Friday, December 10, 2010

The 500 Corner Ride

From Taihape via Apiti
From Taihape via Apiti
From Taihape via Apiti
From Taihape via Apiti


The official November VJMC/Blue Haze run took sometime to get underway. Our quick getaway was foiled by a lack of air! You would think that the word 'service' was an important word in the vocabulary of Petrol Service Stations, but no. I had to go to four stations before I was able to find an airhose that was working. To busy selling lattes and gourmet pies! Paul W was on his Kawasaki GPz 750r, Dion on his Kawasaki KH400, Sir Al on his Kawasaki KH750, Kim on his Yamaha RZ250 and myself on my Yamaha XJ750. The route was to be up to Apiti via the Pohangina Valley, through Rangiwahia and then to Mangaweka, State Highway 1 and up to Taihape for fuel. The return journey was to be through Vinegar Hill and back home. The trip up the valley required extra attention with a lot lose seal on the road and despite a subdued pace a few of us had a few whoppsie moments. At our first stop at Apiti we got to talking with one of the locals who proved to be a bit of a character. His story was he had decided to retire to Apiti and he had 'the largest shed in town. Apparently it is filled with all sorts of racing cars from the sixties along with a motorcycle that he uses to explore the countryside. Next stop was Rangiwahia with a lot of talk about the great road we had just come through. We then carried on through to Mangaweka and up to Taihape for a refuel. It was then back to Mangaweka International Airport for one of there famous toasties and a cup of tea. By now the temperature must have been getting pretty close to 30 degrees so it was good to get back on the bikes and cool down. The run down State Highway one was the usual boring one and the run through Vinegar Hill was tempered by a lot of traffic returning from the Round Taupo Cycle Race. A quick stop at Stormy point to view the scenery and we were back on the road. Paul W thought he could do the whole trip on one tank, but had to duck into Feilding to refuel.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Gumboot Rally 2010

From Gumboot Rally 13 Nov 2010
From Gumboot Rally 13 Nov 2010
From Gumboot Rally 13 Nov 2010
From Gumboot Rally 13 Nov 2010
From Gumboot Rally 13 Nov 2010
From Gumboot Rally 13 Nov 2010


A small contingent from the VJMC/Blue Haze left Palmerston North for the gumboot rally on the 13th of November. The weather forcaste looked promising so it was decided to try a route none of us had been on for some time that took us up through Fielding, Kimbolton, Rangiwahia, Mangaweka and then to Taihape. The return journey was to be via the familiar Vinegar Hill route later in the day. What a pleasant surprise the road between Kimbolton and Mangaweka proved to be. The winding road made its way through some hilly countryside that took us along hill ridges that provided wonderful vistas through to riding through tunnels of trees in vallleys. Riding alongside the sheer papa banks on oneside and sheer drops into the Rangitikei river on the other make for exciting riding. It is not a road I would want to be on when it rains with the papa spread over the tarseal very quickly turning to a slippery muddy mixture. this is only at the Mangaweka end of the ride, but be warned. Cups of tea and coffee with a toastie were enjoyed at Mangaweka under the shade of the DC3 wing and then on through to Taihape. The motel proved to be a good venue with a good space for people to park bikes alongside a gathering area for socialising. A steady stream of bikes arrived as the afternoon progressed with Kawasaki krowd from Tauranga making a noisy entrance and not far behind the Hawkes Bay crew arrived loaded with luggage, including fishing rods. Apparently they were on a fishing holiday and had stopped off in Turangi on the way through. Didn't see any fish!
Good seeing Roger on his Honda K7 eith the original pipes. I am sure there aren't many of these around in New Zealand. It was an enjoyable afternoon checking out a wide range of bikes and chatting to like minded people. A big thank you to Trevor Opie for organising it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Special Sunday Ride

From Umutoi return
From Umutoi return
From Umutoi return
Dr Sprockets service at Umutoi

From Umutoi return
Johns Kawasaki S3a


The new 9:00am meeting time had us on our bikes and heading out of town for the Pohangina Valley just after 9:30. Along for the ride we had John on his Honda 900 Hornet, The Don on his well travelled Suazuki DR650, Bruce on his BMW 650, Sir Al on his trusty Kawasaki A7, Paul D on the immaculate Kawasaki H2, Kim on the improving Yamaha RZ250 and myself out for a spin on the Yamaha XJ750. Our first stop was Raumai after taking the back way via Colyton. As we made our way up the valley the temperature dropped and just past Pilgrims Rest the lovely high country vistas had sprinkling of snow on them. Just short of Umutoi we had our next stop with some taking the time to 'commune' with nature in a very simple service led by the Right Reverend Doctor Sprocket! The return journey had us stopping at the gate of the Pilgrims Rest which was unfortunetly closed so we pushed on to the Waterford. Paul D and Sir Al swapped bikes with Paul very impressed with the performance of the A7. After a some tea, coffee and a snack we headed into Ashurst and then around to Johns place to have a look at his latest purchase. He had just imported from the States a Kawasaki S3a 400 with a mere 2400 miles on the clock. Hopefully it will be all vinned and ready for our next ride in a couple of weeks.
Another great ride!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Haloween Day Run

