Friday, December 21, 2012

An Unhealthy Motorcyle Lifestyle?

Burgers, Rothmans and Mars Bars are words that conj our up all sorts of interesting thoughts and memories. Our more politically correct contemporary times constantly remind us that certain things that we enjoyed in our younger days are not as acceptable today. What with plain packaging on the horizon for cigarettes and calls to ban fast food advertising it makes one reflect on how 'deregulated' we were back in our youth. Our end of month ride was a nice reminder of those days with Dion on his trusty Rothmans Honda NSR400 and Bruce Sagger bringing his Rothmans Honda VFR400 out for its first spin with us and Steve Boyce on his 'Mars Bar' Yamaha LC350. Pauls Kawasaki H1c, Alans H2 and Richards T500 were also reminders of the beginning of the end for large two strokes. Dave Robinsons one owner Honda CB750 also reminds one of the wise four stroke strategy the big H followed and with John on his Triumph Bonneville how the English made such light and great sounding  motorcycles that went around corners really well only to be caught out with poor engine R&D. (Amongst other things) Clints Katana and my XJ really started to show the four stroke was the future, but as the emissions schemes became tighter there days as 'performance motorcycles' were numbered as well. As for Kim on his RZ250 his regular 60+ mpgs is proof that two strokes can be very eco friendly(we wont talk about the Kawasaki triples!).
As we gathered at Manawatu Motorcycles our 'guilt' was somewhat allayed as one of the Hot Rod lads drove past in a spectacular show of noise, smoke and flames. Pongaroa was agreed upon as a good destination with the option for those who could only do shorter ride to turn off at Rongomai and head home from their. Our first stop was at the bottom of the Pahiatua track and then on to Mangamaire and we very quickly arrived at Rongomai. We said our farewells to Steve and Paul as the rest of us headed south to meet up with Highway 52. This continues to be one of our favourite rides with a feast of corners. The other great thing about this road is the Pongaroa Tavern, A must stop place for a breather. The large burgers and drinks are very reasonably priced and the atmosphere is great. Most of us managed to get through the meal Our journey home was delayed when John discovered his Triumph wasn't in a hurry to head home. After much discussion and tinkering he got mobile and Dave offered to follow John home. (They eventually made it home with a dud carb proving to be the culprit) whilst the rest of us made our way towards Pahiatua over yet another great motorcycle friendly road. It was good to see Dave and John from the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club on the run.
 This was an excellent day out (for most of us!) and a great way to finish of our monthly rides for the year. Its been great to share this passion with a whole lot of people over this past year and far from being an unhealthy lifestyle (true, some of the food we eat on the rides is marginally healthy) it most definitely contributes a 'healthy' outlook on life.
Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year everyone! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Classics at Manfield

A few weeks ago some of the troops decided on a run around the Rangitikei countryside with the ultimate destination being Manfield. The New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Racing Register, along with the New Zealand Post Classic Racing Association run this meeting at this time each year. We headed out from Manawatu Motorcycles on our ride around 9ish into a showery morning looking forward to a growing number of sunny patches. We had decided on a run out to Ashhurst and back along Valley road to Colyton. The damp road required a bit of restraint as we then headed around the back of Feilding to our first stop at the Stanway hall. After a run through Halcombe and Mount Biggs we arrived at a very sunny and dry Manfield. It was great to soak in the smells, sights and sounds of these bikes as we headed for our first stop at the track; the hot dog stand! It was a bit of shock as the price of hot dog had gone up to $3.50, but Richard our resident hot dog connoisseur still bought two as he reckons they are the best hot dogs in the world! (Its all to do with the batter apparently) After refreshing and refuelling the inner self a wander around the pits revealed some interesting bikes. Some well turned out Nortons, Triumphs, Rudges, BSAs, NSUs, Harleys etc of the four stroke variety, but amongst them some interesting two strokes. Its the first time I have seen a Maico kitted out for the track along with some Benellis,CZs, and a 125cc Cagiva. Amongst the posties were the usual GSs, Zeds, FZs, ZXRs and a TZ along with Alan De Lautours RG500. I never tire of that wonderful two stroke square four sound and seeing these bikes out on the track is a real treat for us "Stinkies'. It was also a treat to see Roger Hintons (Levin Motorcycle Centre) Walter Wolf RG500 out and about and looking forward to them coming out on a run with us. Mention also needs to be made of one Alans greatest supporters "GSXR Bernard" It is no problem for him to ride down from New Plymouth for the afternoon to show his support and then ride back home again. On our way out I spied a couple of really neat customised Honda CB750s. They looked as though they were on tour. Cool! It was a great way to spend a few hours of a Sunday and definitely whets the appetite for racing and more riding this summer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hampton Downes Barry Sheene Classic 2012

