EPIC FOR CLASSIC MOTORCYCLES
Fourteen of the riders will be taking part in the DJ Rally for the first time, which is encouraging for the future of this popular event.

There is a marvellous array of different makes of motorcycles in the entry list - 25 of them in fact. Most are of British origin, but there are also DKW, BMW and Zundapp from Germany as well as Harley Davidson and Indian from the America. The British makes represented are: AJS, Ariel, BSA, Calthorpe, Coventry Eagle, Excelsior, Humber, Levis, Matchless, New Imperial, Norton, OK-Supreme, Panther, Royal Enfield, Rudge, Scott, Sunbeam, Triumph, Velocette and Zenith.

The route has had to be altered to take into account several areas where road works are under way. This will include the start of the second day being moved from Newcastle to Ngogo.

On the first day the route bypasses Ladysmith as it goes from Hillcrest to Pietermaritzburg and then on to Mooi River, Estcourt, Colenso, Ezakheni, Glencoe, Dundee, Dannhauser and then via the road behind the Chelmsford Dam to the overnight stop at Mortimer Motors, in Newcastle. This will be a very tough ride, both in terms of time in the saddle and the hills that have to be climbed, with the potential of high temperatures a strong possibility. The first riders to start, which are in the slowest speed group, will take 11 hours to get from Hillcrest to Newcastle, but the ride will be broken by four fuel stops and a 40-minute lunch stop in Victoria Street, Estcourt.

The second day starts from Ngogo at 07:00 and goes from Ingogo to Volksrust and then on the Standerton, Greylingstad and a lunch stop in Apsey Road, Heidelberg, before the finish in Johannesburg, with the first competitor expected at about 14:30.

“Although it is vastly different from the race conditions which those intrepid riders faced in the events staged between 1913 and 1936 this subsequent regularity rally remains an important feature of classic motorcycling in South Africa each year,” said the chairman of the VVC, Ian Holmes. “It is not only the largest and most prestigious event for classic motorcycles locally but also one of the biggest rallies of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Organising an event of this scope is a major undertaking and requires months of work, as well as the services of about 40 people to act as officials on the event itself. It also requires a substantial amount of money and resources in terms of sponsorships and here Pierre Cronje and his team are fortunate in having a number of businesses, organisations and individuals prepared to assist.

BMW, which is represented by seven machines in this year’s DJ Rally, has come to the assistance of the organisers with the loan of one of its latest motorcycles, a 1600GT for the use of travelling Doctor Frank Persson-Bonfils.

2012 DJ Rally Sponsors:

Anderson Engineering, Classic Motorcycle Club, BMW Motorrad, Nevsway Conveyers, CeeBee Debt Management, Castrol, Wynns, Ultra Reconditioners, PPE Technologies, Stick a Tile, Cape Crane, African Electroplating. Maizey’s Plastics, Consolidated Auctioneers, Randburg Coin, Bike SA, Hillcrest Corner Centre and various individuals.

(click to download complete list of entrants xls)

(Click to download 2012 DJ Marshal Points)
Stewart Cunninghame, at 90 years of age, will again be the oldest competitor on the DJ Rally.
He rides a 1930 Norton International.
Report on the 2012 DJ Rally by Roger Houghton

Kevin Robertson, of the Vintage Motorcycle Club (VMC), continued his run of success in the DJ Rally for motorcycles made before 1937 when he won this year’s event which finished at the James Hall Transport Museum on Saturday, March 10.

Riding a 1936 Velocette MSS he had an error of only 116 seconds for the two-day event which took the intrepid riders from Hillcrest, outside Durban, to Johannesburg. He won this famous rally in 2010 and was runner-up last year. Robertson put his stamp on the rally early on and was the leader at the end of the first day in Newcastle with an error of only 63 seconds.

Second place was filled by Mike Ward on a 1935 Velocette MSS, with an error of 148 seconds at the various checkpoints on the route. He put up the best performance on the second day with an error of only 32 seconds.

Martin Davis, on a 1930 Sunbeam, took third position with an error of 170 seconds. He had been the winner in 2011 and had finished fourth in 2010. Leo Middelburg, of the Pretoria Old Motor Club, riding a 1936 Velocette KSS, took fourth place. He was two seconds ahead of the well known and successful Dakar Rally co-driver, Ralph Pitchford, who rode an immaculate 1926 Triumph P-Type that ran faultlessly on the demanding route.

