The first motorcycle race between Durban and Johannesburg, South Africa, was held in 1913. At that time, a touring trip between the cities by road was an adventure in itself and motorists prepared themselves well in advance for all the eventualities such as mud, punctures and mechanical breakdown. Normally the trip would take two or three days and on their arrival at the destination, the drivers would normally be asked “How many punctures did you have?”

To travel by car was an adventure, by motorcycle an experience never to be forgotten, but to cover the distance by motorcycle at racing speeds…!

To cater for all sizes of machines, it was a handicap race with the little bikes leaving as much as 5 hours ahead of the scratch man.

The initial races were in fact raced from Johannesburg to Durban over a three-day period with stop overs in Standerton and Ladysmith. In 1919 the race moved to a two-day event and has remained as such to this day with a stopover in Newcastle. 1922 saw the event change cities and has been ridden from Durban to Johannesburg since.

The history and the experiences of South Africa’s greatest motorcycle racers taking part in the race are well documented and could fill several books on the courage, disasters, excitement, determination and spirit of the entrants as well as the bikes they rode. Sadly, the last event was held in 1936 after which the authorities stepped in and banned racing on public roads due to the higher speeds and increased volumes of traffic.

In 1969, the late Dick Osborne, himself an avid motorcyclist, persuaded a group of enthusiasts to help him organize a commemorative DJ run, using the roads that the original race covered and most importantly, using motorcycles that were old enough to have participated in the last DJ race. This eligibility limit meant that the bikes had to have been manufactured before 31 December, 1936.

The format of the run would be a competitive rally running to varying set speeds and participants’ performance would be monitored by hidden marshals placed along the route. The run would be over two days (as was the original race), with an overnight stop in Newcastle. The original Schlesinger Vase, still in existence, would be awarded to the winner.

The first commemorative run was in 1970 and it has taken place every year since except for 1974 when the authorities refused permission due to the petrol shortage.

The event is acknowledged as the premier vintage motorcycle rally in South Africa and has International status and is run under the auspices of MSA (MotorSport South Africa) and FIM Africa (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, previously known as the AMU – African Motorcycle Union).

The event attracts huge interest amongst all veteran, vintage and classic motor car and motorcycle enthusiasts.

The DJ Run is organised and promoted by the Vintage and Veteran Club of South Africa – VVC