Smoke Free Millfarm Scramble – Wandering 2013

The Vintage Motocross Club of WA (VMXWA) put on another brilliant display of old school dirtbike competition last Sunday (25/8), when they held the annual Millfarm Scramble at Wandering. Big fields of riders turned out to compete in events for pre ‘65 machines, pre ’70, sidecars, over 55 years (yes that’s the riders) and the usual A, B and C grade categories. Sunday’s feature race was the “all in” Dan Ferguson handicap, the race everyone wants to win.

With track and weather conditions as good as they have ever been, the large crowd was treated to a day of action, thrills and a few spills. The sounds and smells of old 2 stroke and 4 stroke motorcycles filled the air and the enthusiasm spread from the racetrack to the pit areas, where young and old fans enjoyed mingling with competitors and their motorcycles.

The days racing produced many winners from the different categories but in true VMXWA tradition, the presentations were awarded for participation and effort rather than 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Over 55’s; The field of 17 riders who lined up for the over 55 class included well known motorcycle racing legends such as Bill Watson, Alan Mitchell, Ron Tyres, Stan Read….These boys still love to battle it out on the track “on any Sunday” and their pace is always quick. With a combined age on the line of 1,028 years, these guys are amazing. There wouldn’t be too many sports around the world which could claim this much experience. “International” rider Derek George, now living in Albany, was presented with an award for camaraderie after waiting on the start line for his mate Stan, who took a fall!

Sidecars: Local Wandering brothers Shaun Brand and Lyall Steer on their T500 Suzuki outfit (which was ridden previously by Peter Barker/ Shane O’Keefe) took out the sidecar award for the day. The young rookies have adapted very quickly to VMX sidecar racing and will be running at the front of the pack in no time. Great to see Shane O’Keefe back in the the pits and it was also great to see 2 female sidecar competitors with young Hannah Dillon behind the bars of big sister Sarah’s Kawasaki triple with youngest brother Jason swinging in place of Robert. Boddington based Jeff Terry also turned up with a new female swinger on Sunday. Helen (didn’t get her surname) also from Boddington, had never been on a motorcycle in her life…..and she hung on for every lap of every race. Well done!

Pre ’65: Everyone loves the sound of these machines and the group of riders really put them through their paces. In amongst the field were big 4 stroke makes including BSA, Triumph, AJS, ESO and one lone 2 stroke Husky ridden by Brian Watson. Even though these bikes are at least 48 years old or more, they are a treat to watch and they really bring back fond memories of a bygone era. Mike Lawrie was awarded a goodie bag for his efforts on the Triumph (but he also appeared in the over 55 class, the A grade and just for luck he took on the role of sidecar passenger with Luke Boston). Mike’s fitness, enthusiasm and dedication truly reflects the spirit of VMXWA.

Pre ’70: With a field made up mainly of CZ’s it was a safe bet to put your money on a CZ rider. Young Matt Cheshire, son of past speedway champion Dave, rode a Wayne Clarke sponsored CZ 360 which was way older than him. It’s always good to see young people riding old iron and coming to grips with suspension and brakes that are unfamiliar compared to modern standards. Matt adapted to the old machine and had a ripper of a day, being the recipient of the pre ’70 award for 2013. Wayne might have some difficulty in getting it back now.

A Grade: The fast guys are really fast. Their top class machinery is probably faster than it was in the day and the mix of 2 and 4 strokes makes for good riding and good spectating. Rick Speak, Scott Lawson, Kris Lindgren and Scott Lawson are always good to watch and at the end of the day the A Grade award was presented to Scott Lawson on the #11. President Gaz said the award was for the “Tyre Hugger”….work that one out or ask him at the next meeting.

B Grade: With 28 riders on the start line and 11 different makes of bikes, the B Grade was always going to be exciting and hard fought. The battles were going on right down through the field from 1st place, down to the 2 or 3 guys fighting for positions 26,27 and 28th. Steve Hanson on the #18 CZ380 was crowned King of the B’s for being the all day Champ. Couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. Look out Steve you will be promoted up to A Grade with another performance like that.

C Grade: The C Grade races are always good and close. Amongst the 27 rider field were the youngest as well as some of the club’s more experienced riders. The C Grade races produced plenty of close action and wins were shared throughout the day. It was Jason “Fred” Dillon who collected the sponsor’s prizes at the end of the day. Jason was tagged as the “Most Improved” this year and it wasn’t too long ago that we remember this young kid riding a minibike around the pits after each meeting, just itching to turn 16 so that he could get out on the track and race with the big guys. Well done Jason.

Dan Ferguson Handicap: After a full day’s racing, 25 bikes lined up to contest the 6 lap feature race. The handicappers sent them off in groups with the quicker riders at the rear. They did a pretty good job actually, because the winner was decided on the very last lap.

When the field came around at the end of lap 1, it was Dave Christie leading the pack on Peter Squire’s CZ #59. The whole crowd cheered him on ….a fitting tribute to the man who recently left us after suffering a serious illness. Just behind Dave was Jason Dillon on Dave’s Suzuki, making up a Christie quinella. Lap 2 saw Jason Dillon take the lead, followed by Narrogin’s Frank Barron and one of the club favourites Asry Bizar who just gets faster every meeting. Dillon held the lead on laps 3 and 4 but he was pushed by the #36 of Frank Barron until Allan Mitchell broke through on the #69 Husky to claim 2nd position. Mitchell took the lead on lap 5 and was starting to look good for the new perpetual trophy, kindly made and donated by Stan Read. Mitchell was challenged on the final lap by young gun Ralph Miller on a 400 Husky, who was being closely followed by another young champ in Kris Lindgren. Both Miller and Lindgren managed to slip by Mitchell on the final lap and the #17 machine of Ralph Miller was able to snatch victory by the time they reached the chequered flag.

Final placings were Ralph Miller, Kris Lindgren, Allan Mitchell, Rick Speak, Jason Dillon, Frank Barron making up the top 6.

Another awesome day for vintage motocross and the end of another classic Wandering Scramble.

See you all at Narrogin on September 15.