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Profile on Des Gaze

DES was first introduced to motorcycling on the family farm. One of the workers there had a "Famous James" which he would attempt to ride to Gnowangerup. But at every attempt he would get as far as the farm gate and the bike would go no further (maybe this is what it was famous for!), and he would walk into town. So the Gaze youngsters who, watching and waiting for this to happen would run down and fiddle with the bike until it roared!!! into life. They would then take turns riding it around the farm. The next bike for Des was a Harley 10/12, a bit of a step up from the "Famous James", followed by an Indian Chief. Des also possessed an OHV BSA single which had a broken crankshaft, Des and a mate welded it, made a sidecar out of various bits and pieces and raced the outfit in speedway. If they could get a good start they had a chance of beating the quicker Triumphs raced by local identities such as Danny Killick and Bill Theyer. The trick was to watch the starter whose right leg would twitch just before the flag dropped, and off they’d charge to the lead. After World War II he bought a 350cc Ariel. There was then a long break until retirement before he renewed his interest in motorbikes. Des is well known for his endless supply of jokes, stories and a soft spot for 2 strokes. While pondering the question why 2 strokes? Kelly Walsh (that man of many words), who also happened to be at Des’s while I was taking the pics commented that: "Des has a deepset interest in the challenge and improvements of the 2 stroke motor," nicely said Kelly, an impressive statement. Des also raced go-karts for a while and at one stage had Bill McDermott’s racing McPhee Bantam engine in his go-kart, this was used to blitz the field in the 125cc class and give the 250cc’s competition. Des put that engine back in the Bantam frame, as it was originally, and run in local Hill Climb’s by Bill McDermott. Des also has a collection of DKW’s (1954 and 1956 250cc singles and a 1956 350cc twin) as well as Bultaco’s and a modern R80 BMW. He’s currently restoring a mid 60’s 350cc Yamaha, quite a rare bike these days and I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s smokin’ it up the road.