This year’s annual Durban-Johannesburg regularity rally for motorcycles made before 1936 has attracted an entry of more than 100 riders. The event will start at 06:00 on Friday, 11 March from the Hillcrest Corner Shopping Mall, outside Durban, and finish at the Benoni Northern Sports Club, Northmead, Benoni the following afternoon after an overnight stop in Newcastle.
The route of 700km from Durban to the Witwatersrand is similar to that followed when this event was a road race on public roads between 1913 and 1936. The authorities refused to give permission for the event in 1937 due to growing traffic volumes on these roads and following the death of 25-year-old Jock Leishman during the 1936 race. This is why the cut-off date for competing motorcycles is 1936.
The big drawcards for DJ Rally spectators this year – as it was in 2020 – will be the participation of the Binder brothers, Brad and Darryn, who are both riding in the world championship MotoGP this year. They will ride with their father, Trevor, a keen classic motorcyclist and regular on the DJ Rally. He will ride his favourite 1925 600cc Indian, while Brad will be mounted on a 1935 500cc Sunbeam and Darryn on a 1936 500cc Ariel. The three of them took part in the 2020 DJ Rally, just before the COVID-19 lockdown and all three finished the route which went from Johannesburg to Durban on that occasion.
This year the Binder brothers are fitting in the DJ Rally between the opening round of the MotoGP championship in Qatar on March 6 and the next round in Indonesia two weeks later.
There are only two entries from outside South Africa in this year’s big field, being Anthony Weber, from Zambia, who will ride a 1930 250cc Sunbeam, and Les Youngman, from the United Kingdom who will ride a 1934 250cc New Imperial. Youngman, who has brothers living in Cape Town who will supply him with the New Imperial, will be riding his third DJ Rally
There are only three women on the entry list this year, being Stephanie Meyer, who will ride a 1932 250cc Royal Enfield, Bev Jacobs, a regular entrant, on a 1935 250cc Triumph, and Annel Hertog, who has entered a 1934 500cc Norton.
Fifteen riders will be competing in the famous international event for the first time, which is good news for the sustainability of an event of this nature.
Neville Smith, who is 87, will once again be the oldest rider in the field. His competition number is 35 (he was born in 1935) and his motorcycle, a 250cc Rudge, is also a 1935 model making it the same age as its rider!
Another special number allocation is 39, which will be on the 1933 500cc AJS of Trevor Jones to signify the fact this this year’s DJ Rally will be his 39th.
Tony Lyons-Lewis is another rider with considerable experience on the DJ and the 2022 event will be his 38th. He started riding the DJ on an uncompetitive 350cc OK Supreme, but then switched to Nortons, first a Model 18 and latterly a 500cc overhead CS1 (Cam Shaft 1).. He says winning the event continues to elude him, but he has finished in the top 10 many times, but has never finished either first or sixth, but in all the other positions. Tony’s brother, Jon, is not riding the DJ this year but will be his second on the event.
Three of the riders will be on sidecar combinations, with one of them – Nicholas Chapman on a 1936 550cc Triumph – electing to run without a passenger, while Brian Lange (1928 1000cc AJS) and Adrian Hollis (1936 600cc Sunbeam) will have passengers in their sidecars.
Several previous winners will be in the field this year, headed up by Gavin Walton, who has won four events (2009, 2017, 2018, 2019), Martin Davis with three wins (2006, 2007, 2011), Mike Ward (2004) and Ralph Pitchford (2016) each with one victory. Mark Broady, who won in 2020, has emigrated from South Africa.
Gavin Walton, who is one of the favourites to win again, made a good start to his preparations for the 2022 DJ Rally by winning the Pre-DJ Rally on February 20, with an error of only 89 penalty points. Stewart MacGregor was second with 131 penalty points and he was followed by Ralph Pitchford (137), Mike Ward (205) and Niel Stander (221).
“We, as the organising team, are delighted with the good response we have had from competitors, making this one of the biggest fields in recent years and this enthusiastic support is a fitting tribute to the 50-year history of the DJ Rally which commemorates the annual road races between Durban and Johannesburg between 1913 and 1936,” commented Hylton Allison, who is Clerk of the Course for the first time this year, although a seasoned DJ rider. (The DJ Rally is organised by a team from several car and motorcycle clubs on behalf of the Vintage and Veteran Club of South Africa).
For more information on the event, including the entry list, go to http://www.djrally.co.za
Published by: Roger Houghton