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Goulburn Rally - January 2019

The annual Indian Motocycle Club of Australia Goulburn rally was held over the weekend of the 18th to 20th January 2019 to coincide with the Goulburn Classic Riders Club Swap Meet. This year, an invitation was extended to the NSW Indian & Harley Vintage Club which resulted in a total of 19 motorcycles participating in the event.

The rally was planned to commence with a Friday afternoon ride departing at midday from our accommodation. With temperatures nudging 40 degrees at midday and expected to climb, the consensus was it would not have been good for either rider or machine to venture out in that extreme heat.  

We remained at the Motel and waited as a steady stream of participants started to arrive. Some in fact rode a considerable distance, including Jonathan Rolfe who rode his 1944 Indian Chief outfit all the way from Molong in the Central West of NSW. He later advised me that he left at 4.30am in an effort to avoid the forecast heat. A few others commenced arriving, also riding from Sydney and Mudgee.

Friday afternoon we made our way down to the Goulburn Workers club for a meal and a few drinks. A good roll up of members and invited guests with some new members attending this year.

What a difference a day makes, waking Saturday morning to some fine drizzle and much cooler temperatures. We assembled at the Mobil Service Station opposite our accommodation and were met by some of our ACT and Queanbeyan enthusiasts. Following the riders briefing we headed out towards Windellama with Mick Bostock leading the group of some 20 riders. This year we changed our normal route over the Great Dividing Range and instead did a loop north of Goulburn through the Southern Highlands.

Our first stop was the Marulan Bakehouse where we lined our bikes up for a photo shoot and some running repairs on one of the HD’s that ran out of electricity during this first leg of the ride. Following morning tea we headed out of Marulan and towards the Southern Highlands village of Bundanoon. A beautiful ride through some very scenic and winding countryside.

On the back of the fire incident at the Central West rally last year, we trialled a fire marshal system this event whereby club member Jeff Barr who was riding a modern HD was nominated to stand ready with a fire extinguisher as participants filled and started their bikes. Fortunately, no incidents but we were well prepared.   On this note I would like to thank the Elliott family for donating a commercial fire extinguisher to the NSW Branch of the IMCA to be used on rallies and to Jeff Barr who recommended the idea of a Fire Marshall.

Leaving Bundanoon we continued our trek over the Southern Highlands where we encountered light misty rain and fog. The temperature had dropped considerably and visibility was limited. We slowly progressed through the villages of Exeter and Sutton Forest on our way to our Lunch Stop at Berrima. Here, we gathered at the Surveyor General Inn, the oldest continuously licenced Hotel in Australia, (or so they claim).   A nice meal and some further running repairs to bikes.  

Garth Popple was on his 1938 Indian Chief Bobber for its inaugural ride after restoration and on the second leg of the ride it started running rough. Garth was ready to load the bike on the trailer however after some kerbside diagnosis it was discovered that the front exhaust tappet had worked its way loose and wound itself down , no longer opening the valve. 15 minutes later the tappet was adjusted and Garth managed to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon riding his new toy.

Following lunch we were again led by Mick Bostock from Berrima to Moss Vale before backtracking to Marulan for a fuel stop. Whilst well laid marshalling plans were put in place following each stop, they seemed to fall apart on the return to Marulan with a break down requiring the loading of a bike on a trailer. Following this, a few riders and the back-up vehicle separated from the group and ended up back in Goulburn. Nevertheless, we continued our ride out to Bungonia and onto Tarago where we stopped at the Loaded Dog Hotel for rehydration as the fog had burnt off and it had started to warm up again. At this stage our back-up driver found us just in time for us to leave!

Leaving the Loaded Dog we rode back to Goulburn via lake Bathurst and a few of us dropped into the Swap Meet with vendors setting up for trading.

After returning to the Motel we met with Peter and Toni Birthisel who turned up for dinner and the Sunday swap. Shortly afterwards the courtesy bus arrived and we were ferried up to the Workers Club where a private function room was set aside for us to enjoy a nice dinner and a few drinks whilst reliving the events of the days ride. I estimate we had 30 people for dinner.

This year, the Goulburn Classic Riders Club invited the Indian Motocycle Club of Australia to set up a display of our bikes within the Swap grounds with free entry afforded to rally participants. A good turn up of bikes for Sundays display including Peter and Toni Birthisels 1914 TT Racer which has been linked to campaigning in the Inaugural Australian Tourist Trophy Race held in the Goulburn District in 1914. This bike was the centre point of the display and I thank Peter and Toni for bringing this historically significant machine to the event to represent our club.

So, despite the vast difference in weather conditions, extreme heat, misty rain and fog, we all managed to avoid any mishaps and enjoy the comradery and friendly banter that goes with Indians and Harleys coming together.

Special thanks must go to the following; Bert & Michael Heath, who mapped out the route for us in preparedness for the event and secured the services of the Goulburn Workers club.   Mick Bostock who took the lead and guided us through the Southern Highlands. Jeff Barr who acted as tail-gunner, sweep and fire marshal. Phil Fordham who kindly offered his services as back-up vehicle for the event.

Also, a warm welcome to the Indian Club for some new members/riders who participated in the event.

Carl Baubrhuit on his 1946 Indian Chief

Chris Mullins on his 1947 Indian Chief

It should be mentioned that each rider contributed $20 to the event with funds raised going towards the cost of running the rally, fuel, water, ice, etc. The remaining funds are traditionally donated to a charity. This year $250 has been donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Thanks to all those that participated, particularly those who made the considerable journey from Victoria, Central West NSW and the North Coast of NSW.

Ian Pryde