This annual, international event for motorcycles made before 1937 commemorates the road race held between Durban and Johannesburg from 1913 to 1936 and this year’s event marked the 99th year since the staging of the first of these world famous races. The first of these commemorative events, which are run as regularity rallies, was staged in 1979.

The organisers and riders were fortunate that the event took place in a dry weather window as it had been raining in Durban up to the start and it rained again in Johannesburg after the finish. However, the high temperatures, particularly on the first day, which also included many hilly sections, took its toll on both riders and machines.

The event had attracted 133 entrants, of which 115 started from Hillcrest and 94 qualified as finishers at the end of the first day in Newcastle.  A further six motorcycles retired on the section to Johannesburg, making 88 finishers at the final control.


“This high finishing rate is a tribute to the meticulous preparation of these old machines and the dedication of the riders,” commented the clerk of the course, Pierre Cronje, of the Classic Motorcycle Club, who headed up a team of people from several clubs to organise and control this event on behalf of the Vintage and Veteran Club (VVC). It is considered one of the most important events on the classic motoring calendar in South Africa.


The two oldest motorcycles in the event, both Humber pedal cycles more than 100 years old, finished the event. Hans Coertse was 77th and Samantha Anderson, who led the field off the starting line in Hillcrest, was 78th.


The oldest rider on the event, 90-year-old Stewart Cunninghame, not only finished an excellent 16th overall on his 1930 Norton International, but was also the highest placed rider on a Norton motorcycle, of which there were 12 in the original field. Stewart’s son, Allan, riding a 1936 Velocette MSS, took 26th place.


Alastair Gibson, former chief mechanic of the Honda Formula 1 team and an avid motorcycle enthusiast, came from England to ride his first DJ Rally and said he found it a very interesting experience. He rode his father’s 1936 R5 BMW to 65th position and is keen to come back for next year’s DJ Rally, which will be the 100th anniversary of the first race, staged in 1913.


Gibson, like most of the other riders, commented on the poor road conditions on many parts of the route, including potholes, ridges and ruts as well as many inconsiderate drivers.  A man with decades of motorsport experience and who has rallied motorcycles in the UK said untended animals were also a concern at times.


Fortunately there were no serious accidents, although one of the riders, Kevin Walton, was knocked off the road by a tractor and trailer, but was unhurt and able to continue. He finished a commendable 11th overall.


“We had the services of a travelling medical doctor, Dr. Frank Persson-Bonfils, who rode a BMW 1600GT, loaned to the organisers by BMW Motorcycles SA, but he fortunately had little to do on the event,” added Pierre Cronje.
2012 DJ RUN - REPORT AND PICTURES
The 2012 DJ Run was a yet another superbly organised and successful event. Riders and their machines got off to an early start from the Hillcrest Shopping Centre on Friday 9 March and headed for the night stop at Newcastle. Unfortunately some did not make the start and others had to call it a day along the way due to mechanical failure. Friday proved to be a long day.

Saturday 10 March saw those still running off to another early start heading for Johannesburg and the finish at The James Hall Museum of Transport.

The atmosphere at the JHMT was one of trepidation mixed with excitement as friends and family eagerly awaited the arrival of rider and machine.
ROBERTSON CONTINUES RUN OF SUCCESS IN DJ RALLY FOR CLASSIC MOTORCYCLES
Master of Ceremonies Howard Freeman and his son Riley who spotted the bike numbers as they arrived.
The long wait
The clock stops with us! Keeping an eye on the times.
The first bike home (not necessarily the overall winner)
Number 8, a 1936 Velocette MAC, ridden by Ryan van Heerden of the Classic Motorcycle Club of Johannesburg.
First lady rider home.
Number 34, a 1935 Triumph T2 ridden by Bev Jacobs from CVMC - Cape Vintage Motorcycle Club
First motorcycle combination home.
Number 45, a 1935 Sunbeam Lion. Adrian and Gerald Hollis from the VMC - Vintage Motorcycle Club.
Oldest bike home.
Number 1, a 1909 Humber Pedal Cycle ridden by an elated Samantha Anderson.
CMCN - Classic Motor Cycle Club of Natal.
Oldest rider home was 90-year-old Stewart Cunninghame.
His steed, a 1930 Norton International. VVC Vintage and Veteran Club.
Proud finishers. Andy Stead and his daughter Tarryn Rice both from VMC - Vintage Motorcycle Club.
Tarryn No. 88 rode a 1936 BSA 350cc Empire Star. Tarryn was the eventual winner of the Ladies category.
Andy No. 89 rode a 1930 BSA E10 V-Twin
1936 BSA 350cc Empire Star, Tarryn Rice
1930 BSA E10 V-Twin, Andy Stead
Navigational and timekeeping aid on Tarryn Rice's 1936 BSA Empire Star
Note the tyre pressure gauge.
Bikes all lined up...their riders elsewhere recounting the epic ride to family and friends
and having a well-deserved drink...
2012 DJ logo embroidered onto shirt.
James Hall Museum of Transport logo embroidered onto shirt.
TOP TEN

