Victorian Classic Championship Broadford

The magnificent Autumn weather continues, so Mrs Tarsnakes & I decided to head off to the Vic Classic Championship racing at Broadford. A late change was forecast so we took the car rather than the ZX14. As it turned out the weather was perfect all day.

Our interest really lies with the motorcycles of the 1970’s and 1980’s, rather than the genuine classics such as Norton and Triumphs.

First of a few Kawasaki s.  I used to own a Z1R in this colour, so it’s a sentimental favorite. The guys who owned this bike saw me about to take a shot in the pits and offered to put the seat back on for a better pic. When I mentioned that we used to own one of these and Mrs Tarsnakes had ridden it in the early 1980’s, he offered for her to climb aboard for the pic. It’s exactly the friendliness and access that one experiences at these small race events. And of course, referring to Mrs T as “your daughter” when talking to me, won the charming fella a few brownie points!

Blast offBeautiful Rex Wolfenden Honda

Check out that clutch

There were some lovely examples of road going Z1’s / Z900 Kawasakis track-side as well.

A nice 850 Le Mans

Sidecars

A long walk!

More problems

Some Brits

Very few Harleys present

Nice Honda racer

Note the onboard camera

Trackside

Lots more pics in the ‘Old’s Cool’ section of ADVrider or here in my GALLERY

 

 

 

Autumn in the Otways

Last week we planned to ride the Otways on Easter Sunday with our partners aboard, however, the weather was cold and windy. The newspapers all reported that Easter had marked the last of the good weather, even though it’s early autumn (fall). Well the weather forecasters got it all wrong yet again and we’ve just had a sensational weekend with blue skies and the temps in the mid to high 20 Celsius range.

We met Marty & Pauline on the outskirts of Geelong and headed towards Colac via Dean’s Marsh. It was a glorious, one T-shirt under the leathers, kind of morning. Our first stop was at Maria & Paul’s store in Gellibrand. It’s our usual first coffee stop. It was great to be greeted via the the kitchen window as we pulled up with “Hello Tarsnakes – I’ve been looking at your blog lately” from Maria.

On the counter were ‘Choo Choo Bars’ which excited the girls enormously – not having seen them since their childhood days!

I’ve been meaning to take a shot of their fabulous antique cash register for some time. Isn’t it a ripper?

It was a bit early for lunch, so we headed on just a little further to Lavers Hill. The road twists its way uphill through the bush and it is a great strip of scenic and fun road to ride. Both Marty and I are fortunate in that we both have excellent passengers who enjoyed the run up through the winding road as much as we did.

Lunch stop at Lavers Hill. The colors of the vine covering the outdoor deck are lovely. Pauline took a few shots and then the waitress offered to take a pic of all of us (though it’s not so good due to shooting into the sun).

From Lavers Hill we rode the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay in perfect conditions.

Blue sky as far as the eye can see.

 

Other than fuel, we didn’t stop in Apollo Bay. We were in for a shock, I’m not sure if you can read that gas price – but it is just on $1.88 per LITRE for premium!!

We had a great run up through the hills to Forrest, where we stopped at the Brewery for a break and a chat before the final  run back to Geelong. All up we did 312 Kms through some great countryside in excellent – and unexpected – sunshine.

Great company, great roads and great weather – a motorcyclist can’t ask for any more than that!

 

Broadford Bike Bonanza Easter 2012

This event for classic motorcycles has been held for three years and Mrs Tarsnakes and I have attended all three. It’s probably fair to say that there are more Japanese era classic motorcycles at this event than really old motorcycles as it’s sponsored by Honda, however, I’ve never seen so many Indians at an event than were present this year. There is no formal racing permitted, just demonstration laps, but it’s pretty obvious that some of those laps are hotly contested.

Click on the pics below to enlarge – then use your browser’s back button.

Sir Alan Cathcart at speed on the Irving Vincent

I met Alan last year and actually got his autograph. I found him to be a thorough gentleman, completely unaffected by his status and certainly no snob. Here is a link to a great report on the Irving Vincent that Cathcart did for ‘Classic Bike Guide’ magazine IRVING VINCENT

This event is a great opportunity for people with road going classic bikes to get them out on the track as well. Clearly there were lots of ‘non racing’ type folk who relished the opportunity. Another great aspect of this event is the unlimited pit access and opportunity to talk to owners of specific bikes.

