Burra Two Day Rally, Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th May 2008

The two-day rally was a rally of two parts: while some ventured on the journey from Adelaide to Burra and back, another group opted for the high life in rustic Burra and enjoyed a ride out to Jamestown and back on the Saturday. The groups overlapped at the Burra Hotel on Saturday and for morning tea at Robertstown on Sunday morning, but the real unifying feature was the weather which was cold, windy and, well, bleak, for everyone. More of a contrast with the March run towards the end of out record-breaking heatwave can scarcely be imagined. Was it only two months ago?

A report from Malcolm:

Leading up to this weekend I became a little sceptical, as the weather forecast for Friday was for Heavy Rain, Hail & cold temperatures. Saturday was even better with SNOW forecast north of Burra. However it was too late to cancel, as I knew Leslie Jones’ group (her story elsewhere in this edition) were going to do their own run Burra to Burra on Saturday & we were to have a meal with them on Saturday night. During the week Bob Hill advised if it was to be too cold & wet he would still accompany us but would travel by car & Colin & Joy Pauley would do the same. Saturday started for me around 7am with steady light rain which was intermittent until I left home around 7:45am. I rode all the way to White Rd Gepps Cross in the rain, only to arrive in fine weather with Sun shining. I was soon joined by Rob Smyth on his AJS, Ray Mann on his BMW with Julia Lake towing Brian Cowling’s trailer as the Back-up for the weekend. Bob & Anna Hill arrived in their car, followed by Colin & Joy Pauley in their 1958 4CV Renault. Paul Knapp arrived to call the roll & that was it. As we had only 3 Motorcycles we decided to dispense with Marshals & wait at corners for the cars to arrive. At 9:30 we set off & found our way without a hitch to Roseworthy & on to Tarlee where we had a stop under the verandah of the Petrol Station. We then set off towards Riverton & a nice Morning tea, put on by the local “Men’s Shed” (maybe an article about them in a future edition of the Smoke Signal). Whilst we were there, we had a really heavy downpour, but it stopped before we rode on to Saddleworth, across to Auburn & on to Clare for Lunch. When we arrived, there were a few people waiting to see the “OLD BIKES” of which there was one (Rob’s ’29 AJS). Ray & I were both riding non club eligible BMW Machines. We attempted to take their mind off the bikes by commenting on the good rain. However, Colin & Joy’s Renault stirred a bit of interest & that kept them talking for a while.


It was then lunch time & we all went our different ways. We had only had a couple of showers between Riverton & Clare & the riding was comparatively easy. After we were suitably fed & watered we left for Burra & the end of our day’s ride. Ray, Bob, Colin & I were booked into the Burra Motor Inn where they had offered us a double garage to store our Machines so the 2 x BMWs had a lovely dry night. Others stayed at Paxton Cottages & the Caravan Park. I managed to get around to most people to advise when tea was on & we all met at the Burra Hotel around 6:30. We had our own room & waiter & were treated to a lovely menu of varied delights. I counted 27 people at the Dinner table. Drinks happened, orders were taken, food arrived, food was eaten & the evening was almost over, just like that. The stories of “how they found it” & “how they did it” were told again & a great night was had by all. Sunday morning started cold & drizzling rain which is what I hate. Because in is not raining you are lulled into a feeling of not bothering to put your coat on & all of a sudden you are wet through. I think Ray’s bike got such a shock at being given some “tender loving care” that it refused to start & took some considerable amount of time to fire up. However in true BMW style it eventually started & didn’t miss a beat all day. It drizzled all the time we set the bikes up for the display at 9:00am and continued until almost 10:00am our departure time. We had a few visitors but I think the weather kept many away. As Morning tea had been organised at Robertstown, I asked anyone who could, to please go home that way & support the local Community group who were doing it. We finished up with 20 people buying Morning tea. Some buying bits & pieces from the Craft shop & also sold a Raffle Book of tickets for them. They were most pleased to have us there & we were well filled with Tea, Coffee, Scones with Jam & Cream & assorted cakes. It was a good spread & if you are ever organising a tour of any sort & passing near Robertstown, they are happy to provide this service for a very modest fee. From there we rode on to Eudunda & Kapunda for Lunch. The Run was officially finished there & we all went our own way home. Ray, Rob, Julia & I all agreed to follow the Rally route back to Gepps Cross, where we said our goodbyes & headed home. It turned out to be a great weekend & really the rain was not at all bad. We all had a great time. Thanks to Ray Mann for organising it. To Julia Lake for the Back-up trailer & to those Members who made the effort and had a most enjoyable weekend

And a report from Leslie:

A Bird’s Bye View of the Burro Run:

It all started when the Burra Two Day Rally was announced. Bob Jones thought he’d like to go north but did not want to ride the Harley in the Saturday morning traffic. So we decided to travel to Burra on the Friday with the Harley on the trailer, and ride around the area on Saturday.

