Central West Car Club | George and his military escort motorbike

PROUD AS PUNCH: Parkes Shire Councillor, and Central West Car Club member George Pratt, has restored a 1960 Military Escort Bike. Photo: Supplied.
PROUD AS PUNCH: Parkes Shire Councillor, and Central West Car Club member George Pratt, has restored a 1960 Military Escort Bike. Photo: Supplied.

Parkes Shire councillor, George Pratt, has always had a passion for motorbikes and for military equipment and this BSA we feature him with surely combines the two.

"This is a 1960 BSA 350 Military Escort Bike," George said.

"I grew up with motorbikes as a youngster - they were cheap and plentiful.

"We'd buy an old bike for $30, I remember, and ride it around the paddocks until it was completely worn out then start again.

We'd buy an old bike for $30...ride it around the paddocks until it was completely worn out, then start again

George Pratt

"I've always had a keen interest in military hardware too, having spent some time in the CMF (Citizens Military Forces), which is now known as the Army Reserves, so the BSA was a great way to combine my passions," said George, who bought this bike 30 years ago from fellow enthusiast Alec Mill.

"It was in bits and pieces so I rebuilt the engine and restored it.

"I'd find parts at swap meets, while I sourced the original colours from the military museum at Wodonga."

As a military escort vehicle, these bikes were used to lead convoys and featured a very low first gear which served them well in parades.

They were a bit of an all-purpose bike too, with chunky trials, universal tyres and a standard upswept exhaust for ground clearance, featured saddle bags, a first aid kit and a side mounted cylinder for carrying maps and documents.

This isn't George' only restoration either, he's had other motorbikes and he's also restored the 2 military cannons that you can see on Memorial Hill in Parkes and had a hand in restoring the one in Cooke Park.

"I traced the bike's history back to the Moorebank Military Transport Facility in Sydney, where it would have started and ended it's military service.

"They were the last of the BSA's in the military before they went to the Japanese bikes."

BSA (Bermingham Small Arms) was a UK company and manufactured, among other things, motorcycles and firearms - right up George's alley really!

"For its purpose, this bike was quite nimble and lightweight - I've used it on numerous rallies and its been really reliable, so it'll keep me going for lots of years yet."

George is a member of the Central West Car Club which was founded in 1954 and is stronger than ever now, with over 300 members.

The club meets regularly on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 at Parkes Leagues Club and welcomes new members.