Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Classic Motorcycle Racing @ Manfield

Just over a month ago some of the crew went out for a lovely wander around the region and we concluded our ride at Manfield to watch some Classic and Post Classic racing. Don turned up on his recently restored Honda XL250, Bruce on his immaculate Suzuki T350, Dion on his recently respoked Kawasaki KH400, Kim on the Suzuki RE5 and myself on the little Kawasaki KH250. We decided on a run out through Pohangina, back to Colyton and a return to Manfield via the back roads of Halcombe. The strong norwester was proving to be a bit of a challenge for the smaller bikes as we worked our way around the back roads behind Halcombe. Don was having some interesting moments fettling his XL as new parts fell off and small amounts of fluids made unwelcome appearances. We were all pleasantly surprised at how well the XL was doing keeping up with the road bikes. Very impressive.You can read more about Dons restoration here.  Dion was having a ball on his KH400 and I'm sure he thought it was going faster with shinier spokes! Kim on the RE5 was humming along making its very unique sound. It has a road presence unlike any other bike. The exposed rotary motor is definitely a part of it along with the long exhaust pipes and futuro styling but it was what it briefly promised as a future direction for motorcycling that seems to add to its 'aura'. It is pleasing to see these bikes becoming far more collectable as people begin to appreciate its unique place in motorcycling heritage. Bruce gave me a ride on his T350. The last time I was on one of these was in the 70s and the memories came flooding back reminding me that these were great bikes in there day. I was surprised at how well it pulled from lower revs and the willingness of the motor to rev. You can see how it sensationally won the Castrol Six Hour with Joe Eastmure on it. (Well just about, Shame about the horn!) It was great being out and about on the KH250 with its lovely triple wail as it worked hard up the hills and into the norwester, but all that work meant she was pulling more of that liquid gold through the carbs.
We arrived at Manfield just in time to catch Alan De Lautour out on his XR14 Suzuki RG500. Some great racing in the post classic class with the usual bike block four strokes in the front. It was neat wandering around the pits being reminded about motorcycling heritage and being able to see and hear them out on the track. A great way to spend a few hours.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Good Old Days?

Well here it is. The Kawasaki KH500. An ideal commuting and touring bike. While you are out touring and feeling a bit peckish, pop into KFC for a feed. Captain Delicious and the Torro burgers didn't last to long after this. Guarantee there are a whole lot of people who won't admit to knowing all the words in this ad! How young are you when you can remember lining up  half way around the block when the first KFC opened here in Palmerston North? Summers here. Time to find the stubbies! I don't think so. As for the Marina! Insert your comment here.............. The good old days? Motorcycles, yes. Other things. Yes, but in moderation, some things, never!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Alan on his Suzuki RG500 XR14 @ Hampton Downs

Alan sent me these great photos from an unnamed photographer of him racing at last months Classic bike meet at Hampton Downs. Looking forward to this weekends meeting at Manfield and will get some photos and video to share. Alans bringing down his RG for another outing so come on down and hear, smell and see these great old bikes in the flesh! Looks like the best day to go weather wise is Saturday, but Sunday could be good as well. See you there.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Three for Taihape / Gumboot Rally 2011

Saturday 29th dawned overcast but without rain, so Don, Dion, and I decided to head to Tiahape for a flying visit of the VJMC Gumboot rally. This is an annual event that draws VJMC members from as far afield as Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay, and Wellington.
We met at Manawatu Motorcycles and then headed up to Apiti via Pohangina. We stopped for a break among the Day Breaker rally crews, ready and waiting for their cars to arrive. Then it was up to the main road and on to Rangiwahia. This is a one of our favourite roads with lots of great corners and little traffic.
Having recently fitted new Hagon shocks to the A7 I was very pleased with the improved handling, and thought we were setting quite a pace until Dion finally got bored and shot past me on the NS400R, disappearing into the distance!
After a short stop at Rangiwahia I was entrusted with this gorgeous machine for the ride through to Mangaweka. I found it deceptively fast with great brakes and handling. 72 HP from 400cc is quite something in a 160kg package.

