Monday, March 20, 2017

Winners Circle

Three Blue Haze members took away the silverware (figuratively speaking) at the recent Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club National Rally, held March 17 – 19 at Pukeora Estate, Waipukurau.

A group of ten headed up to the central Hawke's Bay late afternoon Friday. Leaving from Manawatu Motorcycles were Rich (T500), Kim (Honda NSR), JB (RE5 Suzuki), Ian (1100 Slingshot), PC (Suzuki GT550), Paul (GT750), Barry (Z1), and myself (VFR800). We collected Terry (Honda SilverWing) and Ken (RD350) at Woodville. Alan arrived from New Plymouth on Saturday on his RD350.

Keeping off the main road we followed Pinfold & Topgrass Roads to Dannevirke, and then turned off at Matamau going through Ormondville and Takapau, and back onto SH2 and up to Pukeora hill. This is a great piece of twisted tarmac, and I’m sure we’ll include it in some future rides. 

Pukeora (Hill of Health) Estate is a vineyard, winery, and convention centre which was once the Pukeora Sanatorium It is a maze of old buildings with dozens of small hospital style rooms connected by a warren of passageways. In its day Pukeora has been home to thousands of people.

Close to 40 members attended the rally, and Pukeora estate suited us well. The hosts did a good job feeding us, there was plenty of space, and as usual Judy had everything well organised.

After bike judging on Saturday morning we made our way to Te Awanga, out from Clive, to visit the British Car Museum  - a walk down memory lane for most of us. 

We then made our way to Havelock North and took Middle Road down to Patangata Pub for lunch. Another excellent bike road. Then it was back to Pukeora for a few snorts before dinner.

After a very nice meal we had prize giving. Blue Haze did very well with Ian taking Best Suzuki with the GSX-R1100, Alan Best Yamaha for his RD350, and the People’s Choice award going to John for his beautifully prepared Suzuki RE5 rotary. Kim and Paul scored 2nd & 3rd respectively in the raffle with Kim getting a VR jacket and Paul a bottle of Tullamore Dew – which was dully sampled to ensure its provenance. An enjoyable night.

Sunday morning dawned another pleasant Hawke's Bay day and after a leisurely brekkie the gathered brethren began departing. John had some problems with the rotary leaking water from the header tank on the Saturday (temporarily fixed with Bars), and it performed the same trick on Sunday morning. This time Motor Machinists radiator repair product worked sufficiently to enable John to ride home down the main road, accompanied by Rich as backup. 

The rest of us took the long way home following Hatuma Road through Mangahei Road, coming out on Weber Road and then in to Dannevirke. What a great ride on a sunny day. Saw more turkeys than tin-tops, and apart from a few tractors the road was all ours. Heading south from Dannevirke we turned left at Oringi and went through Hopelands to Pahiatua. Lunch in the sun was enjoyed at Tui Central, then over the track and home.

If we link up the route we took to Waipukurau with the ride home, we have another excellent day ride on less traveled roads. If we add in Patangata to Havelock North on Middle Rd, and then back via Kahuranaki Rd to Elsthorpe and Patangata, we have a good over-nighter with enough corners to wear out a set of tyres. Need to put that on the list. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Eastward Ho - EOMR 26 Feb 2017

Well the end of another month came rolling around again. As the weather was so good, the decision was made to do something different and head a bit further eastward than normal for lunch at the Pongaroa Pub.

Something else that was a bit different was that Paul wasn’t riding today, but turned up at the meeting in his lovely silver grey E Type Jag, before heading off on a run with the Jag club. Now personally I’m a big fan of old Jags. Give me the menacing snarl of a hot straight six over the rumble of a bent eight any day.

After the Jag ogling session six of us headed off over the hills, Al and Bruce A on V four Hondas, Kim and Bruce S on 250 Yammies, an RZ and a TZR. Ian and myself on Suzuki’s, Ian’s big banger GSX-R1100 and me on the tired T500.

The general path was over The Track, through Mangamaire and Rongomai, then up Pa Valley road and turn left to Pongaroa on Route 52. Being in such rural surroundings we had to behave like sheep, with a couple of the flock breaking away and heading off in wrong directions. Fortunately they returned to the flock without need to dispatch the dogs.

As usual the food and drink at Pongaroa Tavern left everybody adequately fuelled up for the ride home. The general topic of conversation around the lunch table was what to do with a modified 2 stroke bike that runs worse than it should do stock. No consensus was reached but luckily the owner is a decent and moral enough chap not to take the suggestion to sell it on to someone else and let it be their problem.

The trip back over the hills through Makuri was pretty uneventful fun but the old T500 did take 12.8 litre into a 13 litre gas tank by the time we got to the nearest gas at Pahiatua, just to keep things interesting. By the time we got back to Palmy it was mid afternoon and some felt the call of a café to satisfy the coffee urge, while for others the call of the lawn mower was stronger and they headed home. What we all had was more memories of another top summer ride and sympathy for those who will never know that experience.

This post was brought to you by Rich, and photos by Ian.
Thanks for the spiel Rich, much appreciated :-)

Monday, February 6, 2017


In contrast to the last EOM ride, the 2-strokes have resurfaced and our Waitangi weekend was truly a Blue Haze affair. It might of course be argued that the Suzuki RE5 of new comer John isn’t actually a 2-stroke. But it isn’t actually a 4-stroke in the conventional sense either, and as it burns 2T (to lubricate the seals) we’ll claim it as one of our own.

Sunday served up a perfect day for a ride around the Manawatu; warm, no wind, and blue skies. 7 of our brethren took advantage of the still airs and headed for Feilding then up to Kimbolton via Makino Road. We were 3 Suzuki – RE5, RGV, T500, 2 Kawasaki – H1 & H2, a Yamaha RZ350, and an Aprilia RS250.

From Kimbolton we dropped down to Apiti and stopped at the old petrol station for a chat in the sun. We then took the Pohangina East Road and made our way to Ashhurst. This is the opposite direction to that which we usually take on these roads and offers a completely different perspective to the ride. 

At the Camp Rangi Woods turn off Dion and I swapped bikes and I rode the RS Aprilia back to Ashhurst. The RS was the end-of-line for 2-stroke road bikes, and is a culmination of Aprilia’s vast design knowledge gained achieving 18 250cc World titles. It was better than I imagined, and a more accomplished bike than any other 250 race-rep I’ve had the pleasure of riding.


At Ashhurst Rich and I attempted to help a fellow biker from Gisborne who had broken down on his newly acquired 1947 Royal Enfield. He had in fact just collected it from Wanganui that day and was on his way back to Gisborne, or so he hoped. No amount of coaxing could get as much as a cough from the old girl, and he had no option but to push it to the garage to return from Gisborne the next day with trailer to collect it.  Fortunately his wife was following in the car. I’m sure if one or two of the guys from the Classic Club had been with us he may well have been on his way, but none of us are familiar with older British bikes.

After coffee and a bite at the Fusion Café we headed back to Palmerston North.