July 17, 2024

Velocettes - Always in the picture....

Welcome to the Velocette Owners' Club of Australia, home of Velocette motorcycle enthusiasts throughout Australia, preserving, restoring, using and celebrating their motorcycles as the maker intended..


On Sunday July 1st members of the WA centre of the VOCA gathered on a cold but fine morning in Kalamunda for our mid-year run. The weather gods were kind to us as the preceding week had been cold and very wet, however this morning was just COLD – 3 degrees (well that is cold by our standards).

Our group which consisted of 4 Velos  (a Thruxton replica, Clubman, Venom and a Scrambler) were joined by an A65 BSA and a Triumph Bonneville. We set off through the Perth Hills heading for Araluen then on past the Canning Dam to Jarrahdale for a coffee stop – with little or no traffic and with glorious sunshine bathed pastures warming us up. Parts of the run dropped down to dam level through forrest areas and the temperature dropped even more, the bikes loved it! After coffee at Jarrahdale it was on to Serpentine Dam before dropping down to the South West Highway for a short stretch or a long gallop for some who gave the bikes their heads to run free.

We then climbed back into the hills heading for Dwellingup. This was our lunch stop and the food was just fantastic, we each checked out each other’s lunch and no one was disappointed. Mick Tesser went to a local Antique store searching for old wind up gramophones and 78’s, and the lady in charge turned out to be quite a character, gruff, terse and no nonsense – she ran the shop with a steely eye and woe betide anyone stepping out of line! One poor tourist was told in no uncertain terms that she had to take her shoulder bag off and carry it just in case she swung it around so fast that it knocked off her ceramics – she did so pronto and I’m sure I saw a look of fear in her eyes as she complied!

Our return was via the South West Highway for most of us (very quiet at this time of the year) and that’s when Chris Butler found out that his A65 BSA doesn’t have the range of his Velo and he spluttered to a stop. Fortunately it was in Byford and fuel was at hand. Mick Tesser and Colleen went via the “Freeway”, and encountered a monster trafiic jam – but the slim little Velo just glided down lanesplitting for mile after mile with gay abandon – he reports that it was the most fun he’s had in ages, although Colleen was not as keen apparently.

A very good days riding in beautiful Winter sunshine – thanks to Paul Barfoot for organising it.

XMAS IN JULY 2018 – Thanks to Marjorie and Bob Whittaker for hosting our annual kneesup – beautiful food and great company as usual:) We’ve had Santa’s, we’ve had Santa’s Helpers, but we’ve never had a Xmas Tree hand out our presents before!

Lovely having Dick and Connie Taylor come back to the big smoke and join us for the night, and the look on ex-bus driver Chris Butler’s face as he was given a scale model bus as a “congratulations on your retirement” present was priceless, it as exactly the same bus as the ones he drove every day until that week!

Keith Jiggins also did a splendid job assisting the chefs and doling out food/plates etc then cleaning up as we went along.

I have attached a photo from our run to Whiteman Park of ex-UK man Barry Carter, who being a lifelong Velo fan wanted to see one again after discovering there was an active Velocette scene in West Oz. He is in care, his brother Stephen has come over from the UK to see him and called in for a cuppa and chat, lovely man and very knowledgeable on bikes like his brother.

Stephen gave me a donation to our club as a thankyou from the family for arranging the Velo meet, below is an email from his daughter about the day written to Stephen.

Paul Barfoot


Hi Uncle Steve,

Dad got a lovely surprise this morning, he thought we were heading to the motor museum. Had a great natter to Paul and another club member Mick Tesser.

Unfortunately Mick’s sidecar wasn’t ready in time, but he lives quite close so may be an option once you are over or Paul mentioned they do a run to a town just out of Perth on a Tuesday morning, so you both may want to go for a drive there once you are over.


