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Profile on Phil Penny


PHIL bought his first bike, a 350cc BSA (B31), just after turning 16.
At the time he lived with his parents in Westonia, an old gold mining town between Merreden and Southern Cross.

At 17 he sold the Beesa and bought a 1950 Ariel 500cc twin, which the following year was traded on a 1952 Ariel 1,000cc Square Four.
A change to 4 wheels was next when he bought an FX Holden.

At this time pubs east of the rabbit proof fence closed later than city pubs and also had Sunday sessions. Luckily Westonia was 6 miles east of the fence. Unfortunately driving home from the pub one night he accidentally knocked over a few white roadside posts! So, thinking that bikes were safer than cars he bought a new 1956 Triumph 650cc Tiger 110.

About this same time Phil and his brother bought a couple of scramble bikes. Phil had a TR5 Triumph Scrambler and his brother a Triumph 650cc Trophy Scrambler.The brothers competed mainly for fun, although his brother took a shine to it and was a bit more serious. They carried their bikes to scramble meetings on the back of a 1949 Ford Custom ute.

In 1958 Phil married Lurl, trading the bikes for something that kept him warmer at night he reckons! After 20 years of shearing Phil bought 3000 acres of virgin bush at Lake King which he developed into the farm that the family still has.

In 1980 Phil's interest in bikes was rekindled when passing through Leonora. He spotted a M20 BSA leaning up against a wall and made a ridiculous offer to the owner, who to his surprise accepted it.

On the way back to Lake King he stopped at Norseman, where after discussing bikes with one of the locals he ended up with a Triumph T100 as well. Being a Triumph fan he ended up selling the BSA especially when he realised the amount of work it needed including a complete front end as it had a Japanese one at present.

The Trumpy restoration was in progress when a farmer in Lake King happened to mention that he had an old Triumph on his farm.It took a while to prise the bike off the farmer, and it turned out to be a bit of a challenge.

When he retrieved it, every nut and bolt had been removed and bits were everywhere in the shed, but after restoring it the Trumpy has taken Phil and Lurl to the Eastern States twice.

Phil and Lurl started visiting Albany in 1983/84, riding with the local vintage bike movement. In 1990 they retired to Albany where they could pursue their interest in bikes even more.

That year they took part in the 1927 Harley Davidson Re-enactment Run from Perth to Sydney on the 1951 Speed Twin and Sidecar.The outfit took them over 11,000kms on this trip, the only major hiccup was a dropped valve in Victoria. Luckily one of the other riders on the trip had a spare. Spending half the night working on the bike, they were on the road the next day.

Other locals who rode to Sydney were: Lloyd and June Bowman, Leon and Daphne Brown, Robin and Pauline Webb, and Chris Lill who lived in Kendenup at the time and rode his BSA to South Australia with them.

The trip was followed up in 1992 when Phil & Lurl, Lloyd & June and Rob & Pauline rode their outfits to Adelaide for the Bay to Birdswood run. Phil and Lloyd had by now made their own sidecars based on a cross between a Steib and a Watsonian. In 1994 the two couples again rode Triumph outfits across the continent to Tasmania via Broken Hill. It took 21/2 months, with no back-up.

Highlight of the trip was being towed onto the ferry to Tassie as the Triumph had blown a head gasket. Some other minor problems occurred but none detracted from the trip.In 1999 the two couples made another mammoth trip, this time to Queensland, although the bikes were now R100RS BMW's fitted with a DJP sidecar.

Lloyd and June's outfit was practically identical to their friends. This trip lasted 3 months and 17,000kms. In 1996 Phil bought a 1982 Gus Kahn R65 BMW Special which he rode to the 1997 Grand Prix in the company of Jack Rowe.

Phil and Lurl are thoroughly enjoying retirement and vintage and classic motorcycling.


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