Friday, December 21, 2012

An Unhealthy Motorcyle Lifestyle?

Burgers, Rothmans and Mars Bars are words that conj our up all sorts of interesting thoughts and memories. Our more politically correct contemporary times constantly remind us that certain things that we enjoyed in our younger days are not as acceptable today. What with plain packaging on the horizon for cigarettes and calls to ban fast food advertising it makes one reflect on how 'deregulated' we were back in our youth. Our end of month ride was a nice reminder of those days with Dion on his trusty Rothmans Honda NSR400 and Bruce Sagger bringing his Rothmans Honda VFR400 out for its first spin with us and Steve Boyce on his 'Mars Bar' Yamaha LC350. Pauls Kawasaki H1c, Alans H2 and Richards T500 were also reminders of the beginning of the end for large two strokes. Dave Robinsons one owner Honda CB750 also reminds one of the wise four stroke strategy the big H followed and with John on his Triumph Bonneville how the English made such light and great sounding  motorcycles that went around corners really well only to be caught out with poor engine R&D. (Amongst other things) Clints Katana and my XJ really started to show the four stroke was the future, but as the emissions schemes became tighter there days as 'performance motorcycles' were numbered as well. As for Kim on his RZ250 his regular 60+ mpgs is proof that two strokes can be very eco friendly(we wont talk about the Kawasaki triples!).
As we gathered at Manawatu Motorcycles our 'guilt' was somewhat allayed as one of the Hot Rod lads drove past in a spectacular show of noise, smoke and flames. Pongaroa was agreed upon as a good destination with the option for those who could only do shorter ride to turn off at Rongomai and head home from their. Our first stop was at the bottom of the Pahiatua track and then on to Mangamaire and we very quickly arrived at Rongomai. We said our farewells to Steve and Paul as the rest of us headed south to meet up with Highway 52. This continues to be one of our favourite rides with a feast of corners. The other great thing about this road is the Pongaroa Tavern, A must stop place for a breather. The large burgers and drinks are very reasonably priced and the atmosphere is great. Most of us managed to get through the meal Our journey home was delayed when John discovered his Triumph wasn't in a hurry to head home. After much discussion and tinkering he got mobile and Dave offered to follow John home. (They eventually made it home with a dud carb proving to be the culprit) whilst the rest of us made our way towards Pahiatua over yet another great motorcycle friendly road. It was good to see Dave and John from the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club on the run.
 This was an excellent day out (for most of us!) and a great way to finish of our monthly rides for the year. Its been great to share this passion with a whole lot of people over this past year and far from being an unhealthy lifestyle (true, some of the food we eat on the rides is marginally healthy) it most definitely contributes a 'healthy' outlook on life.
Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year everyone! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Classics at Manfield

A few weeks ago some of the troops decided on a run around the Rangitikei countryside with the ultimate destination being Manfield. The New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Racing Register, along with the New Zealand Post Classic Racing Association run this meeting at this time each year. We headed out from Manawatu Motorcycles on our ride around 9ish into a showery morning looking forward to a growing number of sunny patches. We had decided on a run out to Ashhurst and back along Valley road to Colyton. The damp road required a bit of restraint as we then headed around the back of Feilding to our first stop at the Stanway hall. After a run through Halcombe and Mount Biggs we arrived at a very sunny and dry Manfield. It was great to soak in the smells, sights and sounds of these bikes as we headed for our first stop at the track; the hot dog stand! It was a bit of shock as the price of hot dog had gone up to $3.50, but Richard our resident hot dog connoisseur still bought two as he reckons they are the best hot dogs in the world! (Its all to do with the batter apparently) After refreshing and refuelling the inner self a wander around the pits revealed some interesting bikes. Some well turned out Nortons, Triumphs, Rudges, BSAs, NSUs, Harleys etc of the four stroke variety, but amongst them some interesting two strokes. Its the first time I have seen a Maico kitted out for the track along with some Benellis,CZs, and a 125cc Cagiva. Amongst the posties were the usual GSs, Zeds, FZs, ZXRs and a TZ along with Alan De Lautours RG500. I never tire of that wonderful two stroke square four sound and seeing these bikes out on the track is a real treat for us "Stinkies'. It was also a treat to see Roger Hintons (Levin Motorcycle Centre) Walter Wolf RG500 out and about and looking forward to them coming out on a run with us. Mention also needs to be made of one Alans greatest supporters "GSXR Bernard" It is no problem for him to ride down from New Plymouth for the afternoon to show his support and then ride back home again. On our way out I spied a couple of really neat customised Honda CB750s. They looked as though they were on tour. Cool! It was a great way to spend a few hours of a Sunday and definitely whets the appetite for racing and more riding this summer.