….and here are some older articles, apparently some members find them entertaining!  – Mick T



As usual a big mob of local Veloista entered this annual rally held in the region around Bunbury in WA’s Southwest.
Held over 2 days, this rally generally attracts over 200 entrants on a wide variety of bikes from pre-1914 to 1980’s,
however the over 38 degree heat for the weekend meant quite a few of our less committed and hardy members didn’t actually turn up – shame on you!
Kiwi visitors Clive Butler and Warick Darrow impressed with their staying power – Clive had promised his family that he
would wear full protective gear at all times – nearly killed the poor bugger by heat prostration!

Warick accidentally decided to ignore the route map and see the local area on his own – he did find his way back – eventually.
Colleen keelty tested the friendship of the local farming community by running out of fuel for her MAC in the back blocks dead opposite a farm gate and house.
The farmer jumped to the rescue sending his son over with a can of fuel and refused to take any money for it – some things don’t change thank goodness.
With our mob again involved in winning the Quiz night, another successful 2 day is completed and next years eagerly looked forward to.

Colleen Keelty, Chris Butler, Mick Tesser & Judy Butler

Syd and Don Taylor (front), Chris Butler and Dick Taylor (behind)

Paul Barfoots latest

Syd Taylors beautiful KSS, looked this way at the start and remained unblemished after 2 hard days riding in over 38 degree heat

Delores Taylor listens intently while Hubby Don Taylor nods off as Colleen Keelty spins a yarn – must have been a riveting story! Don’s knees suffered a little due to a slight mishap involving some gravel and a missed turnoff, his brother Dick now needs a new tail lamp lens coincidentally.


Cape to Grape revisited run 2013

A very wet, humid and gloomy Friday didn’t bode too well for our 2003-2013 Cape to Grape Anniversary weekend run based at our original rally starting point of Taunton Farm near Margaret River, Keith Jiggins rode down from Perth and got well and truly saturated (his usually reliable Triumph had let him down the previous night so he had to come on his big Honda – my personal backup fuel tanker!), so the 10 of us unloaded bikes/gear etc and settled in for the evening with fingers crossed that things improved at least a little.


That evening went true to form with much laughter and eating, along with a sufficiency of tonsil lubrication (or a lot in Keiths case). We were greeted with an overcast but dry day on Saturday morning and although a little tardy in rising (especially Keith!), we took off for a leisurely amble across to the beautiful Caves Road and then down it for a glorious run through the forests to a small gallery and Cafe at Boranup where we fortified ourselves with a delightful morning tea.


Off to lovely Hamlin Bay we went and we were treated to the sight of little kiddies and tourists hand feeding and stroking stingrays (and bloody huge some of them were too!) on the shoreline, an idyllic scene and great way to start the weekend. Away we went again to revisit the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and then back in to Augusta for lunch at a very good fish and chippery – which well and truly lived up to its reputation for good quality seafood – all whilst sitting outside overlooking the lovely estuary inlet which was calm and placid, picture postcard perfect.


It was then time to ride back to just north off our digs to a sampling at a specialist liquer winery where we sampled a variety of very sweet but interesting ports, liquors and the such – although Keith Jiggins decided he would give this part of the ride a miss for some reason! Back at camp for the evening and whilst Colleen and I had to shoot off to catch up with a couple of old friends battling illness, we are informed that dinner in the big barn that we used on the original rally went down a treat. On Sunday we took off to do the northern leg re-enactment, heading the opposite way up Caves Road and stopping at famous beaches like Smiths Beach where we had a breakfast stop and viewed dolphins frollicking in the bay from the lookout, Yallingup and to Canal Rocks where I scampered up to the top of one lot and did a quick “Charleston” dance, and I reckon I would be the first and only person to do that! I will have the photos to prove it too – although I’ve no idea what the Japanese tourists who looked up and saw a fat, balding old fart doing a jig atop the rocks thought of it all. We the retraced our 2003 rally steps to Cape Naturaliste lighthouse, and thence into Dunsborough for a pie and drink at the famous bakery in town.


