All British Rally

Saturday 22nd April, Marty and I took a drive (in the car!) to the All Brit at Maldon. We left the ZX14’s in the garage as it had been raining overnight and most of the day before. The All Brit is based at Newstead, Vic, however, they take a short ride to the nearby historic town of Maldon where the old motorcycles and hundreds of spectators take over the main street for a few hours.

The BSA below was restored by my mate Andy, and only completed two days prior to the rally. His Commando Fastback is in the background.

First model Series A, Rapide –  known as the ‘The Plumbers Nightmare’

That’s a smattering of motorcycles I photographed. Click on the link to see a gallery of pics. CLICK HERE

Jay Leno gives an authoritative run down on the Series A Rapide in the video below

Broadford Bike Bonanza 2015

I took my annual trip to the Broadford Bike Bonanza on Easter Sunday. It was a perfect autumn day for the event with no wind, plenty of sunshine and the temp around 22C. A friend of mine, Tim K, has come back to classic racing after a 20 plus year break and is in the process of shaking down a T500 Suzuki that he has recently rebuilt. So this was the first time for me to see his Suzuki in action, which was great and it always adds interest when someone you know is on the circuit. His Dad is an old hero of mine (see A Familiar Voice) and I was expecting to see him as well, however, he had some bike trouble on Saturday and didn’t stick around for Sunday. I arrived around 10.am and things were in full swing. The theme for this year was former Bathurst racers.

Below is a selection of some bikes that took my fancy.

Tim K aboard the T500 Suzuki

TK 09 (2)

‘Beak’ on the former John Woodley Suzuki.

A well-used, road going Norvin, with South Australian rego. I wonder if it was ridden here?

I still love the style of the beautiful Honda CB750 Four engine, shown to advantage below

Speaking of old Honda 750’s, Paul Kerlin in the pic below had traveled all the way from Emerald in Qld to show his wares. He makes cast pistons for the Honda 750cc motors and was very generous with his time talking to me. His business is Kerly’s Custom Connection, however, I don’t think he has a website.

How’s this for stepping back in time. I didn’t hear it running but I’m told it started first kick.

I saw this lady being photographed and wondered who she was. Tim knew that she is Peggy Hyde, a 1970’s road racer with considerable ability. It’s really well worth reading about her in this AMCN article HERE. Better still, listen to her at THIS LINK

I’ve posted a gallery of pics HERE. I advise clicking on ‘Slideshow’ when you get to the page.

Those who know me, know of my love of the mighty Vespa, so I will finish with a pic of two of them!

 

Honda RC166

 Motorcycle News online recently ran a couple of articles on 6 cylinder motorcycles. Both part 1 & part 2 are really well worth reading. What really caught my attention was the video clip on the little Honda 250cc six cylinder race bike from1966. Just check out the tacho in the sequence where one is started up as a demo in Japan. Turn up the sound on your device!

Coast in the AM, inland for the PM

I took a short solo coastal ride Thursday morning, then a twilight ride to Andy’s place in Ballarat with Marty. In the morning I experimented with an old camera on a lanyard for some pics ‘on the fly’.

The morning ride

Below: main beach at Lorne Vic.

Below: The Lorne to Dean’s Marsh road

Not speeding!

The afternoon ride

Marty and I headed off a little after 5.00pm and took some back roads via Mt Mercer inland to Ballarat. It had warmed up to around 33C, but the riding was pleasant until……. Marty suffered a puncture of his rear tyre. He’s unsure what did it, but it left a large hole, though nothing was embedded. Fortunately we had a puncture plugging kit and once we located the hole had it “fixed”  and headed on to Andy’s motorcyle restoration workshop. The three pics below demonstrate completed, in progress and yet to be touched projects. All are 1973 Suzuki two strokes, 250, 350 and 750 respectively.

As the tyre plug was leaking slightly we left Marty’sZX14R and rode home two up on mine. The plan being to get a new tyre fitted the next day.

Here’s an update: the T350 Suzuki that was “in progress”is now completed. Pics below.

A nice pair.

 

 

Procrastinators’ New Year ride 2014

The 2014 New Year’s Day AGM of the West Coast Procrastinators was thwarted by an unfavorable weather forecast, which actually eventuated in a day of wind and rain of ‘biblical proportions’ as Marty described it. In a rare display of decisiveness, the ride, lunch & AGM were re-scheduled to 2nd January, 2014. Mind you, I packed my wet weather gear as I wasn’t 100% convinced that it would remain dry for the whole ride.

