Friday, April 22, 2011

Old Trucks and Old Motorcycles @ Pongaroa

From Pongaroa Return
From Pongaroa Return
From Pongaroa Return
From Pongaroa Return
From Pongaroa Return


Three of us had an excellent ride a couple of weekends ago to the centre of the world, Pongaroa. It has been more than thirty years since I last past through the place on a fishing trip to Akitio So I was pleasantly surprised that not only was it still there, but still very much alive and well. My memories of the road through Makiri were very gravelly and very winedy with sharp ruts on many of the uphill sections. Thirty years later the tarseal has transformed the 52km road into a lovely mixture of tight and open flowing corners that generated an ear to ear grin. The only real concerns was the moss on some of the corners through the Makuri Gorge and a wee bit of gravel heading over the Puketoi Range. After no time at all we arrived in Pongaroa to be greeted by the main street full of old trucks. It took a few moments for it to sink in that these were vintage trucks as they all looked so 'right' in the setting. Our bikes fitted right in as they were of a similar vintage and as similar minded entusiasts do we got talking to the truckies. We found out that they were on there way to Tui Central after spending the night at place at Akitio. The rally was based around the district with people coming from far and wide. One guy told me it cost him $350 in diesel to drive down from Cambridge. Kawasaki triple people have got nothing to complain about next time they pull up to bowser! Our original plan was to have morning tea at the local pub, but it doesn't open until 12.00pm so after watching the trucks depart we wanderes down to the Pongaroa General Store. Although the restaurant come takeaways wasn't open there 2 for one deal of a pie and a cup of tea tempted us, and all for five bucks. It was a great pie and as we sampled the treat a steady stream of locals were availing themselves of the same. Alans local connections through his wife Fiona soon had a number of locals stopping for a chat and one got a wonderful sense of community that is definetly missing from our citys and towns. One of the locals even took our photo for the local rag as a part of an interest story on the growing number of motorcyclists stopping off at Pongaroa, Sure enough as we were getting ready to head off another group arrived from Wellington. It seems to be a popular circuit for Wellington motorcyclists who come up State highway 1/2 and return through highway 52. They were on a mix of bikes and after an extended chat. Alan commented on one of the conversations he had with a returning motorcyclist who regarded there new Motoguzzi 750 as an entry level bike. How times have changed! The return ride was the way we came and just as enjoyable as before, but with plans being made to do a circuit via Danniverke next time. After Alan topped up the A7 at Pahiatua he let Kim have a ride up the track on the A7. He was pleasantly surprised at how it perfomed with a wonderful motor that pulls from way down the rev range and plenty up top. Its easy to see why Graham Crosby way preferred this over the S2. We made our way back to Palmy feeling how great it is to see that there are places and people who still value our heritage in all its different forms. After all isn't that why we ride these old bikes
Roll call
Kim De Lautour - Yamaha RZ250
Alan Clark - Kawasaki 350 A7 Avenger
Gary Whiting - Yamaha XJ750

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