Born: Sydney, NSW. By 1964 a 2nd-year apprentice sparkie, 7
pounds, 10 shillings/week. Thus first bike is a BSA Bantam 1952
125cc, 15 quid . . . oh well . . . later stolen by some no-taste
18 year old: Bought a 1954 G80 Matchy fer 14 pound with 15
pound fix-up via Jim Eade, Ashfield. My first deluxe interstate
bike . . . Melb, Adelaide, Dubbo; Newcastle; Nowra and of course
`65 BATHURST - brrrrr . . . open fires; wet great coats and pass
around VO Invalid Plagons . . . moving on... all of the above
well improved my roadside bush-mechanikicking!
1966: Upgrade to 1965 T'Bird . . . fast-reliable = see various
lock-ups till wised-up and came West with W.A. mate and his '61
Four days, 650 mile dirt, 3 crashes using "white horse balm"
for soreness! Sydney-Bodallin and wheat/sheep farming for
1968: We lost my travel mate, killed night riding around Perth . . . so quit that scene, and went road-racing around Caversham, on first the Trumpy then a vague-handling BSA B33 we had on alcohol, predictably crashing and first visit to Shenton Park Annexe . . . fergetable.
Further brainstorms had me in a speedway sidecar with Graeme
Sigley on his tidy Triumph Bonny outfit with limited success at
1969: Saw the light and raced a 250cc Bultaco with small
success 'round Wanneroo, great handling, brakes but when Yamaha
TD2 came, sighs. Put the lovely 5 speed Bully in a Kerr Frame
and with Doug Underwood, went short-circuit racing in S.A. - Vic
- NSW where I was lucky to be acquainted with the Alderton Bros,
Laurie and Dennis and Barry Ryan, Phil May great riders,
including John Heaviside of Sunshine Vic, a true Master Forger
1969/70: Claremont Speedway, was then my work boss, PMG engineer Ian Crowley sponsored self (novice) on a full JAWA DT SOLO! See more crashes, but dirt's softer! Still made A Grade with the then big-kids Chum, Bob O`Leary, Les Leisk etc...
1971: UK speedway - Bradford Northern - Odsal Yorkshire.
5.00 pt ave, a struggle on a diet of spam-eggs & chips,with
a leaky, woefully powered 105E Anglia Van. Broke collarbone,
thumb and pride but did run into Peter Collins MBE whom I much
later in 2009 IHC two day had him ride Bernie McCormack’s 350
Ariel. Peter at 17 then was quicker than most all who met him
but carried this same unaffected enthusiasm throughout his
illustrious career .
My UK host (Romford) at the time was Alan Sansum a RR outfit
Pilot what ran 3rd I.O.M 1971 in the senior sidecar class. A
definite IOM lunatic with a heart of gold. pretty sure the
`works` BSA triple he had with titanium rods, Rod Quaiffe 6
speed gearbox, and fabled Rob North frame, co-designed with
Alan. No slouchers so far?
1972: Claremont - broke leg avoiding fallen rider = no UK
return - see more Shents' instead. Rucky-Ricky!
1973: Claremont, second to Ivan whatsisname, (Mauger, six
times world speedway champion) then back to UK, Bradford,
small successes but then Teeside, another same leg broken,
bending existing screw in knee, can be said I'm no screw loose,
see X-rays . . . still have it.
1974: Claremont,with the aid of mechanic Dale Lings, we luck a
1st in WA, at this time worked at Mortlocks and punted a Suzuki
750GT waterbottle around town, smooth as, but no mpg, and no
ground clearance but effective nonetheless.
After that various jobs, motorbike vagabonds drift too, till I married Corinne, hairdresser extraordinaire of Collie.
Forced real world aspirations = Home - in Collie - kids - dog,
back to electrical trade with one left-over TM125 Suzi fer bush
work, Bill McDermott as a confederate sympathiser, which
followed unwisely to a WR Husky 250. Some painful enduros,
till double BRRRRR! crash and burn had it sold fer a road XT500
fer a while. Then the CX500 work transport, NICE ! as I worked
at the SEC Muja (soft, easy and comfortable) ta boot.
1983: More kids and a move down to Gelorup needed the CX650 fer
the longer dashes, they only ate plugs, filters and oil changes
but yer got quick, reliable easy care bikin'. Great . . . till 2
yrs later and 1pt left on license. Predictably onto four wheels
- the 626 Mazda lpg '90 model ran forever cheaply with aircond,
bugger! Too much logic to ignore. (sighs! sez Corinne) at last
no worries, fair enough!
Around 2000: Been yachting fer the most part, most summers
since 1978 really, crewing, owning an 8m S80 then crewing again
successfully always near the pointy end but not a lot of cigars,
Generally with yachts $$$$ means wins, I did help a bloke with
his tired XT500 and re-acquainted with Glen Britza,who then
loaned his '50 model Ariel 350 to me a few times that incl. a
dead dog story. So thus re-hooked agin, joined IHC, got weaving
with them literally helped heaps as you do.
Found Murray and Sharon Rudler super diehards, so liked them
lots which led to the ex-Bill Wylie 1954 Ariel 500 and after
Bernie, self and Ray Easson in Perth combined engineering skills
rendered the "Grunter" a reliable easy pedal on any trip we've
gone on, that's 10 yrs service out of an old design surpassed in
1938. But you know the Brits, when yer on a good thing, keep 'em
So first Hillclimb at Australind then same year '06 at Albany
Hillclimb with the remarkable '27 BSA/JAP of Murray and
Sharon's, missed one year with dodgy gall bladder. The JAP'S
proved a hit with all who listen and like a good bellow and the
friendly rivalry with Macca & Lorraine certainly re-kindles
the more favoured memories outa this brief epistle that I hope
Regards, Rod & Corinne Chessell.
The above article roughly translated from the Bunbury talk which at times is a bit like a different language!