What Kawasaki fan could not admire this nicely modified Kawasaki Z1?

The magnificent Irving Vincent

Beautiful Norton 500cc Dominator. Steve this pic is for you!

A genuine 1951 series C Black Shadow.

Suzuki. Andy this pic is for you!

Stretched “limo” bike!!

The Indian owners’ club was out in force.

But back to the Kwakas! The “Mongrel” Ninja GPz900 below caught my eye because of its big external frame brace. Having owned a Z1R, I’m familiar with the “hinged” nature of the frames on big bore Kawasakis, which went on for far longer than it should have. I asked the owner a little about the brace and we ended up having an interesting chat about the history of the bike. He told me that he’d bought it new and owned it ever since, that it had been around Australia a couple of times and since being converted from a road bike to a track bike, it had enjoyed some good successes. One such achievement was winning the Period 6 Australian  title at Phillip Island earlier this year, with times in the 1’40’s, but with a younger rider aboard. This casual interaction amongst enthusiasts typifies everything that I love about such meetings and ‘privateer’ racing.

Owner agreed to me taking his photo. Thanks mate, I love your big Kwaka.

1960 350cc Manx Norton

As Mrs Tarsnakes and I were having lunch I got a call from a mate named Bill. He was also there with Phil (who has also just bought a ZX14 after a ride on Bill’s), so we caught up and spent the rest of the arvo with them.

Mrs Tarsnakes loves the Moto Guzzi Le Mans and sidecar racing. She could watch sidecars racing all day if you’d let her!

A nice example of a Honda 4 powered outfit.

The owner of the white Le Mans above teased Mrs T with stories of an immaculate red Le Mans that he knows of for sale in ‘the Western District’ of Victoria – but try as she might, she couldn’t get it out of him where it is! A nice Le Mans would probably be a better investment than money in the bank in today’s post GFC world.

If I was able to purchase a classic bike it would certainly be a Japanese era bike that I’d always admired – the Honda CBX1000 6 cylinder. A 1989 in red would do me nicely!

The legendary TZ750 Yamaha. This ‘B’ model was actually a 700cc originally

You should have heard these when they fired up! Four straight through megaphones on each.

In fact I have some video of these two being fired up. HONDAS

Just for a change from classic Japanese motorcycles, here’s a beautiful example of a desirable Brit bike spotted in the general parking area.

Team Tarsnakes.

This was a great day out and an event that I happily recommend. This is the 3rd year it’s been run and it just gets bigger and better each time. I have far too many great pics from the day to post here, the rest of the shots are in this gallery Broadford

A bit more video of people just cruising around the circuit in an open session – I was surprised that riders were allowed on the track with kevlar jeans rather than full leathers – just demo laps I guess. CLICK HERE

 

 

Early Easter run

It’s Good Friday and we are having a run of unseasonably hot weather – which comes to an end today. It’s not a great time to be on the roads and I’ve already declined a run to the High Country with a neighbor and another over-nighter with Bill. I’m not sure if the petrol station would be open but I have enough fuel in the jerry can to fill the tank. OK, so “I have a cunning plan” as Baldrick would say – up early,  leave at dawn and be home at lunchtime. Mrs Tarsnakes gives her OK – which was very gracious as she is in the midst of painting and we have guests coming for dinner tonight! I think that she knows how therapeutic motorcycling is, given the tensions of my workplace. Thanks mate!

I usually ride past this old place, but always wonder who has lived there and what sort of life they must have had.

Virtually nothing was open – the Gellibrand store included – so I continued on until Beech Forest to take some pics. While I was there the ‘fella who runs the ‘Ridge’ cafe (also closed for Good Friday) drove by, obviously recognised me and pulled in for a chat.

Still trying to get the perfect shot here.

It’s a matter of perspective I guess.

I headed along Turton’s Track – super vigilant for tourist traffic. I saw seven vehicles, a record for this short stretch.

There was quite a bit of traffic on the Apollo Bay road, even though it was still quite early – all trying to beat the traffic I guess! As I rolled into Forrest I saw that the brewery cafe was open. Actually it was the only thing that I’d seen open.

