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Paul O'Reilly

  • 01 Mar 2021 11:29 AM
    Message # 10151992
    Daniel (Administrator)

    Paul O’Reilly (Rideau Lakes Section) by Shaun O’Reilly

    I don’t really know the date of my father Paul O’Reilly‘s last ride, but he passed away eighteen months ago in Gananoque, Ontario, a month after his 91st birthday.

    He’d spent his last years in the Rideau Lakes area, including several years down the street from the Bastard Township firehall in Portland, Ontario.

    Some of you may recall the controversy associated with naming the area CVMG section after that “old” township. Apart from being a chartered member of the CVMG Rideau Lakes Section, Dad was also instrumental in the incorporation of the Erie Ramblers Motorcycle Club (the ERMC) of Wheatley, Ontario in the early 1970s. The club had an active flat track contingent supported by D&M Cycle (Dave and John Metcalfe, and Mike Watson), and Robinson Motorcycles (Jim Robinson and Bob ‘Buck’ Buchan). The ERMC also held scrambles on their rural property.

    Dad had been a long-time fan of motorsports, riding BSA and Matchless motorcycles in late ‘40s Ottawa, storing a Rudge Ulster in our basement for a friend, and weaving tales of the Vincent Black Shadow owned by another, Don Smith.

    He once poked fun at me for not riding year-round as he had, but I reminded him that there was salt on the roads these days – otherwise I’d surely be out there.

    I’ve seen an old, familiar photo of his friend Harry Eagan in the CVMG news that illustrated his point, Harry being well dressed in a WWII flying suit, helmet and goggles appropriate to the cold weather they rode in half of the year. Unfortunately, there are very few other photos from those Ottawa days, but some of the early stories have been captured in Patrick Watson’s book, This Hour has Seven Decades.

    As a father, Dad took the time to read to his kids at the dinner table – stories of Tazio Nuvolari, Rudolf Caracciola, and Jim Clark, reflecting his own interest in four-wheel competition. While we know he’d placed third in the Thousand Islands Rally in ’52, then first on the Road Section in ’53 in an MG TC, and had several first place finishes in ice race and Gymkana events, numerous of his other trophies have long since disappeared. He nurtured that motorsports interest in his sons by encouraging our participation in motorcycle scrambles, and in the 1970s as the support crew for my brother Mike and his friend Jeff Ackert in the Corduroy Enduro, working the gas stops in an old Dodge van with his good friend John Ackert. Mike recalls John Penton’s family arriving at the Cord with old US Mail transporters for bikes and equipment, a scale of operation that is common-place today, but that was unique, impressive, and in particularly stark contrast to our own very modest family effort! Dad introduced us to Canadian Corduroy legends Bert Irwin, Bill Sharpless and Basil Jackson, but it was tough to fully appreciate the depth of experience and accomplishment of those elder statesmen of the sport until years later.

    The last few years had been very difficult for my father. He’d been an active man throughout his life, finding joy in reading, hiking, sailing, fast riding and driving, and he didn’t take well to the physical implications, restrictions and indignities of declining health in old age. He did, however, appreciate his visits with Rideau Lakes friends who helped keep memories of the cars, and especially the motorcycles he loved, alive: Fred and Marylin Crawford, Ernie and Terri Olivo, and Barry and Gail Brown. It wasn’t so much ‘the last ride’ that would have meant the most to Paul, but it was these friendships, and others from his childhood that counted most when all was said and done.

    1 file
    Moved from Last Rides Forum: 02 Mar 2021 3:31 PM

The Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group (CVMG) is a not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting the use, restoration and interest in older motorcycles and those of historic interest.

The Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group (CVMG) is a not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting the use, restoration and interest in older motorcycles and those of historic interest.

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