Australian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Motorcycle Racing NSW

September 1905


The majority of the members of the Pioneer Motor Cycle Club will start on their machines to day for Goulburn, and remain there until Monday, when the big contest between the latter town and Sydney will start it 7 a in It is expected that close on 20 riders will face the starter Of these, Witham, the scratch man will ride an Orient twin-cylinder 5 h.p. motor, which hitherto has proved its speed over short distances. It will be interesting to see how a motor of this type will fare in a long and hotly contested race.

The next man to Witham is Doherty, who, on a 4½ h.p. Buchet, has 10 minutes' start, and possesses a good chance of showing up prominently Beale, who mounts a 4½ h p Minerva, and starts from the same mark as Doherty, is a greatly fancied rider, and so, also is Saunders, the Parramatta crack, who annexed the first road contest held by the club. In addition to the latter rider, who gets 30 minutes, Bergin, on his 3½ Brown, is a competitor from whom much is expected. Bergin, who was champion of Ireland previous to his arrival in Australia, is a rider of great grit and only quite recently succeeded in winning a 5 miles road contest from scratch in 7m 56s - a splendid performance over a hilly course On the 10 minutes' mark there are four starting to gether, the other competitors being Harte, on a 3½ h.p. Minerva, and H M Murray. The latter is one of Australia's most expert motorists, and is riding a 3½ Brown. Perhaps one of the finest and most daring competitors in Monday's race is McKenzie, who of late has been timed to do some big runs on the road. This rider was formerly of Victoria, and it was there that he learned to handle his first machine. In the coming race he will compete on a 3½ Buchet motor fitted with automatic instead of the usual mechanical valves.

Of the riders getting over 35 minutes' start, Featherstone, just arrived from England, is competing on a N.S.W. motor of 3 h.p. Unlike most of the other cycles in the race this machine will he fitted with a high tension magneto. Mr Featherstone's start is 40 minutes. On the 45 minutes' mark, Daniels, on a 3 h.p. Escarole [1], is a careful rider possessing a splendid hill climbing machine. He is likely to prove a dangerous customer if the roads are at all rough. In Powell, W. Jarman, and J. Jarman the club possesses three of its most consistent performers. The former will mount a 2¾ h.p. Surrey — the same cycle, indeed, on which he electrified the spectators during the club s competitions on the New Sports Ground track early this season. Both the Jarmans will start from the same mark as Powell, 50 minutes, and there is every prospect of one of these two skilful drivers annexing the first prize.

Both men are riding Jarman motors of 2¾ h.p., turned out by themselves in their own factory. Next to the last mentioned performers comes Skinner on a 2 h.p. Motosacoche, while Caddy, who has also 55 minutes' start drives one of these remarkably light and reliable little motors. The limit man in Monday's race is G Wood and hails from Leichhardt. He will ride a 1¾ h.p. Wood cycle, fitted with a patent automatic carburetter and an enclosed fan, which, worked by a small belt direct from the pulley wheel, throws a continuous cool draught of air around the cylinder of the motor, and thus prevents overheating even when travelling fast. Both of the Jarman motors and Woods' machine are built by the respective riders, and from the fact of their being Australian productions a lot of attention is certain to be centred on their running.

Already all arrangements have been made for the race, supplies of petrol, food, drink, and other ne cessaries having been left at likely stopping places along the road. The first man leaves Goulburn at 7 a.m., the last man at 5 minutes to 8. It is expected that the course of 185 miles will be covered in about 5¼ hours providing, of course, that the roads are in fair order and the weather favourable The finish will take place at Ashfield, one mile beyond the Town Hall

The Sydney Morning Herald Sat 30 Sep 1905

November 1905



The big 30 miles motor cycle race, promoted by the Pioneer Motor Cycle Club, and held under the League of Wheelmen rules, took place on Saturday last on the Parramata-Kingswood course, Though the race was announced to start at 3.30 p.m. it was close on 4.15 p.m. when the front men got away. The road, though good for a couple of miles from the starting point, turned out to be very bad on the remaining part of the course. Indeed, the loose stones and sandy patches en route knocked out a number of the competitors at an early stage of the contest. In order to avoid having any scorching through Parramatta the start and finish of the race took place at the Sherwood Council-chambers, about a mile and a half outside Parramatta. The officials controlling the race were as follow:-Judges, Messrs. A. K. Austin and A. Mitchell; starter, Mr. Skinner: timekeeper, Mr. Ward; turning-point steward, Mr, Palmer; and referee, Mr. W, S. Knowles. The first men to get away were the Jarman brothers, who rode two motors of their own design and make. The horse power of each cycle was 2¾. A minute after the departure of the latter, McKenzie, on a 3½-h.p. Buchet machine, was despatched. Then Powell, on a 4-h.p. Antoine, made a start, only 2m separating his time of leaving and that of McKenzie. When Murray got away a minute after Powell those already gone must nave covered a couple of miles or more at least. For with the breeze favourable on the outward half of the journey some fast riding was indulged in. When Murray had been sent off 4m, Saunders, the Parramatta crack, was told to go; and 3 min after the latter departed Doherty on scratch got a hearty cheer as he left his mark. That the pace throughout was terrific may be well understood from the fact that Saunders romped home a winner in less than one hour alter he had quitted his mark. His actual riding time for the course was only 50m 30s, which must be deemed excellent considering the nature of the course, both as regards billiness [sic] and roughness of surface. Throughout the event a chapter of accidents, trivial in themselves, yet sufficient to put the men out of the hunt, occurred. The first one to come to grief was W. Jarman, who when near the turning point, and with a substantial lead, sustained a puncture. The nature of the tyre trouble was, indeed, so bad that this rider contented himself with resting on the roadside, so as to witness the coming and going of his opponents. McKenzie, on a 3 1/2 h.p. Buchet, was equally unfortunate, and had a blow-out when leading by a couple of miles on the home journey. Murray also, when going strongly, retired at the same place from a similar cause; while Powell, when doing well, came a cropper in some loose sand when trying to avoid a herd of cattle that were monopolising the King's highway seven miles from Parramatta. Of the other starters Doherty, the scratch man, perhaps fared the worst. He had made s good race for the first eight men going out when his motor belt connection gave way. Having nothing to replace the simplex fastener, he sat down determined to sec the race out, and then ride slowly to the finishing place. A minute after he had his accident, however, a motorist, who afterwards turned out to be one of the successful overland competitors, who had been to the mountains, stopped opposite Doherty, and learning what was wrong lent him a new fastener. Two o or three minutes later the scratch man resumed, but although he rode well he could pot make up the lost time. A mile from home his naphtha ran out, and he walked into third place.

