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.



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

At last it’s finished (Andy’s Commando refurbishment)

I received the email blow from my mate Andy whose been doing some work on his lovely Norton Commando.

Finished it on Sat, rode it yesterday, after sorting out a couple of minor glitches, I can report that this incarnation rides like a modern bike. The throttle is light as a feather, as is the clutch. Vibration is non-existent, the gear ratios are excellent, and…………it IDLES!!!

I’m so impressed, I thought I’d take a couple of snaps before the pipes discolour.

All I need to do now is get some miles on it.

Post rebuild pics of the Commando

I suggested to Andy that he send me a summary of whats been done so that I could post it here for all to see. Below is his account.

Jules,     The whole exercise started as an attempt to cure persistent oil leaks, I coated the inside of the crankcases with an oil resistant paint that cost $70.00 for 400ml, and took two months to obtain.

Whilst waiting, I had the piston skirts Teflon coated and the crowns ceramic coated, bringing the piston clearance back to 3.5 thou,  fitted gapless rings, new 2S camshaft and a Mikuni single carb conversion.

Drive train has been shouted a belt drive primary, radial bearing for the clutch release, a close ratio gear set, new sprockets and chain, new Stainless vernier adjustable isolastics.

Suspension got new progressive fork springs, new Hagon rear suspension units.

A pair of nice Magura levers made the bars look pretty, and anything that wasn’t already stainless got converted (brake cable clevis’s, cable adjusters, lever pivots etc)

I also got my claws on a new petrol tank made with ethanol resistant resin, as mine has a patch of de-lamination happening, (although very slowly). Haven’t fitted the tank yet as I want to line it first.

Some weeks ago in Andy’s shed

Some older pics and movies of this Commando – Hot New Years Day 2008 and more recently on Pashnit New Years Day 2011 or even some video here.

Well done mate! Now it’s a better bike to ride and still looks like a great example of a late 1960’s Norton.

Spring on the Great Ocean Road

The weather forecast promised so much – foggy then sunshine and 16C. The reality of the weather was not quite so good. However, Steve and I managed an enjoyable run along part of the GOR and through the Otways. Being mid week there was very little traffic compared with the weekends.

A scenic spot to stop for a chat.

Actually the GOR was far from at its best today. We’ve experienced torrential rain in Southern Australia over the past few days. While there has not been flooding along the coast here, there has been significant rain induced damage to the GOR. There were frequent streams running across the road and evidence of many small land slides and rock falls that resulted in a lot of muddy debris, particularly on the cliff side of the road.

The weather changed from sunshine in Lorne to raining in Apollo Bay and part of the way inland up through the Otways.

As the old saying goes, ‘it’s an ill wind that blows no good’ and to that extent is was great to see that the West Barwon Dam is 70% full after these heavy Spring rains. It has not been this full in years due to the succession of droughts we’ve had.

Afternoon run with a black Commando

Mrs Tarsnakes & I hooked up with my mate Steve for a quick run up to Forrest for a coffee and check out the West Barwon Dam.

The Black Commando

D & J. Steve suggested that he should take some shots of us – thanks mate!

All up a great afternoon’s riding. Great to catch up with Steve and get a ride in as well.

Afternoon on the Great Ocean Road

Yesterday Steve and I took an afternoon run from his place near Colac through the Otways to Skene’s Creek, then along the GOR to Lorne, then home through the hills via Dean’s Marsh.

Pulled up past Forrest for me to swap from my dark visor. It was quite overcast & gloomy under the canopy of the trees, although the pic doesn’t show it. Here’s Steve by my VFR.

Steve’s Commando roadside in the bush

We pulled in at Cape Patton to take in the views and have a chat. The sun had come out and it was really nice riding weather.

VFR & Norton at the Cape Patton lookout on the Great Ocean Road.

We had an uninterrupted run from Lorne up through the twisties to Dean’s Marsh, where we went our separate ways .
Bikes at Martian’s Cafe carpark.

All up a grand afternoon’s riding in one of the most scenic parts of Victoria.

12 Apostles

Yesterday the “West Coast Procrastinators” took a run to the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road (Vic) in excellent Spring conditions. Our route was Geelong, Colac, Gellibrand, Lavers Hill then to the Apostles via the Great Ocean Road. From there we headed inland along some interesting backroads; Simpson (no fuel available), Kennedy’s Creek, and the very pretty run through the bush from Carlisle River back to Colac. A previous post at CLICK HERE shows some pics of these backroads. The lack of traffic on these backroads is great, though I did have a ‘roo stand up in the shade on the side of the road as I approached!

Lunch stop at Blackwood Gully, Lavers Hill.

There was quite a bit of salt spray in the air making it difficult to get crisp shots.

Andy aboard the ’69 Commando 750

Steve’s Commando 750

Here’s a map of some of the route we took.

What could be more cute?