Report by Dr Sprocket (Paul De Lautour)
Photos by Sparkie (Kim De Lautour)
From Haloween Day Run 2010
From Haloween Day Run 2010
From Haloween Day Run 2010
Six enthusiasts left Manawatu Motorcycles on Sunday 31st October heading west and away from the showers sneaking over the Tararua and Ruahine ranges. Dion on his trusty KH400, Bruce on his T350, Terry on the GT550, Kim on the RZ250, Paul on his H1 and newcomer Alan on his Kawasaki ER5 ( He is thinking about getting an older bike) headed off towards Feilding via Bunythorpe and Colyton. A quick regroup at the top of Makino road had us trying hard to keep ahead of the drizzly rain clouds coming across the ranges and on to Rewa and a stop at Stormy Point lookout. Despite the name it is quite calm with the beautiful Rangitikei Valley shrouded in mist. It was then on to Vinegar Hill and to Hunterville for a welcome Hot drink for some and a cool one for some of the bikes! Then its back to Feilding via some back roads that take us through Silverhope, Kakariki and Halcombe. We had a quick stop at Kens place in Feilding to see if he was working on his H1a (he wasn’t. We would like to think he was out shopping for some polish and getting it ready for next months run!) It was back through to Palmy and we were all still dry.
Another great trouble free ride
PS. Anyone finding a T350 baffle, Bruce would like it back

From Haloween Day Run 2010
Where is Ken? Where is his H1a?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Labour Day Ride 2010

From Labour Day Ride 2010
From Labour Day Ride 2010
From Labour Day Ride 2010
From Labour Day Ride 2010
From Labour Day Ride 2010


The weather forecast at the begining of the week looked promising for a Labour Day ride so the email was sent out and a group of nine gathered at Manawatu Motorcycles ready for a wander around the countryside. It was good to see Terry on his Suzuki GT550 a bike he has used as his daily commute since he purchased it in 1981. It has done over 50 thousand miles and has had nothing done to the motor. Amazing. Also along for a ride was John on his immaculate Suzuki T500 in blue with only a few thousand miles on the clock. Can't wait to see some of the other bikes he has in his garage. Geoff came arrived on his immaculate little Kawasaki KR150. A great little machine that has no difficulty keeping up with the group. Sir Al brought along his Suzuki TS250 that is running extremely well after its recent rebuild. Sparkie (Kim) decided to test his rewired RZ250 that was moving but still awaiting the repair of some 'spiked' electronic parts. Dr Sprocket (Paul D) wheeled out his immaculate Kawasaki H1a, Dion on the mighty KH400, Don on his Honda MT and myself on my KH250. After some discussion a ride was decided on. The route took in the Pahiatua track and on to Rongomai via Mangamaire and back through Pahiatua and back through to Ballance and over the Saddle road to Ashurst. First stop was at the top of the track and then onto Mangamaire. The Rongomai section of the run was as always a lot of fun with a range of tight and tighter corners well suited to these bikes. You can still have a lot of fun on 40hp or less and still get time to take in the country atmosphere. Just before Pahiatua Don went onto reserve and after filling up the calculations worked out at 25mpg! The run through to Ballance was far more interesting than State Highway 2 and then it was on to the Saddle. The run up was a bit of a struggle for those of us on 250s, but the run down the other side to Ashhurst was a ball. We had decided on the Ashhurst Inn for our morning tea but it was closed so off down the road to the Ashhurst Domain Cafe for some good coffee, food and conversation.
Another great ride.
Roll on Summer!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Blue Haze Takes to the Sky