1, Kevin Robertson (1936 Velocette KSS), 116 seconds
2, Mike Ward (1935 Velocette MSS), 148
3, Martin Davis (1930 Sunbeam), 170
4, Leo Middelburg (1936 Velocette KSS), 180
5, Ralph Pitchford (1926 Triumph P-Type), 182
6, Gavin Walton (1936 AJS), 186
7, Ric Lewis (1929 Sunbeam), 215
8, Hans Klein (1929 Ariel Model F), 230
9, Neil Stander (1931 BSA Sloper), 248
10, Sean Crookes (1935 Excelsior Manxman), 249
2012 DJ RUN
RESULTS AND TROPHY ALLOCATION
2012 DJ Rally winner Kevin Robertson (left) receives the historic Schlesinger Vase from Peter Elliott of the Rand Motoring Club. Sunday 11 March 2012. Photograph: Antoine de Ras
The oldest and youngest finishers on the 2012 DJ Rally: 90-year-old Stewart Cunninghame and 21-year-old Donovan Wessel. Cunninghame finished 16th overall on a 1930 Norton International and Wessel placed 74th on a 1936 Triumph. Photograph: Antoine de Ras
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

SCHLESINGER VASE (Courtesy of the RMC)
TROPHY ALLOCATION
Dick Osborne Memorial Trophy miniature and    The African Motorcycle Union Trophy 1st in General Classification Kevin Roberston
VVC Chairman’s Award 2nd in General Classification Mike Ward
VMC Chairman’s Award 3rd in General Classification Martin Davis
CLASS AWARDS
Baby Scott Trophy Class A, up to 250cc Not awarded
TTC Trophy Class B, 251cc up to 350cc Not awarded
Dick Osborne Trophy Class C, 351cc up to 500cc Hans Coertse
Forte Velvet Trophy Class D, over 500cc Mark Shaw
Harley Davidson Trophy Class E, side-car combinations Kenneth du Rand
Best performance by a motorcycle manufactured on or after 1 January 1926 and up to and including 31 December 1930:
Best performance by a motorcycle manufactured up to and including 31 December 1925:
Brokers Trophy Class A, up to 250cc Not awarded
Manners Trophy Class B, 251cc up to 350cc Gavin Allison
Cyril Richmond Trophy Class C, 351cc up to 500cc Ralph Pitchford
Peter Aneck-Hahn trophy Class D, over 500cc Nicoloas McFall
Harry Shutler Trophy Class E, side-car combinations Not awarded
Best performance by a motorcycle manufactured on or after 1 January 1931 and up to and including 31 December 1936:
Lawson Trophy Class A, up to 250cc David Pitchford
Valvoline Trophy Class B, 251cc up to 350cc Leo Middelberg
Ralph Lange Memorial Trophy Class C, 351cc up to 500cc Gavin Walton
Percy Flook Trophy Class D, over 500cc Aubrey Cilliers
Ferodo Trophy Class E, side-car combinations Adrian Hollis
SPECIAL TROPHIES
Charles Preddy Award and Rose Bowl Best performance by a lady rider Tarryn Rice
Francis Blake Trophy Best performance by a first time DJ rider Ron Tomsett
Scott Trophy Best performance by a Scott motorcycle Not awarded
Tony Torr Trophy Best performance by an Ariel motorcycle Hans Klein
Cliff McArthur Memorial Trophy Best performance by a motorcycle with an  overhead camshaft motor Leo Middelberg
Prices Trophy Best performance by a belt driven machine Hans Coertse
Duckhams Trophy Oldest motorcycle to complete the course Samantha Anderson
Angelo Bernardi Troph Oldest rider to complete the course Stewart Cunninghame
Ian Brodie Trophy Youngest rider to complete the course Donovan Wressel
Clerk of the Course Trophy Nominated team VBV: Leo Middelberg, Neil Stander, Tom Linley
Neil Smith Trophy Furthest distance ridden to the start Not awarded
Star Trophy Club team VMC 434
Barret Hard Luck Trophy At the discretion of the organisers Gary Edwards
The most Sporting Rider Award At the discretion of the organisers Arlindo da Costa
Richard Lewis Trophy Best performance on Day 1 Kevin Roberston
Tullio Bernardi Trophy Best performance on Day 2 Mike Ward
Clerk of the course shield Presented to Clerk of the Course Pierre Cronje
Stead Trophy Best performance by a Norton motorcycle Stewart Cunninghame
Velocette Owners Club Trophy Best performance by a Velocette motorcycle Kevin Robertson
Sunbeam Trophy Best performance by a Sunbeam motorcycle Martin Davis
COMPLETE LIST CUMULATIVE SCORES