Then several other members indicated they would like to do likewise, for the same reason. I contacted Club Captain Malcolm and found out it would be OK to organise a run around the Burra district an the Saturday, same as was done previously at Barmera. But, there was a procedure to be gone through. I had to fill out a necessary form, describing the run and present it to the Committee for approval. The said Committee approved and the Burra Run was accepted as an official Club Rally.

Friday dawned wet and miserable and we hoped the weather would get better, the further north we went. Sad to say, it didn’t. By mid afternoon Friday it had really set in and did not auger too well for Saturday. Cars and trailers drifted in all day Friday and there were eventually ten motorcycles and seventeen people, as listed below. Overnight the wind blew and the rain poured down and we were hoping it would blow itself out by morning. It did, sort of.

Saturday morning was overcast and gloomy, but all the riders turned out, well rugged up in their waterproofs, scarves, long joins and what ever else they could find to beep warm. Unfortunately, Charlie could not get the Perry Vale to go so nine motorcycles left  Burra for the first stop at Hallett, we were almost there when the rain came. Just a shower at first, but as we headed for Jamestown it got steadily worse. In fact, the girls, Natalie and Carolyn, thought it had hailed at one point.

Our first casualty was Bob Gill. About 5 km out of Hallett his BSA decided to stop, just as the rain was at its worst. There he was, an the side of the road, crouched in the rain, fiddling with who knows what. BSA was as dead as a doornail. (Every time Bob stood up he had to hitch up his trousers, he’d left his belt at home. He even scratched around in our Magna looking far a piece of string to use as an emergency belt!) Of course, he had to have a roadside supervisor. There was Ed Sanders, no waterproofs, hands in pockets, stooped against the rain, giving what moral support he could.

Just as well I had the trailer an behind the Magna. Between the three of us we manhandled the BSA up onto the trailer, even though Bob had to keep stopping to pull up his pants! After about three quarters of an hour we finally got going again. We were about 10 km out of Jamestown when we spotted Leon and David on the side of the road. Leon’s Rudge had decided it needed a rest and had just stopped. Our trailer is only equipped to carry one bike so poor Leon had to wait in the cold and rain until I drove down into Jamestown, offloaded the Beeza, coerced (ordered) Bob Jones and Ed to get into the car and go back for Leon. Gillie’s BSA was fixable but Leon’s Rudge was terminal, busted valve.

Most of the group gathered around the fireplace in the Commercial Hotel and it was very hard to move them out to continue our journey to Spalding and Burra.

The evening meal was at the Burra Hotel. When we arrived there we were told only a table for ten had been booked. We very quickly told them there were at least two dozen of us. Another room was opened up for us and tables and chairs re-arranged. With one girl trying to do the lot, yours truly laid out plates, serviettes and some cutlery. That one girl did a magnificent job, taking orders, delivering meals, clearing tables etc. etc. We all settled in for a very good meal, super service, lots of laughter and talk and no-one wanted to leave. Before we finally left, Malcolm asked to please put our bikes on show next morning to help make up the numbers and to follow through to Robertstown for morning tea for the same reason. Most of us did, and were glad we had, as morning tea was scrumptious.

The run for the two day rally participants, Ray Mann (modern), Malcolm Gray {modern} and Rob Smyth (AJS), Julia Lake backup, Joy and Colin Pauley, Renault motor car and Bob and Anna Hill, motor car, finished at Kapunda. So, after a warming lunch at the Bakery, we went our separate ways having had a great time.

List of the Burra participants:

1914 Perry Vale, Charlie and Margaret Tuckey
1914 Rudge, Leon Mitchell and Sharyn Watts
1924 Harley Davidson, Bob & Leslie Jones
1926 Harley Davidson, Philip Jenner
1927 BSA, Bob Gill
1936 BSA, Natalie Halstead
1937 Triumph Outfit, Dean & Audrey Govan
1939 Panther, David & Diane Radloff
1940 Indian, Carolyn Jenner
1949 Sunbeam, Brenton Halstead
Ed &. Leila Sanders in Motor car


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