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2014 Irish National Rally, part 3.

September 19, 2014


21 year old Paul from Germany. 


Antique motorcycle clubs all over the world have been up in arms for the past few years.  The average age of an antique bike enthusiast seems to be 90 years old. Who will ride these machines when we are gone? How do we get youngsters to be excited by oily machines instead of video games or Instagram? Hmm, tough questions. I’m doing what I can to spread the gospel of old motorbikes via the OcchioLungo site, the Facebook page and even an Instagram account.  (click on them to see more). But the future belongs to guys like Paul. Granted, his dad Dirk is a veteran of 32 Irish Rallies, and supplied the fine Triumph complete with a rubber chicken on the rear mudguard. But Paul is a young man who is having fun on an old bike.  Even more exciting, he is a new rider, with only a little experience before he set off for Killarney. After spending a week on the tough roads, Dirk said that Paul now has gained the experience equivalent to riding three years on normal roads.

Triumphs and Velocettes seem to be somewhat in fashion with the younger riders today. Hopefully more people will realize what fun they are and keep the hobby going for another generation or two.

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Andy Tiernan brought this neat Panther outfit.


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Another great AJS big port.  In this view you can see that there are no screws/nuts holding the barrel to the crankcase.  The long bolt between the pushrods connects to a stirrup that crosses the head to another long bolt.  Loosen the two coupling nuts and the various carb/exhaust bits and the head and barrel can be off the crankcase in just a few minutes.

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Mike and his 1930 SS80.


So many great roads!

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by the water’s edge in Killmac

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This Indian is owned by an expat Irishman who lives in Arizona and shipped the bike over for the rally.

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Chris had a little roadside maintenance when one of the bonded plates in his AJS Vtwin clutch shed the friction material. But he was back on the road about an hour later.



The sticker bushes creep out over the road. Which looks nice, but they sting when you hit them at 30mph with the visor open on your helmet.

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Three pics of Sally’s Black Ariel. Testament to the skills of Val Page. These bikes perform very well, and look good too.

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Climber’s Inn is a nice place for a beverage. I think that it started as a type of hostel for hikers 100+ years ago, but now we invade the premises once or twice during the rally, with 165 people looking for a Bulmers, Smithwick’s or Murphy’s.

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On the Ring of Beara. Not part of this year’s route, but we rode there for a few days before the rally began.

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Mick brought his 1923 BSA from Southport England.

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Jack’s Norton is always a treat to see and hear. He promises to have his Ariel/Jap twin ready for next year’s rally.

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Harry Wiles drove this little BSA car all week.  It sounded really good with the inline 4 cylinder motor.

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Big Dave, Chris and Kim at Killmac. If you ever find yourself in Southwest Ireland, seek out this place and others like it. You’ll be glad you did.


 2014-08-27 12.02.06

Waterfalls. Rain. But I’ve changed my mind about riding in the wet.  After 34 years of avoiding it while riding, I found this year that rain doesn’t have to spoil a day of riding. And good riding gear makes all the difference!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim Abbott, Tucson, AZ permalink
    September 20, 2014 9:46 am

    Pete: I’m curious about the shifter on “Sally’s black Ariel”. The shift gate looks to have only 2 positions with neutral in the middle. Or is it 3 positions with no neutral. Also is that gadget at the top a lock in/lock out feature. And finally, is the tranny a positive stop shift?
    So many questions, so little time. Jim A., Tucson, AZ
    p.s. Wounds healing nicely. Bike healing nicely also. J.

    • September 23, 2014 8:48 am

      Hi Jim. The Ariel has a three speed, but the gate does look like a 2 speeder. I think the thing at the top is just a reflection in the chrome, plus the top two mounting screws.

      I’m not aware of any positive stop hand-shift transmissions. Velocette famously invented the positive stop foot shifter for the 1920s Isle of Man TT racers to save time and make shifting easier. Foot shifters didn’t use gates, and required the rider to move his foot to a different spot for each shift. That was tough to do on a racetrack, and it was easy to accidentally move the shifter too far and get the wrong gear. Of course nearly every bike since the 1930s has used positive stop foot shifting, first via the Veloce patent, then others marques made their own tech.

      • R. Quick. permalink
        February 3, 2016 6:56 pm

        Sunbeam 90`s about 1932 had a positive stop hand change.

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