Sunday, November 16, 2008

Harrietville - Melbourne Cup week-end Nov 2008

Ever watched a movie about a lone biker stuck up in the mountains all alone in the dark with no fags and only his imagination to play with – or experience a collision with a bird that can fly up to 322 km/hr?

Well that’s the sort of week-end we had a couple of week-ends ago when we spent the Melbourne Cup week-end in beautiful Harrietville at the foot of Mt Hotham. The lush pastures & churning rivers made it feel like we were in a different country – no shortage of water and even snow on the mountains as we rode over Hotham into Omeo.

It was an easy ride up to Yea even though we missed the Plenty Road turnoff & ended up on the Kinglake Road that the guys on the Street Triples absolutely loved – think they missed the turnoff on purpose.

Meeting up with Mal at Yea it was a cruisy ride to Mansfield keeping a careful eye out for the old bill.

Mansfield was crazy so it was a quick stop then on to the Whitfield Road and the thrill of an awesome biking road with lots of variety & plenty of twisties to test us.

An abandoned bike, smashed on one side & hanging against the rock wall reminded us of how dodgy this road can be if you take it for granted.

Now lets get back to the bird collision – a Peregrine Falcon that mistook Stephan for a small mammal or reptile – what a shock it must have had when it saw Stephan staring out through the Biggles goggles heading toward him like a missile on the Bonnie – but what a shock Stephan got when it hit him smack on the jaw nearly knocking him off the bike – his description of grabbing the bird as it clung on to his face was dramatic & he was lucky he and the falcon didn’t end up on the bitumen! I’ve read since that the Pergrine Falcon can reach speeds of up to 322 km/hr – no wonder Stephan had a swollen bruised face the next day!

It wasn’t far from Whitfield that the falcon struck – in fact I think it was somewhere near Powers Lookout. It was only when we got to the Whitfield Hotel we learned of Stefan’s near miss… being a lover of birds of prey my first question “Is the falcon ok – it’s a protected species” didn’t seem to get a response!

We were told that the guy on the abandoned bike survived but had a massive knee injury. After a very refreshing stop we headed on to Oxley and Myrtleford.

The scenery is lush with long green grass in the paddocks and rolling hills covered in pine. We eventually arrived at the Snowline in Harrietville at about 5:30 and after a quick shower we hit the bar – those jugs of Coopers Sparkling Ale went down well sitting on the veranda. Then some good old traditional British pub games – a game of darts with Malcolm taking the championship closely followed by Martin – just what we’d have expected – two ex-poms would have to be good at throwing spears!

The barmaid was educated on how to make a fuzzy bison!

It was an early morning start on Sunday, waking up to blue skies and the breakfast spot already worked out from the night before. They advertised all day breakfast & we reckoned it was because it took all day to get it!

Getting straight into the twisties we headed out of Harrietville up the mountain, over

Hotham & stopping for a coffee break at Dinner Plain.

The snow was still on the mountains – breathtaking scenery, though we couldn’t look at it too often – had to keep our eyes on the bitumen!

We quickly got to Omeo & a quick fuel stop & onwards to a little place called Anglers Rest and a pub we were told about called The Blue Duck.

It was a great road snaking through the mountains and along the river following a creek in the valley down below.

It was along this road that Stefan took off on a dirt road down to the creek – this was where he used to camp years ago. He came back with water running out of his boots – he’s cooled off wading up to his waste in the water!

On to the Blue Duck & it was absolutely perfect lying on the grass banking by the river & then getting stuck into home-made thai pumpkin soup – delicious! Look forward to going there again – maybe staying in the accommodation.

The map came out and discussions started on the best way back to Harrietville – little did we know that this discussion would end up in disaster!

There’s a road over Falls Creek into Mt Beauty – but we weren’t sure about it! Stefan assured everyone that it would be fine & Warren decided he was going that way too.

The rest of us were a bit uncertain & decided to play it safe & go the same way we came – great decision in hindsight! The deal was, the last person back bought the beers for everyone – the race was on!

We quickly lost sight of Mal & Martin & I’d assured myself I’d be buying the beers!

