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Bill Watson. Picture: The West Australian/Sharon Smith

When Bill Watson married his wife Mary in Kalgoorlie in 1956, he told her straight - either the motorbikes stay or the wedding is off.

Mr Watson, believed to be Australia's oldest registered motocross competitor at 85 years young, not only still has his bikes but he also still has his wife and they have achieved a rare status in their two-wheeled fraternity.

He was crowned his club's official "Mr Vintage" in 1998 to honour his long service to the sport.

Their union was properly ordained in 2004 when Mary, for her committed part in waving the course flags for many seasons, was named "Mrs Vintage".

Now it seems life for Mr and Mrs Vintage revolves around the motorcycling passion.

"We laid the ground rules down," Mr Watson said.

"If we get married and settle down, you're going to take me and me motorbikes or just forget it. She was just, 'Yeah, I'll train you, I'll alter you'.

"But she's been good."

Mr Watson defied the illness known as septic shock to compete in the national vintage titles in Queensland in November and plans to kick up again for this year's event at Port Augusta in South Australia. He said he felt comfortable riding against the "60-year-old kids", but do not call him by his real name, William.

"That sounds like an old fella's name," the grandfather of two insists.

Mr Watson's motorbike fascination began as a teenager when he needed a means to tackle the constant headwind on the 5km journey from Boulder to Kalgoorlie to work.

He rode in his first event in 1949 with a 350cc Valaset and has been competing ever since.

But Husqvarna bikes took his true fancy, because of their "Swedish engineering", he says.

He bought his first in 1968 and now has his northern suburbs home shed filled with 16 of them. One is known simply as "The Thing".

"You can have whatever you like as an affix because it has been an orphan child," he said of the beastly bike.

The shed is also cluttered with spare parts and tools that would make television's Steptoe character proud.

Mr Watson claims he knows every one of the parts by name.

"It's a hobby," he said. "It's a fascination and because I can use my hands and machine tools to make things, it doesn't seem to be any problem … you just keep doing it. You go out there and enjoy it and use your brains and a bit of physical strength to get past the wild ones … and there were always thousands of those."

Mr Watson was adamant he was never one of them, even when he raced at Claremont Speedway for a decade in the stock bike class. And while many people his age are handing in their driver's licence, he bought a new pair of boots last year to help extend his life in the bike seat.

"I bought another pair of boots and my son jokingly said, 'Well, that's another 20 years you've got to keep going for'," he said.