The 2017 Classic Scrambles at Ararat, Victoria roared through Crowlands
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Words and Images by Colin Rosewarne


The Classic Scramble at Ararat was held on a private property on the hand cut rural track
The Classic Scramble at Ararat was held on a private property on the hand cut rural track

In the current era where all racing bike exhaust notes are heavily muffled to abide by our overly restrictive noise limits; to have a day of unbridled sound was a real treat at the Classic Scrambles races in Western Victoria.

Happy faces and plenty of preparation going on in the pits at the Classic Scramble
Happy faces and plenty of preparation going on in the pits at the Classic Scramble

The Classic Scrambles Club held another round of racing on a picturesque, private property at Crowlands, north east of the mid-western town of Ararat and I have to say it was a fantastic event.

Des Heaney on the Matchless (#62) going around the outside of Johnie Kempers on the Triumph (#83)
Des Heaney on the Matchless (#62) going around the outside of Johnie Kempers on the Triumph (#83)

This very well supported event saw some magic solo racing on some even more magic machines including ageless motorcycling royalty such as Metisse, Velocette, Triumph, BSA, AJS, and Norton having ample track time alongside the more recent but still highly regarded CCM. A perfect example was Davis Morse’s lovely, all conquering Metisse Velocette.

David Morse ripping it up on the Metisse Velocette (#65)
David Morse ripping it up on the Metisse Velocette (#65)

Not to be outdone, by the British iron, the European marques were also in abundance with the beautifully engineered, radial finned Maico and CZ, the later CZ/Jawas and Husqvarna with a rare Rotax engined SWM from the recently re-birthed Italian maker.  

A nice AJS two-stroke
A nice AJS two-stroke

Quite a few tasty Yamahas, Hondas and Suzukis made up a great day of friendly, casual yet competitive racing on the hand cut rural track.

The action out on track at the 2017 Classic Scramble, Ararat
The action out on track at the 2017 Classic Scramble, Ararat

This great form of racing gave a wonderful lift to my now largely dormant senses and gave me, for one, the itch to find one of the many, many classic bikes I once rode, do a bit of prep work and give this classic scramble gig a shot.

Adrian Farrall on his BSA (#111) leading at the Classic Scrambles
Adrian Farrall on his BSA (#111) leading at the Classic Scrambles

A healthy dose of racer rivalry was present on the day with little quarter given to the airs and graces normally attributed to a mellow Sunday.

Josh Dutton (#79) rubbing bars with Brad Haliday (#44)
Josh Dutton (#79) rubbing bars with Brad Haliday (#44)

Classic lines, classic sounds and smells that is classic racing.  In the world of modern day racing, classic racing is a real pleasure to the senses. Here, a lovely example of the Czechoslovakian manufactured CZ racing bikes.

Daniel Bowen on his radial finned #888 CZ
Daniel Bowen on his radial finned #888 CZ

As with classic CZ’s and Maico’s, the British CCM is yet another example of the raw, exhilarating, big balled racing of the classic era. Clews Competition Motorcycles was born following the collapse of the legendary BSA marque in the early seventies. As with many businesses of that era, company founder Alan Clews commenced his business out of his garage before moving on to bigger and better things.

David Coates on the #139 CCM rounding up John Selva on the Metisse Triumph (#9)
David Coates on the #139 CCM rounding up John Selva on the Metisse Triumph (#9)

The event saw many portly, grey haired, no haired and/or long grey bearded, or just all of the above gentlemen racing a healthy spattering of brash, younger, fitter male and female competitors. The racing though, was on bikes predominantly manufactured long before these young un’s landed on this earth.

The pre-1982 machines, complete with their not-so great to harsh suspension, drum brakes and narrow tyres made a great, even competition without the sheep stations and a really good, fun, family day for all.

Garry Toulmin on his pre-unit Triumph
Garry Toulmin on his pre-unit Triumph

Rarities abounded at this meeting with unobtainium category bikes such as multiple Metisse framed racers, various alloy engined British iron. Linton Cox raced his lovely SWM. A recently reborn Italian marque made possible following a large injection of Chinese cash and incorporating strong Husqvarna, Cagiva and Aprilia design influences.

Linton Cox on his rare SWM
Linton Cox on his rare SWM

Please note that no responsibility will be taken by the author for the reactivation of long redundant muscles, arthritic joints and Dencorub purchases post-race. 

Gary Singleton (#z74) leads Clive Harrop on the Husqvarna (#313)
Gary Singleton (#z74) leads Clive Harrop on the Husqvarna (#313)

For all of those that have some classic iron sitting in the back of their sheds that are looking for a great, relaxing way to spend a Sunday or two give classic scrambles a run.  There are about a dozen different classes to suit pretty much whatever you bring. Why not give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

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You can find and join the club page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1134404343283406