DJ RALLY 2024.

DJ RALLY 2024.


By Roger Houghton

2024 saw the 52nd running of this famous regularity trial which commemorates the annual motorcycle road race between Durban and Johannesburg, which was held almost every year from 1913 to 1936 before the authorities withdrew permission for the race due to safety concerns.

It is for this reason that competing motorcycles must have been manufactured prior to 1937. This year the average age of the motorcycles in the field of 76 starters was 92 years.

DJ RALLY 2024.
All dressed up and ready to go.

Gavin Walton scored his sixth win in the iTOO-sponsored DJ Rally which finished in Benoni on Saturday, 16 March. His score of 453 seconds put him 19 second ahead of Martin Kaiser, with Mike Ward, last year’s winner, in third place with a score of 483 seconds.

There were a total of 71 timed checkpoints on this year’s rally, with 36 on Day 1 and 35 on Day 2.

Gavin, who lives in Springs has won in 2009, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022 He once again rode his trusty 1936 AJS 500, which he has now ridden in 20 DJ Rallies. He was the winner on Day 1, seven seconds ahead of Ward, when the route went from Hillcrest, outside Durban, to Newcastle, and placed second on Day 2, when he finished 27 seconds behind Kaiser as the riders continued from Newcastle to the finish at the Benoni Northerns Club in Ekurhuleni.

DJ RALLY 2024.
Martin Kaiser #32

“This year’s event was most enjoyable with many of the roads repaired that had been potholed last year. The organization was very professional and there were no protests about the results, which is always a good sign,” commented Gavin after the finish.

Martin Kaiser, who rode a 1934 Sunbeam 500, was runner-up for the second year in a row, while Mike Ward, riding a 1935 Velocette 500, had to be satisfied with third place this year after winning last year’s rally. Ward was also the winner in 2004.

Martin Davis, winner in 2006, 2007 and 2011, finished seventh this year, riding a 1929 Ariel 500.

This year there were 56 finishers and 20 non-finishers from an original field of 76 motorcycles, which included only one sidecar combination this year. Eleven motorcycles failed to start the rally.

Brian and Steve Lange, the only entrants on a sidecar combination this year, placed 46th on their 1928 AJS Big Twin 997.

DJ RALLY 2024.
Brian and Steve Lange

The oldest motorcycle in the event was the 1918 Indian Power Plus 1000, ridden by Yuvi Jasti. It was the last official finisher in 56th position. The oldest rider on the event, 87-year-old Cliff le Roux retired his 1936 AJS 500 on the second day.

The youngest rider to start and finish the event was 28-year-old Sasha Corlett, who was 39th on a 1936 BSA 500. In doing so she beat her mother, Valerie, who rode a 1928 BSA 500 into 43rd position. Sasha’s father, George Corlett, a former winner of the DJ Rally, was forced to retire his recently purchased 1928 Norton CS1 500 International after forgetting to turn on the engine oil tap, resulting in serious engine damage.

This motorcycle was previously owned by Tony Lyons-Lewis, who competed in 38 DJ Rallies, 15 of them on this Norton, before retiring from competitive riding last year. The 1926 Norton Model 8 500 which Tony rode on 19 DJs prior to buying the International has been sold to Henk Rossouw who rode it to a 40th place finish this year.

Trevor Binder, father of South Africa’s MotoGP racing brothers, Brad and Darryn, had a good DJ Rally, finishing a creditable 15th overall, riding his 1925 Indian Scout 600. His total error at the 34 control points was 1 198 seconds.

DJ RALLY 2024.
Trevor Binder

Five of the 10 newcomers were classified as finishers of the event, with four non-finishers and one non-starter. Vivian Rocher (1935 Triumph 250) was the highest placed first timer, finishing 24th. Next best was Dale Maxwell (1929 Sunbeam 499), in 27th place. Other first-time finishers were Sasha Corlett (1936 BSA 500), in 39th pace, Benita Palmer (1935 Rudge Rapid 250) in 47th spot, Swen Dolenc ((1922 Sunbeam 500), in 51st position and John Karidis (1929 AJS Twin Port 500) in 54th place out of the 56 finishers.

Four of the record five women riders qualified as finishers. Best placed was Bev Jacobs in 11th position. She also put up the best performance by a Triumph motorcycle, riding a 1925 250 cc model. The other women to finish were Sasha Corlett in 39th position, Sasha’s mother, Valerie Corlett, who was 43rd and Benita Palmer in 47th position. Tamarin Skead failed to finish on her 1929 AJS M5 350.

DJ RALLY 2024.
Slow and steady gets to the end...

There were two accidents involving competitors during the rally. Keith Kendall, son of Graham Kendall, Chairperson of the Classic Motorcycle Club broke his foot, which is a big blow for him as a regular competitor in the Comrades Marathon. The other rider to come to grief was Richard Hyson, who fell off his 1924 Indian Scout 600 and cut his knee.

The DJ Rally was organised by a team from several local motorcycle clubs, under the auspices of the promoter, the Vintage and Veteran Club of South Africa (VVC). Tom Linley, the Clerk of the Course, acquitted himself very well in his first year in this position.

DJ RALLY 2024.

All the trophy recipients were given a copy of the 2024 Vintage Motorcycle Club (VMC) calendar in addition to their silverware. Fifteen of these calendars were also handed out to first time entrants.

“From my side I was pleased that the riders were happy with the road conditions as the VVC had stipulated that the route be as close as possible to the original,” commented Brian Noik, Chairperson of the VVC. The weather was hot, but the riders coped well. The VVC thanks all the participants, volunteers, and sponsors for ensuring it was a most successful rally.”


DJ RALLY 2024.
DJ RALLY 2024.
Some of the DJ Ladies...


1, Gavin Walton (1936 AJS 500), 453 seconds error; 2, Martin Kaiser (1934 Sunbeam 500), 472; 3, Mike Ward (1935 Velocette 500), 483; 4, Mike Venables (1933 BSA Blue Star 500), 636; 5, Neville Nicolau (1935 BMW 750), 745; 6, Kevin Kohler (1933 Sunbeam 500), 746; 7, Martin Davis (1929 Ariel 500), 787; 8, JC van Rooyen (1936 Ariel Red Hunter 350), 889; 9, Jason Anderson (1929 AJS 350), 958; 10, Ryan Duncan (1934 Norton 500), 996.

More info here.

Scroll down for all the event pics…

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