(click to download complete list cumulative scores pdf)


For more photographs of the 2012 DJ Commemorative run click here


For more photogtraphs of the 2012 DJ Commemorative run click here

Andy Stead and his DJ...
It’s that time of year again - and then it’s over - just like that. All the worries and concerns are also over - for another year at least. This year I thought I had it right. Overhauled the top end of the daughter’s Empire Star due to an earlier seize, and found that other than gently removing the rings, filing out the ring slots and replacing the rings things were good - seemed too easy? Well let’s see.

My trusty V-twin had run well on the last DJ and, dare I say it, the saying ‘if it works don’t fix’ applied here, and I decided not to do anything. Tighten up the clutch a bit perhaps, oh, and that loose inlet manifold nut also needs an extra ¼ turn. Both these simple processes turned into a disaster when one of the clutch bolts sheared, and the inlet manifold nut just went and broke after just a gentle tap with a hammer and drift (C spanner - what’s that?).

Well the clutch has three other bolts holding it on and a Jubilee clip just happened to fit around the inlet nut and, dammit, why did I have to go and do that?

The daughter up from Cape Town on the Sunday before, so off we go for a hundred k’s or so jaunt around the Cradle of Humankind area. Hey - bikes going well, nice roads, good weather, and after a couple of hours decide to go home as we cannot fault the bikes. This is a first!

Off to Durbs, cautiously optimistic, and a quick pre-ride on Thursday still saying things looking good. The Daughter off one minute before me on Friday, and off I go and before I reach Botha’s hill see no oil in the sight glass. Bloody hell I know I turned the oil on. I mean - I KNOW I did. Open feed control fully but nothing. Lean forward to try and check tap is on and inadvertently pull advance and retard cable out of lever, this just as starting to ascend the hill.

Bike starts coughing and losing power, and at same time lots of rattles and bangs from engine - so once again DJ over- it would seem. Now Botha’s hill is not a good place to fettle a bike, so pushed it across three lanes of traffic and freewheeled down to a safe spot. Noticed rattling still going on even though engine not running. Funny I thought you could only hear a broken crank when the engine was running?

When stopped found the undone advance/retard cable and sorted that, and believe it or not found the source of the banging and rattling. Four batteries cunningly wrapped in foam in the rally box had come out of foam and were rattling around much better. So started engine and now found oil was flowing (don’t ask me how or why - maybe it‘s the man up there), decided things were good and set off again, albeit 20 minutes behind time.

In spite of all the major repairs just effected however the Twin was not pulling, and by the end of Botha’s first gear was most useful. This continued to Maritzborough, OK on the flats, but DEAD on the hills. Did manage to make up time however, and on arrival at the fuel stop daughter had just left.

Tried to do a quick ‘splash and go’ a la Jenson Button, but the attendant was in full chat mode, with banal remarks such as ‘Oh what a beooootiful motorbike’ and ‘ehhhh how old is it?’ I did, however, manage to leave the fuel stop now only 5 minutes behind time.

