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.