British Diesel Motorcycle Rally 2018

Saturday at the Rally site.

I’d set out to have a rather low key Rally this year by not advertising too much outside of the alternative bike groups but in the end, as well as having plenty of diesel motorcycles, we had a fair few riders of classic machines turn up as well. The Bat & Balls landlord, Richard was well on the ball as always and a promised new track had magically appeared days before the event allowing one and all to roll nto the field unhindered.
We had a brace of new diesel Motorcycles this year from Sheffield that we’re based on the Kawasaki Z400 bike. Both used the Kubota Z482 engine coupled to a CVT drive but there were subtle differences between the two machines.

Always nice to see new diesel motorcycles

Part of the CVT mechanism. Both machines had subtle differences.

The ride down had been relatively trouble free I’m told for these newly constructed machines but some welding had been required at one stage when a Jack shaft needed attention.
The builders are aiming to make the Hamm Rally this year & we wish them all the success in getting there.

It wouldn't be a proper rally without Mouse bringing his dieselbike along would it? With giant indicators and a roaring engine to scare the devil himself, Russell stopped by early on for a few days before riding out to attend the Rat and Survival Bike show. One year these two events won't clash and maybe I'll get to attend both as well. Thanks for bringing her along mate.

Mouse's Monster Dieselbike!

I’m indebted to Tig who brought along the incredible ‘Frankenstein’ bike. Ok, so it’s not diesel powered but it does fall firmly into the category of ‘alternative’ and given the way legislators are going we are now welcoming anything different along.

Lever steering is the order of the day on this Alternative motorcycle. It's petrol powered but I like!

This particular motorcycle was displayed for some time at FCL Motorcycles in nearby Cranleigh & is now in the safe keeping of Tig. The builder of the machine is the extremely talented Don Woodford who can still be found cycling the country lanes hereabouts. Having built a another bike with an experimental steering mechanism he went on to produce this from an old piece of gas pipe! More info here.
The previous motorcycle was featured in an article & towards the end of the piece this current bike is mentioned briefly as a project soon to be started.

Rumoured to be the first bike with under-seat exhaust? Superb engineering.

The machine itself is something of a wonder to behold. Steering is by two levers which are pulled & pushed to achieve the direction desired. The bikes front end would not ‘fall’ left or right as easily as any contemporary bike so we had the impression that manoeuvring would require a lot more concentration from the rider. The bike wasn’t road legal at the time of showing so nobody was able to take it for a spin to see how it handled.
The bike came with a one piece wooden seat & fairing which was somewhat reminiscent of a 1920’s boat or car but it was midway through being restored & so spent most of its time off the machine at the rally.
We’re told that it was perhaps the first bike with an under seat exhaust & I can quite believe it. On closer inspection many fixings were adjustable for the rider & the machine was clearly a labour of love.

Uncle Olle rode over from Germany on his Diesel Wiesel with Edwin and chums.

As always I’d like to thank to

The 2018 was something of a landmark because we saw the arrival of our first diesel Weisel. Since day one of the diesel scene we’ve seen these motorcycles at Hamm & it was great to finally see one roll through the gates at the Bat & Ball. The bike was the first ever to roll on British roads I’m told and the rider, Uncle Olle, was very proud of having achieved this feat and rightfully so as I can testify, it’s not easy doing that kind of mileage on a small machine.
Incidentally Uncle Olle rode over with Edwin & friends andthe first thing Edwin did on arriving was to pay back my bro Jeff with a spare inner tube. This after we’d furnished him with one after last years incident when he’d arrived on site being towed by an AA van after getting a puncture.

Diesel Sidecar fun with Jeff's Track T800CDI looking on.

A moody Track T800CDI

We had a couple of Track T800cdi bikes along again this year, one owned by Bert & the other by Jeff, but the majority of machines were, as always, based around the Enfield. Sönke & Bodo were some of the earliest to arrive & like Hamm, they brought along the truck complete with the ‘tent in the sky’. I got a tour of how this contraption went up & stayed up & it was a minor miracle on more than one level. The van still had the container inside that could be filled with LPG but prices have changed & it wasn’t quite as economical to do so these days. Bodo’s better half Narzi made sure I never went hungry, feeding me a delicious potato & vegetable bake in between manufacturing her own straight cigarettes with a rather ingenious device loaded periodically with the finest local tobacco.

New legislation has meant that road tax & MoT’s are no longer needed for the earlier machines and when your bike is achieving 150 mpg, well, you can see where our chaps are coming from!

No tax and no MoT required, Sir! Kevin Briefs Matt on his bike.

Sam Brumby came again with his motorcycle trailer, something which always gets people’s interest and he camped up not far away from where some new guests on petrol machines had pitched up. I’m sure they had never seen the like of what was about them.

Sam's dieselbike and trailor. This bike has been to many shows down the years.


I’ve gotta thank Mike for helping fix both the Ford based 3 wheeler vehicles that made the long trip over from the continent. One had sheered a bolt head off & that embedded stud needed extracting before a replacement could be fitted. The other trike needed some welding on a downward strut supporting a wheel & so Mike graciously took both machines back to his place of work to be seen to. We heard that one of these trikes hit a pothole on the return journey & had to have a new wheel fitted. Luckily there was one to hand from somewhere apparently.

The Ford based Trikes return from Germany.

As is usual these days, we had many early arrivals in the field & I’m speculating that some of them wished they’d waiting a day or so before coming along! This is because we had a tremendous downpour around 2pm on Thursday that flooded the lower half of the field & raised the level of the pub pond by two & a half foot in no time at all! The water went up to the front door of the Bat & Ball but thankfully never entered it.

A rather magical looking Bat and Ball at rally time.

Chris the Coat had kindly brought along 3 gazebos this year which we originally thought was a bit of overkill. But after the torrential rain & then burning sun all weekend we were more than grateful for the cover provided by these well made covers. Chris also brought along 8 seats purchased of his own accord for our bikers. Well done mate!

Mr Panzer's Daihatsu K series dieselbike over from Germany,

We had several smaller run outs this year led separately by my brother Jeff & myself. Jeff took some guys South to Whiteway’s Café & the South Downs on one run whereas I took a few to Verralls Motorcycle Shop based at the village of Handcross. As always, we try to make the routes as scenic as possible by taking in local beauty spots & road that are covered at length with ‘tree tunnels’. One day we’ll not loose anyone!

Jeff mounts his Track T800 before one of the early rideouts from the Big Knock.

As always, a BBQ accompanied by a few cold beers took place every night.

Teun tells me europes premier sidecar builder joined us bringing along his latest creation.

As always I’d like to thank to many riders & diesel enthusiasts who supported us again. Good to catch up with everyone and see everyone chatting away, often at considerable length, on the subject of diesel motorcycles.


Additional pictures from the rally.

Flying visit from Thomas before he headed off to a marathon.

The bikes out back of the Chalet Cafe, always a favourite place for breakfast.

Sonkes Gustav dieselbike.


#Sommer #Hatz #diesel motorcycle by Jochen Sommer.

Ron Woodford's Lever Steering Boxer was popular!


Fergus's little Kubota diesel bike with our Ruggerfield in the background.

Tim's Honda based bike.

Tim arrives from the West Country.

Kev arrives back from a morning ride.

The new bikes on the block.




SJS © Copyright All Rights Reserved