Apart from dead on hills the V twin was good, and it was not long before I was one minute behind daughter. It was the combination of this and that wonderful stretch between Pmb and Mooi River that I realised that there is more to the DJ than just rallying. Those of you who have managed to convince your kids to get involved will know what I mean. There is no greater feeling of pride than to have a son or daughter competing with you, particularly when you see that said son/daughter loves it and moreover knows what he/she is doing. I watch my daughter go through timed points and she is spot on (Well compared with me that is). She handles the bike perfectly, is totally conscientious and loves it.

For me there is more pleasure in seeing her do well than any pleasure I get, and I find myself acting more as a back-up for her than being a competitor myself.

Anyway enough of the soppy stuff, I mean we have a rally to RIDE here - and a tough, hot one at that. We both make Newcastle and only mishap is daughter’s egg-timer explodes off the rally box and gets the full treatment from an 18-wheeler. Of course my back-up stop watch stopped ages before (gotta get some decent stop watches - suggestions anyone?), so gave her my egg timer (don’t tell the wife) and tried to re-set it to reflect her rally time. Got that wrong, but after another attempt some k’s down the road got it right.

Newcastle gave time to find out why V twin was dead on hills. Trusty support mechanic Peter de Klerk (BIG thanks Peter!) didn’t take long to find that the slide needle which is held in with a spring clip was sitting waaaay down in the main jet sans spring clip, which had decided to crack (Dammit - must have happened just after the start!). In spite of PDK’s suggestion that we order one from Dragonfly Spares, I managed to clamp it in with a bit of wire, and voila - a quick test ride showed everything back to normal, and ten horses now straining at the bit.

Next day off again and guess what - nothing much to comment on. Nice day, nice ride, V twin cruising up hills, daughter one minute ahead - what more can one ask for. No punctures, no near misses, good weather and the crowds cheering at James Hall. Altogether another great Pierre Cronje DJ. Well done to all involved and competitors.

Does it end here? - well, not quite. At the prize giving daughter comes first out of the ladies - again great pride and just a wonderful feeling. Guys - get your kids involved! I tell you it will be the best thing you can do. You won’t believe how much it enhances the greatness of this event.

Oh, and BTW, in case you have been holding your breath to find out how the slightly bodged piston ring fix on the Empire Star and the three bolt clutch and jubilee-clip inlet manifold on the V twin held up? - let me just say if you want me to fettle your DJ bike for next year’s event - STAND IN LINE!

ANDY

John Allison and his DJ

THE EXPERIENCES OF A “TEAM DEMENTIA” MEMBER
Author: “de Late Mr Allison”
In some ways this event started out as something of a disappointment for me as I had not quite managed to complete the restoration work on the Rudge “Fireball” which you may recall had been engulfed by fire on last year’s DJ. I had hoped to ride the resurrected and re-christened Rudge “Phoenix”, but mostly due to magneto problems, it didn’t happen. (It will be ready for the 100th Anniversary!)

However, my dear wife, Barbara, agreed to lend me her wonderful little BSA, 250cc - itself a venerable participant in 18 DJ’s, 8 of them under Barbara’s derriere. Despite some small problems along the way including some invoked by the pilot, the gallant little bike rewarded me with a hard earned Finisher’s Medal.

On the way down to the start in Hillcrest, the three of us - Mike Milner-Smyth, Henry Watermeyer and yours truly - enjoyed lots of chatting about almost everything that three senior bogwheelers can still recall and that’s actually plenty - no time to doze off or listen to the radio. Much of the chat related to the early DJ rallies.

All three of us have lots of DJ’s under our belts. Mike and I were actually on the first DJ (no stupid, not the 1913 event) I mean the 1970 Dick Osborne job. In those early days stop watches were of the Zobo type, wind-up jobs. And we thought that “regularity” was about arriving at the toilet in time or something. However, those early DJ days were a barrel of fun. Lots of shindigs took place before the start and at the overnight stop in Newcastle, but more about this later.

Arriving safely at the Collingwoods Guest House (previously enjoyed), we had in the course of the journey resolved to form a team in the hopes that there may be some vague possibility of us threatening the higher echelon of top rallists and taking home some kind of trophy to crow about. Of course we had to enter under a nom-de-plume - a name that would mean something to us. A name that we would remember! Several ideas came up - resulting in “TEAM DEMENTIA”.

