Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ian Turns Up Naked!

Its been a little while since a post went up. This isn't due to a lack of activity with most weekends seeing a group heading out into the countryside. A big thanks to Ian for these photos from a couple of rides.
Despite not having the fairings on his bike Ian couldn't resist heading out naked on his GSX600 for a run over to Rongomai a couple of weekends ago. The run finished off at Manfield with some post classic and classic bike racing. Last weekend saw the group head up to Rangiwahia and once again finish up at Manfield for the Tri series. This wasn't before a few technical problems along the way with electrics and chains not cooperating for some. It ended up being a long day for some having to retrace their tracks up to Rangiwahia to collect their bike! All part of the fun.
Nice to see some new bikes and riders. Michael turned up with his immaculate GSX750 along with Dave on his GSX1100. Can still remember Holden and the Hiscocks riding these wonderful bikes. Kim brought out his recently acquired TZR 3XV. It was a shame it threw a chain an hour plus from home! Sounds like not to much damage was done and we will be seeing it on the road again soon. Bruce also brought along his low mileage RG400. Those square fours make a wonderful sound. For those of you who are around over the holiday break if the weather is looking good I am sure some one will be heading out for a spin. See you at Manawatu Motorcycles, 9:00am sharp!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Something different.

Many of us involved in motorcycles are very much petrol heads at heart. It should be no surprise that if an object has wheels, a motor and moves at speed I am usually interested. Aviation has always fascinated me so when the opportunity presents itself to go to an air show, I will be there. The photos and video that follow are from last years Remembrance Day Air Show at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton and I would encourage anyone who to go. There aren't many places in the world where you could see such a number and variety of World War One aircraft flying. Luckily for us, they are doing it again this weekend, 9th November. Details here

Barry Sheene Oceania Challenge

Labour weekend this year saw a few of the lads head up to the Barry Sheene Classic races at Hampton Downs, Here is Alans report.

Friday 25th October, myself (Aprilia 650ie), Dion (Honda NS400R), Bruce A (BMW650GS), and Bruce S (Yamaha RZ 375) left town at 10am on our way to Hampton Downs Race Circuit. Our plan was to travel to Ngaruawahia and stay at the Arrow Lodge Motel. We would ride up to the circuit for the day on Saturday, then return to Ngaruawahia for the night and head home Sunday. We planned a route with as many corners as possible keeping off SH1 and the busier highways.

Friday dawned wet and very windy. We headed over to Whanganui to ride up the Parapara road to Raetihi, National Park, and through Taumaranui to Otorohunga, then the back road to Ngaruawahia. By Whanganui I was having a real struggle with the wind gusts on the Aprilia, and Dion was suffering too. Bruce A and Bruce S were OK. Bruce A, Dion and I decided to return to SH1 via Marton in the hope of better (and safer) conditions. Bruce S wanted to carry on and went up the Parapara on his own. At Marton, I decided to shoot home and and change over to the trusty H2 ( a way better bike in the conditions). Bruce & Dion waited at Hunterville (thank you for waiting). We then worked our way around to National Park and back on the planned route. We stopped for a break and a meal at Te Kuwiti. The wind lessened the closer we got to Ngaruawahia and we completed the last section in calm darkness, arriving safe and dry, fed and watered.

Saturday was a cracker and we had a great day at the track. The bike parking area was just about as interesting as the pits. There was a large contingent of Aussies with some stunning machinery. Alan and Paul De Latour were there with Alan's ex Pat Hennan Suzuki 500cc XR14. This bike looks and sounds great and I believe it is very much as it was raced in the 70s. There were also a few Kawasaki triples including a sidecar outfit. Barry Drummond, Bruce Currie, and Ross Charlton were there living the good life in Bruce's well appointed horse truck. All had bikes in the VJMC display. We finished the day with a back-road ride to Ngaruawahia. All a bit pink from plenty of sun. Over to the RSA for a couple of beers and a meal.

Next morning was a leisurely start with breakfast at the local greasy-spoon and then through to Taumarunui in occasional showers. We turned off just south of the town onto SH41 through to Tokaanu. A few km from the turn-off we came across a bike that had gone down the road. The rider was OK and we helped get the bike back on the road, then followed him through to the Western Bay Rd turnoff to make sure he was OK. It was sobering to look at his bike jacket & pants; the contact points being where the armor is located and worn right through the fabric, but not the armor. Don't think I'll be riding in jeans this summer!

Next stop was Tokaanu for sandwiches and coffee. Then over the saddle and round to National Park. At this point Bruce S disappeared into the distance and that was the last we saw of him. We had a good ride down the Parapara with the sun out and a dry road for the last part. We stopped for a break and coffee at Upokongaro, then into Whanganui and back to Palmerston North.

Generally a good trip and enjoyed by all. The value of a good rain-suit, over-gloves, and over-boots were well proven in the conditions. Hampton Downs is a great venue, and the Barry Sheene weekend is worth the effort.

Alan Clark

For more photos go to

Friday, October 11, 2013

Upcoming Events

You know summers not to far away when the forth coming weekends in your calendar are full of motorcycle events. The first one out of the blocks at Labour Weekend is the Barry Sheene Oceania Challenge at Hampton Downs. This is fast becoming one of the biggest motorcycle events on the calendar and its great to see Alan De Lautour heading up with his RG500 for a spin around the track and a few of the other lads heading up as spectators on a variety of bikes. Fingers crossed for no rain this year.More information here

The following weekend 1st - 3rd November sees the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club hold its biennial rally at Camp Rangi Woods up the Pohangina Valley. This is always a great event and the lads run an excellent program starting on the Friday through to the Sunday. You can download an entry form here.

