Broadford Bike Bonanza

Mrs Tarsnakes & I have been attending  Broadford Bike Bonanza at Easter since its inception 6 years ago by Motorcycling Australia as a fund raiser for its historic / museum division. We don’t camp trackside, however, many folk do make a weekend of it. Previously the event has be sponsored by Honda, however, Penrite oils had the naming rights this year. Just to repeat from previous years’ posts, this is a historic event, with no racing, just demo laps and many disciplines of motorcycle sport represented – road race, motocross, trials and speedway – as the complex has specific tracks at the one site for all of these disciplines. The main theme this year for the road race track was the “Castrol 6 Hour Race“, which was a production motorcycle endurance race run in Australia between 1970 and 1987. This was a race where a win on Sunday meant sales on Monday, and Kawasaki had a great run on wins in the 1970′s with the mighty Z900, winning four years in a row from 1973.

However, I think a consequence of the “6 Hour” theme this year was that there were far fewer older British and American bikes present compared with previous years. The Velocette theme last year led to huge numbers of old Brit bikes being represented. Not that I mind Japanese bikes of the 1970′s, as they were my formative years of motorcycling!

I wish I could tell you the tale of a TX750 that was raced and podiumed by a Geelong motorcycle shop in one of the 6 Hours, however, I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

A famous 6 Hour winner, who was later disqualified, was Joe Eastmure on the 315 CC Suzuki. I still think he was brilliant, whether the little Suzi was ported or not. He later won in 1977 with Ken Blake on a BMW K100RS, stopping the big Kawasaki’s run of wins.

We always love looking at spectators’ bikes as well. This was a nice example of a mid 1970′s GT750. We enjoyed talking with Alain, the owner & restorer.

How neat is this tastefully modified 450 Ducati?

I also sneaked of few pics of my own when a photo shoot with Sir Alan Cathcart and Rex Wolfenden’s “T-Rex” Honda was being shot.Sir Al was giving the photographer all the instructions for a heap of static shots of the motorcycle before posing with Rex.

I suspect that you may see a pic like this one above in an upcoming feature article about the bike by Cathcart!

Others were having on track professional photo shoots done during the lunch break as well.

The beast!

We caught a shuttle bus over to the Speedway circuit for a 4.00-6.00pm speedway spectacular – which the Vincents in particular certainly provided. We were told by an official that the shuttle service had finished at 5.00pm so we walked all the way back to the track (a long way with a damn big hill), only to find the shuttle buses running again as we left around 6.15pm – a stuff up that I was not impressed with after a long day on my feet!

Not racing, just a demo – sure!

Again, there were all shapes and sizes of riders on all sorts of motorcycles riding in the demonstration laps – even a Vespa scooter sharing the track with Laverda’s, Nortons and some iconic 1970′s Japanese bikes. High budget to no budget at all , it is certainly an event that offers access for all levels of historic motorcycle enthusiasts.

 

 

World Trials Championship

Team Tarsnakes were accompanied by Team Tekrodes to attend the World Trials event at Mt Tarrengower near Maldon in Vic.This is the first trials event I’ve ever attended at it was so spectacular that at times I had trouble believing what my eyes were seeing. I have a few pics and some video, however, none none of them really capture how steep some of the climbs were and just how skillful the riders are – especially the top 10 professional riders. It was very much an international event, with lots of instructions being called out in Spanish, Italian or French. As I said, I know virtually nothing about trials and it was intriguing to me that the top riders had a “minder” to guide them during the tricky climbs and catch the bike it they failed to make it. It was much the same as the golfer having a caddy. Some had headsets for minder to rider comms, others just yelled. It was really amusing to hear the intensity of Bou’s minder before a difficult climb and then Bou yelling out “ready” (which sounded more like ‘reeedy’) before each run.

There was a scoreboard at each section. Numbers indicate points lost. The max that can be lost each section is 5. The observers have a tough job at times and we heard Dabill having a big rant re losing his points!

Some of my video HERE

Another video. HERE. Just check out how fit Ferrer’s minder in the green vest is, scrambling from one side of the ravine to the other – and shouting instructions!

Event results HERE

April Fools and an unseasonably hot day on the GOR

This is no joke, it’s April 1st and we’ve just experienced our hottest April 1 day ever recorded in Geelong – just a tad under 36C (96F).  Mrs T and I had planned a two-up ride for ages, however, she’s been flat out with her Careers Consultancy business Kind of ironic really, I’ve just retired and she’s now busier than ever.

Our plan was to head up into the Otways on a very familiar route through Forrest and on to Apollo Bay for lunch. After lunch we planned to track back to Geelong along the Great Ocean Road, the weather forecast promised near perfect conditions.

