Thursday, June 8, 2017

"It started going slower and slower......"

Sunday a week ago was our May end of month ride and although the weather looked a little dodgy the seven of us who turned up at Manawatu Motorcycles knew that the morning would offer up a wonderful jaunt around our region. A run up to Hunterville was decided with much of the discussion around the destination centred on Sir Als latest acquisition. What sort of range did his Kawasaki Bighorn have? Surely he could make it to Hunterville to refuel? If we had taken a sweepstake whoever had the smallest distance would have won; and it wasn't because he ran out of petrol!
The ride began well with Dion on the RG400, John on his Triumph triple (the Rotary is need of serious attention apparently), Ian on his GiXer, Bruce on his TZR, Bryan on his TS185 and yours truly on the XJ set off up Andrew Young Street looking forward to custard squares and a warm fire at our destination. Heading out of town via Rangitikei St saw the usual cloud of blue haze trailing (I am sure the Donald would have been impressed) from the pose of bikes as they passed the town boundary. The metropolis of Bunnythorpe soon passed by with Feilding International Airport indicating our right turn towards Colyton. But then!!

"It started going slower and slower..." Coming up on the parked bikes with Sir Al and the others looking at the bike did not bode well. The pulling of the spark plug revealed an unwelcome aluminium shimer that meant one thing! Calls were made to organise the collection of the bike and the site of Sir Al pushing the bike down the road was a sad ending to his ride for the day. But what about the rest of us? What was left of the morning was ahead of us. Ian's plans were interrupted with a cellphone call to head to Wellington to rescue his son. John was going to hunt down some mates out riding with the Central Districts Touring club. Dion, Bruce and myself decided to head south for a coffee at Shannon and a visit to his shed.

We were now down to three and after skirting the back of Palmy down the Kairanga Bunnythorpe road we headed down Lockwood and Main Drain and Rangiotu Roads and then into Himatangi Block Road. After missing the turn and turning around in a driveway I had a little whoopsie and ended up with the mighty XJ on the ground. Thank goodness Dion was nearby and helped me lift the XJ off the ground. They certainly are heavy beasts and apart from a broken indicator, a small dent in the muffler and my pride we were under way fairly again. The incident certainly makes one think about maybe its time to get one of my lighter bikes back on the road! We were soon coming to the end of the Foxton Shannon Road and parked ourselves up around one of the Shannon cafes. The town and the cafe were certainly very busy with the town becoming more of destination these days rather than a place you pass through.

It was great sitting outside the cafe watching the world go by talking about bikes. It made me think about how great it was to be sitting around the table with a couple of genuine two stroke enthusiasts. Dion and Kim have between them resurrected a number of two strokes including the RG400 Dion was riding. They have now taken it to another place and space by racing  the bikes as well. Bruce has over the years bought and sold a number of bikes, many of them two strokes. His current project is the rejuvenation of what is a very rare bike, a Kawasaki KR1S. Can't wait to see it on the road. A great effort guys and a valuable contribution to our motorcycling heritage. Unfortunately the gas bagging got away on us and we had to return to town without checking out Bruce's garage, although we had a quick swing by Sir Als place to see how the Bighorn was. The screwdriver disappearing down plug hole with the piston at TDC said it all! In spite of this Sir Al is determined to get it back on the road asap!

It certainly was an eventful ride with more stories to be told as a result. Keeping these pesky two strokes on the road is certainly a challenge but great to be part of a crew who value them and put in a lot of time, effort, money and energy to keep them on the road. Roll on next Sunday!

PS. Bryan missed all the action after he ducked into Feilding to change bikes. His ride to and from Hunterville was rather lonely. All good Bryan I have your number now!

Alan kicking over his new purchase. A 1974 Kawasaki 350 Bighorn.

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