An Interceptor, a Ninja & a Commando

Marty and I headed down hwy 1 from Geelong to Colac (Vic – approx 90 miles from Melbourne) and hooked up with Steve. From there the three of us took our familiar run to Apollo Bay via the inland forested part of the Great Ocean Road. Just out of Apollo Bay we turned inland and headed back towards Colac via the township of Forrest. Beech Forest and Forest were our main drink stops along the way.

Our route.

 Our first stop after Colac was at Beech Forest. This comes after a great run gaining altitude along some winding roads lined with eucalyptus trees. We pulled in at the ‘Ridge Cafe’ which has a deck that looks out over the Otways bush.

Motorcycles parked in the shade.

The guys taking in the view

 After a drink and chat it was off to Lavers Hill and then along the GOR for a stop and fuel at Apollo Bay. We had a great run along the GOR and it seems like the recent heavy rains have really cleaned the asphalt – the grip today was terrific.

Steve pulling up in the main street of the coastal town of Apollo Bay.

The Commando is approaching its 40th birthday!

Waiting in the shade while the guys fuel up. At $1.42 per litre ($5.38 per US gallon)  it’s a blatant rip off. I’m glad I have a large fuel tank.

After a brief walk around the Saturday market it was back on the motorcycles for a sensational run up through the bush to Forest, then to Steve’s place near Colac. After chewing the fat for a while there under a shady tree, Marty & I headed back down Hwy 1 to Geelong.

This run was a really satisfying mix of great roads, great weather and great friends to share the experience with. January has just about ended and at last we are getting some decent summer weather! Tomorrow’s forecast is for 41C (105F) so it was great to get out today in a very enjoyable 20C-25C (68F-77F).

International Island Classic Phillip Island


I took a run down to Phillip Island with one of the other old West Coast Procrastinators, Andy, for the ‘Island Classic’ historic race meeting.We met up with our mates Bill & Terry when we got there. The weather was perfect for competitors and spectators alike. The biggest concern at Phillip Island is always how windy it will be.Thankfully today was very calm and sunny with a temp around 24C.

The last time that I went to Classic Races at PI was the first time this event was run! Here’s the pin I bought back then.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and was particularly impressed with some of the lap times. A handful of the very  best were only 10 seconds slower than Stoner’s 2010 MotoGP qualifying time. That’s pretty impressive for 30 year old machines.

1938 Vincent HRD
I think it’s a 1962 Azani Special

Andy made comment that the meeting was a bit light on for old British racing motorcycles, especially compared with all the post classic and forgotten era Japanese bikes. A fair comment – my analysis is that PI is maybe a bit too big a track for the really old bikes and that smaller tracks like Broadford probably suit them better.  I happen to love the 70’s & 80’s era Jap  bikes as they are the ones I saw, lusted after and rode during my youth.

A spectator’s lovely 1100 Katana. Mrs Tarsnakes has ridden one of these back in the early 1980’s, alas I never have.

Spectators with classic machines did a parade lap at lunch time.

What I really like about the Island Classic is that you can ride / drive vehicles anywhere around the track, rather than have to park in a designated parking compound. Also, the admission price ($35 for Sunday) includes full access to the pits. This means that it is very easy to take a close look at many of the classic motorcycles and the people who race them. I get a real buzz out of seeing guys roll up on their own historic or classic bikes. The ones I saw ridden in to the event  ranged for a 1928 AJS to a late 1970’s Laverda Jota. The Jota owner (a former Kawasaki dealership owner) was going to ride home 250+ miles that night after the racing finished- lot’s of faith in a well maintained motorcycle.

Seeing a mint CBX1000 and RC45 together and talking to their owner was a real treat for me as well. I’ve mentioned before on this blog how much I’d love to have a CBX!

Mint CBX1000. The owner of this also had the RC45!

A very rare RC45

The classic races are very friendly, open events and certainly don’t have that kind of that market driven, ‘glamor’ event feel of the MotoGP – which is a big positive in my book.

I took plenty of pics, for high resolution pics CLICK HERE

Holed crankcase

I can’t lean any further!

John Whitla’s lovely Jota. Mikuni carbs & Brembo brakes

I was a young teenager when these hit the market – glorious sounding twins.

The track by the ocean – Phillip Island

1928 AJS ridden in. The Gladstone bag ‘top box’ was a nice touch

Maldon day trip

I took a solo run inland to avoid the Otways because of debris on the roads from all the recent heavy rain. I left Geelong under a cloudy sky with the temp around 16C, but expected better weather inland.  I headed through the tourist trap town of Daylesford (having been tailed for around 5 klm by a marked police vehicle) to go to the historic former goldmining town of Maldon via the back roads through Newstead. The day quickly warmed up and before too long I had to pull over and remove some layers.