Saunders, the winner, thoroughly deserved his luck. He rode a Rival motor, manufactured by himself, and by his victory last Saturday, has the unique record of annexing four first prizes and one second out of five attempts. His time for Saturday's race was very creditable, considering that his tyre, like those of nearly all the other starters, punctured. The Parramatta crack finished the lust mile on the rim. It is unlikely that the Pioneer Club will trouble with road racing over the Kingswood course for some time. Though the repeated punctures may have been accidental, it seems strange, nevertheless, that all, or nearly all, the starters should have suffered from tyre troubles. J. Jarman's victory for second place was a popular one. He got away badly at the start, or he might have scored.

The following is the result, with the start and riding time of the successful competitors:
N. Saunders, 3½ Rival, start 3m, riding time 50m 30s... 1
J. Jarman, 2¾ Jarman, start 11m, time 1h 15m 10s... 2
J. Doherty, 4½ Buchet, scratch, time lh 17m... 3
A. J .Powell, 4 h.p. Surrey, 8m start, time lh 18m 22s... 4

The Sydney Morning Herald Mon 27 Nov 1905

May 1906 MOTOR CVCLE RACE. The motor cycle race over two miles which is to be put on at the Cricket Ground on Saturday promises to be very exciting. Since Forest Finlay on his tiny Buchet beat Powell on his 4½ Antoine by 200 yards in a two-mile race, the latter rider has been trying his best to tune up his motor to beat the popular secretary of the Pioneer Club. As Powell intends investing in a motor of similar make to Finlay's, there is every hope of his getting even with his rival at an early date. Witham on his Orient and Edward on his Pengeot [sic] have to be reckoned with, however, as both have speedier machines. It is a pity, that Jarman on his Jarman machine did not get his engine going properly, as the latter, judging by its bore and stroke, ought to be faster. In Saturday's race Powell, owing to thee fact that he is not able to pedal properly, will be at a disadvantage. Since Doherty defeated him he has been ambitious of winning a race, and it is to be hoped that the league handicapper will give him at least as big a mark as Finlay, so that the race between the competitors may be more even. It is understood that at least 12 riders will face the starter on Saturday. The secretary of .the league and some of the officials connected with the latter body will superintend the racing.

The Sydney Morning Herald Wed 9 May 1906

The Pioneer Motor Cycle Club held the second contest for the Chamberlain Cup on Saturday, under its own auspices. The race was over a five-mile course on the Parramatta-Kingswood-road. A great many enthusiasts attended to witness the racing, which proved exceptionally brilliant.

The starters were as follow:—

M. G. Witham, 5-h.p. Rex
Orient, twin cylinder motor, scratch;
N. G. Saunders' 5-h.p. twin cylinder Sarolea, 10s;
L. Gibbons' 5 h.p. twin cylinder motor, 25s;
J. D. Elliott's 4 h.p. Antoine, 35s;
Forest Finlay's 2 ¼ h.p. Finlay-Sarolea, 85s;
F. Daniels' 3 h.p. Buchet, 85s;
H. S. Fredricks1 3¼ h.p. motor, 90s; C. Merry's 2¾ F.N., 95s;
J. Jarman's 3 h.p. Jarman, 105s.

The following is the result: — J. Jarman's 3 h.p. Jarman, 105s, 1; M. G. Witham's 5-h.p. Rex-Orient, scr., 2; Forest Finlay's 2¼ h.p., Finlay-Sarolea, 85s, 3. Time, 8in 48s. Witham's time was the fastest viz., 7m 15s.

The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, Wed 11 Jul 1906 Page 119. (Trove)

Sources: Trove NLA, et al.

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N.B. 1. Escarole is a misprint.