Thursday, November 24, 2016
A Dirty Weekend in Taihape: 2016 Gumboot Rally!
The Gumboot Rally has been and gone but for a those who went the memories will linger on. For some of us it was the aftermath of the patina left behind on the bikes by some very damp weather. I think most of us are still cleaning dirt off our bikes! However that is but one memory and rather minor considering the weather events that were to happen the following weekend. a lot of it was from the papa small group of us from Palmy made the decision to to pop up to Taihape for the early Saturday part of the Rally.
The Rally is a very informal affair with people booking their own accommodation with meals and refreshments organised on the day with a local eatery. Participants arrive over the day with a gradually growing welcoming party greeting arrivals with a smile and a beer in hand. Our plan for the day was to leave town at 11:00 am and make our way north via the Pohangina Valley and a stop in Kimbolton for lunch. 11:00am saw the crew front up to Manawatu Motorcycles with Barry and Bruce from Wellington also in attendance. Bruce was on his lovely spannied Suzuki GT750K whilst Barry turned up on his Honda VFR400 NC30. I must say I was very impressed with the way Barry was able to 'wrap' himself around his NC30. A bike not renowned for its ability to accommodate people of large stature. Also fronting up for the run was Bruce S on his speed blocked Yamaha RZ 350, Kim on his trusty RZ 250, Sir Al on his VFR, Ian on his cruisy but quick VX800 and yours truely on the XJ. Our departure was a little delayed as Bruce C sorted out a battery problem that has hopefully been solved with his purchase of a Motobatt battery from Paul. (They are excellent batteries and worth the extra dollars!)
The trip out to Ashhurst had us looking at the Tararua Ranges and what became readily apparent was we were going to get wet. As we made our way up the valley this proved to be true as the odd shower deposited water on us and the road. This required a bit of extra caution as we navigated our way through the valley to our lunch stop at Kimbolton. If you haven't been to the Kimbolton Hotel for a Biker Burger, you haven't lived. Generous would be an understatement. For those staying on in Taihape for the night it provided a wonderful lining for that evening's refreshments. With our bellies full the bikes were pointed northward again for the run up through Rangiwahia to Mangaweka. The road was still a little damp with extra caution through the papa cliff section of the road. After meeting up with State highway one at Managaweka it was a straightforward run into Taihape.
The Taihape Motel is the main venue for the rally and there were already a number of people there to greet us. As always it was great having a yarn with like minded people and checking out the machinery, but all too soon it was time to head south again. Some of us decided to take a more direct route home with the promise that next year we would stay the night and if the bikes are going to get dirty again we might as well make a night of it!