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Vintage motorcyclist boasts victory

From classic challenges to triumphs: meet the vintage motorcyclist defying the odds for victory.

At 46, Gavin Walton (now 63) discovered a new passion for motorcycling, which he describes as akin to a thrilling treasure hunt.

In March, Walton secured his sixth triumph in the prestigious two-day iTOO DJ Rally.

Piloting his 1936 AJS 500 motorcycle, he blazed through the course in 453 seconds, establishing a commanding 19-second lead over his nearest rival.

The Selcourt resident fondly refers to the race as a ‘mentally stimulating treasure hunt’, where precision and strategy are paramount.

This motorcycle event pays homage to the historic annual road race between Durban and Johannesburg, a fixture from 1913 to 1936 until governmental restrictions halted public road racing.

In 1970, the rally was revived as an irregularity trial, focusing more on precision than speed.
Walton elaborated on the rules, emphasising the importance of reaching designated checkpoints within specified timeframes.

“Arriving either early or late incurs penalties, with each penalty equivalent to one second. Achieving a balance between arriving too early at one point and too late at another is the key to success.”

“The experience is cumulative. Initially, my goal was to complete the race, as I always had a competitive streak.”

Walton’s journey with the DJ Rally began in 2005 when a family friend, Hugh Hollard of Springs, graciously withdrew from the race and entrusted his bike to him.

His inaugural victory came in 2009, followed by another triumph in 2016, and a successive win in 2017.

“I did not know this sport, but with each race, I saw improvement. Since then, I dedicated myself to rigorous practice and even organised several rallies for fellow motorcyclists.”

The early-retired electrical engineer said if not competing in motorcycling, he found himself with ample energy and passion that led him to establish a hobby business specialising in motorcycle spares, catering not only to local enthusiasts but also supplying neighbouring countries.

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