A familiar voice …..and Flying Squirrels

Mrs Tarsnakes and I took a drive to Lorne for a coffee. After a bit of procrastinating we decided not to ride the ZX14 and drove the car as the weather forecast was fairly grim. As we pulled into town I spotted a bunch of historic motorcycles parked,and I mean really, really old bikes. Naturally we pulled in to have a look and as I walked towards them to take a couple of pics, I heard a very familiar voice – it was that of my boyhood motorcycling mentor (and hero) Tom Kingston (TK).

Tom was my Dad’s boss, and friend, when I was a young lad in my teens and he encouraged my pre-existing interest in motorcycles. To a young ‘fella he was extremely charismatic and raced motocross (scrambles in those days) and was a highly competitive club road racer as well. Actions speak louder than words, and Tom coached me in riding technique around our huge backyard on his then brand new Yamaha CT1, and even succeeded in charming my very anti-motorcycle Mum into permitting it! Later I recall accompanying him to a road race meeting that he was competing in and I was given the thrill of my young life as Tom let me ride his XS1 650 Yamaha race bike through the pits. I recall blipping it far more than necessary to make sure that everyone could hear the glorious sound from its megaphone exhausts (and see me of course!). I guess I was around 15 or 16 years of age at the time. I’m guessing that these reminiscences sound a little self indulgent, however, I can see those events in my mind as clearly as though it was yesterday.

Anyway, although a huge fan of Japanese motorcycles, TK has spent the last few years restoring a 1930 Scott Flying Squirrel. When I last saw this bike 4 years ago it was a pile of rusty bits that I thought were completely beyond restoration. What has been achieved with this restoration is a great credit to TK. He is a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of Australia. All bikes must be pre Dec 31st 1930.

Tom with his Scott

Exposed valve gear on this 1920’s motorcycle.

Another Flying Squirrel . There were 1928,1929 & 1930 models represented in the group!

A lesson that TK taught me around 40 years ago was that good motorcycle control was achieved by getting your feet up on the pegs as soon as moving and looking ahead. Control of the motorcycle was characterised by little need to ‘dab’ once moving. Now take a look at the following video clip, keep in mind that Tom is 73 years of age, riding a hand gear change vintage motorcycle, and note the bike control – even whilst giving way at the roundabout.

Tom aboard the 1930 Scott Flying Squirrel

These guys must have ridden from Lorne up through the twisties to Deans Marsh and then back towards Geelong on the Cape Otway Road. We chanced upon them later in the afternoon and Mrs T took a few shots from the car window.

Bumping into TK like this was an unexpected treat.

Keep in mind that these enthusiasts were out riding 70 & 80 plus year old motorcycles in 10C-13C temps, shame on us for taking the comfort of the car!

Some more high resolution pics HERE

9 thoughts on “A familiar voice …..and Flying Squirrels

  1. They probably did about 200 kms all up. When we overtook them later they were about 160 kms into their trip and all three backup trailers were still empty.

    Regarding the R1, do you have any sort of roadside assist plan? I always think that we are pretty vulnerable to a flat tyre leaving us on the roadside more than anything else.

  2. Great pics Jules, and stories like this are always an inspiration. I hope I am still riding at that age.

    I do always carry a puncture repair kit, and has saved me a couple of times, but I have assisted numerous other riders who have been caught out.,

    • Roger, I get inspired by these guys as well. There was quite a mix of riders though, two young females, two young guys, a middle aged fella with his little boy riding pillion and one guy who looked around 80 yrs of age!

      Like you I carry a repair kit, but have only used it once to help out another rider.

  3. Jules
    Awesome post mate, both from the wonderful reunion and the wonderful photos of all the classic bikes. That header photo of the Squirrel tank was absolute perfection!
    Thanks so much, I absolutely loved this post.

    • Thanks Geoff. These fellas aim to restore AND ride, not just have them as display pieces, which I think is fantastic.

      TK was a great mentor to me when I was young, so guess what my son’s name is!

  4. Jules , Geoff has beaten me to it , the opening pic with the big splash of purple and the Scott motif sets the scene , followed by a bit of background , history and some nice moving pics from Mrs TS , a really good mix for a great post, and all by chance encounter . A bit of trivia , I think that Rod is wearing Rons AIF great coat in that shot of Toms xs 650 , as we shared coats and gear as the need arose , in those days .

    • Steve, yes a great chance encounter, especially as I missed out when you fellas had visited him on the ‘All Brit’ weekend. Do you know what the black bike is after the pic of Tom? He mentioned that it was pre 1930, but I can’t recall the name – it was not a manufacturer who I was familiar with. The guy riding it looked nearly as old as the bike!

      The old black and white pic is of the Ken Sheron tuned XS650 at Calder park. The XS1 later gained a front disc brake! I remember your Dad taking us all there on another occasion as well. Speaking of the great coat, I hope that you still have your full length antique leather coat and Ron’s wedding suit jacket.

      • The black unmarked bike , well the motor looks very much like an early OHC Velocette ,I dont know much about these bikes but they had models like MSS,KTT that ran for years like Nortons Es2 ., Cliff Salmon is a velo man he’d know . I have kept all the weird coats and stuff we used to ride in , might do a blog post for a hoot !
        Cheers

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