Its going to be very difficult for those of us who are of the Japanese Motorcycle persuasion as just up the road the VJMC have the annual Gumboot Rally on in Taihape. The lads from Hawkes Bay organise this and everyone has a great time. You get to see all sorts of bikes and meet some great people. More information here

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chasing the Sunshine

It has certainly been a very wet spring this year which has meant a lack of activity on the Sunday rides front. It got so bad a couple of weeks ago a special Sunday meeting was held at the Stage Door Cafe. This lack of DRY riding opportunities was probably one reason why last weekend we had a pretty good turnout for one of our 'non scheduled' rides. The return to 9:00 am departures might have been a plus as well with daylight saving signalling the beginning of the riding season. The forecast was for fine weather in the east so plans were made to head over the track to do the Rongomai loop. As can be seen from the photos, along with the regulars (Ian, Paul, Alan, Kim, Bruce and myself) we had Steve on his Japanese/Italian hybrid Cagiva! He is a two smoker from way back with a liking for Suzuki GT500s and muttered something about tracking one down! Our arrival at the top of the Pahiatua track saw us peering out through some drizzle to the east. After a quick reappraisal of our planned route we decided to continue on and as we reached the bottom of the track things began to clear. Mangamaire had us looking at blue sky in the distance so we continued on through a gradually warming morning. The Rongomai turnoff had us swinging through some of our favourite back roads. No traffic and a nice mix of wide open corners and well cambered tighter sections saw us arriving into the back of Pahiatua with some broad smiles. After a regroup we then headed off through some more great back roads to the Ballance Bridge Cafe. Whilst having a chat a genleman pulled up on his Honda GL500 and it transpired he was off to Feilding to have have a look at a car museum with the Masterton Ulysses group. Bruce and Alan swapped bikes with Bruce enjoying the delights of the H2 Widow Maker and Alan enjoying the beautiful growl of a well tuned and great sounding FZR1000 grunting out of the corners. The cafe chat for the two of them was Alan wondering how long hislicence would last if he owned an FZR and Bruce rather surprised at the descent handling of the H2. After some great coffees and snacks we retraced our steps back over the track and arrived back in town with plenty of the day left to do other things! A great way to start a Sunday

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Suzukis' Ducatis and Daffodils

I thought I would throw up a post covering  a couple of weekends worth of wandering our lovely countryside. The meteorologists say we have had the warmest August ever, and the outings we went on definitely confirmed the statistics with the daffodils in bloom and not having to wear so many riding layers. This has provided the motivation and opportunity to get out on our motorcycles and enjoy them. As a group we have quite a mixture of bikes in our garages and our rides reflect this variety. Bruce decided to bring his Ducati SR4 Monster along for one of our rides and he let me have a ride on it. It was my first ride on a Ducati, and what an eye opener. I now have a new understanding of 'good midrange torque', and why such bikes need wide rear tires!  As for the brakes, well you need really good ones! It definitely showed how far motorcycles have come in the last thirty years. Along on the same ride was  Kim on his H2, Ian on his GSX600, Rich on his T500. I joined the lads in Ashhurst as we headed West away from the showery weather and damp roads near the ranges. As always we needed to stop for refreshments and at Bruces suggestion we ended up at the Wooolshed Cafe just south of Sanson. Very much recommended!

The second outing is from our VJMC/Blue Haze August end of month ride up the Pohangina Valley. Its been a wee while since we have been up the valley which is a favourite ride for many us in the region. It was a great run with much of the countryside waking up from its winter slumber with blooms on all the fruit trees and daffodils everywhere. Another feature of the ride was the number of Suzuki's.  Of special note was Bruces gorgeous little 1984 low milage GSXR 400. The very first of them. A lot of people forget that they preceded the 750s and are very much the first of the GSXR dynasty that is still with us today. For that reason alone it is very collectable, let alone they are wonderful little bike that is well suited to the twisty roads we have on our doorstep. Kim also dragged out the mighty RE5 from its winter slumber for its first run of the season. By all accounts it was rather reluctant to wake up and protested in its usual smokey manner, but by the end of the run was purring and enjoying the outing. Paul De Lautour brought along his GT750 and theirs nothing like seeing all that chrome and paintwork against a lush and colourful spring scene. Ian came out on his GSX600F and provided a nice contrast to the earlier Suzukis with a very strong lineage to Bruces little GSXR. Ian has just returned to motorcycling and its been great to see his 'measured confidence' grow over the last couple of months. As a group we enjoy our older bikes and ride them at an appropriate pace that often suits riders returning to motorcycling. Thats not to say we don't have an occasional 'quickening of the pace' from time to time! After all (officer) its important to blow the carbon out of a two strokes pipes to keep it in top running order! Rich brought along his ever reliable T500 and managed to find a very 'spiritual' parking spot in our last stop before heading towards home. Some one had spend time creating a mini Stonehenge that Richs side stand ended up in the middle of. This could just be chance but may explain why people why some of us feel the need to have a Suzuki T500 in our lives! We continued our ride to The Pilgrims Rest who's gates were now open. Margret greeted us in her usual jovial manner and John joined us later after completing his farm work with the deer. They are a hard case couple with hearts of gold and provided great company as we had our scones, cream, ploughman's lunch washed down with coffee and tea. The remainder of our ride back down the valley was just as enjoyable as going up and we are all looking forward to our next ride.

Just to finish off, a big congratulations to VJMC (New Zealand) who have just put up a web site for the club. Angela, Barry, Ross and Judy have been working hard on this for months. Go and have a look and keep up to date with goings on around the country and all the latest news concerning the rally in March.