2017 BSA National Rally Report (NZ)

Back in October last year we were asked if we could put out a note about the NZ 2017 BSA National Rally that was to be held in February 2017.

February 2017 is a distant memory and so I went back to Ash to get a rally report. This report was originally included the BSA club magazine “Southern Star” and has been reproduced here for our readers as a follow up. Permission to publish this on our website was sought and granted by both the Author, Simon Byrne, and the Photographer, David Guthrie.

Thanks guys for allowing us to use this on the Barnstormers website. Its a great read. Enjoy.

2017 National Rally Report – One fire, one stabbing; it’s all going quite well really.

by Simon Byrne

This years rally took place over Friday 24 to Sunday 26 February in Inglewood, Taranaki. Forty nine people registered for the rally which was superbly organized and (for me at least) was relatively uneventful compared to previous years.


0900 hrs: The A10 Golden Flash is all packed and checked over, and I if I leave Masterton now I will be in time to meet up with my riding buddy Willie James, in Eketahuna at 0930 hrs. I suddenly realize that I might need a beer on arrival at the rally venue, there being no bar, so I hastily stuff a couple of bottles in my jacket pockets. Saying my goodbyes to Andrea she notices the bottles and makes me pack them away properly, for obvious safety reasons, in the already full up to bursting bags on the bike. Bugger. After 15 minutes of repacking and the air turning blue I’m off up SH2 at full pace but now late. Not a good start!

0940 hrs: Willie is waiting for me at the road side in Eketahuna. I fully expected him to be running even later than me but, being punctual, he is obviously a different sort of rally companion to others I’ve ridden with (you KNOW who you are). Willie has even filled his bike with petrol (take note Graeme Reilly). We’ve not ridden together before and we head off up SH2 with me leading so I can judge what sort of pace Willie wants to go as he does not trust his speedo. He reckons his A65 is rather low geared and revs too high to go at my usual cruising speed of around 60 mph (honestly, officer). After a while I can see he is happiest at 50 to 55 so we cruise along at that speed, enjoying the increasingly good weather.

1100 hrs: We are in Feilding and Willie notices his rear chain is bone dry. We find a bike shop and I guide Willie through the purchase and use of a small spray can of chain lube. Rather surprisingly he appears not to have used spray lube before which may explain his dry chain of course. “Engine oil does our farm bikes just fine….. aye,” he says.
I send a text to the group of Wellington riders and find out that of course, being from Wellington, they are having a coffee in Sanson and showing no signs of moving. We decide to press on to the little town of Patea. This is where the Wellington group are also planning to stop for lunch, so we should be able to meet up with them there.

1300 hrs: All is going to plan and we are in the Red Rock café in Patea. We had tried to get a beer in a couple of pubs before we got to Patea but unfortunately they were shut so we’ve arrived at Patea pretty parched and hungry. Shortly after we arrive the Wellington group make an appearance. They have also had a trouble free day, which I mainly put down to Graeme Reilly’s rally bike still being in the van so he could not run out of petrol or break down.

1600 hrs: We have had an enjoyable afternoon tea at Brian Kitney’s place where he builds up BSAs for a living, and have now arrived en masse at the rally venue, called Vertical Horizons. The beers I packed at the last moment taste great if a tad warm while others, less prepared, are sadly beer-less.

Guest and Lightweight. Photograph David Guthrie.

Me and Willie bag a couple of bottom bunks in an empty cabin and collect the bedding we had ordered from the venue operators. The bikes are all parked up in a huge hall usually used for basket ball, an excellent set up, and an impressive sight. I’ve seen worse bike museums. We place an order for some beers with the designated “beer fetcher with van” and settle down for an enjoyable evening sitting around the tables with the others at a seating area outside the hall.

1830 hrs: The rally fee includes a dinner Friday evening and Peter Cutché is behind the large brick BBQ in the seating area, with burgers, sausages and onions etc, and the inviting smell of food cooking fills the air, so dinner should be ready soon.

1900 hrs: Still no sign of dinner yet, but the air is filled with choking smoke and there are large flames coming from the BBQ area, reaching as high as the shade sail above it. A bit of a commotion is occurring but the beer and conversation is good so we don’t pay much attention, and the smoke is so thick we can’t see much anyway.

1915 hrs: The fire has been put out and the food transferred to the kitchen for cooking. Not surprisingly, but possible unfairly, see later, Peter has been sacked as chef and replaced by Ian Pike.

1130 hrs: Dinner has been eaten, beers consumed and most people have retired to bed, including Willie, but only after he made a fair dent in his whisky supply.
John Cochrane has just arrived on his C15 after an epic ride of circa 14 hours from Gisborne and is the centre of attention as he parks the bike in the shed. Those still up to see him arrive think he’s mad. It was not hard enough for him to simply ride the not inconsiderable distance from Gisborne, and he opted to use dirt roads in parts, and his bike is covered in mud. He deservedly won the “furthest travelled” award for his efforts.

