The Classic Motorcycle Rally

The Motor Cycle 3rd July 1930

South Africa's Great Road Contest Held After All. Winner Disqualified Under Silencing Regulations.

The fourteenth annual Durban-Johannesburg race, a road contest that is unique in its conditions, was run on May 30th and 31st, and it attracted particular attention, for it will probably be the last of the .series,; the promoting body each year has found ever-increasing difficulty in obtaining the necessary permission from the authorities controlling the various sections of the 403-mile course.

This year a long period of doubt as to whether the race could indeed be held at all threatened to curtail the number of entries; permission was at last obtained only a month before the event, and in the circumstances the entry of ninety was a good one.

The restrictions imposed by the authorities also had an indirect but unfortunate effect in the actual race; silencers are compulsory, and, the winner, A. B. Browne (250 D.K.W.) was disqualified because his silencer, it was alleged, did not comply with requirements. The disqualification appears to have been a somewhat unsatisfactory and irregular business, because at the beginning of the race Browne's silencer was examined, and after, certain .amount of deliberation he was officially started. At Newcastle, the half-way point .and night stop, he was told he must retire; he protested, however, and was again officially started the next morning, although the disqualification had been widely announced. At the finish at Johannesburg he was checked in, and his time was announced, but at a special meeting later it was decided, much to his chagrin, to disqualify him definitely.

An Outstanding Performance.

The whole affair was regrettable, because he had made the most outstanding performance in the whole history of the race.

The fact that the event was likely to be the last of the series brought together double the usual crowd at the start, 2 miles from Durban Town Hall. From year to year the limit handicap has been gradually brought back for the 175 c.c. two-strokes from several hours down to the comparatively small allowance of 2h. 24m., due to the great improvement in road surfaces throughout the distance.

Heavy rain had fallen overnight, and when the two limit men went off at 6.30 a.m. in darkness, a thick white mist made matters uncomfortable for all the early starters. Although not dangerously wet, some places on the macadamised bends were treacherous by reason of sand washed clown from ;surrounding hills; within the first few miles several men crashed from this cause, but without serious results.

Half way to Maritzburg, (54 miles) Len Cohen (349 A.J.S.) retired with engine trouble; he had started from the 5min. mark, and was generally fancied as the likely winner. Already, in this first section, some 15 men had gone out. At Maritzburg E. Jacobie (175 D.K.W.), with a start of 2h. 24m., maintained the lead; I. H. R. Scott (247 James), 2h. 4m., had moved up a few places, and Browne (250 D.K.W.) 1h. 28m., had already picked up some 15 minutes on Scott. However, there were too many more miles to cover for the Maritzburg positions to be of much account.

More Exciting News.

Ladysmith, 154 3/8 miles, brought more exciting news. Scott was in front, followed by C. du Plooy (250 Sarolea), with Browne third. Browne had started from that unlucky position 13 and also carried that number, so he had moved up eleven places, and from the .times telephoned appeared to be travelling as fast as the back-markers. Equally fine were W. D. Griebenow (493 Sunbeam) and H. G. Adams (499 Rudge), who had both started from the same handicap of 21m. 15s.; they left respectively as numbers 68 and 67, and were fighting a terrific duel, never being more than 50 yards from each other, and had pulled up a huge number of places to 15th and 16th.

At the Newcastle check a sensation was caused by the early arrival of Browne, who, on his small-power machine, had finished first at the end of the first day, with no less than 23 minutes lead on his nearest rival. Still more remarkable was the fact that Browne had not merely created a new 250 c.c. record from Durban to Newcastle, but had beaten every other rider on net time; in other words, he had made best time of the day.

A closer idea of the changes in positions will be gleaned from the following table showing the Newcastle placings; the numbers in brackets indicate starting positions at Durban.

1. (13) A. B. Browne (250 D.K.W.)
2. (10) I. H. R. Scott (247 James)
3. (7) B. T. Klassen (225 Royal Enfield)
4. (8) C. Du Plooy (250 Sarolea)
5. (18) J. P. Thomas (250 O.K.)
6. (15) B. Kinsey (249 B.S.A.)
7. (22) F. Zurcher (348 Douglas)
8. (2) J. Riddell (172 James)
9. (08) W. Griebenow (493 Sunbeam)
10. (67) H. G. Adams (499 Rudge)
11. (6) E. G. Murray (172 'Francis-Barnett)
12. (01) J. Hansen (348 Velocette)
13. (87) H. Pearman (588 Norton)
14. (83) W. R. Harris (488 Royal Enfield)

A total of 37 machines checked in; 25 others, finishing very late, were flagged off.

The uncertainty that prevailed everywhere over the Browne incident at Newcastle and the surprising news that he had actually been officially started from, there took away all the usual interest in the second day's proceedings.

Very heavy rain fell overnight over the last 150 miles, rendering the red earth roads exceedingly sticky. Rain also fell at intervals in the morning, and it was generally considered that the final tussle rested between Browne, Griebenow, Adams, Pearman, and Harris.

Taking Browne's starting time at 7.30 a.m., he held 1h. 9m. on Griebenow, 1h. 10m. on Adams, 1h. 22m. on Pearman, and 1h. 23m. on Harris.

Heavy, Wet Roads.

The more level Transvaal roads provide the advantage of about 7 m.p.h. for a 499 c.c. over a 250 c.c. on a fine day, the advantage being accentuated by the heavy, .wet roads on this occasion. Further, Griebenow had seemingly been saving his machine earlier, because in 130 miles he was able to lop off 45 minutes. But Browne was also adopting the same policy, because in the last 50 miles Griebenow gained only five minutes, Browne finished the full distance 19 minutes in front of Griebenow; Adams was 22 minutes behind Griebenow, and Harris another seven minutes in the rear. B. Kinsey (249 B.S.A.) was fourth. Griebenow also won the first novice prize and fastest time prize. The team prize was taken by Sunbeams.


1. (68).W. Griebenow (493 Sunbeam) 21 15 8 12 49.15
2. (67) H. G. Adams (490 Rudge) 21 15 8 36 46.85
3. (83) W. R. Harris (488 Royal Enfield) 11 15 8 33 47.17
4. (15) B. Kinsey (249 B.S.A.) 1 11 0 9 41 41.51
5. (61) J. Hansen (346 Velocette) 25 15 9 0 44.58
6. (75) J. M. Clark (348 Velocette) 15 15 8 51 45.50
7. (10) I. H. R. Scott (247 James) 2 4 0 10 35 38.05
8. (87) H. Pearman (588 Norton) 10 0 .8 49 45.75
9. (22) F. Zurcher (348 Douglas) 1 7 0 9 58 40.04
10. (21) S. S. Flook (348 Douglas) 1 7 0 9 58 40.04
11. (58) J. Winters (498 A.J.S.) 39 45 9 38 41.85
12. (81) P. Feinstein (348 Chater-Lea) 15 0 9 13 43.72

Time of disqualified rider: (13) A. B. Browne (250 D.K.W.) 28 0 8 53 45.41