Vintage Beach Racing Down Under was a Beaut!

Vintage motorcycles and amazing biker stories crowded a South Australian beach last week celebrating the return of a historic event.

The Sellicks Beach event, organized by the Levis Motorcycle Club, attracted 4000 spectators and 105 racing bikes over two days, February 18th and 19th.

“Everybody had a ball – the riders are all keen to come back and the spectators were just ecstatic with it all,” the Adelaide-based club’s publicity officer Peter Hennekam said.

The club, the oldest motorcycle club in South Australia, began beach racing in the 1920s and held annual Sellicks Beach Speed Trials in summer through to 1953. Re-enactments were held in 1986 and 1992 but regular races had not taken place on the beach for more than 60 years.

Sellicks Beach is about a 45-minute drive south of the center of the South Australian capital Adelaide. It is well suited to racing because it has a pebble foundation under the sand, which gives it a solid base and prevents it from becoming boggy.

Clocking in at 1.6km, that’s 1 mile for the non-metric types, the track laid out for the recent event was the same length as the original track and took riders 800m down the beach before rounding a hairpin for the 800m return journey.

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The event’s return saw a field of 105 motorcycles manufactured before 1963 raced across five classes, under 125cc through to 501cc – 1300cc.

As eye-catching as the motorcycles were, the stories behind them were amazing.

  • Two riders attended, sporting the ages of 81 and 79, enjoying a 1958 Aerial they rebuilt over the last six months.
  • A racer rode a 1938 Harley Davidson shipped to him still in its original 60 year old crate. Not only did the rider put it together himself, but this was only the third time the bike was ridden.

“There’s 105 highlights, every bike and everyone had an amazing story of how they got there,” Hennekam said.

Fortunately, organizers allowed spectators onto the track to speak with riders and have a close look at the vintage bikes before each day’s racing.

Aside from having the perfect beach track, as mentioned earlier Sellicks Beach is located in South Australia is home to the National Motor Museum, the Bay to Birdwood classic car rally and more than 100 car clubs and 39 motorcycle clubs.

Adelaide hosted the Australian Grand Prix from 1985 to 1995, and is the home of the Clipsal 500, the only CBD street circuit on the V8 Supercar calendar.

The Sellicks Beach Speed Trials was declared a huge success and its organizers the Levis club, named after the English two-stroke motorcycle, is looking to hold the event every two years in the future.

All photographs in this article provide by Peter Hennekam, Publicity Officer, Levis Motorcycle Club

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