On to Busselton and yet another snack at the long jetty on the foreshore (Helen McMeekin said “do you always eat everywhere you stop on these rides!” – “Yes!” was the resounding reply), and then we headed back via another route led by Syd Taylor. Unfortunately Syd had his fancy heated grips on his beautiful KSS/Venom hybrid get tangled around his throttle cable at a particularly dangerous intersection onto the main highway and as the engine revved more and more higher we desperately tried to grab spark plugs etc to switch her off before a major blowup occured but were a little too late as when she was finally stopped she had no more compression to get going again with. Paul Barfoot and I offered to stay with the bike while they shot off back to get a car and trailer while the other went on the planned route back to camp, with me telling Colleen she had plenty of juice and not to worry. After they all left I enquired if Paul was a little thirsty and if it would be a sensible idea to stave off dehydration if I shot into Busselton (about 10 k’s away) and got a couple of light midstrength cold beers, to which he agreed wholeheartedly for the sake of our health. A quick ride on the highway there and back and we were happily sitting beside the bike rehydrating with a stubbie and gasbagging as only Veloists can do when in these “in the line of duty” situations. About an hour or so later Peter Lazsco and Syd arrived in the car and (shame on them!) offered us a bottle of bloody water! To their even greater shame after we said no thanks they knocked off the only two beers as well!


Some people have no morals eh. Luckily we are both responsible types and had budgeted on just a can or so anyway so we bid them farewell and went off on our way back. I passed Paul as I had decided to take the original route we were going to do along a new road and turnoff and it was my way of letting him know I was going to do that – however once I’d turned off I didn’t see him behind me any longer so assumed he’d decided to head straight back, so continued on my way a little worried about whether I was going to be able to pick the correct turnoff, and whether a roo was going to jump out a clean me up as there were heaps of carcasses on the roadside!


A long boring straight ride for another half hour and I saw the magic sign “To Margaret River” appear and I turned off, but now I was more than a little worried that I’d be running out of fuel and at risk of having to get Colleen to come and rescue me (assuming I had coverage for my phone of course) as well as knowing I’d certainly cop a fine from the lads for it too! A very nervous 30 minutes or so later and I was in a little village called Rosa Brook that had a garage, and after a quick glance in my tank and a mental calculation made the decision to keep on going through to Margaret River where I’d fill up. Luckily I made it and on returning to camp I asked the assembled and very relaxed by this stage (and into the wine and nibbles already) fellow members who had thought that I had run out of fuel (all hands went up). “Shame on them I said” to which Colleen said “but I bloody did thanks to your advice!”, luckily she ran out very close to Rosa Brook and a short ride back to the petrol station in the McMeekins lovely Venom oufit saw her on her way without much of a holdup.


They then said “Where’s Paul?”, to which I replied “you can’t fool me, I’m not falling for that – he came cack with the breakdown trailer and he’s hiding in the cabin playing one of his usual tricks”, “no” they all cried – “he’s not back yet either!” Well that had me stumped as he has a gee whizz satellite connection type phone where he can get emaile etc so I thought he would have phoned up if he had hit trouble. I gave him a call but no answer, and just then we heard the steady gloriuos beat of a big single coming down the drive to taunton and up rolled Paul saying he too had turned off with me (but behind two cars so was hidden from me) but I’d shot off and he had decided to just tootle along merrily until low fuel fear and the though of getting lost got to him as well! He’d just made it with a dribble in the tank.


We set off for the barn and had our final nights nosh up, fines being meted out with gay and well deserved abandon, and toasts offered to very good company sharing a very good long weekend to celebrate the anniversary – what a great bunch they are.

Celebratees were: Syd Taylor, Max Mardardy, Peter and Koty Laszco, Peter Marcakis, Colleen and myself, Keith Jiggins, Paul Barfoot along with Neil and Helen McMeekin – many thanks for a great weekend you lot.