That night a great party was put on by the VCC at their well-known Clubhouse. Many thanks to them for a warm welcome and friendships re-visited. Team Dementia dillied and dallied and were about the last to leave, however, we were in good fettle and enjoyed a good night’s sleep. Our pal Tony Beswick had joined us at Collingwoods to take up one of the rooms. The Lady of the House had asked Mike if we would mind sharing a room? I replied that we had known each other for 43 years and hated to be separated. Her slightly bewildered look indicating some degree of mental ambiguity. However, Mike and I spent some time nattering and anticipating the fast looming event. Mike nervously thinking of something he could worry about!

The next day “scruteneering” all went well. Lots of goodies being plied upon us by the Organizers. Later on that evening we were briefed at the Competitors meeting by Pierre Cronje (Clerk of the Course) - no real problems here. We were also given a glimpse of what might be the format for the 100th Anniversary event which will be run from Johannesburg to Durban. This promises to be the “Daddy of them all” ending like the 1970 event with an illustrious formal dinner affair.

Once again after dining and wining it was back to Collingwoods for an early night and then an early breakfast, then off to the Start. As we were entering the slip road into the shopping centre, the driver of a Taxi decided we were on his piece of road which apparently included the pedestrian sidewalk as well, and attempted to redesign our rear bumper, fortunately with very little effect. The matter was resolved, fortunately with no real fuss as I had respectfully pointed out that the slight scratch, just below his windscreen wiper, was not quite at the same level as my rear bumper - “AMEN”. Now let’s get on with the nitty-gritty!

THE EPIC JOURNEY BEGINS at the starting line with about 120 riders leaving at one-minute intervals.

During my last few minutes of preparation I was approached by a familiar figure inhabited by my old friend Steve Hurst, over from England. We nattered for far too long. Suddenly it’s far too close to my start time now! Start little bike, get to line quickly. Good - all is well - or is it?

After a short distance I realized I have actually started on “Page 2”! However, I attempt furtively to make up for lost time, not easy on a little 250 BSA, but we try valiantly, only to be dogged by a slipping clutch, becoming progressively chronic to the extent that I virtually dog-paddled the little beast into the busy Petermaritzburg petrol stop.

I phoned Pierre Cronje (hereafter referred to as PC 99) to say that I think I have had it. He informs me that a sweep vehicle should arrive soon. I decide to investigate the slipping clutch (meanwhile the whole field has departed in a haze of smoke and noise). I feel somewhat isolated when suddenly a friendly and familiar voice enquires as to why I’m lying down alongside the little beast with my greasy hands deep into the internals of the clutch.

“Eureka!” says I as I manage to wrangle a quick repair. My spirits rise as I discover my rally is not yet over. The little BSA bullets out of the garage and up the hill with not a trace of clutch slip. Pierre Roussouw the Sweep Driver takes care to follow me at some distance to make sure that I am OK.

Of course, by now, I am one hour behind my time (purely academic). The little bike is, like me in good spirits and riding high. I can tell you that there is no more depressing feeling than falling out of a DJ! Yet, unbeknown to me, the saga is far from over as I sing happy songs inside my helmet; the BSA providing a happy beat. No worries about time keeping, just ride to lunch at Estcourt and renew my acquaintance with the rest of the lads. Newcastle now looks like a strong possibility and then 18kms from there it happens again - that bothersome clutch! I realize by now that it takes about 25 minutes to put it right, but it’s getting late and once again, I am stranded behind the field. The last sweep has disappeared.

I try to phone PC 99, but my cell phone has also expired! To my rescue comes Gideon, a modern day Good Samaritan, who stays with me until the job is done; and also tries to resuscitate my dead cell phone, to no avail. The clutch is fixed again, but now she won’t start, so lots of pushing, changing of plugs and adjusting of points etc. until I reach the point of giving it one last try. Amazingly she responds with a mighty roar, off into the fading light with my new found friend Gideon following me in his car, all the way into Newcastle.

I told the little bike that I could not spare the whip and she responded magnificently arriving at Mortimer Motors, our traditional overnight stop, into the workshop with headlight blazing (thank goodness for this) where all the bikes park at night. I was greeted by my anxious pals, (nice to know they care, but a hell of a way to test that)! Gideon, an absolute Knight of the Road is with me and not surprisingly a keen biker himself - my hero - thank you! thank you! thank you! We were both lauded and photographed and then it was time for Gideon to continue his much delayed journey home. PC 99 was informed that I had arrived. Hmmm, quite eventful for the first day.