We stopped at the DC3 cafĂ© at Mangaweka (home of the world’s best toasties) and after coffee it was on to Tiahape. I new it might be tight for fuel on the A7, but had visions of a long push when switching to reserve coming down the Mangaweka deviation. Thankfully we just made it; the average fuel consumption for the morning being 32 MPG.
A number of attendees were already settled in with some having arrived on Friday. Barry Drummond rode his 1964 Yamaha 250 up from Paramata, Ross Charlton brought his Suzuki GS450 twin up, and Murray Smith an interesting looking RD350. The Hawke’s Bay crew arrived on Yamaha 2-strokes; 2 x RD-LCs, an RZ350, and an RD400 no less. Ian Beech rode his Kawasaki 750 outfit up from Palmerston North; great for carrying the odd bottle of beer. There was also quite a gathering of modern / relatively modern machinery, including Don’s Triumph T100.  

Dion and I headed off at 4.30 just as a few splashes of rain started. We rode out of it quickly and had a good trip back via Vinegar Hill. Don stayed on for the BBQ, but torrential rain meant staying the night was the best option.

Perhaps next year we should make the effort and stay the night.  

Thanks to Alan for the post and photos

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tool Kit in a Bottle

Whats with the lawn mower Dion?
Three generations of twostrokes
Just needs a Kenny Roberts signature 
Always a nice little stop
Time for a cuppa
Labour Day looked like a good opportunity to head out for a ride around the district. With many of the troops off doing other activities over the long weekend a hardy bunch of four of us lined up at Manawatu Motorcycles. And hardy we needed to be with a gathering wind strength and chill factor we headed out towards Pohongina for our first stop and then back through the flowing curves to Colyton. The T500 was in its element with its long and low profile sweeping through the corners and looking in the rear vision mirrors, the usual smokey accompanyment wasn't visible. Hopefully the addition of some Wynnes Engine Oil Stop Leak might delay replacement of the crank seals. Alan on his trusty A7 was giving his new Hagon shocks a workout whilst Bruce was seeing if his now completed paint job on the RZ made his bike go faster. Geoff on the KR150 was enjoying the sights and sounds of old two strokes as he continued to impress with the performance of 150ccs of recent two stroke technology.  After skirting around the back of Feilding to our next stop at Stanway the conversation was around "Where did Spring go?"and the cooling temperature had us looking for a hot cuppa. We made our way through Halcombe and back to Feilding a cafe. We had one unintended stop before we arrived with my side cover flapping around in the breeze and minus the knob. Nothing like the old T500 vibes for unscrewing things. Luckily I have a spare at home that I picked up from the local Suzuki dealer for a whole $12 (ex Japan!) Geoff carried on home and we joined a growing number of locals refueling after the previous nights rugby revelry. It was a great little ride and a nice reminder about all the great roads we have close by. The only downside to the ride is the tool kit in a bottle sort of worked, but not enough to avoid the motor coming out of the T500. Time to roll my sleeves up!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Caption Competition II

Popped into Manawatu Motorcycles the other day and Kim showed me a very interesting newspaper clipping from the not so distant past. This is Alan on his Kawasaki A7 at Manfield having not such a good day. I bet he was hoping that this was well behind him! To celebrate its discovery lets have a caption competition. Look forward to your contributions
 My caption would go something like.....
 "Mr De Lautour maintains that his fall was deliberate and his way of introducing a new form of personal expression to the world that he calls 'kinetic planking'".
Update: Upon good authority, the bike in question is a Yamaha TR2. That lovely front brake gives it away!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spring has Sprung a Honda NSR 400

It has been a while since I last posted, but things happen in ones life that require all of ones time and attention. Paul and I would like to thank all those who have expressed there condolences with the passing of our mother. Like all mothers, she had always been concerned about her children's safety, but as my brother and I have ‘matured’ and continued our interest in motorcycles she was always interested in what the Blue Haze were up to. It was great to talk to her about the great roads and countryside we traversed but more importantly the company we shared it with. For me it is a timely reminder that life needs to be lived to the full and for me part of that is riding old Japanese motorcycles with like minded souls. So get out to the shed and get that bike on the road! 

The last month has seen some great weather during the weekends which has had some of members out and about. The month started out with a great afternoon run up the Pohangina Valley and return. Dion turned up with the latest addition to his stable, a Honda NSR400. He has had this on his wish list for some time and with the departure of his KRs and GT250 his shed now had room for such a machine. Also along for the run was Alan on his H2, Bruce on his RZ350, Kim on the RE5, Don on the GT500 and myself on my XJ750. The road was in its usual condition; that is watch out for loose gravel on certain sections and by keeping ones speed down the vistas with snow capped peaks could be enjoyed a little longer before they disappeared for summer. The first stop at Totara Park had Dion removing his helmet with a Cheshire cat grin. As we stood there admiring the lines of the NSR with its Rothmans crest (imagine paying money today to buy a brand new motorcycle that advertises cigarettes!) next to Alans H2 the jump in technology between them is amazing. Both put out just over 70 hp using two stroke triple motors, but one does it with 400cc versus 750. Imagine where things might be now if they had continued developing large capacity two strokes? We were soon back on the road and heading past Pilgrims Rest towards the ranges then headed in a westerly direction just past Umutoi.

