Kim Krebs the world’s second fastest woman!

Mrs Tarsnakes and I were strolling through the tiny northeastern Victorian town of Yackandandah (pop approx. 700) recently, when we saw the plain notice below on the front of the museum.

Kim Krebs, the world’s SECOND FASTEST woman?  I don’t know much about land speed racing, but as a motorcycle enthusiast, I’d never heard of her. So in such circumstances Google answers all. It seems that Kim is a regular at the Bonneville Salt flats in Utah and has done pretty darn well there. Yes 229 mph (368 kph) on a turbo 750cc is fast!

Here is a link to ABC local radio website – be sure to click on the link there to listen to an interview with Kim.

Kim is part of a trio who call themselves Black Art Racing and she also received Motorcycling Australia’s first Woman of the Year award.

Congratulations Kim and the team. I now have another discipline of motorcycle sport that I’m keen to follow thanks to a chance sighting of a very plain notice in her home town!





Motorcycle cannonball run across the USA

I’ve spent much of the past week following the 2012 antique motorcycle Cannonball run across the USA. The race runs from New York City in the east to San Francisco in the west. Currently the riders have a lay day in Sturgis, South Dakota, however, many are using that time to complete some very major repairs as well as routine maintenance.

Here’s an old pic of mine just to add some imagery to the post!

The motorcycle currently in 1st place is 99 years old and has completed 1,927 miles so far. Yes, that is a 99 year old machine being ridden coast to coast across the USA.

Lots of good info and pics here on the Motorcycle Cannonball dedicated site. Also on their Facebook page linked form there. Another great source of a day to day info of the event is on the Antique Motorcycle Club of USA website.

Many of the riders have substantial back up teams and mobile workshops with them. At the other end of the scale is Doug Wothke who rode his 1928 Indian from Alabama to the starting line in NYC alone and has no back up team. Unfortunately Doug has had some serious mechanical failures along the way. Read all about Doug’s preparation HERE and his postings on ADVrider and you can track him via his SPOT.

There is also an Aussie from Melbourne in the race. He is Chris Knoop, riding a rare JAP powered Invincible. His blog is HERE.

This event has really captured my imagination and the internet has enabled me to follow it fairly closely from this side of the world. I’ve embedded some YouTube video footage below, courtesy of

Here is the trailer for Chris Knoop’s film “The Invincible Adventure”

Post script: Here is a link to a wrap up of the event by Bill Wood

Post Post Script:  a great article with analysis of costs and how there are really old motorcycles and what appear to be old motorcycles by Paul d’Orleans in The Vintagent

Congratulations Iain!

……. on your new Hayabusa.

When I checked into our motel in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year I noticed that the owner had a couple of pics of GSXR Suzukis in the office, so naturally we got talking motorcycles. Iain didn’t have a motorcycle at the time, but now he has.

Ride safe!

Chain maintenance when touring

I bought this device called a PackJack to make chain maintenance easier when away on tour. Our usual routine has been to get a couple of guys and man handle the bike levering the back wheel into the air, using the side stand as a pivot. The third person then sprays on the chain lube.

The PackJack is a small temporary stand that eliminates the “two guys”, and lifts the rear wheel a couple of centimetres so that it can be rotated to apply the chain spray. It’s  simple, really well made and comes with a small carry sack (pictured).  I stress that I purchased this with my own money and did not receive any price reduction incentive to post here. The postage cost from Canada is a bit of a killer at $20 CAD and brings the total cost to around $50 delivered to Aust – which is pretty pricey.

Here are some pics. I didn’t really take these shots from quite the right angle as it doesn’t really show that the wheel is actually off the deck.

Here’s a LINK to the PackJack website with some video. When I release the stand, my PackJack doesn’t just fold back as in the video – mine typically just falls over or flys off a bit. However, I’m guessing that this is a function of releasing the lift on such a heavy (250 kilogram) bike.

I emailed Greg from PackJack with a couple of questions about the stand before I purchased it and experienced prompt, friendly communication which made the online transaction easy and personal.

