Friday, September 4, 2009


Rex Walker with his Austral Star 1948
Walker from New Plymouth is shown here in an after race studio photograph, which was part of his prize for winning the 'Round the Mountain' Taranaki 104 mile classic in 1948.
Walker the youngest rider to win this race, was only 16 and a half years at the time, this result is even more impressive, when the conditions the race was run in that year are taken into account.
By all accounts the weather that day, which is normally rainy and windy at best for this race, were this worst seen since 1911, and only 13 riders finished.
Remember that the pro riders from this period were known as being real 'hard men' so the weather must have been appalling.
This is a later model Austral Star, early 1950's.
Some very nice, clean hand filed head lugs, I also noticed that it has the same spear point detail on the top of the top tube lugs, which is on the pre war Austral Star from the previous post and also other Austral Stars that I have seen. This could be a reasonably good way to identify post war Austral Stars that don't have the map of Australia in the head set.
Laurie Coats of Speedwell Cycles, Auckland, who was selling Austral Stars among other New Zealand racing bikes in the 1940's-50's told me that he thought these were the best finished New Zealand bikes that he dealt with.
This bike is now in the process of being restored, I will post some more photographs of it as I get it finished.

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