1145 hrs: A group of three or four youngsters have just stormed into the hall. One guy is shouting that he has been stabbed in the neck! Yep, a quick look and he certainly has been stabbed, and there is lots of blood. They need our help and I dash off to call 111 whilst the others look after the victim as best they can. It gets tricky, and downright embarrassing on the phone when neither I, nor anyone else around, knows the address of the rally venue, in particular the road name and number. Eventually this gets sorted, and the emergency services get on their way.
It makes me wince to think that somewhere there is probably a recording of the 111 conversation, where in response to the obvious question of, “Where are you, what is your address?” I am initially lost for words and admit, “I don’t know”….what if this gets played to jurors in the eventual court case? Had you been drinking, sir? Well, yes.

0200 hrs: (Saturday): The ambo has carted off the stabbing victim to hospital, the police have been and gone. Before the police left they told us that they had caught the attacker, and the victim was comfortable and would be kept in hospital overnight.
It’s been an eventful evening and I’m glad to finally get some sleep. Normally it’s just bikes and their owners causing chaos on BSA rallies, this time though ………… it’s the locals.


0700 hrs: People are getting up and it’s time for an excellent breakfast provided by the venue. For the vast majority that slept through it all, the stabbing incident comes as a bit of a surprise.

1300 hrs: Willie and I are enjoying a beer in a boat club after having lunch. It’s a very atmospheric place, with a fantastic view out to sea. We could have stayed there happily all afternoon. We’ve completed the bike line up in the town centre and visited Fun Ho! toy museum in Inglewood.

At the lunch stop at the Cape Egmont Boating Club and lighthouse we looked over the powerful and very expensive rescue boat kept at the club and completed half the Saturday run, which for once I started on time, so could follow others and not get lost. There are no breakdowns, crashes or anything untoward to report.

Next stop is afternoon tea and to look at Peter Hutton’s impressive collection of BSAs, and other lesser bikes such as Vincents and Broughs. Only joking…….

1800 hrs: Willie and I are, once again, enjoying a beer back at rally HQ after the ride. More beer is on the way courtesy of the “beer fetcher” and we are looking forward to the Saturday night dinner, awards and after dinner speaker.As is usual, the potential awards recipients are an entertaining topic of conversation at our table. I have suggested Peter “the towering inferno” Cutché should win the “Horses Arse” award, and Ian Pike the “Hard Luck” award (for having to work with Peter). Also as is usual on rallies, there are a number of deserving candidates for the “Horses Arse” award but Peter gets my vote this year.
Note: As it happens there was no “Horse Arse” award given out this year, but we enjoyed talking about it anyway!

Rally Trophy. Photograph David Guthrie.

0030 hrs: (Sunday): Dinner has been and gone, Hugh Anderson was a very interesting after dinner speaker, and I bought his book. All the awards were awarded and beer, and whisky in Willie’s case, drunk. It’s time for some sleep.

1030 hrs: Breakfast and the AGM have been and gone, the cabins have been tidied and bedding returned, the bikes have been checked over, bags packed and goodbyes said. The scene of the fire has been inspected for damage and root cause. A huge build up of fat, and dry newspaper left underneath the hot plate was the conclusion on cause and confirmed by one of our members who is an ex-fireman.
It’s time to head off back to Masterton. Willie and I are one of the last to leave and we are going to take our time and use some back roads on the way home. We will also stop for refreshment at pubs in Feilding and Eketahuna, so the weekend is not over yet!
I have just “lost” Willie after only a couple of miles from the venue. He turned left, I carried straight on….. I have retraced my route and I notice Margaret Blair parked up at the roadside. I stop to see what’s going on. Despite me thinking the rally is over, Margaret still has the job of picking up the temporary road signs which directed us towards the venue on Friday afternoon. This was a timely reminder of just how much effort goes into organizing rallies, and how lucky we are to have people to give their time towards organizing them.

My Rally Statistics

Breakdowns – one (Willie ran out of petrol on way the home).
Being lost – none
Crashes – none
Fires – one
Blackened burgers eaten – two
Stabbings – one (see note below)
Miles travelled – 450 miles total for me.
Unhealthy breakfasts – two (but very nice too)
Beers consumed – I plead the 5th amendment (as does Willie)
Laughs – as usual, countless.
Note: Post rally the police told me the victim recovered quickly, and, given the risk involved the doctors did not even give him stitches in his neck. His attacker is facing up to 14 years in jail.

For more information about the NZ BSA owners club, whether it be membership or just to reach out for advice or help, head over to http://bsa.org.nz/ .