I saw this sign

then this – the subject matter!

After a nice milkshake, I saddled up and cruised home, well ahead of my midday time line.

This is very warm for Autumn ( Fall for those of you in North America). A great ride, but now I’m off to do some yard work and a few other chores.

Happy and safe Easter everyone.

 

 

Motorcyclists targeted!

An article obviously based on a press release form Victoria Police.

The Age

I’ve experienced this ‘targeting’ previously on the Great Ocean Road and it’s typically operationalized as blatant harassment of motorcyclists.

 

 

 

Dodging the rain

Originally this ride was planned as a visit to an old friend near Ballarat, however, we postponed that when one of the ‘Proctastinators’ couldn’t make it. The weather has been unusually warm for Autumn (ie. that’s March Downunder), but unfortunately a cool change with some rain was forecast for around lunch time on Saturday. We decided to head inland for the best chance of avoiding rain, however, the price paid for that route was hardly any twisty roads.

Our route for the day

Marty & I rode from Geelong to Colac and met Steve at his place. The three of us then headed inland towards Ballarat. The first section was an unremarkable, featureless ride (ie. boring!) with quite a lot of side-on wind buffeting.

We skirted around Ballarat and stopped at the tiny township of Smythesdale for lunch.

Lunch stop at Smythesdale. Marty with his ZX9R

Steve and his 1970’s Norton Commando

A woman and her daughter pulled up in their car, had a good look at Steve’s Norton and then approached Steve as we walked back to the bikes. She proceeded to relate a sad story of how her husband had been restoring a Commando, but literally dropped dead unexpectedly as he was working on it. What can one say when confronted out of the blue with such a thing?

From Smythesdale we traveled via Snake Valley to the lovely little town of Beaufort. I took some shots of Steve’s bike in front of the picturesque old fire station, we fueled up and then pretty much headed off. We really should have spent a little more time there as it’s a pretty little town.

Steve in front of the fire station.

From here we debated whether to head for Avoca and make a long day of it, but eventually decided to head back towards Colac via Skipton and Cressy. The Commando used a bit more fuel than planned in the strong winds, which led to Steve running out of gas about 3kms from his home. A problem we easily resolved via a pillion ride home for Steve on the back of the ZX14.

Marty & I back at Steve’s.

We sat around and talked motorcycles for ages, then Marty and I headed back to Geelong along Hwy1. All up Marty & I had done 408 kms – and none of it in rain!

I will have had my ZX14 for a year on 2nd April and I’ve managed to do a bit over 10,000 kms in that time – which is about average for me in a year – as well as doing 3,500kms on a rental bike in New Zealand. So a total of around 13,600kms of trouble free riding pleasure for the last 12 months. I feel well pleased with that.

 

 

 

Art for art’s sake

We went looking at art today. Some was from iconic Australian painters like Tom Roberts, Aurthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin, Sidney Nolan & Russell Drysdale. It’s at Federation Square in Melbourne & admission is free.

Some was iconic Italian art!

I tried to interest Mrs Tarsnakes in buying this as an investment in an Italian masterpiece – to be mounted in our lounge room at home. But alas ………………….

They say that old habits die hard, she did have to feel what the throttle response felt like though!

Plan B = the ride to Maldon

Mrs Tarsnakes and I took a run just a few weeks ago, just before summer officially finished and it was a ‘scorcher’. It was forecast to be 38C so we took off early and headed towards Forrest for a short ride, but abandoned that plan at Dean’s Marsh and headed for Lorne on the GOR. The ride through the bush on the twisty road to Lorne ended up being the best part of the day. By 11.00am in Lorne it was around 35C, so we headed for home. Kind of frustrating to be beaten by weather that was too hot!

Overlooking Lorne main beach

I’ve been itching for a ride since then, but haven’t been able to get out due to some important family functions. So today’s ride with Marty was much anticipated as the weather forecast was for an ideal Autumn day – around 22C and sunny. Unfortunately we awoke to clouds and drizzle.  A ‘phone call from Marty and ‘Plan B” was activated – namely wait an hour and see what happens with the weather!

By an hour later I had checked all the weather sites and rain radar and reckoned that  a trip inland to the historic town of Maldon in central Victoria would offer the best chance of sunny skies – which it did.

