Sunday, July 22, 2012

Japanese Classics @ Auckland CRC Speed Show

A big congratulations to Colin MacDonald and his crew for there contribution to the show. It sounds like it was very sucessful with a lot of interest shown and some new contacts made. It looks as though they had a good selection of bikes on display. The weather made it a bit of a challenge getting the bikes home after the show with lots of precipitation!

A Ride in the Country

One of the joys of getting out and about on our bikes is you get to experience our wonderful country in all its glory. When you are in your tintop your senses are somewhat limited. But not on a bike. You feel the wind, the rain, you smell those lovely country smells and because you stop more often on a bike your senses get another workout. And so it was today. A small band of us set off from Manawatu Motorcycles just after 10 and made our way up to the top of the Pahiatua Track. Kim on his RZ250, Shorty on his SV1000, Richard on the mighty Titan, Dion on his RG400 and myself on the XJ. After a brief stop we headed off through Mangamaire to our next stop at the Rongomai turnoff. We were greeted with some of the most colourful country sounds any of us had heard in a long time. The farming couple mustn't have heard us arrive because the language they were using was of a 'colour' none of us had heard for a very long time; maybe never. It took them a while to realise that we were within earshot and after we expressed our commiserations to the poor sheep crammed into a stock trailer on there way to the works we headed off for our run through to Rongomai. It is a great run and one of our favourites and there is nothing quite like bend swinging to the sound of an RG 400, SV1000, RZ, or Titan in front of you. Great to see some other bikes out enjoying the run as well. We had to take a bit of care as the roads had quite a few sections of 'farm debris' on the road along with some damp sections that don't see much sun at this time of the year. All to soon its over and you arrive into the back of Pahiatua and then back towards home over the track. This is a good road with a good mix of bends but with a lot more traffic. The run back over the track had some of us bouncing our way around some of the bends. The closure of the Manawatu Gorge road is really taking its toll on these 'alternative' routes. After crawling along behind lines of traffic we eventually made our way to the Mao bar and had a great coffee and muffin. Another great wander around the countryside!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Out with the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club

The two earthquakes over the last couple of days was a timely reminder that you never know whats around the next corner and that if you have the opportunity to to go out for a ride; take it! The fact that it was bloody cold but sunny meant one had to dress for the occasion. The positive thing about the cool air temperature is that air cooled engines love it. (especially two strokes!) I fired up the KH250 and headed up Kelvin Grove road where we meet up with the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club guys at their new venue at the Vintage Car Club rooms.

We were meet with a very eclectic mix of motorcycles that ranged from the forties through to 2000s. Still a great bike from the Instructions were bellowed out by our road captain, Dave Griffiths and soon we were on our way. The ride was out to Ashhurst and we then followed the Tararua ranges through to Aokautere with our fist stop at the top of the Pahiatua Track. With everyone accounted for we then headed down the other side to our next stop at Ballance Bridge. Along the way we lost Richard who wanted to go to Ballance via Pahiatua. He was quickly rounded up and we then made our way over the now very dilapidated Saddle road. The sooner the Manawatu Gorge is reopened, the better! Our last stop was the Ashhurst tavern where we enjoyed some warmth, beer, chips and some great conversation. On our way back into town we popped into Richards Cave. He had quite a few projects on the go from a Suzuki T20, to a Honda Sl l25, Honda 250 and 350 Motorsports, Kawasaki ER5, Suzuki T350s and hidden away a Honda CB 750 he has owned from new.

It was a great way to spend a winter Sunday and the long range forecast is looking pretty good for next weekend. Fingers crossed!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Run Over The Gentle Annie

Alan has written up a post from earlier last month when some of the troops completed the Gentle Annie loop and meet the Hawkes Bay VJMC chapter along the way. It has become a very popular ride over the summer with the completion of the tarsealing between Taihape and Hastings. 

June 3rd was the Sunday of Queens Birthday weekend, and a small contingent of the Blue Haze group left Manawatu on a trip over the Taihape – Napier (Gentle Annie) road to meet up with the Hawkes Bay VJMC guys.We left Manawatu Motorcycles at 9.30 sharp and had a comfortable ride up to Tiahape via Vinegar Hill, our first stop to fuel bikes and riders. Kim and I were on Kawasaki H2s, Dion on his quick NS400R, and Bruce his recently fettled Yamaha RZ350. Joining us was Robbie on a beautiful original Ducati's Paso 907ie. After a warming coffee we headed off over the hill to Napier. Road conditions could not have been better allowing some spirited riding up the snaking climb. We stopped for a breather at a rest area next to the Taruarau river, joining members of the MG owners club. After another climb we started the Gentle Annie downhill and crossing the Ngaruroro river at the bottom we met up with 5 members of the Hawkes Bay VJMC. 
After some time spent chatting and enjoying the warming sun, we mounted up and headed down to Fernhill. We followed Roger on his 750 Honda and made our way to Havelock North via Bridge Pa, and another fuel stop. It was then off down Middle Road to Patangata and a late lunch at the Patangata pub. Of interest at the pub were the Volkswagon Owners Club, and a couple of rarely seen split-window Combi flat-bed pick-ups. Lunch was a bit of a wait (they served 85 lunches that day), but much appreciated when it arrived. The lateness of the lunch stop was due to poor planning on my part allowing only 1 hour to ride to Taihape, and no coffee stop before heading over the hill – quickly vetoed!
We said farewell to the Hawkes Bay guys about 4pm and headed into Waipawa and then on the main road through to Dannivirke. The weather was starting to close in at this stage and we took the Topgrass Rd route down to Woodville. We were starting to get a bit of drizzle and a howling wind off the starboard side, so pressed on at a reasonable pace. At Woodville we decided to try the Manawatu Gorge which had just reopened. Unfortunately so had everyone else, and we spent at least ½ hour in a queue working our way up to the temporary traffic lights. It was dark and raining by this time and the rest of the way home was made at a sedate pace under trying conditions.
Our bikes went well and we covered around 450km. I think everyone enjoyed themselves and it was agreed we should get together for rides with the HB guys more often.

Alan Clark