Our arrival in Apiti had us making a decision about where to feed and water ourselves, and the Apiti Tavern was chosen for a change. We usually arrive in Apiti in the mornings before they open so this was a first, and what a great place. Next time we come we will bring our tennis rackets as it looks like the Apiti Tennis Club and local pub are one and the same. The locals were great with some appreciation shown for our ‘old jappas’ which was a nice change from those ‘potato potato bikes everyone has these days’. One of the locals turned up on his old Trumpy that looked like it was his daily transport but last registered in the sixties. A great place to enjoy some refreshments and local colour. Bruce and Alan departed early for the return home so those of us left retraced our tracks back down Pohangina Valley. Another great run and Dions smile was even bigger by the time we said our goodbyes and headed home.

Last sunday proved to be another perfect day for a ride so a group seven decided to forgo a sleep in and turned up at nine at Manawatu Motorcycles. A run up to Hunterville via Mangamako Road to Ohangaiti and down to Hunterville. This is a first for some and Mangamako Road proved to be a great choice with some great flowing corners and scenery. The return south via Vinegar Hill included meeting ‘Wayne/Brent’ going the other direction on his GSXR at a rate of knots that would have won Crosby a 500GP race. Check out his video to see what traveling from Stormy Point to the top of Vinegar Hill in 9 minutes and 27 seconds looks like. This included a compulsory stop near Rewa! See if you can spot the troops @ 48 seconds. Thanks for getting in touch and leting us know about your video.

Roll call
Kim De Lautour - Suzuki RE5
Paul De Lautour - Suzuki GT 750
Dion Tornquist - Honda NSR 400
Ross Charlton - Suzuki 1200 Bandit
Bruce Sagger - Suzuki T500
Paul King - Yamaha XJ550
Alan Clark - Kawasaki 350 A7b Avenger

Update: Dion has just popped in for a cuppa and has pointed out that his bike is an NS 400R, not NSR 400.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Perfect Winters Day for a Ride!

It was definetly a perfect winters day that greeted the crew for our end of month ride last Sunday. Not a breath of wind, the sun shinning brightly and a nice dry road. A group of nine eventually lined up outside Manawatu Motorcycles ready to head out for another wander around the district. After some discussion Hunterville was the chosen destination via Halcombe and some back roads that avoided State Highway One then home via Vinegar Hill. First stop was to be Kakariki but Steves RZ350 decided otherwise and Newbury had Steve pointing his bike homeward to sort out what looked like an electrical problem. After turning off at Mount Stewart and passing through Halcombe a regroup at Kakariki had all of us enjoying the sun and looking forward to a good coffee at Hunterville. Just north of the Marton turnoff the troops took the back roads to Hunterville whilst Dions 1974 Suzuki GT250 decided to communicate its need for a thoroughly good tune up by running on one cylinder. Dion decided to turn around and head on home and the rest of us headed for our coffee stop. It was a great coffee and after watching a number of other bike groups ride by we joined them and headed out to Vinegar Hill for the ride home. It was a great run with very little traffic which we extended by coming through the back of Feilding via Makino road. After a brief stop we all headed off home with that wonderful feeling you only get from a great ride with people who have the same passion and topped off with a 'chocolate box winters day'

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Question time # 01 Updated!

What is this and what bike is it off?
All answers to

From some of the responses I have received so far it looks like more assistance is needed for this. The down side to this is that the prize for guessing this is going to progressively shrink from a chocolate fish to a chocolate raisin. This is the next clue to takes it to a small chocolate fish.

Congratulations to Alan Clark for being the first to come up with the correct answer. This is part of the infamous CDI unit from a Kawasaki 500H1 that according to legend interfered with TV reception for a radius of half a mile. If your TV reception is playing up, Paul De Lautour is probably out on his H1!   

