Our account of the AJS and Matchless Owners Club Down Under Jampot Rally in Tasmania for 2016
Our 13 day extended tour of the Apple Isle.
I’m guessing others that attended the event might have their own stories to tell. This however is ours.
Brian and Maureen Kuerschner and our most friendly and jovial travelling companions Brian and Chris Gray.
Our trip began several months in advance arranging sea passage, accommodation and various other essential necessary arrangements. Having loaded the bikes and gear into the trailer and car we set off at 10.30 on the Monday morning 7th November for our first overnight stop off at Horsham arranged by Brian Gray some months in advance.
Over our evening meal I came to the sudden conclusion I’d left home without my essential logbook. Time against us I wasn’t about to drive back to Adelaide to collect it.
Tuesday morning we set off for Station Pier Melbourne Docks to board the Spirit of Tasmania heading the line-up of vehicles to be first to drive on at 4.30pm.
Arriving at Devonport Wednesday morning early we located our Sunrise Motel but were unable to check in until after 2.00pm. Had an early morning snack in their little dining room with a light breakfast provided by Chef Anthony John Sherriff, yes AJS if you please, then set off killing more time on a site seeing tour of the surrounding areas.
Remained in Devonport a couple of days then went on to Hadspen caravan park headquarters for the AJS and Matchless Owners Club Down Under Jampot Rally for 2016. Midway through to Hadspen at Railton on the Sheffield Road we paused a few moments on the roadside at 11.00am to observe our 2 minutes silence for our fallen boys.
The welcoming Friday twilight social meet and greet get together had most entrants and partners attending. Rather than the usual sausage sizzle with fresh garden green salads the organizers had arranged a scrumptious Barbequed fresh Tasmanian Pink Salmon meal. Was simply awesome.
Adelaide’s own Lady Ma Donna was appointed and took total control of the sale of Official Rally Tee Shirts, Club Regalia and raffle ticket sales girl along with any impromptu announcements to be provided to the masses. Is there nothing this girl is not capable of?
Our accommodation was some 18km and 25 minutes away at Grindelwald so we didn’t hang around all that long.
Having left the trailer and bikes in the care of Jason and Donna at the caravan park we arrived back at the park next morning in plenty of time to tog up before the off after direction instructions were given by the Group Commander at 10.30.
Unloading the bikes it was discovered that the handle bars on Brian’s bike (1956 AJS Model 18S) had twisted forward sufficiently requiring certain attention due to the tie downs being tensioned fairly firmly. Rectified we were on our way and on time in chase of our leading Corner Marshalls.
Of the entrants we welcomed once again traveling from Gatton, Queensland now 86 year old Keith Holley on his ever faithful and dependable 1951 500cc Model 18S AJS referred to as ‘The Roving Kind’. Due to a sudden front tyre deflation on the way down Keith lost control of his machine suggesting bouncing wasn’t so easy these days. This year however Keith was not alone with Bob Willis on his 1948 Rigid 500cc AJS Model 18 and Tony Keenan on 1998 GTR1000 Kawasaki joining him as riding companions. Of no mean feat this was also Keith’s tenth consecutive venture ridden to the Jampot Rally.
Morning tea smoko stop at Meander on the Saturday ride we enjoyed lovely fresh made sandwiches and cakes provided by the local ladies auxiliary went down just fine with tea, coffee, fruit juice or plain water.
At times my bike can be a pain to kick start, and this was one of those occasions. With the help of an interested bystander I was able to push start about 5 minutes after all others had left the area.
Approaching the next few corners in a strange area with not a Marshall in site I was none too happy. However pressing on I arrived at Deloraine in search of Mole Creek some 23km further on where our lunch stop gathered. Total distance covered on our return to headquarters was in the region of 180km.
Riding on my lonesome I met a police patrol car heading in the opposite direction. Keeping a watchful eye in my rear view mirror in case he about turned my attention was focused squarely on what I might say if I’d been pulled over. Gathering my awareness I thought if I should thank him for offering to escort me into Mole Creek I’d be most grateful. Nerves however were settled when I lost vision of him disappearing in the distance.
The Presentation Dinner evening was held at the Tailrace Centre in Riverside. Amongst the attractive awards presented our own Jason Maloney and Rob Smyth once again came home with an award each.
The Annual General Meeting took place at the Caravan Park amenities room commencing at 8.00am which I unfortunately missed out on. However a group attendees gathered talking about having not appointed a Vice President I was asked if I’d mind filling the vacancy. Without hesitation I accepted the position for the next twelve months.
Discussion on the existing inclement weather conditions resulted at 10 o’clock in our Sunday ride being called off.
The trailer coupled up we headed back to our accommodation at Grindelwald where it remained for the next few days taking in day trips to various places around the nearer areas including one night lodging spent in Hobart seeking a scrupulous fish meal at Doyle’s famous Fish Restaurant which was once situated on Constitution Dock. Alas no more. Took an interesting Harbour cruise in Launceston where I befriended a chap owner of a couple of early Indians.
To meet up with other Rallyists at Beaconsfield later on Sunday arvo we spotted on our way a little coffee shop just out of Exeter named Burt Munro Motorcycle Café. Of most interest was the tour by owner Tibor of his outback ‘Mans Cave’ loaded with allsorts very much like Hughie Dunlop’s dingy old motorcycle parts shop in Flinders Street. Machines on display inside the cafe were none the less more appealing.
Nearing the end of our few days holiday in Tassie we were travelling back to Devonport with trailer on tow four of us making friendly conversation when from nowhere a crazy couple of guys presumably racing each other met us on an uphill slight bend to our right. It was all over in two seconds when this clown crossed his double line careering up a 45⁰ bank to my left showering us with sticks, stones and grass disappearing out of sight as quickly as he appeared. To suggest we are all very lucky to be here today is somewhat of a miracle.
Further to this while waiting for time to pass before loading on the boat we were sat in a parking lot listening to the car radio for some time. Now ready to make a move when the ignition key was turned nothing but ‘click, click, click. Yes, a flat battery. Not wanting to be a pain when asked to move off the ship in the morning my thoughts turned to how on earth we were going to get over this predicament. With the car bonnet up investigating our problem, would you believe a tradies van just then drove past slowly advertising ‘Battery Checker’. Waiving our arms about frantically the chap turned round up the street a bit, came back gave us a jump start and went on his way, no charge once again saving our day. Rob Smyth with others stayed on for the short Monday ride with those that were able to remained.
In closing off Martin Heatley and his crew of willing helpers can be justly proud of their effort putting together this 2016 Down Under Jampot Rally for the benefit of all those AJS and Matchless owners and enthusiasts. We all look forward to next year where once more our Rally will be staged in the wonderful region of the Hume Dam and surrounding local areas.
Jason and Donna Maloney’s 1950 G80 Matchless. Yet another award winner
Rob Smyth’s winning 1929 AJS M10SR