I’d intended to buy MrsT a coffee at the brewery in Forrest, however, it was closed so I went a few hundred metres down the road to a cafe and guesthouse. We used to drop in here a couple of years ago, however, the place was a bit ramshackle, and …. well … downright grubby. Well it changed owners about 18 months ago and what a change! We walked in and were greeted by friendly staff and saw that the place had been de-cluttered and painted out from stem to stern. And all the food is home baked! A staff member was happy to show us the renovated guest rooms, each with new ensuites , beds and paintwork. Anyway, as you can tell I’d like to give Emma and her staff a big wrap as they really deserve it. I will be returning.

 

There were a couple of very laconic long term guests hanging about outside. Two iconic types of Australian cattle dog.

After a skinny cap, a Coke and a Yo-Yo, we headed through the bush to Apollo Bay which is on the coast. In the hills the temp was around 22C and then as we descended down to sea level it went up by 10C. It was a glorious day there and a few people were in swimming and surfing. However, other than tourist coaches making their way through town on their way to the 12 Apostles,  ‘The Bay’  was relatively deserted – all the better for motorcycling of course. Mrs T was keen to travel back to Geelong along the GOR,  to, and I quote, “Look at the scenery” along the way – not always my highest priority I must admit!

We pulled in at Cape Patton lookout – you guessed it, to see the scenery.

It was worth stopping. View to the South along the GOR

We stopped in Lorne for a ‘pit stop’ then headed for home. Just before Aireys Inlet we were flagged over (along with a couple of cars) into a temporary breath testing station. “Any alcohol today” – “None” –”One long continuous blow please”. (And how convenient the flip front helmet is in these circumstances) Then we had a really pleasant chat about motorcycling. Turns out that he’s an enthusiast and has also just bought his wife a motorcycle. This fella and the chat with him really did the image of Victoria Police a lot of good in my eyes. Mind you, it was pretty damned hot sitting still on the bike in full gear with the temp at 34C, so we were pleased to finish the conversation and to get rolling. From Anglesea onwards there was a gusty, hot north wind blowing and we were actually glad to just get home and out of the heat.

Post script: I’ve been running a Michelin PR 3 on the rear of the ZX14R and still have the soft OEM Bridgestone on the front. What I noticed today was that whilst it still had plenty of grip on the corners and was still not quite at the wear bars, it was ‘tram tracking’ quite a bit on any tarsnakes and any overlapping ridges of asphalt. So after I dropped MrsT off at home I headed down to my regular tire guy for a new front. He immediately pointed out the asymmetry  of tire’s profile caused by 8,559 kms of wear. I was thinking I’d  probably buy a matching Pilot Road 3, (hyperlink is to an excellent review by Geoff James) however, was offered a Pilot Road 4 for the same price, so decided to give it a go. Here’s an overview of them – click HERE

More sunshine on the GOR

The joys of week day riding – no traffic!

Unbelievably it was 31C today, yet last weekend it seemed as though winter was upon us.

I have no connection with this fella, he just happened to be coming past when I had the camera out.

Inland run

I departed from my usual coastal routes and took a run inland to some of central Victoria’s old goldfields areas. Just on 400 kms in perfect conditions, made all the better by the lack of traffic.

I had intended to head to Maldon via Daylesford, however, changed my mind once the wheels were turning. I took a few photos at both Clunes and Talbot, however, they didn’t actually look that good. Rather than conveying the historic charm and character of the townships, the pics just seemed to convey neglect and decay. Fortunately the former goldfields region now boasts a thriving wine and tourism industry.

After stopping for a Coke in Clunes and a quick lap of Talbot, I headed up to Maryborough for fuel, then headed to Beaufort via Avoca for lunch. The run to Beaufort through the bush to Ampitheatre was really scenic, and a welcome change, after the parched open countryside that preceded it.

Vineyards directory at Avoca. This area is referred to as the Pyrenees wine area.

Only rotunda in Australia with clocks apparently.

Kind of fitting really!

On the last leg home from Ballarat to Geelong I decided to take the Mt Mercer road so that I could take a look at the wind farm there. It has sixty-four turbines. Mt Mercer wind farm. The ZX14 clocked over the 8,000 km mark on the ride and is going like a train. It still has the original front tire (Bridgestone) and the rear Pilot Road 3 fitted 4,400kms ago looks barely worn. I must do some research on the new Pilot Road 4 recently released by Michelin to see if I can mix a front PR4 with a rear PR3.

 

The pictures …..

…can do the talking as to the destination for today’s ride.

All up, 433 kms in perfect Autumn conditions.

Welcome, now be scared!

When I was a child there was not a single guard rail or fence to be seen and we used to just run about the place. I wonder how we survived?

There are about 8 left – if you have a good imagination!

View to the East

Layers

I really was there!

Port Campbell jetty

Great Kriega luggage on these two. I should have taken a closer shot of their luggage systems.

 

 

 

“Lets see how far we’ve come….”

It was new helmet time for Mrs T as her old Shark RSX was 5+ years old. Despite the fact that the Shark looks perfect, I subscribe to the view (and evidence) that 5 years is a reasonable lifespan for optimum protection from a helmet. After trying on a Bell (made in China), a Shark (Thailand) and a Shoei (Japan), Mrs T opted for the Shoei TZ-X in XS size as the best fit. It’s also called a Qwest in the USA. Good review HERE

Mrs T has some history with Shoei’s and I knew that her first helmet (circa 1977) was a Shoei and was still in the garage gathering dust.OK, lets compare and contrast a little then.

