One of her favorite places

I had no expectation of riding today as the forecast was for a blast of wintery weather, however, it was cold but sunny when I awoke, so I decided on a quick spin. I headed from Geelong down towards Colac via Birregurra. Although I was riding in sunshine I could see heavy rain over towards the Otways, so thought that heading east might be a good plan. By the time I got to Beeac there was a wall of black cloud ahead! Damn, so I turned towards the north to do another few kms before returning home. This took me to the tiny township where my mother was born, so I headed up to nearby Red Rock, which was one of her favorite places. It’s an extinct volcanic region and the last eruption here was thought to be 4,500 years ago.

Many years ago we took Mum for a birthday picnic here, (her first choice of venue) but it was so hot and the flies so thick we had to beat a hasty retreat to Loves Creek picnic reserve, some distance away.

It’s very rich volcanic soil around here. Dairy farming is the main form of agriculture in these parts, though there’s a newish vineyard at the turn off to Red Rock.

ZX14 at the top of one of the two lookouts here.

A big rain squall was approaching. That’s a volcanic crater to the left of the pic and a huge inland salt lake in the distance. Lake Corangamite.

Volcanic domes

My mother told me that when she was a little girl they used to roam all around this countryside, and sometimes walk over to Red Red to watch motorcycles racing between these two volcanic cones. I haven’t done any research about these daredevils but probably should!

I couldn’t take any more pics as the rain squall hit and I rode off in pouring rain. Lots of memories came flooding back as I rode in solitude past Doran’s Lane and the school my Mum attended as a child. This unexpected ride to Red Rock proved quite evocative.



All British Rally Newstead & Maldon

The major event each year for the BSA owners’ association is the “All Brit” rally at Newstead, Victoria. Our mates Steve & Andy are attending for the weekend (camping at the main rally site in Newstead) and we caught up with them in the nearby historic town of Maldon. It was an incredible sight with the whole main street lined on both sides with old motorcycles. I saw more Vincent HRDs today than I’ve ever seen before in my life, including a HRD in a Featherbed Norton frame ( a Norvin) and a HRD in a 1970’s Ducati frame (a Vincati?). Here are a few shots. Unfortunately I accidentally switched my camera from auto to manual but didn’t do any manual settings, so consequently about 30 shots were unusable.

Looking down the main street.

Andy’s unrestored Panther 350cc attracted plenty of interest. 

Vincent HRD in Norton Feather-bed frame.

Lovely Norton Dominator (500cc twin)

This one is for sale – the sign basically says “Offers over $50K considered”.

Mrs Tarsnakes, Steve & AndyBSA with sidecar. Actually for a BSA rally there were surprisingly few BSAs. I’d say Triumphs outnumbered then 10 to 1.

Nice AJS single

A British made replica I’m told

A well used Scott Flying Squirrel

We had a great run home and the ZX14 performed flawlessly. The weather forecast for the coast was not good but it didn’t rain though there were strong, gusty side winds for the last 30kms.

Full gallery of pics HERE



Latest TAC motorcycle safety ad

10 May Update:

A very balanced critique of the advertisement appeared in today’s Age newspaper.

TAC ad critique

There is some irony to this advertisement as the Honda Accord Euro that I sold in February was one used in this ad!


It is of concern that the car DOES NOT have its right indicator on.

I’m sure that exonerating a car driver essentially on the basis of “Sorry mate I didn’t see you”, even with a speeding motorcyclist, will generate complaints amongst the motorcycling fraternity. A driver texting may have been a more realistic scenario!

FWIW -the car was bought by Max Action Vehicles who provide vehicles for all types of advertising.

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


A long walk!

More problems

Some Brits

Very few Harleys present

Nice Honda racer

Note the onboard camera


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.