27th Frostbite Rally: Frost-free in Warwick


Marc Gunderson’s 1923 Indian Big Chief, fitted with a Melbourne-made Goulding sidecar.

The classic motorcycle rally scene is booming all over Australia and New Zealand, and OBA is proud that we cover many of these events each issue. The motorcycles range from true veterans, some more than 100 years old, right up to modern classics. The rally featured here is the Historic Motor Cycle Club of Queensland Frostbite Rally, held annually in Warwick, Queensland.

Report Bruce Affleck • Photos Wayne Pratt

This year we were blessed again with beautiful weather throughout the entire July weekend however with no moisture in the atmosphere, there was no chance of the mornings living up to the Frostbite name even if it was cold enough. The mystery ride on Saturday afternoon included a visit to the Darling Downs Hotel (affectionately known as the Sandy Creek Pub), West of Warwick. We have often dropped in to this venue on our Saturday ride, taking a variety of different roads to get there and this year the local council had recently sealed a gravel road that we had previously avoided. Everyone got there in the end and this year we had arranged for the pub to hold their famous pig races to entertain our group. This event involves a number of piglet suckers, dressed up in their finest colourful racehorse/jockey apparel racing each other to be the first to find strategically hidden samples of milk. Patrons can bet on their favourite pig or temporarily “buy” it and collect the winnings if it finds the milk first. It’s a lot of fun and good for a laugh.

Local Warwick man Andrew Rowan on his 1947 500cc Triumph Speed Twin.

Back at our HQ at Allora Showgrounds, patrons settled with groups of friends around the campgrounds. Following the evening meal, with everyone keeping warm by the fire drums and enjoying a few frosty beverages from “Ye Old Handle Bar”, we were again entertained by the exceptional musical talents of Kelvin, a Brisbane member, and Neil, one of our Warwick members from Highfields. Some great old motorcycle film footage and still photos continued to play on a screen for the enjoyment of members throughout the evening.

Norton Dominator 99, a 600cc twin in the famous Norton ‘Featherbed’ swinging aem frame.

Sunday dawned another fine day and 91 riders set off on either the short or long route around the quiet country roads of the Darling Downs. Unfortunately, due to the extended drought, it was a series of dusty, parched fields that greeted our riders this year. The back-up vehicles collected minimal breakdowns throughout the weekend, so that always helps everyone have a good time. After a BBQ lunch, the winners of the various categories were presented with their trophies, which again consisted of the locally made pottery mugs that have been so popular with our rally entrants over the years. Then the crowd headed off home with what we hope are good memories of another enjoyable Frostbite Rally.

A veteran BSA, with belt final drive and block-style brakes, thunders through the Queensland countryside.
Keith Holloy from Toowoomba on his 1950 500cc AJS Model 18.
Australia went to war on the 1942 WLA Harley-Davidson, and many of these old warhorses are still in regular use.
The BSA A10 Golden Flash, a 650 twin produced from 1950 to 1963.
Gary Stephens on his 1925 V-twin AJS.