Also, I’ve been using a DuPont lube on the ZX14’s chain. I’ve been using the multi-use dry wax lube (blue can).  Here’s a review of the DuPont chain lubes by WebBike World



Old bikes in Elizabeth St Melbourne

I took a stroll around the Elizabeth St motorcycle precinct Saturday morning. Travelled by car as it was a cold, wet winter’s morning. There were lots of shiny things to look at as always, but what caught my eye was that one of the biggest dealerships had some old motorcycles on display and some were actually for sale. Well, really only for sale if you are prepared to suspend reality and take their prices seriously!

This Z1R caught my eye first as we used to have one the same as this. Its condition was actually not as good as the pic makes it appear. The tank was well rubbed and much of the metal was pitted. $20K price tag.

How I’d love a Z900. This is a Z1A – 1973 model. $25K price tag. For comparison, a  brand new MV Agusta is $22K ride away.

Now I’ve heard about automatic Hondas in the past, but never seen one. This wasn’t for sale.

A registered RC30 Honda

A couple of Triumph Rickman desert racers

And some real oldies!

Not surprisingly, I didn’t make a purchase!

It wasn’t like they said….

Fog then fine and sunny was the forecast. Well, not where we went, though we started in sunshine. It lasted about 10 mins then we rode in fog for 20 min. After that it was overcast, then drizzly, then foggy and drizzly, then sunny, then raining! The whole time it remained a sunny winter’s day in Geelong – just as forecast!

We had a great ride nevertheless.375 kms is pretty good for a winter’s day in these parts. Our route – Geelong to Timboon via Colac. Timboon to Apollo Bay via Port Campbell, the 12 Apostles and Lavers Hill – some of that GOR leg was in fog and drizzle.

Timboon – they make stuff in this

But Mitch bought this …. Actually it was only 11.00am, so we all had hot chocolates to drink

Some fans. Marty’s relieved to have some respite! “She could talk under wet cement” is the phrase that comes to mind!

She’s still talking! …..get those earplugs in Mitch!

Apollo Bay for lunch

A ’57 I think. It sounded so sweet. A sensational V8 rumble as they took off.

Mitch headed home via the GOR, Marty and I went visiting, then headed home via Forrest with a stop at the brewery, though nothing but hot chocolates passed our lips. Despite some wet roads and less than ideal conditions, we had a sensational day of riding.


Winter sun

My neigbour Mitch joined Marty and I for a run through the Otways in glorious winter sunshine. It was 2C at our first stop at Gellibrand when these shots were taken.

The Helibar riser blocks were a great success. I was really comfortable with the bars being just that little higher and certainly I wouldn’t want to be any more upright. I suspect that a taller person might have an issue with wind blast from the fairing, but for me it was fine.

Helibar riser blocks

Most of the time I’m quite comfortable with the forward lean to the handlebars on the ZX14. However, occasionally if I’m restricted to riding under 80 kph (50 mph) as can be the case on sections of the Great Ocean Road, I’ve noticed a little more weight on my wrists that I’d like.

Consequently I’ve purchased a pair of riser blocks made by Helibar. These retain the factory clip ons, but slot in under them to raise the bars 20mm and bring them back 10mm. They are literally a 10 minute install. Unfortunately Helibar won’t ship to Australia so they have to be purchased locally and cost $40 more than the US price!

The weather is so wet and cold here that I haven’t been able to go for a ride and determine whether they will make any difference. The bars now appear to be about the same height as the stock bars on the VFR800 were.


Congratulations Marty!

Peter Stevens showroom, Elizabeth St Melbourne. Marty with his new 2012 Kawasaki ZX14R.

Always a good idea to set the mirrors prior to hitting the city traffic for the very first time on a brand new motorcycle.

A couple of Marty’s pics from its maiden voyage

On the Great Ocean Road near Apollo Bay

A couple of my shots.

Full details for the Australian delivery ZX14 HERE