Saturday, January 23, 2016

Shed Raid!

9am, and already seeking shelter from the heat

Coffee stop in Otaki


Sir Al loves his heavy metal!

A very nice 180

Much maligned

A Pointer

Still the King

Still a great ride

Last of the single cammers

How many learnt to ride on one of these?

Barrys ride to work bike

Not the most economical motorcycle around

Two nice Yamahas

Dions trusty NS400

Kims economy bike. His H2!

Looking forward to the CBX being on the road

Barrys very tasty Z1

It was a busy place!

BBQ cooks extraordanaire!

Just because its called a Pointer doesn't mean its a dog!

The Waikato CB500. A great restoration

Hard to kill one of these! 

Last of the single cammers

Bruces lovely K. About to be joined by a J shortly!

One of the Welly lads Zeeds

....and another

A smorgasbord of bikes! 

Times have changed!

One of these won the Castrol Six Hour (for a while!)

Thanks Grant

Replica fairing from China! 
Who could ignore a lunch date with Barry? Especially one that involved checking out his ever changing collection of bikes in his 'museum'. (Otherwise known as Barry's Shed!) Many of us may insist to those who will listen that we run a museum in our garage as well. Except, Barry actually has the paper work and plate to prove it. Not only that, but he has the bikes to prove it as well. It has been a wee while since the last visit by some of the Blue Haze and this was my first. I had heard all sorts of stories about his collection and seen a few photos, but there is nothing like actually 'being there'. Some one mentioned the number thirty as to the number of bikes he has and that is probably very accurate. What strikes you though is not necessarily the number of bikes but the condition of them. Barry obviously has a passion for these old bikes and stepping into his garage his workbench, tools and lathe spoke of a man who has a the skills to restore them. He seems to have used every nook and cranny in bottom level of the house to store his collection and outside he has even more shed spaces. I also hear Bruce has allowed some of his 'overflow' to find its way into his garage as well.
Whilst viewing the bikes was great it was also good to be able to chat with some of the Wellington VJMC crew who came along. It was neat to see a VJMC stalwart from the Waikato turn up on his very nicely restored Honda 500 four. It sat next to a range of bikes people had also arrived on and as can be seen from the photos Barrys place was very full. The BBQ was fired up and Bruce Sager and his boys helped Barry and Kim D cook up a storm and the masses were fed in style whilst watching highlights from the Boxing Day Races in Whanganui. Mention needs to be made of Grant bringing his unwanted magazines over for people to grab. I am enjoying the 1970s Two Wheels magazines I used to pore over at the time, so thanks Grant!
Unfortunately this all had to come to an end and Kim, Dion, Rich, Ian, Alan and myself had to leave and point our bikes back to Palmy. After filling up with petrol we made our way through the thirty degree heat on State Highway One. Definitely not my favourite piece of road and the heavy traffic both ways kept us on our toes. Richs T500 wasn't enjoying the heat at all so we stopped off in Shannon to give it rest. Whilst waiting we spoke to another motorcyclist who suggested we go back via Opiki as the the road just before Tokomaru was very slippery because of the tar melting! Boy was it hot!
We had a great day out and a big thank you to Barry for being a great host. We would also like thank Debbie, Barrys wife for allowing us to take over the place. A big thanks to Grant for the magazines. It was neat having Bruces wife Helen and their two boys there as well. We enjoyed spending time with the Wellington VJMC crew and hopefully we can do a few more things like this in the future. After all we are only just down the road from each other!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Where to for lunch?