From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010

There has to be a good reason to get up before six on on a Saturday morning. Five VJMC/Blue Haze members found one with the Christchurch Classic Japanese Motorcycle Group putting on there second bike show. We had all been impressed with the photos from their first show last year and when there great website (http://cjmg.org.nz) anounced a new show we made plans to head south. After doubts were expressed about the show happening with the earthquake, Mike and the crew decided to go ahead. Dion, Kim, Paul W and myself finally boarded the plane after the late arrival of the crew due to the 10 hour flying curfew from the previous night. We were further delayed by the late arrival of the refueler. Apparently he slept in! Maybe Palmerston North is a bit of a hick town? Tim was waiting for us at Christchurch airport having flown in from Wellington and so our visit began. The Papanui Lodge proprieter picked us up from the airport and delivered us to the first of our three units where we had a great cup of tea. My daughter Amie and her boyfriend arrived to taxi us around the place and it was decided to head to town to check out a couple of bike shops and grab some brunch before the opening of the bike show at 12:00pm. A real eye opener seeing some of the destruction first hand with vacant lots from demolished buildings and baracades around others. After having a feed at a local pub we made our way to the Papanui Club and found the show within the inner sanctum of the building. Walking down a passage way and into the show was like finding Aladins cave. The guys looked great in their CJMG tee shirts and as we made ourselves known Mike and the others greeted us. The variety of bikes kept us busy for hours. It was a Classic Japanese bike spotters paradise! The layout of the show allowed one to get a good look at the machines, and it was good to see some 'before' and 'during' bikes in various stages of restoration. Some of the lads were intrigued with the Bridgestone 350 on display whilst others enjoyed the 'The Toad', an RD350 still in its as raced state from the 70s. For myself it was great to see some of the bikes I own on display. I enjoyed seeing The Suzuki GT550j in such good condition. It is a bike one sees very rarely these days. The two Suzuki T500s looked great with there long rangey look and the KH250 was a great choice to greet people when they came through the door. After grabbing a few ales from next door the lads settled in for good chinwag until we got the boot at six oclock so the CJMG lads could go home and powder their noses for our evening meal at the Speights Ale House. As we left the Papanui Club Andrew our Taxi driver got pulled over by the Police. looks as though it is one of their favourite stake outs on Saturdays. For Andrew this was proved to be only his first converstion with the law as he was pulled over yet again a few hours later. Not a problem as he was well under the limit We had a great feed and some great conversation. Nothing like being with a bunch of people with the same passion as you!
Flying back the following morning the conversation was about how worthwhile it was going down to the show. The CJMG guys put a lot of effort into the show, and from us up here in Palmy a big thank you for a wonderful show.



Mike sent up the results of the Best in Show bikes
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
Best Trail
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
Best 0-125cc
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
Best Honda
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
Best Yamaha
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
Best Kawasaki
Best in Show
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
Best Suzuki
From Christchurch CJMG Show 2010
Dion trying to get a bottle of whiskey out of Sir Al (see previous post)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grumpy Yamahas and lost sidecovers

From Broken Yamahas
From Broken Yamahas
From Broken Yamahas

The nothwesterly wind wasn't blowing to hard and after two months of inclement weather it looked like an opportunity to go for a spin. Six of us gathered at Manawatu Motorcycles and Sparkies RZ250 decided to throw a tantrum and create a rather long list of electrical misdemeanors. Sparkie got very grumpy with RZ and took it straight home and banished him to the back of the garage! Then we were down to five. After photographing the remaining lads leaving, I made it no further than the second set of lights before the XJ decided it didn't want to go any further and cut out completely. Pushing it to side of the road and checking out the battery connections didn't seem to help much, but jiggling a few wires in the batteries general vicinity did. Not wishing to press my luck I decded to head for home as well and luckily my KH250 was waiting in the garage. A quick text to the lads had me back on the road and heading for a rendezvous at Tui Central in Mangatainoka. Having filled up with petrol in Ashurst the Northwesterly tailwind had me through the Manawatu Gorge in no time. It is a great motorcycle road when you have no cars in front of you! The cups of tea and coffee at Tui Central went down well so we decided to head towards Woodville and over the Saddle Road. Dion on his KH400 and myself were not looking forward to the hard slog into the northwesterly. Paul on his Suzuki GT750 and Sir Al on his H2 had no such concerns! Can't beat cubes. The run down the Saddle Road was worth the hard slog as the little KHs loved the tight sweeping corners and with no traffic, we had a ball. Our stop in Ashurst had Dion raving about the run.
It was an eventfull ride right from the start. It was a nice reminder that when you run old bikes shit happens! What makes it all worthwhile are the magic moments when these old bikes sing with a sound and feel all of there own.
PS. Alans piece of 'shit happens' occurred somewhere between Ashurst and Aokautere after our stop as he was heading home. If anybody finds a gold sidecover, he has a rather large bottle of whiskey as a reward upon its return.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

YPVS Big Day Out

From RZs to Pilgrims Rest
From RZs to Pilgrims Rest
From RZs to Pilgrims Rest
From RZs to Pilgrims Rest



Alan and some of the crew made the most of the sunny spring weather and here are his photos, video and report.

