Wednesday, 10 September 2008

People at the VOCA Centenary Rally, Sydney NSW October 2005

Browsing through these photos rekindled memories of the good times we Aussies shared with our International friends at this fantastic rally - the last of the big Velocette Centenary Rallies held around the world in 2005. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be the only person to have attended the Centenary celebrations of the VOCUK at Stanford Hall in early July, the VOCNA rally based at Yosemite in late July and our own rally on the NW outskirts of Sydney in October - thank you Diana for the freedom to travel alone for all those weeks.
With over 100 Velos lined up for the Monday morning photo shoot in Sydney, it was a sight never before seen Downunder. But aside from the Velos, the best thing about these events is the people. They come from all backgrounds and ages with habits ranging from teetotal to drink-too-much, believer to non-believer, polished and fettled to she'll be right mate. All united by the common language of old bikes. As Pd'Os T-shirt says, "Velocette spoken here". I'll let the photos do the talking from here on. In a later post we'll look at some of the tasty machines in attendance.

VOCA Patron Anne Frampton, daughter of the last MD of Veloce Ltd, Bertie Goodman. She entertained the crowd with recollections from the happy days of Veloce as well as the not so happy times as the financial position of the company weakened. A long time resident of Sydney's eastern suburbs and a thoroughly charming person, Anne was amazed at the level of interest in Velocette motorcycles Downunder.

Checking in on Day 1. At left is Brisbane based VOCA member David Royston with Californian Gil Loe, both looking forward to the week ahead.

Ella and Larry Luce from Los Angeles. Their bike arrived late and if not for some swift talking by our own DQ it may have stayed on the docks for the duration of the rally. They are obviously relieved to have their own Velo to ride for the week having spent the money to ship it over. Larry's your genuine slow talking American dude, with some hilarious tales of finding stuff on the street (like 2 wedding rings - Ella's first and then some time later, one for himself). But when you get to know him he's anything but slow.

Peter and Bev Wolfenden, from the nearby Blue Mountains. Current Membership Secretaries of the VOCA and hard working members of the Centenary Rally Committtee. Peter is known for two things - riding his unspectacular but super-reliable MSS at 70+ mph whenever they are outside the town limits, and his passion for LEs. Somebody has to love 'em.

Long time Victorian member Bruce Beinke, not enjoying the best of health but still keen to attend. Note the sign on his electric buggy. "I'd rather be riding Britain's Legendary motorcycle - Velocette".
Never lose your sense of humour Bruce.

Still keen after all these years - long time member of the Victorian Centre Bill Hackett spins a yarn while leaning on the Luce machine - 63 Velo.

DQ (aka the Velobanjogent) feeds a cheeky crimson rosella while regular visitor to our shores, Mick Felder of Hermosa Beach CA looks amused by the antics.

Some of the girls from WA (and one from NSW).
l. to r. Connie Taylor, Bev Wolfenden, Marjorie Whittaker and Jocelyn Taylor.

Dot and Norm Trigg discuss the fine selection of rally wines on offer while Rally stalwart Al Morris seems less impressed. Al has attended every annual rally since 1982. Norm is a Life Member of the VOCA and author of the technical handbook that no Velo owner should be without - "Norm's Technicalities", published October 2008.

Long time Velo guru Keith Hamilton astride his immaculately restored Velocette Ladies Model, test ridden by all and sundry over the course of this particular evening. Keith would be better known as KFO (short for Keith from Oz) to those who frequent the Velocette Yahoo Forum.

Californian Olav Hassal and rally regular Jim Day chew the fat on the platform during our visit to the Zig Zag Railway.

Much, much later that day, Olav is admant that his story is factual: "I sshhhwear itsssh true!". Pd'O looks on, bemused.

Same night, WA Centre President Paul Barfoot pictured nursing one of his favourite drops. Evenings like this bring meaning to the 1930's advertising catchphrase - Velocette: Good Companions.

That man Loe again with Colleen Canning, wife of VOCA Pres Keith - definitely the better half if you've ever seen the photo of Keith in the VOCA's 2005 'Full Monty' calendar!
Gil spent his working life in Hollywood as a wardrobe man, hence his email "glragpicker". He worked on the series 'Dr Quinn Medicine Woman' for many years and was responsible for the wonderful period clothing worn by stars Jane Seymour, Joe Lando and Shawn Toovey.

Speaking of Keith and the Full Monty Calendar - this is the photo.

And finally, a great shot of my darling Diana, (Australia's best pillion passenger) with our mate from Upover, Paul d'Orleans, who made the long journey from San Francisco to attend another rally Downunder. Ever helpful FTDU printer Mick Tesser from the WA centre standing in the background.

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