The lovely looking Shark that has now been replaced. It’s a light weight, well constructed helmet from a French company, but actually made in Thailand.

Now here’s the 1970′s Shoei S-12. It’s been collecting dust for many years!

State of the art in 1970′s! Shoei were quite new to the market back then and Bell was the dominant brand. If you couldn’t afford a Bell, second best was a Shoei.

The first thing that struck me when I handled it was that it was actually quite light, despite being fibreglass, the second was how thin and flimsy the visor was. Okay, lets have a closer look….

Snell 1970 certification and Australian standard 1698 sticker to the right.

Close up of the Aust standard and some good advice to the left.

Below are a couple of pics of a young Mrs T with that very same Shoei. Seeing the first pic reminded me – the Small size was too big for her head, so she used to wear a beanie under it to ensure a snug fit. How safe was that??

New TZ-X, size ‘extra small’. It’s made in Japan and excellent quality. Sharp rates it at 5 out of 5 for crash worthiness.

But what’s this? Aust (and now NZ) standard,……… you guessed it…. 1698. I know that it has been revised a couple of times, but really!  For the life on me, I can’t understand why we need an Australian specific helmet standard for such a small market, rather than just accepting the US or European or Japanese standard?  Maybe it’s so we can’t import them directly ourselves and save 40% on Australian retail prices? I am sounding cynical now!

Nice interior, no SNELL certification nor any other info. There is one paper thin sticker on the inside of the jaw piece with construction materials info and Aust compliance. I’m sure it wont last long.

Color matched with my Shoei Neotec

Mrs T wore it for a 300 km ride recently and loved it.She found it really comfortable and much more quiet than the Shark, even though she always wears earplugs under the helmet.

Does anyone recall the 1970′s Bell helmet advertising slogan? “If you’ve got a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet”.

 

 

More Otways goodness

The middle of a public holiday long weekend is not always a great time to ride motorcycles, right? Well it can be OK if you are thoughtful about the route. Rather than the frustration of following the herd of tourists & day trippers traveling along the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne, we headed inland to the get to the Otways, then intercepted the GOR at Lavers Hill and then rode the rain forest section to Apollo Bay, against the flow of tourist traffic heading for the 12 Apostles. From Apollo Bay we tracked inland to Forrest, then took the back roads back to Geelong. It was perfect weather, with blue sky and not a puff of wind. The temps ranged around the 24C mark for most of the trip, but got up around 32C for the last 50kms.

Helmet hair, but hey, it’s from a new helmet!

Mrs T’s brand, spankin’ new Shoei TZX in anthracite color

Mrs T enjoying the day out

We made salad rolls for our lunch, thus avoiding the hassle (and expense) of buying food and enabling a lunch stop in a beautiful, deserted Otway’s picnic area.

I was surprised how neglected this spot was, and what used to be a well defined walking track was now all but overgrown.

I don’t have any pics other than this spot as we were enjoying the riding too much to stop! All up, the ride was around 300 kms.

 

 

 

 

 

World Superbikes 2014 Phillip Island

Mrs T and I enjoyed a grand day out on Saturday at the World Supers. Here’s a few pics of some of the stars on track. Lots more to come when I’ve been through the hundreds of pics that I took!

Haslem looks good on the PATA Honda.

Melandri wound up third in Super-pole and second in race one on Sunday.

Guiliano has restored some dignity for Ducati, and finished 2nd on pole.

Sykes came off just near us, ruining his chances for pole.

A highlight of Saturday was the battle between Wayne Maxwell (No 1) and Josh Hook (No 34) in the Australian Superbike race. Those guys were neck and neck and swapped places at the head of the field several times, untill Maxwell binned it on the entry to Lukey Heights.

The stunter was pretty entertaining as well.

Interesting looking newcomer!

For lots more pics of Australian Superbikes, World Superbikes and from around the circuit, click HERE

At the Expo at the track I purchased  one of these Kaoko throttle locks – which I was actually about to buy online anyway. I think that it’s a much nicer gadget than the Vista throttle lock I had bought but never installed.

They got a great review by Web Bike World HERE

 

Another short ride

I took a mid week run from Geelong along the GOR to Lorne, then headed inland to Forrest via Dean’s Marsh. My plan to ride Turton’s Track and the Otways was thwarted when it started to rain. At least it wasn’t smokey up there.The air quality in Geelong and Melbourne has been the worst for years due to smoke haze from the bushfires.

Straight after the ride I took the ZX14 to JK Motorcycles for its 6,000Km service. JK was telling me that Cameron Donald (a recent IOM winner) was spotted in the Otways after the historic meeting at Phillip Island. He apparently introduced himself to one Geelong motorcyclist  who had no clue who he was!