Island Classic 2017

On 28 January I took a day trip to Phillip Island on the ZX14R. The reason for this trip was the annual Island Classic race meeting, featuring teams from the UK, Ireland, NZ, the USA and Aust. I really like this event – not just for the bikes and racing, but also because a standard entry ticket provides full access to the pits and the pit roof area. And it’s quite OK to ride through the tunnel into the centre of the track and anywhere around the track outer perimeter. That’s good access for getting involved in an event. It was beautiful weather with plenty of sunshine and temps around 22 -25C – pretty good for PI!

When I first arrived I headed for the museum to see the new collection of racing winning Cagivas that they have just purchased and put on display.

After a look at the bikes and the info at the Visitor Centre I headed back into the track and straight through to park in the centre of the track. It was great wandering around the pits enjoying all the sights and sounds, and of course, events like this bring out some pretty special spectators’ bikes.

I spent ages peering into various pit garages and photographing the bikes and people fettling them. I’m always more interested in the 1970’s and 1980’s superbikes than the really old British and American iron.

I even managed to get up close to a few of the British team stars during their lunch break. Jeremy Williams, below, is still an incredibly gifted rider. His lap times and race craft was spectacular.

The fella below has won a few trophies at the Isle of Man TT races I believe!

Above: John McGuinness

Above: Cameron Donald

After a really good wander around the pits I headed over to the inside of Turn 4 to take some race photos with my ageing SLR. As I said, Jeremy McWilliams (#99) at age 52 can still really ride at a very high level and led every race that I saw him in.

The big Irving Vincent powered sidecar was impressive, however, the real star exhibit was the priceless Britten.

By around 3.45pm I was done and headed over to my Kawasaki and kitted up to head for home. As I was doing so a fella with some pretty impressive camera gear stopped to chat and take a couple of pics of the Kwaka. I got talking photography him and it turned out to be none other than legendry Team Kawaski Australia racer Murray Sayle! That topped off an already excellent day. A gentle ride completely around the outside of the track to take in all the sights and I was off towards Melbourne in still, perfect riding conditions.

Link to a gallery of photos, CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Snowys invitational

A few weeks ago I was invited to come on a five day ride through the Victorian High Country to the Snowy Mountains area. Of course I jumped at the offer! It was great to be a guest on someone’s ride, rather than being a participant in planning and booking accommodation and the like. 

DAY 1: Four of us from Geelong met around 8.30am on Saturday 21st Jan then took the Princes Hwy, Western Ring Rd and Hume Freeway as far as Broadford, then turned inland and met the rest of the crew in Yea. From Yea we headed to Mansfield for lunch and then hit the twisties from Mansfield over to Whitfield. Bob’s bike actually made slight contact with a Ducati that was sliding down the road towards him, along with a fallen rider who was coming from the other direction. From Whitfield it was a lovely cruise down the King Valley, then up the Tawonga Pass and then up to Mt Hotham for the night. All up 595 kms for the day. 

DAY 2: After a reasonable night’s sleep at Mt Hotham (I never sleep really well the first night away) we packed up and Ron the builder led us down to Omeo in the cool morning air. After a great breakfast we headed along the Omeo Hwy to Mitta Mitta. I led this section and these continuous curves are exactly what the ZX14 is built for. I got into a nice rhythm and Graham tucked in behind me.  He and I stopped about 20kms out of Mitta Mitta and waited for the rest of the crew to catch up. I think the Victory’s of Peter and Ron were a bit of a handful in the tight twisties. We had a break under the trees by the Mitta Mitta River and then it was off to Tallangatta for lunch. It was a very pleasant 25C temp at Talangatta and the rest of the day we rode under clear, blue skies. From here we rode up the Granya Gap then along the banks of the Hume Weir on the Murray River Rd (C546) to Walwa. This section was incredibly green and scenic. By now it was getting pretty warm (around 30C) and after some cold drinks (non-alcoholic!) we crossed the border into NSW and  rode onwards to Tumbarumba via the Tooma Rd. We pulled into my favourite spot at the Southern Cloud memorial lookout. It was a cruisy run the rest of the way to Tumbarumba and by the time we checked into the pub, we were well and truly ready for some cold beers, followed later by a pretty good counter meal at the same pub. Total = 405kms.