Here’s our route

We stopped for a short break at Newstead, just before Maldon.

I saw this lovely old MG sedan in Newstead. Like many such vehicles now, on club rego.

Two up on the ZX14

It’s been a busy few days since last Tuesday when I returned from NZ. One important job was getting one of our cars ready for sale. I put our 2008 Honda Accord Euro on an online sales site and within a few hours it was sold – to an interesting purchaser, however, I can’t tell you about that just yet, but I will come back to this story in a month or so. OK, so other than that, clothes have been washed, bills paid, pictures uploaded etc etc, so I was really hanging out for a ride on the mighty ZX14! Mrs Tarsnakes was keen to come, so we headed off around 9.00am, with a forecast of 24C and sunshine. Here’s our route:

We headed along the Great Ocean Road from Geelong to Lorne for a coffee stop, then inland to Dean’s Marsh and from there to Forrest. The plan was to stop for a while at the picnic area at the West Barwon Dam, however, it was closed due to an off road bicycle racing event.

Rather than turn back we cruised along the Colac- Apollo Bay road and then turned up Turton’s Track. The bush smelled just beautiful – I never tire of the smell of eucalyptus. By Beech Forrest  we needed lunch so headed to The Ridge Cafe – the home of what I’ve previously declared to be the best hamburgers in the world. We sat out on the deck overlooking the Otways. Mrs T had fish and I re-tested their organic based burger. It was a nice touch that the owner introduced me to his cook as their first ever customer about 3 years ago.

Views from the deck – future burger mince right there I’d guess.

That hit the spot Mrs T!

From Beech Forest we tracked down to Gellibrand and stopped in Colac to see how Steve’s Norton Dominator restoration is progressing – check it out on his 79 x 100 Norton Restoration and Ride blog.

From the workshop we progressed inside where the girls were heavily engrossed with brochures for OS travel – more trips are being planned!

From Colac we took an easy run up Hwy 1 back to Geelong. It was a great day out, great weather, great food and great company. Have I mentioned before that I love riding that ZX14?

 

 

New Zealand 2012

Sunday 5th Feb we flew into Christchurch in preparation for our trip around the South Island of NZ. Marty & I spent the afternoon looking about downtown Christchurch, which has been devastated by earthquakes.  Although it was a unique opportunity, I hope never to see another earthquake damaged city in my life – it’s really pretty depressing.

However, out of the red zone a shopping precinct has been created using shipping containers. They call it a ‘pop up mall’ and it’s great.

Christchurch must have been a lovely city, with the Avon River and extensive parks right on the edge of the Downtown area. Still some nice things persist!

A lovely Vespa (my very first bike was a Vespa and I love them still)

Punting on the Avon River

Monday morning a chauffeur in a limo collected us from our motel and took us to the pick up point for the motorcycles. We rented from a company called Paradise Motorcycle Tours mainly as we were able to reduce the damage excess to $500, where as the other companies had a $2,500 excess and generally older motorcycles. We had a safety briefing from Trevor and packed our gear onto the bikes. Marty had opted for the BMW F650 (800cc engine!) and I had an F800GS, which, even with the “low seat” (850mm) option, I struggled with a bit when parking for the whole trip.

Day 1 (470kms) Christchurch, Kaikoura, Picton, Queen Charlotte Drive to Nelson. Great sunny weather and brilliant roads.

Kaikoura beach

Marlborough sound

Day 2 (440kms) Nelson, Collingwood, Murchison to Westport – one of the very best days of motorcycling ever!! Sensational scenery and weather.

Collingwood waterfront

Views from Mt Hope

Scenic roads and virtually no trafficMurchison area Friendly motorcyclists. Just about everybody an a bike waves here!Day 3 (420kms) Down the West coast from Westport to Haast via Hokitika, Franz Joseph & Fox glaciers. Again, magnificent scenery, twisty roads and great sunny weather. The highlight of this day was without doubt a helicopter flight over the glaciers and Mt Cook, with a snow landing to view Mt Cook – I’ve run out of superlatives!!

I could crash several servers with the spectacular pics from this day! Great ocean side twisties.

Pancake rocksGlacier countryTarsnakes on top of the world!

