Although we had a smaller turnout than usual for our October end of month ride our visit to Manfeild at the conclusion of our cafe run certainly went some ways to explaining this! Four of us gathered at Manawatu Motorcycles with the morning promising some lovely riding and racing weather. The forecast for showers later on the day appeared to be a distant possibility as Dave on his GSX1100, Warren on his GT380, Bruce S on his Aprilia RS250 and yours truly on the XJ750 headed off towards Feilding on a short ride via Ashhurst, Valley Road, Colyton and to a cafe in Feilding. It was great to see Dave out and about again. No more weekend work so free to come on a few rides. Excellent!
Our run out to Ashhurst flowed with the traffic making its way to the Saddle Road and instead of turning east through the village to join the convoy to Hawkes Bay we continued on in a northerly direction. The Valley Road turnoff soon appeared and sitting in behind Warren and the 380 going up the hill was music to my ears, The spannies were well into the powerband and Warren and Bruce S wasted no time winding their way down the valley towards Colyton. Dave sat in behind me for a while and then gave the GSX a fistful of throttle and set off after Warren and Bruce. It certainly has a great turn of speed. All too soon we were turning off at Colyton and heading for Feilding where we parked up outside the Essence Cafe and Bar.
After a great cuppa and some nourishment the sounds of motorcycles at Manfeild beckoned us and we were soon heading through the pits to our usual parking spot beside the pit stands. Cruising through the pits it was easy to see that this was a very well supported meeting. The New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Racing Register certainly know how organise and run a great race meeting.
Great to see the Blue Haze Racing team in full attendance with Dion on his NSR, Tim racing his CBR600 and TDR 350 and Alan on his RG500. The guys were ably assisted by their pit crew/managers Kim and Paul making sure everything was in order. It was also good to see Pete and Chris giving the XR Honda an outing with Chris certainly surprising many with his turn of speed on the one lung versus two or more for the rest.
Wandering around the pits one was certainly struck by not only the number of bikes, but also the variety. From Vincents through to TZ750 Yamahas and everything in between. Some had great racing patina whilst others were immaculately presented in period livery. The smell and sound of two strokes was particularly appreciated by some of us where watching MotoGP isn't quite the same with the two strokes long gone.
We managed to watch a few races and Dions efforts were rewarded with a close encounter of the tarmac kind. He was a lucky lad with no injuries and very little damage to the the bike. It certainly hasn't dampened his enthusiasm! Luckily I managed to capture it on video and it maybe useful for training and development. It was interesting talking to Dion about how he has managed to slash eight seconds off his lap time since he started racing last year. The improvements are now in smaller increments which you really need to work hard for: preferably not falling off in the process! It has been interesting watching how our group of enthusiasts have changed over the years. For some of us we still enjoy our time out on the road whilst for others they get into other areas of motorcycling as well. Bruce S is making noises about giving it a go. Good on him. Maybe I should get the XJ out there! I can't recall seeing one out on the track in a long time. (if ever?)
If we include our Manfeild members in our turnout numbers, then we get to nine. Not too bad a tally!