24 Mar DJ Run 2017 – Durban to Johannesburg Motorcycle Rally
FMM curator Wayne Harley fulfilled a dream on 10-11 March when he took part in the Durban to Johannesburg Motorcycle Rally – the DJ Run 2017. This year was the 104th running of this legendary event and for the occasion he rode the ex-Ian Brodie 1934 Triumph 350 3/1 sponsored by Marius Malherbe.
The 700 km reliability and regularity trial runs from Hillcrest to an overnight stop in Newcastle then on to the finish in Germiston. Final preparation for the event was marred because of heavy rain on the Thursday night so Wayne was unable to actually ride the bike before the Friday morning start in order to get familiar with the machine. On a lighter side, registration also provided a small problem: his entry number plate was missing so he had to make up one using a blank and some black tape. Such was the quandary that for the rest of the event, Wayne was known as Mister 77, even though the original plate was later found.
Having studied the schedule as bedtime reading, Wayne was nervous at the start but was simply determined to finish. His start time 07h17 – 77 minutes after the first rider set off. The first 30 km went well until the bike’s amp gauge fell off and rolled and time was lost trying to find it. Then fuel starvation caused the bike to stall when going up steeper hills, forcing Wayne to push the bike to each of the summits. Attempts to fix the problem at subsequent fuel stops in Maritzburg and Mooi River cause more time loss without finding a lasting cure. A rear-view mirror fell off but was found – more time lost – before the lunch stop at Estcourt, where the fuel problem was finally fixed. The run to the overnight stop in Newcastle went without a hitch and Wayne ended the day in a respectable 71st position.
Day 2 began at the same start time with Wayne determined to do better. Road works on the road to Majuba caused a cancellation of a regularity section but otherwise the ride was going well. Wayne was now able to relax and enjoy the whole experience. From Volksrus to Standerton to a lunch stop at Heidelberg. A bit of the seat broke along the way but a MacGyver fix kept Wayne comfortably in the saddle. Heidelberg provided a nostalgia trip for FMM’s curator because the town was where Dr Anton Rupert established the motor museum where he began his career. The Heidelberg collection was the foundation of FMM when it was relocated to the Cape 10 years ago. Lunch was taken at the old Eskort bacon factory, and Wayne managed to catch up with many old friends who had come along to spectate.
The run to the finish in Germiston was trouble-free and Wayne improved his position by 10 places to 61st, despite the numerous hiccups along the way. “I am proud to have taken part in such an historic event,” he said after the prize giving where he received his finisher’s medal. “The organisers put a lot of effort into making it a success, and everyone involved is just so friendly, from the serious competitors to the straightforward enthusiasts. All along the way, spectators watch and wave as the riders pass by. It is a stunning experience.” MM