Who was Harold Parsons?



Harold Albert (Ranji) Parsons was born in 1893 and lived at 22 Hoddle Street, Richmond. He became a mechanic at Turner Brothers, Harley-Davidson agents in 1916.He won many motor-cycling championships in four states and in August 1920 established a world record for 24 hours with a ride of 1114.25 miles on his Indian Scout 600cc. In 1921, he and a mechanic friend were trialing their cycles when Parsons collided with a straying horse, and later died in hospital, Over 1000 people attended the funeral and 100 motor cyclists formed a guard of honour.The Victorian Motor Cycle Club erected a monument with subscriptions coming from all parts of Australia. The monument was a double-sided drinking fountain with access one side to the schoolchildren and the other to pedestrians. Following vandalism the monument was re-erected and moved in 1989.

The reason for this event the  Harold Parsons Winter Rally being run by IIRA in August 18-19th is to show how much of a historic Indian rider he was, the memorial in Melbourne was the first  & only such thing erected to a motorcyclist in Australia. Parsons broke Connonball Bakers records & became the World Record  Holder

Harold Parsons.Here are some extracts from my book (Ian Kennedy).

I have enclosed your copy & more can be purchased at $20.oo each through me for the Maffra Sale Motorcycle club or from IIRA.

I think you will find the book interesting reading as it is a collection of information that I had collected over the past 30 years..

Copy below where Parsons beat Cannonball Baker’s World  record by 87 Miles set on a bigger bike than what Parsons rode.

Ian Kennedy.

 Born 22 March 1891, Richmond, Victoria.

Father: Sidney, a Coach Trimmer age 31, Mother: Susanna, Age 29.

22 Hoddle St, Richmond, one of 8 kids. (5 boys and 3 girls)

  Harold (Ranji) rode Harley Davidsons, then switched to Indians riding for Rhodes Motors (Indian motorcycle agents in Elizabeth St. Melb) . 

 They gave him an Indian motorcycle that had Victorian registration No 3 for his own use.

Died  J.H. Rhodes had brought 2 works engines back from America, and on

Sunday 15th May 1921 while testing a Power Plus Indian motorcycle (on a timed 1/4 mile section of road on Epping Rd) , he hit  a horse and later died in the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

He had no helmet on and developed a large lump on his temple.

A helmet may have saved his life.

1923: The Victorian Motor Cycle Club erected a monument at Yarra Park State School (The first monument erected to a motor cyclist anywhere in the world.)

(The James Guthrie, I.O.M. Memorial, was unveiled on June 15th 1938.)

The Motorcycle News reported that over 1,000 motorcyclists attended the funeral of Harold Parsons.

There was also a large crowd in attendance at the unveiling of the monument at the Yarra Park State School, Punt Rd,

Wins.  Harold’s motorcycling career spanned seven years, in which he crammed

a series of motorcycling feats that made him universally recognised as a  rider of exceptional ability, having no peer within Australia, and equal to the world’s best.

3.     Records, Some of Harold’s outstanding achievements in his 7 years of racing.

1914    July. Victorian Motor Cycle Club hill climb, Rosanna. First place.

1914    Dec. 500cc  1 Mile Australian record, 58 3/5 seconds.

1915    Feb. 10 mile scratch race. First place.

1916    Mortlake 101 miles in 97.16 mins but failed the 200 miler due to a dropped valve.   Harold Parsons sister, Mrs Cheslyn donated this world record medal   to the Maffra-Sale Motorcycle Club (MSMC.) About this time he then moved from Harley Davidson to Indian

1916    Fastest lap of  33 miles Mortlake circuit in 31 min 44 secs.

1916    July.     1 Mile World record time 46. 2/5 seconds .

1917    10 mile World record Mortlake, 7 mins 21 2/5 sec.

1917    Victorian 200 miles road race in 3 Hrs 20 mins at Sale.

1917    April.  Sidecar race Mortlake.  First place.

1917    Full points winner cup Marysville 24 Hr Reliability Trial. Boomerang Cup winner.

1917    Fastest at the 2 mile road race at Werribee, Vic.

1918    Australian 1 mile sidecar record 58 2/5 seconds. First sidecar to do over   60 mph .

1918    AMC Hill climb.  Fastest time.  ( 8 Valve Indian.)

1918    Melbourne to Sydney 575 miles in 20hrs 58 mins.

1918    200 miles in 200 mins.

1918    10 miles in 7 minutes.

1919    Nov.  AMC  7 mile record at over 80 MPH.

1919    Adelaide to Melb. 589 miles in 19 hrs 20 mins on a 7HP Indian Outfit,

beating the best solo record by 15 mins in the rain.

1919    Goulburn, NSW.  33 mile course, Australian Track Championship winner.

1920    NSW Peace Loan Championship Winner.  (15 laps of a 16 7/8 mile circuit)

1920    Sale.  Australian 200.  Fastest lap 70 MPH.

1920    May.  Fastest 5 laps at Moonie Valley Race Course.

1920    27th/28th Aug. Sale. 24 world records in all were broken in the 24hrs of riding

     1114.5 miles in 24 hrs averaging  50 MPH and 50 MPG. 

   579 miles in 12 hours & every distance record up to 24 Hrs

1920    Toowoomba.  All Powers Handicap. Fastest time and winner.

1921    Sale.  Easter Carnival solo and sidecar victories.

1921    April. Epping  5 mile Solo and fastest time.