Team of Dans rush to Harley’s aid

Daneka HillNorth West Telegraph
Rider and owner Hugh Taylor dressed at 1970's cult figure the "mannish woman" Auntie Jack with brother and support van driver Iain Taylor
Camera IconRider and owner Hugh Taylor dressed at 1970's cult figure the "mannish woman" Auntie Jack with brother and support van driver Iain Taylor Credit: North West Telegraph, Daneka Hill

Big-hearted locals from Port Hedland have come to the rescue of an 81-year-old Harley-Davidson being ridden across the Top End of Australia to raise money for cancer research.

The ex-Austrian police bike, which survived World War II and 40 years hidden in a coal shed, had to make an emergency pit stop in Port Hedland when owner and rider Hugh Taylor noticed some serious problems.

Mr Taylor and his team of family and friends were dressed in costumes from 1970s comedy program The Aunty Jack Show on a charity ride from Byron Bay to Exmouth, via Katherine in the Northern Territory.

With things looking grim, Mr Taylor just managed to get the bike into Port Hedland — the last stop before the finish line at Exmouth.

“I thought I wasn’t going to finish the ride,” he said.

Hearing of his troubles on the local radio, BHP workers volunteered to take the bike in and get it fixed.

Three diesel mechanics from Earthmoving Maintenance Solutions — Daniel Finch, Daniel Swindlehurst and Danny Outram — ended up spending two days pulling the motorcycle apart and putting it back together again.

Mr Swindlehurst said the bike had electrical issues and needed its carburettor cleaned and retuned.

The group were forced to improvise and convert the bike’s six-volts electric system to 12 volts because of a lack of parts.

Mr Taylor said the mechanics went above and beyond his expectations.

“The amount of work they put in, and they didn’t know me from a bar of soap,” he said.

Mr Taylor said he nicknamed local mechanic Mr Swindlehurst Diesel Danny because he did not want to let the machine go and there were so many other Dannys in the team wanting to help.

With its new lease of life, the bike visited the Hedland Riders Association, where members gathered for a ride around town.

Association president Gavin Bertolotti said the club wanted to assist Mr Taylor and his support crew as the Harley had broken down several times since leaving Byron Bay.

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