by Maia Hart from https://www.stuff.co.nz
Running out of petrol in Grovetown led Ron Hebberd to a lifetime association with the Marlborough Motorcycle Club, which celebrates 100 years this month.
Hebberd, a Marlborough Motorcycle Club life member, joined the club in 1954.
“I went round to the garage, and the guy that had the garage was secretary of the club. I asked him if he could sell me some petrol,” Hebberd said.
“He told me he only served motorcycle club members after hours.”
The secretary asked Hebberd if he had “10 bob”.
“Petrol was three shillings a gallon at the time, I thought that was a pretty heavy after hours call out,” he said.
But a week later, a membership form arrived in the mail and Hebberd thought he might as well go along.
“I got interested and did a lot of organising for a long time, and I have competed in trials and stunts,” he said.
On March 23, 1921, The Marlborough Express ran a news story saying a Motorcycle Club had formed, with 60 members signing up on the night. A week later, the club’s first event was held in Picton, lead by president Dr Russell G Adams.
Ten years ago, Hebberd published a book Motorcycle Clubs of Marlborough.
The book covered key events for the Club, which included the first Waterlea Grass Track event in 1922, which was an event with five races.
A write-up in the Express said motorcyclists and intended competitors at the races had spent hours amidst oil and machinery – which they dearly love – tuning and trying out motor “bikes”.
Hebberd said it was the camaraderie that kept him so interested in the club. He was president for two periods, and on the executive for 19 years.
He used to live in Seddon, which was where he worked at a service station selling Yamaha motorbikes and also running a motorbike museum, before he retired.
Living in the rural town he “always knew who had a paddock that needed to be ploughed”.
“So it didn’t matter how much you tore it up, it was going to be ploughed the next week,” Hebberd said.
“So I could jack up events. One of the problems with running sporting events now, is that with this health and safety set up, you have to have so many things and all of these things cost money.”
He recalled the 50th Anniversary in 1971, held at the Race Club when he was president. He also organised the 60th Anniversary and 76th in 1996.
The club still held events, such as motocross, trials and cross-country each year.
Current Marlborough Motorcycle Club president Ben Norris said the club was still deciding how they would mark the 100th year.
Norris said the club still had a large group of people involved, and they planned to hold four different events this year.