Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Geelong RAT wins award at the All British Rally

Well it was a great turnout for the annual pilgrimage to the All British Rally in Newstead. About 11 RATs turned up at the Wharfshed and all but 3 were packed with sleeping bags and tents ready for a big week-end of camp-fires, sing-alongs and maybe even a beer ot two!
The previous few nights had been wet and wild but on Saturday morning it was blue skies and high spirits as the Trumps pulled away from the Wharfshed.
It was the first time most of us had travelled through the Brisbane Ranges since the bush fires & it felt ghostly. Where once there had been dense bushland there was black charcoaled trees. The good news is they are showing new life already with little shoots of greenery growing from the blackened branches. We talked about it later and thought how much easier it made the road to ride as we could see through corners where once there had been dense scrub & bush.
We arrived at our usual bakery stop in Ballan and it was coffees and cakes all round. There were lots of bikes on the road and we were joined by a guy from Geelong on a Triumph Speedmaster - keeping PJ company!
After warming up with a coffee it was on to Newstead via Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. Great roads but in one spot a nighmare with loose gravel & roadworks - can't have it all I suppose!
As we got closer to Newstead we got the occasional glimpse of a BSA or a Norton on the road, their riders sitting on them proudly, giving them a quick test run after making adjustments to the carbie.
Approaching the campsite I was amazed to see so many tents, cars & bikes on the hillside where the rally is held each year. This was the 30th Rally so bike enthusiasts had really come out in full support.
It looked like a well oiled operation as the tents were unfolded, camping stoves assembled and a camp fire lit - though I was a bit concerned about the ex-digger that couldn't get the fire lit!
It was a great site and with the fire going it was really cosy. A quick ride into Maldon for lunch and a walk about to look at those old classics - they looked like they'd just left the showroom.

There was a new Triumph Daytona looking sad and I heard it was in a collision with a Speed Triple on Friday night.

Then it was back to the campsite where Martin, Mick and myself said farewell and rode back to Geelong via Creswick & Ballarat. It was a bloody cold ride home and there were times when I wished I was sitting by that log fire.
Later I heard that it was a great night and everyone had a merry time.

Then the big news - Paul won the best post 1988 Triumph Twin award with the Thruxton - Congratulations mate.

See you at the Wharfshed on Thursday night - 27th April @ 7pm

Thursday, April 20, 2006

All British Rally - 22-23 April 2006 - 9am Sat departure

Well it's that time of year when we remember the bravery on the beaches of Gallipoli and the week-end starts with the All British Rally in Newstead. This year the rally is taking place over Saturday and Sunday but there's at least one enthusiastic RAT I know that's heading up there on Friday night!

Anyway, a group of RATs are departing Geelong on Saturday morning (22nd April) from the Wharfshed Cafe at 9:00 am and making the trip to Newstead via the usual route of Ballan, Daylesford & Hepburn Springs.

For those that have never been to the event before it's a great show of vintage British motorcycles and the characters that ride them. I've heard it's going to be about 16 C on Saturday with rain so make sure you take the thermals and the -10 sleeping bag if you're intending to stay the night.

PJ also told me he's bringing a car so if anyone needs stuff they can't carry on the bike he says they're more than welcome to throw it in.

**Photos provided by Mick (red sprint)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sunday 9th April 06 Ride Day

It looked like it was going to be an average day from a weather point of view when we all gathered at the Wharfshed for the April Ride Day. Nine bikes and 12 RATs rocked up for the ride with another two that couldn't come along popping in to say hello & wave us off. Then the first dilemma, do we stick to the plan and ride to Ballarat for lunch and have the calendar planning session or go to the motorcycle show & shine being held at Riddells Creek. Anyway, we decided to stick to plan and ride to Ballarat via Inverleigh, Shelford and Rokewood. We would also meet Mal & Cheryl on the way and Rod & Shirley in Ballarat at the Grapes Pub. Getting out of Geelong had it's usual dramas with lots of traffic but once out on to the Hamilton Highway the coast was clear for a cruise to Inverleigh.
Just after Inverleigh there's a little road that cuts through a valley to Shelford. It's usually an amazing little road for bikes with great visibility & awesome corners. It was still as good as ever for me out front but not so good for those behind -my back wheel was ripping up & throwing loose gravel at the bikes coming behind! I wondered why they were backing off...
The ride from Shelford to Rokewood was boring & straight but we cruised along at a reasonable pace. We had just stopped in Rokewood when we were joined by Cheryl & Mal on the TT & Trident. It was time for a coffee and we pulled up at a lonely little Milk Bar where the owner looked slightly nervous as 14 bikers started rolling in looking for coffee, tea, egg & bacon rolls and hot cross buns!
Now with a total of 11 bikes we headed for Ballarat and The Grapes Hotel. Leigh reckoned it was somewhere near Sovereign Hill but PJ was confident he knew the location and led us confidently to The North Star Hotel!! A quick chat to the barman and we were back on track - and it was close to Sovereign Hill after all. Rod & Shirley kept the Triumph theme going and rocked up in there beautiful little Triumph Herald - leaving the Bonnie & T'Bird at home for a change. Now with 11 bikes and a Herald and 16 RATs we sat down for a well-earned Sunday lunch.
The girls quickly volunteered to be in a photoshoot for next years calendar and we got a bit worried when PJ was volunteering for September! Anyway, I don't think they were too serious - or maybe the boys got the wrong idea about their outfits in the photos!!
Leigh was a champion and managed to control the rowdy crowd as he persisted to get ideas and document a draft calendar for the rest of the year. A couple of trips were included to The Grampians, Marysville and Talbot.
A couple of RATs are also doing some research on a Tassie trip next year and will bring details to the next monthly meeting.
As soon as Leigh has all details for the calendar confirmed a copy will be dstributed at the monthly meeting.
The ride back to Geelong was via the Midland Hwy to Meredith and then cutting off through the twisting road via Steiglitz and the Brisbane Ranges. Once again some safety concerns as several of the group got left behind and the lead riders waited at the junction with Anakie Road for the others. Again the importance of having a more experienced tail end rider to account for all riders at the back was highlighted.

It was a good day even though we didn't get to the show & shine - maybe next time.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Worlds Fastest Indian - Reading Cinema Tonight

If you want to go to the movies tonight (Friday 7th April) & see the latest movie - Worlds Fastest Indian, then you might not be alone. There's a few of the guys heading over to Reading Cinemas in Waurn Ponds tonight for the 6.45 session