Team Dementia Member, Mike Milner-Smyth had unfortunately broken down, his Manxman expiring close to his Alma Mater, Michaelhouse. Not a preferred way to drop in at your old school! What followed was another jolly night with the troops and off to bed for a well-earned sleep.

NOW DAY TWO and the Start at Ngogo Station. Bike and rider feeling good, even making good times past the marshal points. Uneventfully Greylingstad petrol stop looms, still on good times, but with that clutch again - dammit!!!! Another hurried clutch routine takes 22 minutes and we restart from the petrol station seven minutes late. Out comes the whip - the catch-up game.

Now, of course, on the next leg of the journey passes the dreaded spot evidenced by a darkened patch on the side of the road where last year’s Rudge inferno occurred, regurgitating a mental vision of that dramatic event. Good to put it behind me. Onto the lunch stop in Rensburg, food-ladies there remembering me from the previous year!

My Good Samaritan, Gideon, lives in this nice little town and it was good to see him again. He was delighted to see us still running. Lunch over and off we go again, but not for long. This time my rear chain jumps off. OK, out come the tools again - a quick fix watched over by my friendly sweep Pierre Roussouw in attendance.

Catch up time again we are now eating up the miles! Now, now John, don’t whip the little girl too much - just get to the end. Eventually I meet up with Hamish Morrison and we ride like brothers-in-arms through the gates of the James Hall Museum and into the arms of Barbara, my wife. Henry Watermeyer of our Team Dementia had already arrived safely at the finish on his Sunbeam. Well done Henry.
Henry Watermeyer
John Allison
Mike Milner-Smyth
A few more reminisces on our First DJ:

The proposed DJ Rally, 42 years ago (1970) I had read about in the Star Newspaper. It seemed like a great idea for old bikes, built before 1936, so I entered my 1930 Moto Guzzi, 250cc, a pure racing machine which I had owned since I was just a lad. Some frantic restoration work took place and the bike looked splendid in Moto Guzzi Maroon. I had no experience of this type regularity event so the general idea was really about having what for most of us would be a “fun run”. Some, however, did know what they were doing. Once such person, a young lady whose rally number was 70, mine was 69, so I decided that what I needed to do was to follow her. At the end of the first day we arrived the then-named Holiday Inn, in Newcastle, at that time, a very lively place. The bar was alive with thirsty riders, recounting the events of the day. A dinner dance was on the agenda with a good old rock band, so the party went on into to the early hours, not the best idea for serious rallists, but many like myself didn’t give that much thought!

Off we went the next morning, the little Guzzi, which had no kick-start, had to be bump started, a technique which I had perfected. She quickly responded. I leapt onto the beast and off we went. The wind and fresh air soon dispelling any trace of the night before’s activities, still following No. 70. Things went well until Sharon’s Norton came to a sudden halt on a hill, just outside Heidelberg. The rear chain lay snake-like on the tarmac and looked as if Sharon’s chances of finishing were almost nil. The two of us scoured the surrounding tarmac and eventually and miraculously finding all three components of the masterlink. I put the chain back on the Norton and, in doing so, became an instant hero! Off we went, riding together and having fun, waving at the people sitting on deck chairs on the side of the road (yes, that used to happen in those days, especially near the end, from Heidelberg, to the Finish at the old City Deep Mine). “Great celebrations end, the whole event was a huge success, followed up with a Grand Prizegiving Dinner in the old Carlton Ballroom, with full dance band. A real formal affair.

Sharon did very well, picking up the Ladies Prize and I was rewarded with my first Finishers Medal. What an event! What a memory!

Back to the Present: The 99th Anniversary DJ

What a ride. What an epic. Love it to bits. The old DJ was a race and certainly not for the faint hearted. The present DJ is a regularity trial, not a race, but it is most certainly a contest, not only between the competitors but between men on their 75 year old machines in very challenging and arduous conditions. Well done to all the competitors, some of whom are actually older than their machines.

On behalf of Team Dementia, I want to thank Sean Friend, Mike Milner-Smyth’s nephew, for driving our car and trailer and also sportingly participating as a “coerced Marshal”.

On to the Future

The 100th DJ, destined to be Historic Motor Cycle Event of World Wide Magnitude. Something for our proud motorcycling fraternity to revel in.

VIVA BIKERS!