Labour weekend this year saw me staying home whilst some of the crew decided to get out and about. Despite the lousy weather forecast Dion and Kim put on their wets and mounted their trusty steeds and headed for the Trans Tasman Barry Sheene Classic bike weekend at Hampton Downes. Paul De Lautour was already up their with alan who was giving his RG500 a bit of a spin that weekend as well. They made it to their digs in Rotorua with out to much bother, but the 1 hour trip over tho Hampton Downes on the Sunday was another matter. As you can see from Kims photos it was wet and windy. Kim managed to snap a lot of the bikes in the pits, and what a great gathering of bikes it was. The classics were great, but the lads were really impressed with the number of post classic bikes racing. A big thanks to Kim for the great photos.
If you want to see more detailed photos check them out here

PS. Here something a bit different that caught Kims eye. A Suzuki 500 triple. Based on a GT 380 but uses Suzuki 315 pistons and has H1 heads! Cool

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Kawasaki 750H2 Celebrates its Fortieth

Alans totally original H2
Paul DeLautours H2 next to Alans A7
Brothers Paul and Kim DeLautours H2s
The "Widow Maker" is still a phrase one hears when you park up with an H2 in a public place. Its reputation has surrounded it with a mythical quality that time has enhanced and made it one of the most collectable motorcycles of the seventies. For those in our club who own one they aren't a machine just to look at but a piece of living heritage that deserves to be used on a regular basis. Head on over to our web site and find out a bit more about what it is like to own, ride and maintain one of these beauties forty years on!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Spoilt For Choice

Met the classic lads at the Feilding Railway Station
Our bikes became a part of the display

Simons Kawasaki GPz 750 A3

Takes one back!
Paul De Lautour had one of these

..and now he has one of these
Spent many miles sitting in the back of one of these!
The company Suzuki 'borrowed' ideas from!
2 cylinders, 6 litres and 38hp
The ultimate 60s holiday setup
For Dion

The motorcycling season is well under way with last weekend providing a great range of destinations for a ride. The Whanganui Speed show looked really interesting with a range of interesting boats, cars and motorcycles on show. Manfield had a day of motorcycle racing run by the Vic Club and to top it all off Levin had an Early Transport show on that was worth a visit as well. Of course this all tied in with the beginning of daylight saving so we had a whole 'extra' hour to play with. To celebrate we decided to shift our departure time to 9:00 am so compared to last weekends time we were actually a whole hour earlier. It certainly felt like it waking up that morning and as we assembled at Manawatu Motorcycles Simon turned up from Paraparamu for his first ride out with us. Welcome aboard and a great effort considering the distance he came. Paul turned up on his trusty GT750, with Dion on his now crank sealed KH400, Al on the ever reliable A7 and myself on the XJ. A quick discussion had us heading out towards Ashurst with a quick run around the back of Colyton to meet the Classic lads at the Feilding Railway Station. A quick show of hands as to our destination had us heading out of Feilding to towards Awahuri and onwards around the back roads to our one and only stop at Shannon. After a brief stop we headed on down to Levin and we were ushered through the entrance to become a part of the display in the show. Cool. There was some great machinery on display and the various Horowhenua clubs involved are to be congratulated for putting a great show together. We spent a couple of hours wandering around and after watching the world record being broken for assembling a Model T Ford we headed back home with a stop off at The Old Plum Duff Tearooms in Shannon for a cuppa and a chat. Thanks to the Classic club for letting us tag along. A great way to enjoy a Sunday morning.