Here’s the route

Pic below is between Ballan and Daylesford

The ‘roos are a problem and behave much like deer in the USA.

Once past Daylesford I pretty much had the roads to myself. There was some minor road damage evident near Newstead from the flooding of the Loddon River, which peaked late on Friday.

Looks to me like the layer of asphalt was too thin in the first place.

River debris. There were flood warnings for nearby Maryborough so I kept clear.

Lunch

I had a bit of a walk around but it was so humid and I was overheating, it would have been nice in shorts and a T- shirt, like the ‘fella below actually!

Saw this guy go bye in his “Queensland leathers” on a lovely old Vincent Comet single.
It started first kick after he stopped at a nearby shop.

Said g’day to the dog!

As I was leaving a couple pulled up in an immaculate old Mercedes 190 two-door.

This thing was pristine.

Always some surprises in the store windows in the country – a solar powered snake deterrent!

It was hot and humid and the shady verandas are perfect. There’s a historic vehicle museum in Maldon, but a cast of guys on Harleys with beards like they play in ZZTop were there so I continued on.

VFR resting in the shade

An uncommon color for an Australian Wing.

Two up through the Otways

Mrs T and I took a leisurely loop from Geelong to Forrest, Apollo Bay, Lavers Hill, Gellibrand, Birregurra and back to Geelong.

Total distance 305 kilometers

First stop was Forrest (Vic) for coffee.

1960 Morris Minor

 Second stop was Apollo Bay for art exhibition

I quite liked this Melbourne streetscape

This pastel portrait was good

 The run from Apollo Bay to Laver’s Hill is via the Great Ocean Road. Much of it in this section is actually inland through eucalyptus forest. Lovely big open sweepers for the most part and one section of quite tight curves. Despite being summer holidays the traffic traveling along the GOR from Apollo Bay towards the 12 Apostles wasn’t too bad.

We stopped in Laver’s Hill at Blackwood Gully  for lunch. It has a great outdoor deck area.

 Great lunches.

 From there we traveled inland through the bush and farming land via the back roads to Geelong. The weather was mostly sunny and at around 22C was a nice temp for riding.We need to stop reasonably often as Mrs T gets some vibration via one of the pillion footpegs which eventually makes her foot numb. I haven’t been able to solve this problem yet despite replacing the rubber bush in the footpeg mount recently.

News Year’s Day 2011

The West Coast Procrastinators finally got their act together to reprise our NYD 2008 run. The route differed slightly, but still involved the same guys, the 12 Apostles, two old Norton Commandos, two Japanese motorcycles and plenty of time spent chatting over a tasty lunch together. Let me tell you a little about my riding buddies.

In addition to his Norton Commando, Andy has numerous other motorcycles. Complete and running are a 500cc BSA twin, a lovel and newly acquired 1972 T250 Suzuki Hustler, and an old 350cc Panther single. Under restoration is a 450 Ducati and another BSA. I’ve probably missed some, as there are numerous other motorcycles in various states of completion.

Other than his Comando, Steve has another complete and rideable Norton 500cc single,  a 1970’s RD350 Yamaha (which he rode to some of the most remote parts of Australia on back in 1979) and currently has a 500cc twin cylinder Norton Dominator under restoration. He also kindly houses my wife’s rideable, but incomplete, early 1970’s 175 Yamaha dirt bike and some other miscellaneous motorcycles and parts of Andy’s. Both of these guys were my mates from our teenage years, when we came together with motorcycles and riding as our common bond.

Neither Marty nor I are are into restoring old motorcycles. He’s my main touring buddy (and features in most rides reports on this blog) and we’ve been great friends for the past 25 years.

We headed off from our rendezvous point in Colac (Vic) which is approx 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Melbourne. Our lunch destination turned out to be the cafe at a distillery in the tiny Western District township of Timboon (Victoria). This is quite close to the famous 12 Apostles and the gas processing plant for the Casino Natural Gas off shore rigs.

Here’s a map of our route starting in Colac at Steve’s place, which is approx 80 klm (50 miles) from my home.

Map of ride from our rendezvous point in Colac (Vic).

Andy’s ’69 Commando
Steve’s ’71 Commando
The VFR and ZX9


A distillery-restaurant makes a nice point of difference from all the microbreweries that are popping up everywhere

Lunch on the deck was excellent

Visitors’ centre at the 12 Apostles
Two of these and another large helicopter were sitting idle. NY’s  day seems to be a slow day for scenic flights!

Stop for drinks at the Gellibrand store

This was a very laid back ride in near perfect motorcycling weather and a great start to 2011. Here’s hoping for many more great rides in 2011!

Ride safe everyone.