Marty and I met on the outskirts of Geelong then headed via the Cape Otway Road to Steve’s property just outside Colac.

When we arrived at Steve’s the team were found to be in good form, with Andy deriding the exhausts on my ZX14 before I even had a chance to get my helmet off. It seems that size does matter in this case! There were two very different generations of motorcycles present – the old 1970’s Brit bikes and the latest from Japan.

Two ZX14R’s and a Commando

Steve’s Norton Commando

Marty’s ZX14R

After some more good natured banter and New Year handshakes we headed off for a tour of the salt lakes near Warrion, then on to our destination at the Timboon rail shed distillery for lunch. Fortunately we had booked a table as the joint was packed and even getting a parking spot was problematic.

Tarsnakes’ ZX14R

The ambiance of the restaurant was only sullied by the presence of a former politician who had been at the heart of the “Children Overboard” affair (suggested by some as one of Australia’s great political lies) and who had condoned unprecedented strikebreaking measures during the Waterfront dispute. (Imagine security guards in balaclavas with German shepherd dogs used for the first, and only, time in Australia’s history).

Anyway, after a tasty lunch and an uneventful and mercifully brief AGM, we hit the road and headed for the 12 Apostles via the Great Ocean Road and then tracked inland to Beech Forest for a pit stop and photos.

Three of four at Beech Forest

And with no procrastination at all, rode Turton’s Track to Forrest. Turton’s was in excellent condition with none of the usual slippery wet bark covering the asphalt.

Here’s a file shot of Turton’s Track

Our last stop for the ride was the Forrest Brewery. Time for a drink, swatting the abundant flies, a bit of a debrief, some more New Year handshakes and we were on our way again – Marty and I back to Geelong and Steve and Andy back to Colac.

 

A really enjoyable day of riding and banter with mates – a great way to start the new year. All up, I’d done 390 very enjoyable kms for the ride – and it didn’t rain once!

New Year’s Day 2012

Happy New Year to all who follow Tarsnake’s blog!

The West Coast Procrastinators got their act together again to reprise our New Year’s Day 2011 run. The aim for the day was to ride some back roads and then enjoy a leisurely lunch to usher in the New Year at the cafe at a distillery in the tiny Western District township of Timboon (Pop 850). This place is just inland from the famous 12 Apostles and the gas processing plant for the Casino Natural Gas off shore rigs is based nearby.The motorcycles present were two early 1970’s Norton Commandos and two big bore Kawasakis.

Andy had a gift for us –  a couple of personalized stubby holders each!

Let me tell you a little about the “Procrastinators”, just in case you are new to Tarsnakes. In addition to his Norton Commando, Andy has numerous other motorcycles. Complete and running are a 500cc BSA twin, a lovely 1972 T250 Suzuki Hustler, and an old 350cc Panther single. Under restoration are a 450 Ducati and another BSA. I’ve probably missed some of his machines, as there are numerous other motorcycles in various states of completion.

Other than his Commando, Steve has another complete and rideable 500cc twin cylinder Norton Dominator, a Norton 500cc single and a 1970′s RD350 Yamaha (which he rode to some of the most remote parts of Australia on back in 1979). He also kindly houses my wife’s rideable, but incomplete, early 1970′s 175 Yamaha CT1 dirt bike. Both of these guys were my mates from our teenage years, when we came together with a love of 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 26 years.

Our route. For a bigger map click HERE

I had some new gloves to try out. They are Held Steve II’s, featuring kangaroo skin palms. They are a recent birthday gift from Mrs Tarsnakes.

Marty and I met on the edge of town. The blue sky, a forecast top of 35C and the lack of traffic looked very promising for a great day of riding. I guess many folk were still in bed being New Year’s Day.

About 40 minutes later Marty and I arrived at our rendezvous point near Colac (Vic) which is approx 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Melbourne. From here we headed to Timboon via Cobden.

Lunch venue. The Timboon Railway Shed Distillery

The motorcycles in front of the distillery. Steve’s Norton in front.

Andy’s Commando

Me astride the ZX14.

The West Coast Procrastinators doing what they do best!

It was time for some lunch and we secured a table out on the decking. The temp was climbing, I’d say approx 26C by this stage. Some had beef, some had pie & some had fish. The background music included a Derek Truck’s band number so all was good.

