The Palmerston North Blue Haze contingent and friends departed Palmerston North at 12.30 on Friday 16th March heading via Kimbolton and Rangiwahia en-route to Okoroire. Our crew included Paul DeLatour (H2), Kim DeLatour (H2A), Dion Tornquist (Honda NS400R), Paul Whiting (GPZ750), Don Mardle (GT500), Bruce Andrews (Yamaha RT1), and myself on the H2. We were joined by Barry Drummond and Bruce Currie from Wellington on an H2C and GT750 respectively. First stop was Taihape to fuel bikes and riders, then to Waiouru and off SH1 and round the mountain to Ohakune, and then onto National Park. Temperatures had dropped up on the plateau and extra layers of clothing were required. All of the bikes were running well and the H2s were sipping fuel at a very modest rate returning 50+ mpg! Bruce was leading on the Yamaha RT1 and maintained a steady 100km/h as we headed off toward Tokaanu. The RT1 was a little slower over the saddle and many disappeared into the distance enjoying the corners. Next stop was Whakamaru to top up the bikes, then Putaruru and Okoroire in time for an evening meal in the pub. Okoroire Hotel was built during the 1890s and was an overnight stop for stage coaches of the day. Beautifully restored in a park like setting, the spacious grounds have an additional accommodation block at the rear and offered loads of parking space for the bikes. Judy Charlton did a very well to find such a great location and to negotiate a price that really was value for money. Saturday dawned clear and sunny and the day was started with breakfast in the dinning room – a very generous mixed grill, or eggs bene, or pancakes etc. It was then time for judging the bikes. An interesting feature of this rally was the attendance of five Kawasaki H2s. There were three '72 H2s, a '73 H2A, and '75 H2C. These were lined up for photos (not a sight often seen) and then all of the other Kawasaki machines added to the line. There were more Kawasaki at this rally than the other marques combined. Around mid day we all headed off to the Tirau Museum for a look around and a BBQ lunch organised by Judy. The Museum displays ranged from tractors to telephones, and even some old bikes.After lunch our group, which now included Alan DeLatour on his recently restored RD350, decided on a ride over the Kaimai-Mamaku range to Tauranga (outskirts), and then through Pyes Pa road to Ngongotaha (Rotarua), and back to Okoroaire on SH5. Pyes Pa Road with its two gorges is great fun as is the Kamai Road. We were back in time for a cold beer and another good meal. Prize giving was a laugh-a-minute affair, and Blue Haze scored another couple of gongs with Paul DeLatour taking Best Kawasaki for his H2 and Bruce Andrews winning Best Yamaha for his newly restored RT1 trail-bike. Ross Charlton very deservedly won the Peoples Choice award for his superbly restored blue Kawasaki H2. Sunday morning started with a cooked breakfast, and then the pack-up and mustering of the team to leave for home. We headed back on a slightly different route incorporating Old Taupo Road to take us through to Whakamaru and our first fuel stop. This is an excellent back road and joins Whakamaru Road which runs through the forest and is smooth and wide with long straights and flowing open corners – eventually most of us caved in to the temptation (I can resist anything except temptation) and opened the taps! The needle reached the dusty end of the H2 speedo for several minutes. A good thing plod wasn't about as his quota would have been met very quickly. Rumor has it that a large blue cloud was seen hovering over the forest ...We retraced our steps from Whakamaru to national Park and then went through to Raetahi for lunch, and then down the Parapara Road to Whanganui. A final fuel stop and out through Fordell and onto the main road toward home. Barry and Bruce turned off at Sanson, and the rest of us straggled into Palmerston North. We covered more than a 1000 km over the weekend without any real issues with the bikes. Bruce has a little more fettling to do on the RT1, and Paul has work to do on the H2 clutch. Barry has some electrical problems to sort on the H2C. Kim's recently rebuilt gearbox and top-end ran without fault. I would like to pass on a very big thank you from the Blue Haze crew to Judy, Ross, and Angela for all of their work in making the rally the success it was. I think this years rally will be very hard to beat!
Heres a link to some more of Alans photos