Tarsnakes & Marty posing in front of the Hughes chopper

Day 4 (370kms) Haast to Te Anau via Wanaka, Cardrona and Arrowtown. The forecast was for rain and we rode Haast Pass in drizzle, but it was still spectacular and extremely enjoyable. Haast Pass was one of Marty’s favorite sections so far.

Views from summit of Crown rangeArrowtownA big thanks to Mary & Rennie at the Arran Motel in Te Anau. Bikers themselves, our bikes were safe in Rennie’s garage having displaced his car. That friendly service, reasonable prices, a spotless room and high speed broadband make the Arran a motel that I highly recommend to International travelers.

Day 5: (415kms)Te Anau to Milford Sound, back to Te Anau 7 hrs later, then we took the Southern Route to Riverton – the digs that we had booked there were  terrible so we rode on to Invercargil. Stange weather today, sunny and warm at Milford Sound (I hear that occurs about 10 times per year), then sunny but freezing cold (8C – 12C) between Te Anau and Invercargil (one rain shower though).

On the road to Milford Sound

Day 6 : (375kms) Invercargill, Bluff, Invercargill, Great Southern Route to Alexandra.

Yep, it’s the genuine article – not the movies mock up.Lots of other historic bikes there as well.Bluff is the southernmost mainland point on the South Island, hence the ‘Lands End’ comparison.

Day 7: (392 kms) Alexandra to Methven via Lindis Pass. It was around 6.5C and sunny when we headed off from Alexandra and although it remained sunny, it got colder through the valleys. I saw 3C ambient at one stage and much of the ride was at or below 10C. I wore layers of Icebreaker Marino wool garments, but was still a little, actually a lot, cold. There was some irony in that as the area we rode through had signs boasting that this area was the home of of Marino wool for Icebreaker garments, though they neglected  to mention that the Icebreaker range is now largely made in China, unlike some other NZ specialist Marino garments.

They really do street racing here!Day 8: (458 kms) Methven to Hanmer Springs, via Arthur’s Pass and Lewis Pass. Again we set off in drizzle which became rain and some quite low temps. We were both thinking that the prudent thing may be to quit riding today and go straight to Christchurch and a warm motel room. However, we persisted and by Lake Pearson the drizzle and fog had lifted and the temp rose. When we reached the West Coast it was a warm sunny day! We had a brilliant ride along Lewis Pass and it reminded me a lot of parts of BC in Canada.

Lake Pearson, lots of folk camped lakeside here.

Avalanche protectionBeware the Kea, (look at that beak)  they are incredibly destructive birds – like a gang of vandals who attack anything rubber on a vehicle or bike. I saw a parked car having its wiper blades torn up & a bicycle with its hand grips shredded. We actually carried extra insurance against them tearing up the seats on our motorcycles, which they love to do! That evening we enjoyed happy hour at the Heritage Lodge – their only customers!

Day 9: (140 kms) Hanmer Springs to Christchurch to return the motorcycle at 9.00am as arranged. A highlight of this little early morning ride was being stopped by a large flock of sheep on the road and watching the farmer and his 3 dogs herd them through a gate into a nearby paddock. An iconic rural NZ situation. The traffic and weather going into Christchurch were terrible, pouring rain and stop-start traffic for about 5 kms.

THANKS

Marty planned a sensational route for our trip through the South Island, and full credit to him for that and also for being an easy going traveling buddy. Thanks mate! We had ridden the four iconic South Island Passes – Arthurs, Haast, Lindis and Lewis – as well as ridden from Collingwood in the north to Bluff in the south. We were in agreement, this was our best summer trip ever. All up around 3,500 kms without mishap on some of the best and most scenic motorcycling roads available. As the young kids say “Living the dream”!

Also, a very big thank you to Mrs Tarsnakes for being so supportive of me taking a motorcycling trip like this – I’m a very lucky ‘fella!

PHOTOGRAPHY

I’ve had a couple of emails commenting on the quality of some of my pics which I appreciate very much. I’d like to recommend to all of you who are beginners with outdoor photography a great new eBook regarding camera choices and beginners’ tips for outdoor photography. It’s put out by our friends Frank & Sue at “Our Hiking Blog”. Here’s the link to their eBook Outdoor photography – beginners.