Roadside debrief after riding the twisties of the Omeo Hwy.

DAY 3: Day three’s ride commenced at a ‘Gentle’ pace in sunny weather, yet again. It was an easy pace as a couple of the ‘fellas were feeling the effects of the prior two days, mainly in the form of back and shoulder pain. Both were Victory mounted actually and clearly that style of bike is a lot of work in tight, twisty stuff. It was great cruising along past all the commercial apple orchards in the cool morning air. We headed over to Tumut, then had a really nice run along the Snowy Mountains Highway (B72) to Adaminaby for lunch. Max and I had a spirited run for quite a few kilometers which was exhilarating. After lunch and a couple of pics of the big trout, we motored over to Berridale. As we checked into the motel early in the afternoon, so Jimbo, John, Max and I took off for a scenic loop of the region which took in Dalgety, Jindabyne and Lake Eucambene. By now it was pretty hot and after a little dirt tracking at the lake (thanks Garmin!) we headed back to our lodgings at Berridale. The local pub was the venue for our evening meal as it was the only place open! However, being Monday all they had available was pizza – so pizza it was! I had a great sleep in a comfy motel bed. All up with Eucambene circuit = 390 kms.

The long & short of the crew!

DAY 4:  

As this was to be a reasonably long day we headed off just after 8.00am and took a nice morning run down to Bombala for brekky, via Dalgety and a short section of the Monaro Hwy. John headed for the coast from here, on his way to spend a few days in Canberra. After breakfast we travelled down to Cann River via the Monaro Hwy. Even though it is a highway, it is quite a scenic and enjoyable ride down the Monaro. Passing by the Mt Imlay without a quick squirt down it was a bit sad though! True to form, we barely reached the Victorian state border and it started to rain! The quality of the road surface became poor as well, compared with NSW.

From Bruthen we took a convoluted route to our destination at Mirboo North. Most of this was just boring straight roads that needed to be traversed to get to our accommodation at Mirboo North. We’ve stayed at the 1st Tee motel at the golf course previously and Stan always looks after us with a good price on the rooms and by arranging for someone from the pub to ferry us to the pub for our evening meal. All up, 506 kms.

Would Jimbo be tempted from his Harley by the Victory?

DAY 5: After a light breakfast in our rooms we saddled up, fuelled up and headed for a cruisy ride along the Grand Ridge Road (C484). It was wonderful just bopping along with views from the Strzelecki Ranges in the morning light. We crossed the Princes Hwy and headed up from Neerim South to join the scenic, twisty Yarra Junction – Noojee road. At Powelltown we pulled in to the pub – which is every bit as much café as it is pub. There is a very pretty seating area out the back that adjoins the rainforest.

After coffees we said our farewells as three of the group would be turning off a little further down the road near Yarra Glen. The scenic riding continued and at Kinglake we came across a random breath-testing station. That was no problem and then about 15 minutes later were pulled over by two motorcycle cops coming in the other direction. Our lead rider continued on thinking that the flashing lights were all about  the car immediately ahead of us which had no number plates. One cop took off after him and pulled him over whilst the other cop directed us to ride up the where Graham had been pulled over – I guess it’s a safety thing for them. Anyway, the no rego plates car was just ignored! Our licenses were all checked and our details written down (surprisingly no electronic devices were used). Jimbo’s now well-worn rear tyre drew the officers’ attention and he was advised to have it replaced ASAP. However, none of us were booked and the cops were friendly and professional in their interaction with us. We pulled in for lunch at Wallan. From here is was a perfunctory run around the outskirts of Melbourne then on to Bacchus Marsh where there was yet another breath testing station. This time we were waved on! Obviously there was a blitz on leading up to the Australia Day long weekend. I rolled into my driveway late in the afternoon having done 402 kms for the day and a grand total of 2,298 kms for the trip.

Many thanks to Ron for inviting me on this ride. He’d done an excellent job with all the trip planning including routing, loading the roads into his GPS and booking the accommodation. There was lots of laughs and banter with a great bunch of fellas. All the bikes ran well and we had no mechanical issues or any other problems. It was a brilliant run which I thoroughly enjoyed, with great company and excellent roads and scenery.