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two Strokes to Tui

Its about this time of the year we look back to summer with great fondness as we pile on the thermals and zip the liners back into our jackets and leggings. I was looking for some photos the other day and came across some I hadn't put up from February this year. They definetly gave one some "warm fuzzies" with all that sunshine, tee shirts and beer! This was a little jaunt a few of the troops went on and as the tittle of the blog suggests it was all two strokes. Not a four stroke anywhere. This is becoming a rare occurence on our runs and another reminder of how times have changed. The photos are also a reminder of Dons hip replacement surgery at the time and his remarkable recovery that has him wandering around North America yet again. Go Don!

Roll call
Paul De Lautour - Kawasaki 500 H1b
Kim De Lautour - Yamaha RZ250
Bruce Andrews - Yamaha RZ/RD350
Alan Clark - Kawasaki H2750
Gary Whiting - Suzuki T500II
Dion Tornquist - Kawasaki KH400

 Rug up everyone as the weather forecast looks a bit grim for this weekend or better still get out to the garage and do some work on your bike/s ready for next fine day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Deals Gap 2011

For all you two stroke fans out there, here is something you might like to add to your bucket list! The Deals Gap two stroke meet sounds like the place to be at the end of May in the states.  These guys and gals do this for a whole week! What about doing a similar thing here in good old NZ? Check out this forum for some photos from the the latest meet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where is Don?

From Blogger Pictures
I couldn't resist putting up this photo from Dons latest travel blog. It looks as though he is a closet Trekkie fan and this goes along way to explaining some of his colour choices for his riding attire.
From Blogger Pictures
If you have the chance pop on over to his blog for his latest posting on his trip to Labrador in Canada. Always a great read.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blue Haze Planking

From Kawasaki KR150
If you have been wondering where the planking phenomenen came from, wonder no more. As would be expected it was some one who has blue haze running through there veins. Now we know another reason why Geoff has a KR150. It appears to be the ideal platform for this activity. All he needs is the custom paint job!
If you want to read more about Geoffs bike, pop on over to the latest featured bike at the Blue Haze website.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Suzuki X5 to Massey

From X5 to Massey

From X5 to Massey
This is what a life time of breathing in two-stroke fumes does to you. As far as I know they are still waiting!

From X5 to Massey

From X5 to Massey

The weather people have been talking about the record warm temperatures last month with some extraordinary numbers like 27 degrees coming from the West coast of the South Island. Yesterday the warm temperature in the Manawatu had us reaching for or bike keys and heading for the windy bits that aren't to far away from us. So it was off to the petrol station and down to meet at Manawatu Motorcycles on the XJ 750 to be greeted by a line up of two strokes and a rotary. Dion tuned up on his recently acquired Suzuki X5 and we were all interested to see how it would manage the open road. Unfortunately he made it no further than Massey University with it cutting out on a regular basis so he very reluctantly returned home. The trip over the Pahiatua track was cautious with damp corners and cyclists but with Don taking the lead he set brisk pace that had us in Pahiatua in no time. It was here that Paul discovered the reason for the GT750 sounding different. A baffle had gone missing and after a very brief discussion about retracing our steps to find it it was felt it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack, so we pressed on to Tui Central at Managatainoka. Don offered me a ride on his recently restored Suzuki GT500 and what a revelation it was. I had thought the difference between my 1969 T500 wouldn't amount to much, but how wrong I was. It was a totally refined version of it with much better brakes of course but also an absolutely delightful motor that pulled from way down low. The vibes were still there, but no where near as harsh. It has definitely inspired me to sort the old girl out! Thanks Don.
Mangatainoka was a great place to stop with plenty of people around, good food and as always an opportunity to make up a Tui billboard. Hard on the heels of getting the 'Oh Shit' trophy for nearly rear ending Alan De Lautour and his RG500, Dions fettling of his latest purchase provided the material for the billboard. With tummies full and billboard completed we headed of for the Saddle road to complete our afternoon out. I decided to take some video of the troops making there way up and what a glorious sound it was with the motors working hard as they wound there way towards the top. Although it was a shortish ride, it was great way to celebrate Mrs Windsors birthday!
Roll call
Don Mardel - Suzuki GT500
Alan De Lautour - Suzuki RE5
Kim De Lautour - Yamaha RZ250
Paul De Lautour - Suzuki GT750
Dion Tornquist - Suzuki X5
Alan Clark - Kawasaki A7b
Gary Whiting Yamaha XJ750