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History

A PROUD HISTORY

The Keyneton Motorcycle Club was the idea of Harold ‘Joe’ Doddridge, who at the beginning of 1950 had a motor workshop at Keyneton and was the local B.S.A. dealer. A lot of his clients and friends were running foul of the local police, or having accidents from racing on the roads, so Joe decided to try and do something about it. He contacted Ted Holyoak, who was at the time the Secretary of the MCC of SA, the governing body of motorcycle sport in SA, and he suggested forming a motorcycle club as this had been successful in slowing the accident rates in other areas.

Joe rounded up his mates and threw the idea at them and by June of 1950 he had 9 definite and a few maybes so he left it until July and called the first meeting. About 20 people attended that first meeting at Joe’s home on July 7th 1950. Among those there were future Life Members, Kevin Rohrlach and Ross Evans, and Frank Garrett from the Tanunda MCC and Bob Angas from the Sporting Car Club of SA who assisted in the details of setting up a club.

The first ten years of the Club is largely unknown due to the original minutes book has long been lost or destroyed. According to a number of members Colin Rattaey was the Secretary of the Club when he passed away, and having no direct family his possessions were either sold or thrown away. It is believed that the minute book was one item thrown away. Fortunately Joe’s father kept a diary up until 1953, so some of the Club’s history is known.

During the first 10 years the Club ran many events, started performing at country shows and set up a scrambles track at Keyneton on a property owned by the Bradtkes. The Club ran a State Title round scramble on the track in 1953. Two noticeable unknowns, due to the lost minutes are when the Club became affiliated with the governing body, the MCC of SA, and when the “and Car’ was placed in the Club name, because until 1967 the Club was known as the Keyneton Motorcycle and Car Club.

The end of the 50’s and the early ‘60’s saw the first changing of the guard in the Club, when names like ‘the Warnest Boys’, Ken, Jim, Don & Geoff, Max Lee, Trevor & Brenton Diener, Bob Petts and Ian Zander started to replace the original members like Kev Rohrlach, Vern Munchenberg, Eric Bentley and Brian Schulz.

By the middle of 1964 all of the original members had stepped down from an active role in the running of the Club when Joe Doddridge, 15 years after founding the Club, stepped off of the executive. Joe and Kev Rohrlach would be awarded the Club’s first Life Memberships in 1969 for their roles in the making of the Club.

The mid ‘60’s also saw the worst crisis in the Club’s history, with around 10 members struggling to keep the Club afloat. Not a meeting went by from October ’64 to the AGM in June ’65 without talk about the Club’s future. The AGM in June of ’65 saw 9 members decide if the Club had a future. According to the members who were present there was much talk on the future of the Club, but all that was minuted was one defiant sentence; “There was talk about closing the Club, but it will go on.” If there was a time when the Keyneton MCC spirit, or the heart and soul of the Club was born, this was it.

The members, led by Geoff Warnest as President, and including Tom French, Peter Harrison, Ken & Jim Warnest, Ron Weste, Bob Petts, Dennis Weichert, Trevor Smith, the Club’s first Publicity Officer, Dave Mahlo and a few others led the Club from the brink of closing in 1965 to owning the Club’s first clubrooms by 1969. A double garage was bought and erected at the rear of Porter’s garage in Angaston, so after 19 years of meeting in people’s homes, to the Keyneton Oval Hall, the Angaston Institute Annex to the Stockwell Post Office the Club finally had a home.

With the Executive staying roughly the same through this period it gave the Club a stable base from which to grow and the late 60’s saw an influx of new members with names like Whack Barratt, Laurie Williams, Kevin Linke and Ken & Max Rasmus all joining at this time. All would leave their mark on the Club in the coming years.

The ‘70’s started with the Club continuing to grow and start to find that the clubrooms was becoming too small. Membership had reached 40 for the first time as more people joined, including future Champions and/or Life Members, the Holmes brothers, Phillip, Roger & Chris, John Richardson, Robert & Andy Sherwood and David Klemm. The start of the ‘70’s also saw a number of Gawler MCC members join the KMCC so they could get competition licences. The Gawler Club was having trouble getting affiliated and the KMCC opened its doors so people like the Haydon brothers, Graham, Trevor and Phillip and Max Graetz could compete in competition. After the Gawler MCC were affiliated the KMCC lost those members, but gained a fellow Club that has become a friend, an ally and a friendly rival in the sport in SA.

