Empire Chambers

Empire Chambers Canberra

(02) 6257 7381
Enquiries: jo@empirechambers.com.au


Empire Chambers

On Monday 13 September 1948 Roland "Rollie" Free steered a British made Vincent HRD 1000cc motor cycle at a blistering 150.313 mph over the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah in the United States of America to a new land speed record for naturally aspirated motor cycles.  

The Vincent HRD was a motor cycle of exceptional quality and superb engineering. The bike ridden by Rollie Free was works modified and one of approximately 80 Series B Black Shadows, identifiable by the two capital B's cast into the engine number. "Stripped down" and "hopped up" for the purpose it would lead shortly thereafter to the creation of the famous factory-built Black Lightening, revealed at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Cycle Show in London.

In order to set the record Rollie Free had developed what can only be described as a bizarre and flamboyant riding style by removing the seat from his mount and lying prone with his lower abdomen on the stainless steel rear mudguard, his arms stretched fully out in front of him with his fingers just grasping the controls whilst his legs were held rigidly outwards and to the rear of the speeding motor cycle. The position adopted by him being designed to present the smallest possible frontal area whilst at the same time keeping his bodyweight over the rear wheel of the machine for the most efficient transfer of power to the salt flats.

Finally, in an effort to reduce wind resistance, Rollie Free removed his customary protective clothing so that the record was set with him lying prone over his Vincent motor cycle encumbered only by a pair of swimming trunks, an old style "puddin' basin" helmet, speedway goggles and a pair of "plimsolls".

What relevance does that act of courage and innovative lateral thinking (years before Edward De Bono ever coined the phrase) have to Empire Chambers and your selection of Counsel for Court or Chamber work?

The answer in fact is quite apparent. Successful advocacy and effective advice require many of the qualities exemplified by Mr Roland "Rollie" Free in 1948. They both require a dedication to the job at hand; a willingness to make sacrifices; a certain fearlessness where circumstances demand it; the ability to plan a daring attack and the backbone to carry it to completion.

In short the capacity to catch the tide in the affairs of man at the flood.

Roland "Rollie" Free was a dealer in Indian motor cycles riding an English-built motor cycle, conceived and designed in large measure by an Australian mechanical genius Phillip Irving, at a time when the world was still small enough to stop for a moment and marvel at such acts of human ingenuity, daring and skill.

Rollie Free

Empire Chambers offers a good deal of that old-world dedication to purpose; flair, imagination, cunning and skill because we firmly believe such values are not lost, are not forgotten and are not beyond the wit of men and women working in a team environment.

In the words of our home grown bard we "ride bravely and do not fear the spills".


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