Sometimes this can be a very important question. Asking this question on New Years Day definitely qualifies for this. The call came through that yes, one of our favourite eateries was going to be open on this auspicious occasion so plans were hatched for a 9:30 getaway for a lunch date at  Pongaroa Tavern. A group of seven had decided that the occasion required there presence and so we then set off in an easterly direction on a variety of machines. Bruce decided his Aprilia Turano needed some road time as did Guy on his 1800cc Goldwing. It certainly defines the meaning of the word Heavy Metal weighing in at 407kgs! I thought the XJ was heavy! Sir Al brought the H2 out for another run and Kim thought the RG400 would benefit from some road time. Rich decided the T500 needed another day out as did Ian on his ever faithful GS450.
As we made our way out of town down Fitzherbert Avenue we all knew we were in for a abundance of corners that would give us and our bikes a great workout. After all we needed to 'earn' our lunch! The Pahiatua Track set the scene with its great mix of slow and moderate speed corners with  mainly great surfaces. We then branched off to Managmaire and made our way down to the Rongomai turnoff along State highway two. We then headed back up towards Pahiatua along Mangaone Road but then took a right turn at Pa Valley Road. This then brought us onto Highway 52 and after a short stop at Tiraumea we arrived at our destination with dummies rumbling!
They have a great selection of 'biker' food and beverages and after putting our orders in we settled in outside on the spacious covered deck. In the meantime a few other bikers arrived and with such a great shared interest it was easy to strike up a conversation. What came to light from one conversation with a German biker and his partner was the Blue Haze infamy had preceded us. World famous in Pongaroa and Germany!?.
After an hour or so we headed westward back to Pahiatua by the more direct route over the Puketoi Ranges and through the Makuri Gorge Scenic Reserve. Just under an hour later had us heading into Pahiatua and for some looking for a petrol station. Rich and Kim on the Suzuki two strokes needed a drink after 200 kms of riding. The RG400 is definitely a thirsty beast with Kim reckoning he had gone through a good 18+ litres of petrol since leaving Palmy. That was after using the throttle hand very judiciously. He reckons next time he won't be so hesitant to use the throttle as you might as well have a bit of fun if you going through that much gas! RG400 and economical aren't two words that sit comfortably near each other! After a bit of a natter it was back over the track and home. Another great run.
Some reflections:
I was mightily impressed with Guy and the Goldwing. It really handled the tight terrain with ease and for a recently returned biker Terry rode really well. We had a very wide spread of bikes from the early seventies through to Bruce on his 2015 Aprilia. We all had a great time by riding within the limitations of our bikes, our abilities and the conditions. As Rich pointed out
"I have just as much fun riding my bike as someone on a modern riding 20ks faster. If I want to ride faster I will buy a modern!"
Well said and very much the thoughts of a lot of us on our 'heritage' bikes!
The terrain we went through has had its fair share of 'Rock and Roll' over the last few years and was good to see the council sorting out some of the 'issues' from that. However caution is a good word to use with these roads as they are still very 'undulating' in places and some of the corners are nicely sprinkled with gravel. So as always, ride to the conditions.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Another Year Has Ticked By

Getting ready to rumble

First Stop at Sanson!

Great to see the triples out for a run again

I bet Freddy never had a cup holder!

Alans by chance secure parking number! 

Love the team name! (Far Canal Racing)

A very tidy and well used RZV

This guy from Nelson tours his Vincent

XS650 doing sterling service

Go Guzzi go!

Tony Rees doing very nicely @ 48 years young!

A big brother for Gazzas KH250
Chappys very spiffy S2a
Looks great with you on it Rich!

A very nice BSA Bantam was doing the 'rounds'

These guys wanted to be world famous on the Blue Haze blog. This might be your 15 minutes of fame boys!

So time for our annual pilgrimage to the biker’s mecca that is The Cemetery Circuit Whanganui.

We met at Manawatu Motorcycles and made our way over to Sanson for coffee at The Church café. Bikes seemed to outnumber tin tops and the day was perfect with clear blue sky and noticeably no Manawatu breeze! Standing out on the deck coffee in hand watching bikes of every make and style ride past was great. We soon joined them heading toward Whanganui, and for the most part sensible relaxed riding was the order of the day, with the exception of a few HD mounted ‘real men’ - no wonder our ACC levies are so high!

We had an interesting vintage line up with three H2s, an H1, and T500 from the 70s. NS400, GS450, RZ350 and XJ750 from the 80s. And Bruce W joined us on his modern Bonnie. We caught up with John M at the café on his recently imported Honda Ascot 500 V-Twin which looked an interesting machine.

We all drifted in our own direction once at the circuit. There was a great variety of road bikes and race bikes to look at, and great racing to watch. Road racing has that extra dimension of danger, appearing considerably less forgiving when an error is made. The cemetery Circuit is great because spectators are so close to the action, often within metres. It is truly wonderful that such a racing tradition is able to continue in this age of Health & Safety.

Most headed back via Fordell and Turakina to Marton, then Halcombe, Mt Biggs and home. Ian and I made a short detour to Feilding and the Denbigh for a cold jar on the way. Not sure if it was well earned, but it was definitely well enjoyed. Another memorable boxing day

Words by Sir Al
Photos & video by Gazza