Friday, 13 January 2012

The Bikes 2011

Operation Transmtilda

Representatives of William Adams & Renold Chains with Vern and Mike in Melbourne on the 1st Sep 1953

Transmatilda Revisited
I’m not sure if it’s about my ride or Uncle Vern’s ride. It all started about 12 months ago when my cousin Vernon Train, who we call Uncle Vern, came to visit and took an interest in my old motor bike; a 51 Norton Single Big 4. He was telling me about a trip he completed back in 1953 when he rode around Australia for Renold Chains, a company he worked for at the time, to test a motorcycle chain for them. Renold Chain and their distributers, Australian William Adams, bought 2 Motorcycles- a 1953 500 BSA and a Triumph.

They advertised for someone to scrutineer the trip and got a young bloke from Adelaide named Michael Lockyer, who arrived in Benalla on his Vincent motorcycle. Mick had to get his own camera for the trip.
After Vern set up the bike with long-range fuel tanks and extra boxes for the spares, they set off from Melbourne on the 1st of September 1953, with Mike keeping a daily log of adventures, falls and daily miles. They arrived back in Melbourne on the 11th November with over 12,000 miles on their speedo’s.

A couple of weeks after Uncle Vern’s visit, Mum said there was an envelope at her place for me from Mick about his trip. Well I sat down one night and read all about this trip around Australia and was amazed at their mean feat.
Now, as a once a month rider with only 60 to 100 km per ride with the Sunraysia Historic Motorcycle Club, I’m in!

 I had to share this story with a mate who is away working in WA in the mines I sent Craig a copy to read on his days off and one night on Skype, Craig wanted to know when we were going to do something like that. Well, a week later we decided that if we were to do it, we could recreate this trip and do it on similar bikes. So the hunt was on and I got myself a 500 speed twin from Queensland and Craig got the 500 BSA from a club member, who was pleased to see the bike would be put to good use.

The next step for me was to talk to Renold Chains and William Adams and show them Mick and Vern’s photos and documentation from the 1953 trip. To my surprise, they both want to help and have shown keen interest in our proposed recreation.

Then as we had to have the bikes on full Rego of the trip, I was able to get close to the same Vic Rego that was on the original Triumph and the same Vic Rego that was on the BSA, at the moment we are on Club Rego

After a few test rides both Bike’s are in getting a going over but the triumph needed a major repairs.

To be Continued   

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Creek bed crossing, NT 1953

Katherine, NT main roads

Journey's End, Melbourne 11 Nov 1953, Mike and Vern

Operation Transmatilda 1953, 11000 mile route

The begining - 60 years on!

This is about a Motorcycle trip around Australia back in 1953 when my Cousin Vern Train and Mike Lockyer rode a 1953 500 Speed Twin Triumph and a 1953 500 BSA A7 to test for Renold Chain a .625 INS. Pitch Chain that was made in Benalla. The trial was conducted under the supervision of the Auto Cycle Union of Victoria, and the chains and the Bikes were successful in making a complete circuit of the Australian Continent covering a distance of 11,000 Miles. Conditions for much of the journey were extremely arduous with Roads often no more than rocks or loose sand.

Vern at Bruce Highway junction, QLD

Video of short ride in Mildura