PEMBERTON WEEKEND 2012 – Mick Tesser

The annual Pemberton Rally again provided about 22 WA Velo club members and wives with its usual dose of 3 days of beautiful countryside, good weather, too bloody much food and drink, great dollops of laughter, much riding and the very best of friendship.


We all met on the Friday in time for a short warmup ride to Northcliffe to blow the cobbles out of riders and machines, then it was time to settle down and prepare ourselves for the nights dinner at the Gloucester Motel where a highly recommended smorgasborg awaited us. We gathered in small groups chatting away and lubricating our throats for an hour or two, and one by one the ladies slipped away to one of the cottages, along with a bottle or two of champers apparently. What started off as the sound of small giggles soon gathered momentum and changed to regular gales of laughter and any man who was brave or foolish enough to enter that room soon turned tail and skedaddled away quick smart! We wisely steered clear of them from then on until it was time to eat.

A (not so) short stroll up the (steep) hill from our salubrious lodgings – (the Old Pemberton Picture Theatre, which was the original wooden movie theatre in this old timber town, and which has been tastefully converted into very good quality accommodation), saw many members gasping for oxygen by the time they got to the lodge, except for myself. Rather than stay with my mates and with my partner Colleen and endure the steep and arduous (at least it was to a somewhat more rotund and unfit than usual self) climb, I instead, and rather than risk offending her kind gesture, gratefully accepted the offer of a lift by a local maiden in her car, the others foolishly declining the offer to join me. Not only did she cart me in comfort up the hill, she then made sure that she dropped me at the high point of the second entrance to the lodge, ensuring I had a short downhill stroll to the doorway rather then a short slightly uphill one if she had dropped me at the first entrance – the locals I now hold in even higher esteem – such kindness is not found in a city!


True to the rumours, the quality and presentation of the food was top notch, and members piled plate after plate with prawns, fish, lamb, squid rings, lasagne, various salads, soups, antipasti, profiteroles/pavlova’s etc etc etc made their way from the smorgasborg area and back to our table full of ravenous Velo owners where it was consumed with almost embarrassing gusto, along with a variety of wines and beer, and with far too much noise for a group of supposedly mature adults! Keith Jiggins and myself usually do a very decent job of overdoing the eating and we did give it a very good go, but that night we were put to shame by a couple of the ladies, in particular Judy Butler, who although of slight build and supposedly a light eater, just kept piling empty plates up like there was no tomorrow, and Connie Taylor actually left track marks in the carpet so often did she travel too and from the table to get more!


The table of mature aged bus travelling tourists from over east will go back telling tales of this noisy, boisterous and rowdy bunch of motorcyclists who interrupted their quiet (and somewhat dull by the looks of it) dinner – although one chap gave up and came over for a long yarn and will be visiting us at Bundanoon – just quietly and between you and me I think he wished he had been at our table for the night.


The walk back down the hill to the digs was far more enjoyable and easier than the walk up, and a few late night aperitifs/chatting/tall tales in our various rooms saw us down for the night.

We awoke somewhat less perky and more bloated than usual for some reason the next morning, ready for a sausage sizzle kindly put on by the owner of the accommodation for us, prior to prodding our various machines into life for the days adventuring. Off we went hither and yon through the south west region around Nannup, up hill and along twisting roads, stopping only to refuel or (as usual of course) eat and drink! We revisited the Donnelly River site where we held the 2009 Good Companions rally, revisited the bloody rough roads in and out again (thus bringing back memories our bums would rather forget too). All day ever watchful dobbers were taking notes in readiness for the evenings roast dinner and fine session, not a misdemeaner was missed!