1971 saw the birth of the Club’s famous scrambles track at Menglers Hill, and became the scene of many great scrambles, motocross’, the 1984 Aussie Observed Trials Titles and many Club activities.

The mid ‘70’s saw a changing of the guard take place on the executive after almost 10 years, when Geoff & Ken Warnest and Don Henschke stepped down, making way for new names to take their place in the top jobs like, Geoff Barratt, Ian Zander, the Holmes brothers and Phillip Boehm.

It was also around this time that the Club found out, through Ian Zander, about the Wilton Hall and its availability. With Ian working as a liason between the Club and the Wilton Hall Committee and with the membership reaching 50, an arrangement was made for the Club to move to Wilton Hall in April of 1976. It was also at this time that the Club had a new influx of members, so the move was timely for all concerned. Thanks must go to Ian Zander for his efforts in making the move possible.

The end of the ‘70’s saw membership creeping up towards 100 for the first time, with names like Fred Weckert, Steve Brook, Craig Saegenschnitter and Mike Connors joining around this time, It was also at this time that the Club first heard rumours about the Hall being put up for sale. Once again Ian Zander acted as liason and in January of 1980 the Club learned that they were the successful bidders in the sale. The Club, after 30 years now had its own property and over the years has continued to improve its facilities, with new toilets and kitchen, the Life Members Room, replastered walls and a 4 bay shed for all the Club’s equipment.

1982 saw the end of a long era in the Club when the last of ‘the Warnest Boys’, Geoff, stood down from the executive after 18 terms over 20 years, including a record 10 as President. 1985 also saw the Club loose the Menglers Hill motocross track after the lease was not renewed, but 15 years later the gates were once again opened to the Club and from 2003 there is a new lease and circuit being planned.

The mid ‘80’s saw a lull in the Club with most of the work being left to the dedicated few, but by the late 80’s an influx of new faces keen to help the Club saw the Clubs first renovations, the kitchen and toilets finished and in 1989 the Club was successful in its bid to run the 1990 Australian Observed Trials Titles. The event was very successful both, financially and status wise, for the Club received great praise for their efforts, so much so that it backed up in 1994 to run another successful Aussie Titles.

The monies raised from the 2 Titles made the Life Members room at the clubrooms a reality. It was also around this time that members like Craig Saegy, Steve Brook, the Schick brothers, Mark & Robin and Peters, Menzel & Kurtz started to slow down their involvement and were replaced by the current generation running the Club.

A new generation of executive members are now running the Club to the same high standards that had been put in place 50 years before, with 2007 seeing the Club run its fourth Aussie Titles with a team led by the now Life Member Ben Zander, son of Life Member Ian. This is one example of the Club’s strength, the families, 2nd and even 3rd generations keep the Club moving forward. Names like Warnest, Diener, Zander, Holmes, Beckmann, Barratt, Henke and Evans have all had more than one generation come through the Club.

July 2000 saw the Club celebrate 50 years, with the release of a history book and a special bottling of port. It also saw some 200 current and former members, and members of other clubs, return to the Clubrooms, some seeing it for the first time, to catch up and reminisce about times past.

Hosted by then President, Shane Kraft it brought together members from as far away as Kadina and Mildura, some of whom had not seen each other for many years, and it gave the current members a chance to meet these former members and hear the odd yarn. Founder Joe Doddridge was on hand, delivering a speech, with a tear in his eye that expressed pride and satisfaction that so many people had followed his dream and made the Club the force in SA motorcycling that it is today.

This is just a short version of the Club history and who has made it what it is. The Keyneton MCC book, ‘Golden Memories’ is 84 pages long and goes into much greater detail, with many, many photos. It gives the members who have made this Club great the respect and admiration they are due and there are still copies available.