NORMAN “Possum” Suhan bought his Ariel Red Hunter motorbike new in 1949 and has treasured it ever since.
“It’s very original, it’s done well over 100,000 miles and it hasn’t broken down much at all,” the 81-year-old said.
“I’ll keep riding it until I can’t start it any more and nobody will start it for me,” he laughed.
Mr Suhan, of The Sisters, yesterday recalled the day he bought the bike when he was working as a sugar cane cutter in Mackay.
“I was only 16 but I only looked about 14. I had to put my age up and say I was 18. It’s a 500cc and it was quite a big bike for a little bloke like me to ride.”
A policeman told him that if he was good enough to ride the bike from the sugar mill to the police station, he must be a good enough rider to have a licence.
Mr Suhan notched up plenty of kilometres riding the bike between Queensland and Victoria. It has also made the journey across the Nullarbor to Perth.
“When you were young, you didn’t worry about the distance.”
The bike was on display as part of the Surf City Motorcycle Rally in Warrnambool on Saturday morning, with a ride in the Grassmere and Wangoom area following in the afternoon.
Seventy riders journeyed to the Macarthur wind farm and then on to Hamilton’s pastoral museum yesterday.
Mr Suhan said the windy conditions “would blow a dog off its chain” but they were not a problem for him. The Ariel remained in the shed and he brought out his 1997 Honda Goldwing trike instead. “It’s just like being in a car.”