Sunday dawned bright and calm and six of us headed up the Pohangina valley to enjoy the twisties. Three 1980s Yamaha RZs belonging to Kim, Don, and Bruce, turned out for the ride; not a sight often seen today! Accompanying the RZs were Paul’s always immaculate H1B, my trusty old A7, and a beautifully presented Suzuki T500 which Bruce rode up from Levin.

The Pohangina Valley East Road is always fun, and we rode as far as Awahou North before heading back to Pilgrims Rest to enjoy Margaret and John’s hospitality and fresh scones and coffee. Then it was back down the valley and home. A great collection of corners! 80 miles travelled in all.

Don and I swapped bikes and I enjoyed riding the YPVS RZ350, a bike many consider to be the peak of 2-stroke sports-bike design. The RZ is easy to ride with a broad spread of power, good handling and a comfortable ride. Easy to forget it’s 27 years old. As someone said to me recently; if you could only have one classic 2-stroke, the RZ350 would be the one to own.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

5 Go South

From 5 Go South
From 5 Go South
From 5 Go South
From 5 Go South

This post is courtesy of Alan who not only wrote the words but took most of the photos.

After a week of appalling weather Sunday offered up a few patches of blue sky, so five of us decided to head off to Wellington to join other members of the VJMC at Barry D's home for a barb-b-que lunch.
Riding into a strong head wind we made our way south via Tokomaru and Shannon, and onto SH1 with a stop at Otaki for a coffee. Then down to Wellington amid the traffic.

This was a chance to see Kim’s Yamaha RZ250R out on the road with its newly rebuilt top-end. This bike has surprising performance, and looks to be a comfortable open road ride. Don rode his DR650 trail-bike; Paul took his GT750 Suzuki, with Deon on his KH400 and me on the H2.

Wellington turned on a pleasant day with blue skies and a gentle Wellington breeze (20-30 knots). An interesting few hours was spent poring over a variety of machines and talking with club members. Bikes ranged from a lime green Suzuki 125 Stinger to Ross Charlton’s beautifully restored Kawasaki H2 750, and a very nice example of the Z900. Don took a shine to Barry’s early Yamaha 250 twin, while Deon and I thought the S2 350 would be a great project and be a lot of fun to ride.

We headed back home late afternoon stopping at Shannon for a coffee at the Horseman’s cafĂ©. A most enjoyable day was had by all. Thank you to Barry and family for your hospitality.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fathers Day Run and Dions Special News!

From Fathers Day Run
From Fathers Day Run

A hardy bunch of lads gathered outside Manawatu Motorcycles for a morning run into grey skies of the Manawatu. It was great to see Geoff on his very well looked after Kawasaki KR150s. A great little machine that Geoff has had from nearly new and with 32K on the clock and no engine work it ran like clockwork. Also along for the ride was Sir Al on his recently reconditioned Suzuki TS250, Don on the his GT500 fill in, the Bonneville, Dion on his KH400, Kim on Dions KR250 and myself on the KH250. After some discussion about the diection we should take we headed off for the west and after a tank topup for my KH250 at the Rangitikei St BP we headed off into a steady drizzle. Upon reaching Feilding we were about to make our cafe stop but decided to continue on towards Sanson via the Kakariki turnoff. Geoff had to leave us at this point, but the dry road ensured we had a good run through to Sanson. These backroads are a lot of fun on these smaller bikes and as we started to make our way through the coffee and pies Dion very casualy announced that he was adding another bike to his fleet. A 1984 Suzuki GSXR 400W. After some of us just about choked on our food and coffees he was asked to repeat the model of his latest acquisition.
It was true. He had finally been seduced by the dark side. Dion has been a staunch advocate for two strokes and has often given his opinion on others in the group who have chosen to purchase bikes from the dark side. (For most of us it isn't the Dark Side but the Other Side and provides a nice balance to our motorcycling lives) Dion received the necessary amount of stick about his choice of bike in light of his previous position on such matters.

From Fathers Day Run
Dions "I now own a four stroke" face.

From Fathers Day Run

The very bike that seduced Dion to the "Dark Side".

This also explained his unusual behaviour that day. His KR250 must have heard the conversation and decided to throw a real tantrum in the carpark as realised it was about to share the shed with a four stroke and refused to start. All joking aside, a great bike to restore, and as time goes by these bikes from the eighties are going to become more desireable. As a bonus, they are very rideable and provide performance not to distant from todays machines.
P.S. The main bearings on Dions KR are shot! He may have to sell the house to fix it! Maybe his KR is hoping he will have to sell the GSXR.

From Fathers Day Run

"Dont try and trick us Don. That bike is not your GT500. Its the wrong colour. Your GT is red!"