After getting back and enjoying pre-dinner yarns for an hour or two, a combination of roasting meats prepared perfectly by Paul Barfoot and Keith Jiggins, and some great salad making from various ladies was enjoyed on the balcony, then the fine session commenced in earnest with over $27 raised from miscreants. One noteworthy fine involved myself – a rabid lover of super hot chillies, and poor Chris Butler. I almost managed to do what many other have tried and failed – to kill Chris! I had brought along some “once the worlds hottest chillis”, sliced it up fine and offered it around with the usual warning about handling private parts afterwards. When I got to Chris he reached for the plate and grabbed what even I thought was a large portion, (but thought he must like it as much as I do so let him go ahead), he immediately spat it out, broke out in a heavy sweat, gasped and ran to his quarters closed followed by a very worried Judy! He had thought he was getting some sun dried tomatos which he loves! Poor Chris spent the next half hour over the sink with dear Judy mopping his brow with copious amounts of water and a cloth in a vain attempt to ease Chris’s discomfort – and I went along with various suggestions such as “eat sugar”, “drink milk”, “eat raw tomato” etc etc (all to no avail of course), but at least he did take heed of my reminder about handling anything sensitive so to speak, and thoroughly washed his hands.


All was well after a while and Chris, Judy and I returned to the dinner only to find that the rest of the buggers had eaten all the beef and only left some pork – and poor Chris does not like pork and so missed out and was left with salad and potatoes – it would have been (and just quietly it was) funny to all and sundry except for the effect on Judy. Both Chris and myself were heavily fined for this offence. He has since made a full recovery although he won’t take any food I offer him for some reason and starts trembling when a plate of red nibbles of any sort are placed near him.


The noise that gradually emanates from this mob over an evening of eating and drinking has to be heard to be believed, and one of the world’s natural wonders – so much good humour, disrespect, bagging, ragging, tale telling, lies and bulldust needs bottling and selling to the rest of the world – what a wonderful world it would be in my opinion, but as a heavily fined and HRD Vincent riding Kevin Badby said”I reckon you lot are biased!” – and he may be right.


Seedy Sunday (and April Fools Day to boot) saw us gather for a short rundown of all the flaws in Pauls route map (yes – he used the same flawed route map that Ken Vincent gave us at the 2009 rally the fool), I decided to give the newly acquired 48 KSS a run to see what flaws may show themselves, while we sorted Colleens usually reliable MAC out enough for her to ride that, although it had an oil leak that I couldn’t trace, but what’s unusual about that I hear you all say. Off we went, me with my gloves left on the pillion pad, of course by the time I remembered I was down to one, the other just a memory of money wasted. We had a lovely ride for the first part, all went well except that I now know what KSS guru Syd Taylor meant when he said that they were gutless compared to a rigid MAC, Colleen got annoyed having to slow down every time we met a hill and wait for me to get a bit of speed up, and that the first stop – a winery/cafe, was not even remotely likely to be open for some time, so off we went on our way.

Threatening clouds looked about to give us a reminder that winter was not far off by the time we hit the roadworks just short of Manjimup, with me leading and no mirrors on the Cammy, and off I went blithely ignorant of the fact that the roadworks had hidden the sign to a left turn we were supposed to take. Loyally (or foolishly) Coll followed me up the road while the other swines pulled up, gave me a few minutes. and went on their merry (and correct left turn) way. Some 15kms the other side of Manjimup, I came to the realisation that something was rotten in Denmark, pulled up, took a look back to find only Coll with me and that I would have to go back and find the troublesome “Springall Rd”. Of course it then rained quite heavily for a minute or so, enough for me to think now would be a good time to pull in to a cafe in Manjimup and have a nice coffee and sit it out, thence to do battle with the route map again and hopefully catch the others up.


Rotten town, no bloody cafe open, wet, lost, missus leaking oil, bike with lovely camshaft but a powerband that wouldn’t pull the skin off a pudding, bugger. Off we went, found the signpost (which was visible from the opposite direction luckily), a wringing of the right wrist to force some neddies out of the old girl and we were finally rewarded with the sight of the rear of a gaggle of Velos, and with me enjoying the purr of a Cammy on song at about 55mph on flat roads – all was well with the world again. We revisted the unforgiving roads to and from Donnelly river yet again, my bum now on a hard and supposedly sprung saddle seat and not at all happy about it. A quick look at Colls MAC and the spreading pool of oil under it lead me to do a minor fix for what I thought may be the problem, oil feed pipe not sealing where it meets the timing cover, and off we went, although Coll was getting more peeved as she was unable to start her bike herself as the decompressor lever was refusing to do its allocated job – and she hates other people (ie me) having to start it for her.


