The organisers of this year’s DJ Rally for classic motorcycles are very satisfied with the entry of 90 riders for this commemorative, two-day regularity trial between Durban and Johannesburg. There had been some concerns about the number of entries for the 2016 rally in view of the current economic climate and the rising cost of competing in this famous event.

“Our original target was 100 entries, but under the circumstances an entry of 90 is very encouraging,” said Clerk of the Course Ian Holmes, who heads up an organising team made up of members of a various clubs under the overall umbrella of the Vintage and Veteran Club

The field of riders on pre-1937 motorcycles will set off from Oxford Village, Hillcrest, outside Durban in KwaZulu-Natal from 06h00 on Friday, March 11. This international event will have an overnight stop in Newcastle and finish at the Classic Motorcycle Club’s clubhouse on the corner of Power and Refinery Roads in Germiston from 15h45 on Saturday, March 12.

The first motorcycle to start will once again be the 1909 500cc Humber pedal cycle ridden by Samantha Anderson, a regular competitor on this rally and a person who has to do a fair bit of pedalling when the Humber reaches the hilly sections of the route.

A major innovation this year will be the substitution of sophisticated, automatic data logging instead of having marshals at the various check-points on the 700-km route between Durban and Johannesburg.

Each competing motorcycle or sidecar combination in the 2016 rally will carry a global positioning system (GPS) data logger that will record the time the competitor passes secret checkpoints on the route. In the past the organisers had to place teams of people at these points to record the times manually.

This annual DJ Rally commemorates the original motorcycle road race between these Durban and Johannesburg which was staged between 1913 and 1936, the year that the authorities banned racing on public roads on the grounds of safety. Therefore only motorcycles manufactured up to December 31 1936 may participate in the 2015 DJ Rally.

No fewer than 21 makes of motorcycle – mostly from the United Kingdom – make up the field for this year’s event. BSA (13) is the most popular machine, followed by Velocette (10), Sunbeam (8), Triumph (7), Norton (6), BMW and Ariel (5 each). Other non-British makes represented – besides BMW – are: DKW, NSU, Indian, Harley Davidson and Motosacoche.

The field for this year’s DJ Rally once again includes well-known international motorcycling journalist Mike Scott, a columnist for Simon Fourie’s Bike SA magazine. Durban-born Scott moved to the UK in the mid-1970’s but has recently returned to live in his old hometown. He rode his first DJ on Simon Fourie’s 1936 R12 BMW last year and this time Scott will be aboard a 1936 500cc AJS Model 18 loaned to him by the chief organiser Ian Holmes.

The only overseas entrant this year is Maurice Bracken from Ireland who will ride a 1930 500cc BSA Sloper.

Competition for overall honours will again be very tough, with a number of multiple winners of the DJ Rally in the field for the 2016 running of this famous, local motor sport event.

The field for the 2016 DJ Rally is divided into four average speed groups – 50, 60, 70 and 80km/h – and five classes, with the first four based on engine capacity – 250cc, 350cc, 500cc and over 500cc – and the fifth class being for motorcycles with a sidecar.

Spectators will be able to see the competitors on the route at the following places:

Friday: Shell service station, Mayors’ Walk, Pietermaritzburg, (07h45 – 09h00); Engen service station, Mooi River (09h45 – 11h00); Lunch at the Lion’s Club (old church), Victoria Road, Estcourt (11h00 – 12h30); Caltex service station, Ladysmith (13h00 – 14h20).; Mortimer Motors (overnight stop) (from 16h00).

Saturday: Shell service station, Volksrust (07h15 – 08h30); Smits Motors (Total) or Caltex service station in Standerton (if Smits is closed for renovations), (09h20 – 10h30); DJ Motors, Balfour (11h20 – 12h30); Rensburg service station, Heidelberg (12h15 – 13h30); Classic Motorcycle Club, Germiston (Finish from 16h00).

Sponsors:  Autocycle Centre, The Men from the Free State, Dick and Rikki Maizey, Bike SA (Simon Fourie), Castrol, Classic Motorcycle Club, Vintage Motorcycle Club, Ultra Recon, Shield, Turnkey Hydraulics, Motorrad Tech and African Electroplating.

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