Southern Triples Rally

Report by Lorraine:

The TMRA Southern Triples Rally: or Toby’s Rally.
Kangaroo Valley 24-26 May 2013.

The Riders
T150 Trident 1973
Trevor Fowler
T150 Trident 1973
Lorraine Litster
T150 Trident 1974
Chris Parlett,
T150 Trident 1969
Rick Moss,
T150 Trident 1974
Steve Lord,
T150 Trident 1974
Peter Shoemark,
T150 Trident 1971
Red Swords
T140 Bonneville
Toby Bateman,
Hinckley T100 Bonneville
Brian Eldred,
Hinckley Adventurer
Trevor Dukes,
Hinckley Sprint ‘96
Bega Bob
Hinckley America

Others not registered for the Rally but who rode with us.

Chris Robinson
T150 Trident
Ian (Sanctuary Point Chef)
Deus Bonneville
Hinckley America

Those of you fortunate enough to own one of the splendid Triumph or BSA Triples may have enjoyed the annual August pilgrimage to Ballina for Col Mc Andrew’s Triples Rally. This northern rally has grown over the several years that it has been held & now has a following of over 30 machines. This year our keen & energetic Shoalhaven Rep Toby Bateman decided that it was time for TMRA to run a Southern equivalent of the Ballina Rally for 70s triples, hence this event.

In truth Toby’s timing was not the best for by late May much of SE Australia has descended into wintry weather, & Canberra in particular, However this was not altogether Toby’s error as he was avoiding the RAT Rally in Jindabyne earlier in May. It should also be mentioned that intrepid Toby had previously organised a weekend in Tathra in early April! The Committee had better watch out!

During the week preceding this event a heavy low pressure had descended upon the coast of NSW & it had rained in Sydney & all the way down to Bega for most of that week: although Canberra stayed mostly dry however. This poor weather may have scared off many of the Sydney people & attendance at the Rally was down on Toby’s expectations. However three riders set off from Canberra mounted on T150 Tridents on Friday morning in bright sunshine & mild temperatures (this means 6C in Canberra I might add). We took the Tarago Lake Bathurst road & had expected the weather to deteriorate as we rode north thus we were not surprised when cloudy skies turned into showers near Goulburn. Fortunately we avoided these little downpours on our highway section to Marulan, where we had lunch at the Meridian Café, a superior place to stop for lunch in this town. After eating we rode on mostly wet roads on the Tallong road until we reached Bundanoon when rain finally caught up with us, but this did not last long.

Our descent into Kangaroo Valley gave us views of sunny countryside beneath us, but this soon evaporated as we arrived in the village to overcast skies.. Sadly Attilio’s T150 slipped off its stand on the steep driveway into the caravan park also Trevor Duke’s Sprint (borrowed I should add) sunk in the soft ground & toppled over damaging it: this was an unfortunate start to the weekend.

The others were mostly already there & settling in to their cabins as we bedded down our machines, before more determined & persistent rain set in for the evening. This did not concern us however as we spent the evening under cover in the camp shed around a roaring log fire, which we shared with a group of caravan people. Toby & Kerry had catered very well & the BBQ cooks soon produced a worthy meal. This led to a pleasant evening as the rain tumbled down around our open shed. Mid way through the evening I moved my T150 into a shed to protect it from the rain, at Red’s suggestion. This was wise as it would have otherwise been waterlogged in the morning.

On Saturday morning the fog, which had descended into the valley during the night, seemed stubborn & slow to lift but this did not stop our cooked breakfast in the camp shed, where the log fire was relit by Brian. Spirits were high & bellies filled. Other riders arrived after breakfast, from the coast, reporting that outside the valley it was a lovely sunny warm day. So at 10am we all set off for Nowra & Greenwell Point. Toby had planned this as our first stop so that we could drink a toast to our late member Jimmy Anderson in his local pub.

The ride then headed south with a short highway section before a back road to Huskisson & to a scenic spot to take group photos of the T150s. Sadly Attilio had stopped in Huskisson & was dealing with dirty fuel bought in Greenwell Point so he missed the group photo. With Attilio started again we rode on to Sanctuary Point to the café there owned by TMRA member David, who’s splendid Deus Bonneville was parked outside, alongside a large blackboard declaring ‘Triumph Parking Only’. David & his staff cooked us a delicious lunch & we basked there in the warm sunshine. For us Canberra riders this was especially welcome as we cannot expect similar weather in Canberra for another four months at least!

From Sanctuary Point we returned to the highway, then up the BTU Road (British Torpedo Unit) to the HMAS Albatross Museum where we regrouped. Everybody was keen to rid on however so the aircraft museum did not get any business from us. Chris Robinson might be due a mention: a local veteran rider not registered for the Rally, who has insisted on riding in shorts & thongs, a habit he maintained he has had all his riding life. This habit seemed foolhardy to the rest of us, but he must have developed a following as several other riders came to the museum to greet us & him similarly clad.

Back at Kangaroo Valley after the ride it was a sunny afternoon & we took a walk down to the village pub for a beer, where a decayed but original ‘James’ moped of about 1950 vintage stood to attract the riding punters. Back at the caravan park our second BBQ dinner was prepared & a second evening of camaraderie around the fire unfolded. Toby & Kerry had done us proud & nobody went hungry or thirsty!

Toby had some awards to present, made by Geoff Skillen from recycled carburettors. The best ‘drum brake’ Trident award went to Chris Parlett from Goulburn for his immaculate 1969 Turquoise T150. Chris has won prizes for this lovely machine both at the Canberra VVC Rally & at the Berry Kickstart Rally & well deserved too. The best ‘disc brake’ Trident award went to Rick Moss for his lovely T150, which runs Kawasaki carburettors & a very rare Lucas Rita electronic ignition system which I believe is superior to any unit on sale today. Rick has also won prizes previously for his lovely machine. Toby had an award for a best BSA triple but none had entered sadly. Another notable machine was Peter Shoemark’s T150, which he had cleverly fitted with electric start, using T160 parts. Peter assured me that this was a well known modification, not of his invention. I believe that he has similarly modified several machines for TMRA riders, including Steve Lord & Toby Bateman.

Fog descended again during the evening & I have to conclude that this may be a common situation in Kangaroo Valley during the Winter months & this fog was again slow to disperse on Sunday. However after a slow start & the pack up activities it was bright for our departure. We said cheerios including to David & his wife Ruth, residents of the park; he has an ‘America’ & rode with us on Saturday.

Attilio, Lorraine & Trevor were soon riding in bright sunshine on the lovely Southern Highlands roads & enjoying the experience of three matched machines & riders. We arrived in Marulan after the Bundanoon Tallong road & refuelled before we again left the Hume heading for Bungonia. Trevor asked me to stop at a café ‘if I saw one’ but knowing this is rugged sparse country I thought there was no chance. There are no businesses in Bungonia & I knew there was also nothing in Windelema but out of the blue, between these two hamlets, (too small for villages), I found a café in the middle of nowhere: called ‘Johno’s Corner’ (I saw no corner mind you). The old couple who run it cooked us a fine lunch & we were very contented.

The rest of the ride home was a delight & when we stopped in Bungendore for a farewell coffee we all agreed that we could not remember a more enjoyable ride for a very long time. Trevor went further declaring that of his four Triumphs his T150 is the most delightful to ride. I am inclined almost to agree with him, except for my cherished T120.

We all had a fine weekend & I believe that Toby is keen to repeat the event, perhaps in 2014; I did however urge him to pick an earlier date next time! All hail Toby!!

Lorraine Litster
1 June 2013


photos by Trevor Fowler