Unfortunately closed on Tuesday we were in town.

Powelltown pub

Pink Ribbon Ride 2016

This is a Geelong Ulysses Club and Peter Stevens Motorcycles fundraising event for the Andrew Love Cancer Centre. Every cent made goes to the cause and there are zero costs taken out of the funds raised. Mrs T and I were corner marking.

At age 84 yrs, Rob Ashmore (below) was probably the oldest participant! Well done Rob.

A gallery with lots more shots HERE

 

 

 

Antique Motorcycles

The Antique Motorcycle Club of Australia is a club for owners of pre-1930 motorcycles. Their AGM and associated ride out was held today and I was able to ride to the Wallace Hotel (Vic) to catch up with Tom K (1927 Scott Flying Squirrel)  and Tim K aboard his Dad’s 1930 Scott. It was a terrific opportunity photograph some beautiful old machines in motion. These bikes are ridden and enjoyed.

Lots more pics in my gallery. Click HERE to view them.

Purrumbete for lunch

After coffee at Winchelsea with a group of 11 riders, 5 opted to follow Geoff to a little cafe at Lake Purrumbete, at an out of the way spot near Camperdown (Vic). Geoff led us on a scenic route around the lakes out of Colac and then it was a short run up the highway to Lake Purrumbete. We came home via Cressy, Shelford and Inverleigh. A great run of around 300kms in sunny conditions with temps between 9C and 12C.

Geoff’s new T120 (1200) Bonneville

 

 

 

Mirboo North four dayer

We were invited to a four day ride, staying in Mirboo North for three nights. The weather forecast was for excellent riding conditions for Friday and Saturday, a wet change with significant rain for Sunday and possible showers on Monday.

Well we made the best of the first two days completing 385kms (from our home) on Friday and about 370 kms on Saturday. Mrs T did really well riding pillion over these distances on a bike that is not very well suited for a pillion. Sunday dawned with drizzle that turned to showers and set in for the day. So Sunday was spent with some walking in the morning, including a visit to the famous ‘Inline-Four Café’, and an afternoon and evening by the open fire at the Mirboo North Golf Club – which they kindly opened for our use. Monday we headed for home on greasy roads and the threat of rain. When we pulled up for morning tea and consulted the rain radar the decision was made to cancel the ride home via the hills and take the highway home. As we hit the Monash it started to rain a little and just prior to the tunnel we were pummelled by a cold change, with pelting rain, gusty winds and generally treacherous conditions out over the Westgate Bridge and on the freeway back to Geelong.

All up it was a brilliant long weekend of just on 1000 kms door to door for us. Thanks to Ron (AKA Gentle) for all his work in planning the ride routes, organising the accommodation and generally ‘herding cats’ with good humor.

A diverse range of motorcycles

A great bunch of people – pictured here at Port Albert

Attack of the seagulls – aided by a handful of chips lofted into the air!

Coal Creek at Korumburra http://www.coalcreekvillage.com.au/

Gentle at Coal Creek, Korumburra

Gentle

Mural at Mirboo North servo

Dodging the rain on Sunday at the Golf Club, which was kindly opened for our exclusive use

 

Broadford Bike Bonanza Easter 2016

For quite a few years now we’ve headed to the Bike Bonanza at Broadford, and this year was going to be ‘make or break’ having left a bit disappointed last year. It was actually an excellent event which we thoroughly enjoyed, so I dare say that we will be back again next Easter. The road bike themes for this year were Moto Guzzi and Aussie Superbikes. Dorothy just loves 1970’s Le Mans Guzzi’s and has always lusted after one. The feature Guzzi was the 500CC V8 racer, which proved pretty temperamental to get running and we didn’t see it on the track at all.  There were, however, two other V8 motorcycles present, the Drysdale 750 (see video at the end) and a PGM 2 litre. John Kaiser who has been the mechanic I go to for many years was there with his Kawasaki Z900 and friend Tim Kingston brought his T500 Suzuki along for a run. There were lots of old Pommie bikes in addition to the Guzzi’s, however, I most relate to 1970’s Japanese superbikes. A selection of pics below, but hundreds at this link BBB

JK getting a knee down

Highly desirable Norton 650 SS

The V8 Moto Guzzi being difficult