Veteran biker revs up for marathon ride in historic DJ Run rally

2010-03-11 00:00

MARITZBURGER Doug Cruickshank (69) will be competing in his second DJ Run this year, but his motorcycle, a 1SR934 Triumph P1, will be riding her 11th.

The rally starts in Durban tomorrow morning, and finishes in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Cruickshank was given “full custody” of the bike when her original owners, the Zeemans, moved to Ballito.

Andy Zeeman rode her in the DJ Run from 1934 to 1936 and again in 1971 and 1972. Laurie Zeeman had his turn from 1982 to 1987, Harry Williams in 1997 and then Cruickshank last year.

The names of all the men who have ridden the bike have been printed in gold above the back wheel, while Andy Zeeman’s name appears on the tank.

“Of course, at rallies people want to know the history of the bike,” says Cruickshank, so instead of having to the tell the story over and over again, one just has to look at her to see her history.

Cruickshank, who has been riding bikes since he was 12, says, “Last year I came stone last, which is the worst score anyone could wish for, but I had more fun than ever.

“Some people take it so seriously, but I just ride for the fun and comradeship.”

The six restored classic bikes sitting in his garage have all been worked on by Cruickshank. He

Cruikshank has another four motorcylces he is working on in his spare time.

The Triumph has been maintained to her original glory, and it took “four years of solid work” to restore her, says Cruickshank.

Tomorrow, Cruickshank will don his leathers ready to conquer the open road.

The 2010 event marks the 40th anniversary of the rally in its current form as a regular rally and the 60th running in its race and rally format.

The event, organised by the Classic Motorcycle Club, has 124 entries this year.

The oldest bike in the rally will be a 1909 Humber, and according to clerk of the course Pierre Cronje, “a chap born in 1922 will be riding a bike made in 1922 with his wife in a sidecar”.

The first DJ Rally took place in 1913, but was banned by authorities in 1936 as racing on public roads was outlawed. In 1969 Dick Osborne organised a commemorative DJ run, and only motorcycles old enough to have raced in the 1936 rally were allowed to compete The rule applies to this day.

A commemorative rally has been run every year since 1970, bar 1974 when the authorities banned it due to the fuel crisis.

Performances are monitored by hidden marshals who take riders’ times as they pass. The rider whose time is the closest to the set average time wins the silver Schlesinger Vase, which dates from 1913.

THE first motorcycle will leave Hillcrest Corner at 6.01 am and they will stop off at Greenwood Service Station in Mayor’s Walk in Pietermaritzburg at about 7.30 am. There will also be stops in Mooi River, Estcourt, Ladysmith, then a special stop called Gerald’s Rest, named after an elderly rider who complained that the ride to Newcastle was too long. The riders will then stop for the night in Newcastle. The last bike will arrive at James Hall Transport Museum in Johannesburg at about 4.45 pm.

 

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