Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lowflying and Retrofest

The balmy autumn continues on with yet more opportunities to get out and about on the bikes. Sprinkled in with this was the retro festival at Easter in Palmerston North with a small line up of bikes contributing to    a show at The Arena. The mighty Titan had the pre 70s specification along with Paul De Lautours Honda 125, Bruces Yamaha RT1and Alan Clarks A7. We were set up alongside a number of Vespas and Lambretta scooters and surrounded by hoards of British, American, Japanese and Australian cars. It was a good show, but we were wondering where all Classic British and American bikes were?  We would be keen to support it again as the marketing and most of the organisation of the event was very good. It could become one of the big events for the area as more heritage groups could organise their National Rallies around it. That same weekend we organised a ride around the Apiti loop on a magnificent 'chocolate box' morning. It was great to have a 'first timer' along for the ride with Luke Hiscock riding pillion with Shorty (Alan Rowell) on his SV1000, Paul De Lautour on his Suzuki GT750, Alan on his Kawasaki H2A, Kim on his H2a, Paul W on his Kawasaki GPz750R, Alan De Lautour on his brothers Kawasaki H2 and myself on my Yamaha XJ 750. A coffee stop at Hansens in Kimbolton had us watching the proprietors rushing around getting food ready for a visiting group who turned out to be the Rolls Royce and Bently Club out for a run during their national rally. Definetly not an everyday sight in Kimbolton! For the ride home we split up with my brother and I making the return trip back down the valley with a stop at Taonui. Whilst we were enjoying the sun and soaking up the aviation ambiance, Ross Anderson and his lady turned up on his Kawasaki 750 turbo. What a lovely machine and an excellent way to go to the Waterford for a drink and meal!
This past weekend saw Terry on his Suzuki GT550, Kim on his recently restored H2, Paul De Lautour on his H1, Paul Whiting on his 'Top Gun' and myself on the XJ meet up at Manawatu Motorcycles for a ride out. We decided on a round about route towards Rongotea and back through Mount Stewart, Stanway and a stop at Manfeild to watch some racing. It was yet another great day and the the roads provided a nice mixture of open country riding mixed in with some nice twistys through the many gullies as streams made ther way towards the Rangitikei River. It was good to park up outside the hall at Stanway and listen to the country sounds and sites as the magpies ooudle wardle woodled and a not so young boy rode his Yamaha Pee Wee up and down in front of us. Magic. The racing at Manfeild was great with many of the spectators talking about the fun they had at the $60 track day on Saturday. Not to many people fell off with one Aprilia rider doing 1:23s on his road bike. We finished our ride at the Mao Bar for a coffee and luckily we were able to park up outside. Unluckily (or luckily?) for all the patrons on the sidewalk our departure meant those downwind got a puff of two stroke smoke in their lattes. A unique taste experience I hear that could become all the rage! As the month of April comes to a close lets hope the wonderful weather continues (at least in the weekends) and we have some more opportunities to get out there.

Monday, April 9, 2012

An Autumn Wander and Swap Meet

It was another one of those chocolate box autumn days that got a group of us out and about on our trusty old Japa bikes. It had been two weeks since the national rally so the posteriors were ready for another session in the saddle. The two De Lautours arrived on there Kawasaki H2s, 'Top Gun' Paul Whiting was  on Kawasaki the mighty GPz 750r, Alan had the Avenger out for a spin, Dion had his dazzling KH400 out of his garage, Bruce turned up on his lovely sounding FZR 1000 and myself on the ever faithful XJ750. An easterly direction was decided on with a run through one of our favourite back roads chosen. After a surprisingly lightly trafficed run over the Pahiatua track we made our way through Mangamaire and after a brief run down Highway two it was on to Rongomai and then a loop back to Pahiatua. These roads are ideal for our style of riding which involves lots of twisty bits that don't require a great deal of horsepower but do need plenty of technique to keep up good corner speed on challenging suspension, chassis's and skinny tyres. The bonus is Mr Plod the revenue collector doesn't do very well out of us so we get to spend more on restoring and riding our bikes. We then made our way back over the track to the Rendezvous cafe for a coffee and cake. What a great way spend an autumn day!
The pevious weekends weather wasn't as nice, but at least it wasn't raining for the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle clubs swap meet. Some interesting buys amongst the vendors with some good conversation washed down with a breakfast sausage, bread and cup of tea.