The Biking Birthisels To Compete Against Each Other at 47th Historic Winton


Historic Winton presented by the Austin 7 Club Inc in association with the HMRAV.

25th & 26th May 2024, Winton Motor Raceway, near Benalla

Major Sponsor: Shannons

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Historic motorcycle rider Peter Birthisel of Yarrawonga has two objectives in mind when he races at Historic Winton.

Naturally, he aims to win but the other highly competitive aspect of his race is whether his son, Mason, 26, will finally beat him.  It’s a race within a race.

Both father and son race 1942 Indian Scout Motocycles* in the Class C Harley vs Indian Hand Shift Challenge.

“We definitely keep score on who beats who in each race and sometimes it can get pretty close, so there is plenty of banter afterwards," Peter said.  "Mason took on motorcycles of his own accord and has been racing Indian’s since he was 16, so already he has 10 years’ experience.”

A mad keen dry lakes racer, in 2018, Peter broke a land speed record on his 1926 Indian Altoona, doing 157.425 miles per hour on the salt at Lake Gairdner. (The excitement of this kind of speed racing was well documented in the 2005 biopic The World’s Fastest Indian starring Anthony Hopkins about New Zealand racer Burt Monroe). 

Peter and Mason also compete against each other at Sellicks Beach in SA in the beach racing.

Apart from racing and riding Indian Motocycles, in the last 4 years, Peter has turned a 40-year-old hobby into a full-time business, which he runs with Mason.  They specialise in restoring and rebuilding hand shift Indian race bikes, pre-1954 Indian Motocycles.

“We have also been manufacturing barrels for Indians and send them to enthusiasts all over the world from our base in Yarrawonga,” Peter said.

And if racing and engineering isn’t enough, Peter is President of the Indian Motorcycle Club of Australia with the support of his wife, Toni.

“Toni is the one that keeps us organised,” Peter said. “She does everything from getting our schedule in order to making sure we have lunch, so we wouldn’t be nearly as organised without her help.  She is a fair dinkum race mum”.

*Indian bikes are called ‘motocycles’ – not the usual ‘motorcycles’.

47th Historic Winton – 25th & 26th May, Winton Motor Raceway, near Benalla

Discounted tickets for 47th Historic Winton – cars, sidecars and motorbike races - are now on sale.  Tickets and camping are available at this link:

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Winton Motor Raceway, near Benalla, Victoria