Respectfully not listening to Paul giving yet more revisions to the route map for the next section, I joined a gang heading off to the next venue for lunch, the always quaint and welcoming Quindanning Tavern, a lone bastion and social hub in the middle of nowhere, with the KSS making sounds like a chain slapping panels occasionally but otherwise running perfectly, (must have a look next stop I thought to myself). We went to a turnoff on the main highway where I stopped to see where Coll was – and she was nowhere and neither were the other previously behind me. I waited, waited, damn, retraced my route and there some 15kms back is Coll sitting on a crest waiting patiently for me to learn my lesson and come back to where she was! Apparently she understood that the map (that I had and she didn’t) was wrong and Paul had said to go to Manjimup and thence to Quindanning and this is what the others had done. “Nay” said I somewhat stroppily, “the map is never wrong, follow me fair maiden and all will be well”, and surprisingly she did just that although somewhat hesitantly.


We galloped off, a pidgeon pair of pillocks, and did the route according to the map and finally caught some of the other foolish map followers at a garage for refuelling. I hastily filled Colls and my tanks and urged her to quickly push her steadily leaking bike over to the side while she paid for the fuel. I said “you take the Cammy, I’ll ride yours” and she gave me such a withering look and said ” why, I want to ride mine”. She was not happy. I said “if you can start yours you can ride it” (“You Fool” I hear you all cry), and of course she couldn’t as the damn decompressor wouldn’t let her. She was even more unhappy now. I quickly reassessed the situation and started it for her, leapt on the cammy and off we went. By the time we had hit the highway towards Quindanning I could hear this angrily ridden MAC right up my proverbial and then she shot past me at a great rate of knots and off down the road in a very good imitation of Stanley Woods at his best. After a time, and I think realising that I had the route map, she slowed down and rejoined the three of us in orderly fashion again. A great ride through the hills to the tavern (although a pretty viscious wind had come up and was whipping the trees around and causing cascades of leaves and worryingly large branches to fall all over the road and us, slowing us down quite a lot), and we were finally reunited with the mob, and eating/drinking/ laughing/chatting yet again.


The next stop was our final one at Northcliffe, with the noise coming from the Cammy annoying me. We rolled up and I checked the chain while Colls MAC continued to bleed to death and add a lovely sheen to the parking spot. The chain was loose, but as Paul spotted and answered when I said “the bloody rear sprocket is loose and wobbling – that’s not right” – “you think that’s bad, it’s even worse, take a look at this side”. Of all the nuts holding the back wheel on a Cammy, all but one had decided that they wished to go their own way and were missing, the last one was only holding by a few threads – not as good thing really. We had a socket to fit the nut but were unable to remove one of Colls to make it two nuts to limp back home with, so we tightened up the remaining one and after a glance into Colls oil tank and realising that she had just enough in the bottom of the tank to get us the 25kms back to base, and at a slow 30mph, we inched back home and arrived safe and sound. Luck had been with me for a big portion of the ride.


Our final evening was spend at the final nights BBQ, with more fines, wines, beers, schnapps and chat etc, and a relatively early night with the realisation that sadly tomorrow meant the end of the rally and back to reality and home by mid afternoon Monday. And so it was with many a handshake and farewell (sadly we may not see Kiwi Clive Butler back here in WA again for a good while) that we loaded the trailers etc and all headed off home, with many fine memories to take with us and add to the many others that being a part of the Velocette Owners club brings to it’s members. On behalf of Coll and myself, thank you again all my fellow WA Veloists and partners/spouses/wives/”we are just good friends” for being such a great bunch of people to be around, and thanks go to Paul B for organising the event again.