March 2000 Event Feature   
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  National Indian Rally 1999
  Swan Hill, Victoria, Australia
   By John Fryirs
Back in May I noticed an advert in the Classic & Enthusiast M.C.C. magazine about an Indian National Rally to be held on the Queens birthday long weekend. I couldn’t think about it for too long as the advert said “vacancies filling fast”, but it was at Swan Hill in Victoria which is about 900 km away from where I live.  

Oh well! What the heck!  

My bike is still in pieces on my bench and I know they wouldn’t appreciate a Honda or Ducati, so I packed the car. To prove that I really did have one, I packed a few parts off my bike, a few original spanners and a silver dealer pin that my uncle gave me years ago. This latter item proved of great interest as no one had ever seen one, only photos of it.  

I left at 1 am Friday morning and arrived in time to and go to dinner on Friday night. I was in Indian heaven. There was about 60 bikes on the road and even more in various stages of restoration or original condition parked around the hall where we ate and entertained ourselves. What a great atmosphere and all I could think was “I could have brought mine”. I was bunked in with four other guys, so I was not alone for long, you can imagine the enthusiasm in the conversation, the photos, the information and other items that were brought along. One guy even brought along an Indian outboard motor which was placed in the hall.  

Although it was windy and cold, Saturday was a clean sunny day. I was offered a lift in a huge American van, which was so luxurious, so we went on the run and watched from the sidelines, feeling a bit left out.  

In Swan Hill there was a display put on and the Packard Car club was there as well. The bikes all went well and on arrival back at the venue they were parked in categories for judging. A mobile gymkhana followed which was fun to watch and some of the events looked very difficult. Here I got so carried away with my camera that I didn’t notice it had finished the film and rewound. Then, thinking it had not taken up the spool in the first place, I put it back in, there by stuffing up 64 great shots!  
Sunday turned out to be a miserable day but out they went. It was almost sheeting with rain and mud everywhere and cold. There were a few breakdowns and one woman lost a pannier, which was never found. Lunch was a welcome warm up at an ex-serviceman’s club. I think they were all glad to get back to the venue, have a shower and go to the presentation dinner. Prizes were awarded, although I think they should have all been awarded a trophy. I did very well in the raffle, winning a Nolan helmet, rear view mirror, key pouch and cap, so I came away very happy.  
Monday I saw them all off and then sadly had to head for home. I drove a straight 10 hours home and went to work Tuesday pretty tired.  
It was a fabulous weekend, a credit to the organizers who put in a lot of work.  
The next one, in 2001 is proposed as a long tour through or from Queensland, through NSW to Victoria, a very long way.  
I hope it comes off and I will be there!

This article was originally printed in the Indian Motocycle Club of GB's newsletter and posted here by permission. If your club magazine has had articles, you'd like a wider audience to see, please write us! 
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