No whisky for us, but at least it was local.

I’d heard of an old timber trestle rail bridge in the area so we asked for directions and headed off to check it out. “Watch out for snakes down there” our waitress warned. It was down a dusty, corrugated gravel road, but certainly well worth a look.

Arty shot as suggested by Marty.It was really hot down in this valley, maybe 35C and no breeze to be had at all. The bikes were parked in the shade!

Here’s a framed shot of Steve.

The bridge is now used as part of a bicycle path. One of many “rail trails” in the Australian countryside.

Two brave motorcyclists walk across the bridge towards a large black creature with horns.

Two brave motorcyclists return, the horned creature stands its ground!

By the time we rode the few kilometers back up the corrugated, gravel road Andy was concerned that his clutch wasn’t feeling quite right nor functioning correctly so he and Steve decided to head for home back along the way we had come, rather than taking in the 12 Apostles – Great Ocean road loop.

Marty and I said our farewells and headed off to the coastal township of Port Campbell. We fueled up and the rode the GOR through the twisties to Laver’s Hill. At Laver’s Hill we turned off the GOR and headed inland to Beech Forest and then Forrest via Turton’s Track. from there we headed back to Colac to see that the Norton devotees had arrived home OK, which thankfully they had!

We sat in Steve’s shed and chewed the fat for a while, then Marty and I saddled up and headed back to Geelong via Hwy 1. All up, 385 kms of scenic and really enjoyable riding with mates.

Summer has finally arrived – it’s forecast to be 41C (105F) here today!

To see this report on Pashnit motorcycle forum click HERE

Saturday morning at Forrest

Being so close to Christmas we all seem pretty busy and a motorcycle ride certainly didn’t rate very highly on Mrs Tarsnakes agenda for me. It was the same situation at Marty’s household, however, he had a new helmet to road test and a new front tire to scrub in. So in the spirit of compromise it was decided over dinner last night that the boys could go out for the morning, but would be back by lunchtime for their family responsibilities. It occurred to me that between the two couples we have a total of 65 years of married life – so I guess that we’ve become good negotiators over the years! Actually, we are both lucky ‘fellas to have great partners who are so supportive of our motorcycling addiction!

Here’s a couple of pics from our short time off the leash this morning.

The reason for our ride – Marty’s new Shoei. It’s a TZ-X in Aust, but called a Qwest elsewhere in the world.

It was pretty quiet at Forrest, just us and the 1960 Morris Minor ute (pickup for those of you in the USA).Just as we were about to leave a couple pulled in on a 1975 Mark 3 Norton Commando 850. They were heading inland from the coast. I have to mention that there was not a single drop of oil leaked from this old Brit classic whilst parked!

All up we had a great morning run in very pleasant 23 C temperature. Maybe this is the beginning of the Summer that hasn’t happened yet.

PS – For all Kawasaki fans, a great 1970’s promotional video HERE

It was the Genesis

Originally I started this post referring to a song from 70’s Aussie band “Chain”. I just heard a song on the radio that was actually a better “fit”. Good old Neil sang it best,

“One of these days,
I’m gonna sit down
and write a long letter
To all the good friends I’ve known
And I’m gonna try
And thank them all
for the good times together”.

In the early 1970’s I met a group of like-minded guys who did not give a crap about Aussie rules football like everyone else did – they shared my passion for motorcycles. It was also just the time I was just old enough to begin to exercise some freedom and independance.

Thanks to Steve for many of these images, reproduced from the slide collection of his late father, Ron Kelly, who catalogued much of our youth with his camera. They reflect a great many very happy memories from a period in time that was the genesis of our love for motorcycling. Thirty+ years on and we are all still pretty keen motorcyclist in one form or another.

L –> R: Steve, Col , Jules, Rod, Keith

Steve, Rod, Jules, Andy

None were licensed to ride, but ride they did! Just home after a bit of “dog rattlin”.

Steve’s Honda CB750 four, which I later bought.

Andy’s Ducati GT750 circa 1974

My Suzuki 550, late 1973
Same bike in 1974
Rod McRae’s Kawasaki Z900, circa 1977

Jules Kawasaki Z1R, Christmas 1979

My friends are scattered
Like leaves from an old maple.
Some are weak, some are strong

Neil Percival Young.