Friday, October 31, 2014

Barry Sheene Trans-Tasman Challenge 2014

This year Bruce A and Bruce S, Kim, Dion, Dave, Rich, and I made the trip to Hampton Downs for the classic racing. We stayed at Ngaruawahia again and in contrast to last year enjoyed a picture perfect day for the ride up.  We travelled via the Parapara road to National Park and Taumaranui, stopping at Horopito (Smash Palace) on the way. If you’ve never stopped to check this out it’s worth a look. From Taumaranui it was on to Te Kuiti and Otorohanga, then the back road to Ngaruawahia and the Arrow Lodge Motel. Across the road from the motel is the RSA where we enjoyed a beer and a meal each night.
A pleasant day was spent at the track on Sunday with good racing, open pits, and a lot of interesting machinery in the bike park. In fact the bike park was a major area of interest for most of those attending judging by the number of people wandering around and photographing the bikes throughout the day. A most enjoyable evening was spent over a few snorts and a meal at the RSA.
Monday morning greeted us with dark skies and it wasn’t long before the rain started. At times it became torrential. We stopped at Angel Louise cafĂ© in Raetihi for a late lunch (good food and service) and then back down the Parapara to Wanganui and then home.
Our bikes for the trip – VFR750F (Bruce A), RG400 (Kim), GSX1100 (Dave), NS400R (Dion), H2 (Alan), and Aprilia V4 (Bruce S). Rich was 4-wheel mounted, and DRY! No real problems with the bikes which was great considering their age and riding all day in the rain on the way home.

Hope to do it again next year.
PS. Brett just sent a link through with Andrew Stroud riding his mates GSX Macintosh last weekend. Enjoy

Friday, October 17, 2014

Three Kawasaki H2s out for a Spin

Last Sunday mornings ride was special. It wasn't so much the 1:3 two stroke to four stroke ratio, but having three H2s on the road together at the same time. Paul De Lautour, Kim De Lautour and Sir Al had there H2s lined up outside Manawatu Motorcycles under a windless and sunny spring sky. Alongside him was a mixture of other makes and models. It was great to see Bruce on his Yamaha 3MA. A bike he has been working on for a while now. It certainly has a sound all of its own and also out for a spin was Dion on the recently restored Suzuki Rg400 with Richard carrying the 70s Suzuki two stroke flag on his now sweet running T500. Ian brought out his Suzuki GS450  with my Yamaha XJ750 being the other 'token' four stroke. A ride over the track and out to Hopelands at the back of Woodville was the chosen route. Coffee stop was to be Danniverke and a return home along Topgrass Road and over the Saddle. The bottom of the Pahiatua Track was greeted with a low lying dense mist as three H2s, an Rg400 and 3MA opened up. Those of us at the rear of this peculiar localised phenomenon were pleased our headlights were already on as we made our way up the track with the peculiar haze clearing half way up the track. It was then on to Pahiatua and north to Mangatainoka and a hard left out towards Hopelands. After a bit of wandering around through some lovely country we arrived back out on the main drag and on up into Dannivegas for a cuppa. The return through Topgrass was definitely more interesting than State Highway Two with our next stop being Ashhurst after a spirited ride over the Saddle Road. They are certainly doing a lot of work upgrading the western side of the Saddle Road with Kim bemoaning "They are taking away our corners!" The surface is definitely going to be much improved and when the Manawatu Gorge is out of action next time it will certainly make a big difference.
It was definitely a great morning out and about on the old bikes. There were a whole host of sights,  sounds and smells that you can carry in your memory as you get on with the rest of your life and then looking forward to the next time you can do it all again!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Are the 80s the New 70s?

Five of the lads went out for a spin last weekend and an interesting observation from one of the participants was that he had the only seventies bike amongst them. It is inevitable that as time moves on the pool of classic motorcycles grows and with a widely accepted definition of a classic being 25 to 30 years + all these bikes fit the criteria. The good news is that one can still pick up some of these bikes at relatively good price at the moment so hopefully the pool of classic enthusiasts will grow. With the proposed reforms of the vehicle registration system seeing New Zealand following overseas standards the  40 year old + 'vintage' registration will become 30 years. This should see even more interest in the 80s bikes.
Dion and Kim have been beavering away sorting out an RG400 and the arrival of the plastics has put the final touches on the project. Dion had his NS out for an airing whilst Bruce has his VFR plastics back from the painter in a lovely pearl white. Ian and Al were the 'twins' with Ian out enjoying his GS450 and Sir Al had the only chromy amongst them with his A7. By all accounts it was a great ride over the track with the coffee stop at the Bridge Cafe being a great intermission.
A big thank you to Ian for the photos.