News of the Day for September 2017.

It is getting to be that time of the year when we start thinking about the approaching summer and what we could or should be doing. Riding motorcycles of course. But with the weather that we have been having over the last few months any of that enthusiasm to get out to the workshop to do stuff has completely disappeared. Knobster has even admitted to sitting in front of the open fire watching Mrs Knobster carrying in the firewood to stoke up the inferno while he adds to his collection of empty bourbon bottles.

However things have been happening.

There has not been a lot of additions to the website, Knobster teasing readers with his Nuggets, but behind the scene things have been a lot different. One noticeable change is the increase in requests for information and owners just wanting to tell us what they are doing. One such person is Alan who contacted us after reading about our Enfield Model 505s. He has one too and just wanted to share with us that he will be putting spanner to bolt to get it going and on the road. Given the rarity of this model (about 12 survive world wide that we know of) Alan is just up the road from Barnstormers HQ, so naturally we have visited. And that is what Barnstormers is all about.


The annual New Zealand Motorcycle Show is on once again at the ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane, Auckland over the weekend of 16th and 17th of September (this coming weekend) from 9am to 5pm. Titled The Ride Forever Motorcycle Show it is organised by the Papakura Rotary Club. Good to see the named sponsor ACC supporting our interest with other key sponsors Royal Enfield, Bike Tranz, Yuasa Batteries, ABC Photo Signs, Star Insurance and Pro Rider. Thanks guys for supporting something worthwhile.

The show covers a wide interest of motorcycles with vintage, classic, custom and new models, with a total of 19 catagories up for awards.. Something for everyone so you won’t be bored.

Entry is – Adults $20, Kids (5-13) $5, Under 5s free, Family (2 Adults, 2 Kids) $40

See here for our report on last years excellent show.


How many of you have seen the McLaren movie? I have and what an inspiration the man was. When people talk of McLaren most only recognise the current Mercedes McLaren and do not know of the origins of the manufacturer. When you tell them of a extremely talented young man from Auckland, New Zealand and what he achieved before his untimely death in 1970 they are amazed. Well, what isn’t in the movie that is also interesting is that Bruce McLaren came from a family of motorcyclists. His dad Les rode and completed in race events, and so did Bruces uncle Alan. I have a couple of photographs of Alan competing at a gymkana at Blandford Park in Auckland in 1927, one is showing Alan in the Long Jump. This is leaping a motorcycle off a ramp at speed to see can do the longest jump. Quite an achievement for 1927. We will be posting these photographs later on. Alan continued racing in all types of motorcycle sport for the next 20 years then later on was elected on to the Hamilton Motorcycle Club executive, then to the executive of the NZ Autocycle Union.

And my most favourite piece of the McLaren movie, showing good old Kiwi ingenuity when describing how they tested the down force of a rear wing mounted to the roof of a Morris Mini van. They were using a set of kitchen scales whilst roaring up and down the motorway!! How great is that?

It is now out on DVD for $22.00 from the Warehouse so get down to your local Red Shed and purchase a copy. It is the sort of dvd that can be watched again and again. I do.


Did you know that New Zealand has its own Wall of Death?  Well we do and currently it is being renovated by a keen group of volunteers so that it can be put back into service. Originally built in Australia by World Speedway Champion Ronny Moores father in the early 1940s it was bought to NZ when the Moore family emigrated here in the late 1940s. It was used at various shows throughout NZ including the Easter Show in Auckland but has been in storage now for about 18 years so it will be good to see it out again. There is a Facebook page for it and the group are currently fundraising to help with the costs. There is already quite a lot of interest to have it at future events throughout NZ including next years Beach Hop at Whangamata, and next years motorcycle show in Auckland. Sections of the wall will be on display at the Ride Forever Motorcycle Show next weekend in Auckland with volunteers to have a chat with. Another reason to ride on in to the show for a look. We at Barnstormers would like to do a story on this iconic piece of NZ motorcycling history so if you have anything interesting that you would like to share you can contact us through the Contacts Page.


For those of you who have regularly visiting the site you would have noticed Knobbies Nuggets addition on the right hand side. There are a lot of machines out there that interest us however sometimes it is impossible for us to do complete write ups on them (lack of information, having regular jobs etc) but we like to prick the publics interest by showing them just what we see and then they can do their own research.


The UK Vintage Motorcycle Club is modernizing its approach to older motorcycles and now their monthly magazine, rebranded the Vintage & Classic Motorcycle, is available for purchase through normal book retailers. But that is not what I am writing about. In the latest August 2017 issue there is an interesting article about a man who rebuilt a 1910 4 cylinder FN motorcycle and rode it over 9,000 miles from Kathmandu to the FN company factory in Belgium. That man is Ron Fellows, a ex Kiwi from Auckland who has lived in Australia for the last 35 years. I saw Rons earlier efforts in restoration when in 1974 he completed a brilliant rebuild on a 1922 AJS V twin and sidecar in time for the 1975 National Vintage Motorcycle Rally in Hastings. His rebuilds are meticulous but despite the best of preparations things can go wrong, and over any long distance traveled challenges can many, from mechanical breakdowns, roads, and of course the language barriers.

You can check out exerpts from the story on Rons trip by going to   Alternatively you can purchase his book No Room for Watermelons from his website.

You will be impressed.


In helping the cause Knobby put a suggestion in the Anonymous Suggestion Box that we extend our library to include pre 1950 motorcycle manuals, parts books and sales catalogues. How did I know that it was from Knobby, well the senile geriatric didn’t have his glasses on and thought that the label said Enormous Suggestion Box so signed it. That and it is also on his mantle sandwiched between – yup you guessed it – his collection of empty bourbon bottles. Anyway the date 1950 came about as a lot of 1946 to 1950 motorcycles were pre war models with a few upgrades, mainly telescopic front forks (bouncy things with very little dampening). Except for Royal Enfield most other manufacturers didn’t adopt rear suspension until 1949/50 and even then it was in the form of plunger or sprung hubs. So to answer the hoards of emails that we have received over the lastest addition of the 1947 Velocette Owners Manual you now have an answer. Isn’t democracy an amazing thing?


Remember – by now you should be well into the planning for the Burt Munro Rally early next year. With the organisers setting a new date in February hopefully better weather will be on hand. Click here to see what is on offer.