DJ Rally vintage race passes through Maritzburg

2010-03-13 00:00

MARITZBURG was transported back in time to the motoring glamour of yesteryear when the 40th anniversary edition of the DJ Rally — in its current regularity rally format — wound its way through the city streets yesterday. The event also marked the 60th running of the event in race and rally format since the inaugural DJ Rally in 1913.

Fuel funnels to fit the vintage tanks, numerous stylish sidecars and motorbikes with pedal-power descended on the Greenwood Service Station in Zwartkop Road for the first fuel-stop of the rally, with a variety of immaculate and lovingly restored makes and models on display.

One of the first bikes in, the number two 1911 Humber of Hans Coertse, was making its debut at the rally, having only completed about 20 km prior to the maiden trip.

“I am really happy with how the bike is running,” explained Coertse, who was competing in his 10th DJ rally in his signature leather helmet. “I have already had to pedal for power three times since leaving Hillcrest, but it has been a great day so far.”

The oldest competitor for 2010 is Stewart Cunninghame on a 1930 Norton International bearing the number 88 — the same figure as his age. “This is my 19th DJ Rally and it’s fantastic … except that you have to be careful of the potholes on these old bikes.”

The second oldest entrant was Peter Dahl, who was riding a 1922 Royal Enfield sidecar with his wife. The bike, like Dahl, is 88 this year.

The lack of comfort experienced because of little or no suspension on the vintage motorcycles is made up in camaraderie, with the band of bi­kers explaining that most enter the event for experience rather than for a shot at the silver Schlesinger Vase, which dates back to 1913.

The last bike will arrive at James Hall Transport Museum in Johannesburg today at about 4.45 pm after an overnight stop in Newcastle yesterday.

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