By Roger Houghton
Brad and Darryn Binder, South Africa’s world championship motorcycle racing brothers, will join their father Trevor in the 50th running of the commemorative Durban-Johannesburg time trial for classic motorcycles. The event starts from the Heidelberg Museum at 09:00 on Friday, 13 March and finishes at the Shongweni Equestrian Estate, Hillcrest, on Saturday afternoon (14 March).
Usually this event is run from Durban to Johannesburg, hence the name DJ Run, but this year the 50th anniversary commemorative rally is running in the other direction, as was the case with the initial event in 1936 which went from Johannesburg to Durban.
Brad (25) and Darryn (23) will be taking part in the DJ Run less than a week after the opening round of contesting the MotoGP and Moto3 races in the season-opener in Qatar and a week before they will be racing in Thailand. Brad, a former world Moto3 champion, is making his debut in MotoGP on a KTM this season, while Darryn is riding a KTM for the CIP-Green Power team in Moto3.
Brad will be riding a 1935 Sunbeam M9 carrying his new MotoGP number 33, while Darryn will start one minute before his brother on a 1928 BMW R52. Father Trevor will once again be on his favourite 1925 Indian Scout, riding his 20th DJ Run.
The Binders will be running just in front of another pairing of two brothers, David and Ralph Pitchford, with Ralph a former off-road racer who won this prestigious event in 2016.
Another DJ rider with links to MotoGP racing is Derek Crutchlow, a regular entrant who is the father of Honda racer Cal. He will ride a 1936 Ariel Red Hunter.
The entry for this year’s event is outstanding with 107 riders having submitted the necessary forms to ride motorcycles made before 1937. The reason is that this event was originally raced between Johannesburg and Durban on public roads between 1913 and 1936, when it was stopped by the authorities on the grounds of safety. For this reason, the only motorcycles that may participate must be at least 84 years old!
The last time the DJ Run attracted a field of 100 competitors was in 2013 when the centenary of the first DJ race was celebrated and the route also went from Johannesburg to Durban.
What is also pleasing is that there are 20 newcomers in the field. There are also six riders from beyond the borders of South Africa: Brandon, Gavin and Les Youngman from the United Kingdom, Anthony Weber from Zambia, Andy Kaindl from Germany, Dorian Radue from Australia, and 80-year-old Paul Button from the UK, who is scheduled to ride one of Peter Gillespie’s famed ABC motorcycles, a 1920 model. Gillespie has also loaned a 1930 500cc Ariel Model F Twinport to George Portman of Bike SA magazine.
Samantha Anderson will again ride the oldest motorcycle on the rally. This time it is a 1918 Harley-Davidson 1000V Twin. Previously she rode a 1909 500cc Triumph with pedal assist for steep hills. It virtually burned out on one DJ but was subsequently rebuilt. This year Samantha’s son, Jayson, will be riding a 1929 AJS M6 one minute ahead of his mother.
The results are calculated on arrival times at various checkpoints on the route as the riders try to stick as closely as possible to their chosen average speed, which can be 60 or 70km/h. The arrival times are nowadays logged electronically by an instrument carried by the rider and downloaded at the end of each day. The rider with the lowest time penalty is the winner.
The various refuels and lunch stops between Heidelberg and Hillcrest are:
Day 1 (13 March): Start – Heidelberg Museum in Victoria Street from 09h00. First stop – Standerton (Engen garage) at about 12h00. Second stop – Vryheid (Sasol garage) at about 15h00. Overnight – Newcastle at Majuba Lodge from about 16h30.
Day 2 (14 March): Restart – Majuba Lodge in Newcastle from 05h30. First stop – Ladysmith (Engen garage) at about 07h30. Second Stop – Estcourt (BP garage) at about 08h45. Third stop – Mooi River (Engen garage) at about 10h15. Fourth stop – Pietermaritzburg (Shell garage) at about 12h30. Finish – Shongweni Equestrian Estate, Hillcrest at about 15h30.
The annual international DJ Run is run under the auspices of the Vintage and Veteran Club of South Africa (VVC), and organised by a committee with members from several local classic motorcycle clubs under the leadership of Clerk of the Course Larina MacGregor, who is doing this arduous task for the third consecutive year.
For more information go to www.djrun.co.za or phone Larina MacGregor on 084 949 0937.