This months ride has come around very quickly. As the official winter time comes to end the lengthening days and daffodils popping up everywhere signal the arrival of spring. A group of us gathered at Manawatu Motorcycles on Sunday looking forward to a spin in the country to take in all the sights and sounds of spring alongside the sights and sounds of a few two stroke motorcycles!
Dion Tornquist - Honda NSR400
Kim De Lautour - Yamaha RZ250
Alan Clark - Kawasaki 350 Avenger
Richard Kerr - Suzuki T500M
Gary Whiting - Yamaha XJ750
The Apiti loop was decided on as a suitable ride with a stop off in Kimbolton for a cuppa and popping into Manfield to have a look at the Victoria Motorcycle Winter Racing Series. Our first stop was for Al to fill up the A7 at Ashhurst so it could complete the loop without needing to be pushed or towed to a Feilding petrol station! With that task completed we headed up the Pohangina Valley enjoying the many fruit tree blossoms along the way. Alan was setting a great pace on the A7 with the XJ having to breath a bit deeper to keep up. I am always amazed at the pace the little A7 is able to keep up both up hill and down dale. Its easy to see why Graham Crosby is full of praise for these bikes with there disc valve motors and excellent handling (for the time). Watching Dion on his NSR400 following along behind caused one to think of the huge two stroke technological developments that happened between the years the two bikes were built and what might have been if that pace had been continued? After stopping for a breather at the Makoura Rd turn off and some bike swapping we headed off towards Apiti and briefly stopped for some more bike swapping. Dion offered me a ride on his NSR and I headed out behind Kim on his 'recently power valved' RZ250. We quickly opened up a gap with the others as Kim really exercised his right hand. A quick glance at the instruments confirmed the quick pace and as we swung through the sweepers and the tighter sections on the climb to Kimbolton with the NSR gearbox getting a workout to keep it in its power band. The quick steering 16inch front wheel and stable chassis provided pin sharp handling as the occasional bump tried to spoil things. Two stroke motorcycling at its best! Definitely a different riding experience to the limousine like XJ!
Our stop off at Hansens was much appreciated as the air temperature was definitely a few degrees less than in town. Nothing like a hot cuppa to sip on as you glance over at a blazing open fire.Hansens seems to be a popular destination for Motorcycle enthusiasts and we were joined by the local chapter of the Triumph Riders Group. As enthusiasts do we got talking and a number of them have an interest in the Japanese Classics with some involved in restoring various road and trail bikes. Some cards were handed out and there is definitely a growing interest in the 'old Jappas'. After a good yarn we headed off to Manfield only to have confirmed what we had heard that the Alfa Romeo club was having a track day. After watching a few old Cortinas and Corollas go by it was time to head home with another good ride under the belt. Role on next Sunday!