King Dick motorcycle ready for Brighton Veteran Rally

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The Brighton Veteran Rally at the end of this month isn’t just for vehicles of the four-wheeled variety.
Wingatui man Bill Veitch will be one of several motorcyclists riding the route and his 1909 Abingdon King Dick motorcycle is likely to be the oldest.
The motorcycle enthusiast bought the King Dick back in 1961 after he came across it in a Green Island man’s basement.
The King Dick required some fixing up. “[It] was just a frame and an engine and a back wheel and a tank. There was no pedalling gear, there was half a set of forks, somebody had cut the handlebars in half .”
So he set to work and eventually the King Dick was in road-ready shape. He took it on its first Brighton Rally in 1967.
Getting it started was a difficult procedure and starting after a stop wasn’t easy, Mr Veitch said.“You’ve got to run beside it until it fires and then hop on.”
This challenge required a degree of athleticism. The task was harder as he grew older, the 77 year-old Mr Veitch said.
“You’ve got to be a bit athletic and some years younger than I am.”
More traffic lights and stops in town these days coupled with the challenge of getting it going meant the King Dick’s use was pretty much limited to the Brighton Veteran Rally once a year.
The King Dick was in need of some tinkering when The Star came to visit but Mr Veitch said he was confident the bike would be in good running order for the rally.
That was if the weather stayed dry, because in the rain the bike’s belt drive slipped and prevented propulsion till it dried up.
The annual Brighton Veteran Rally takes place on Saturday, January 28 and is open only to veteran vehicles made before 1919.