We pulled into the Snowline at about 4:30pm and to our surprise – no Warren & Stefan – I was more than happy but a little bit suspicious. A couple of hours later Mal, Martin & me were on the veranda with a beer listening to the band – it was pissing down and still no Stefan & Warren – we were getting worried – where were they?!

Then we heard the bonnie – it was Stefan looking like a spitfire pilot returning from a battle over the channel – he was soaked & the bike was like it had been through a paddock! Where’s Warren we asked “Didn’t make it” was the response! Where is he “Back there somewhere”! We couldn’t understand what had happened – had he come off, is he broken down?

Janey came over & asked Stefan the last words he’d said to Warren – Stefan paused & thought deeply – then, raising his arm in the air waving said “See ya” – that got us cracked up!

Turned out Warren got a puncture on a dirt road over the mountain – a road that is 40kms long & he was only quarter of the way! We needed to get him a puncture kit but it was pitch black, raining and every chance one of us could get a puncture if went in there!

Lucky Martin knew a couple of guys on dirt bikes with a bike trailer & ute. They didn’t even hesitate giving us the keys & Martin & ,me set off on a rescue mission! Two hours later we were entering the dirt road from Falls Creek – it wasn’t dirt – it was rocks! It was desolate up there, snow and freezing cold – we stopped at the police station at Falls Creek but it wasn’t manned.

We pushed on over the mountain – every thought on Warren & how he must be feeling trapped out here with a flat tyre & no help in sight. He was hoping Stefan would come back but Stefan had got lost coming back to Harrietville – he reckoned he knew he was on the wrong road when he saw the sign saying Sydney!

Eventually we saw the lights of a bike – but to our surprise it was a guy on a VFR – he lived in Mt Beauty & rode this rode regularly – he told us Warren was 500 m further. Then we saw him & I can’t put it into words how happy he looked! Turned out he had two fags left when Stefan took off – it was a survival job being out there in the middle of that mountain, freezing cold & wet. I think Warren’s gonna invest in one of those puncture kits now!

Another 2 hour drive & we got back just before the bar closed - it was a few quick ones & bags of chips for tea. Warre

n’s story was frightening & Stefan seemed to be keeping a wide berth! Three hours in the dark, rain, thunder and no fags – what a night to remember!

Question was – could we fix the tyre. Next morning we got the Streetie of the trailer and plugged the hole – a couple of gas bottles and it was looking good. Well it did the job as Warren made it all the way back to Geelong with that plug in place that day.

As Warren & Martin headed off back to Geelong, Mal, Janey & me took a burn out to Beechworth & Yackandandah – beautiful day taking in the scenery, the antique shops and a lovely lunch at the bakery.

It was a quiet night with dinner at the other Harrietville hotel where the local cricket club were having a lottery.

Next morning an early breakie in The Alpine in Bright (best place for a hearty breakfast) and then on to the journey back to Geelong.

It wasn’t a bad ride home & the road through Tooborac into Lancefield was a welcome change to the road from Broadford – definitely recommend it.

A quick stop in Gisborne and then on to Bacchus Marsh where we said farewell to Mal. It was great to get home but part of us wished we were still in the lush valleys of the mountains. Next time I think it would be better to stay in Bright – much more to do & more eating spots – and the brewery!

It was a great week-end – well for some of us anyway! Can’t wait to do it all again – especially when they seal that dirt road between the Blue Duck and Falls Creek – due 2010! We can have a re-enactment of the Warren ride of hell!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bright Trip - Cup Week-end - Sat 1st Nov - Tues 4th Nov

Well, we had such a great time in Bright last time we've decided to do it all over again! This time the destination is Harrietville in the foothills of Mt Hotham. First night is a stop off in Bairnsdale to refresh the bones before the big ride to Harrietville via Omeo & Dinner Plains, over Mt Hotham and lots of winding mountainous roads.

This time accommodation is The Snowline Hotel in Harrietville which is the original pub in the town that’s been around since the days of the gold rush. It’s slowly getting a reputation as the place to stay if you ride a motorcycle & they can’t wait to get some Triumph photos on their web site.

The Snowline Hotel - 03 57592524

Plan at this stage:

Saturday 1st Nov

  • Meet outside Peter Stevens in Mercer St at 9am for 9:30am start & coffee
  • Ride to Bairnsdale – route to be determined
  • Stay in Bairnsdale Saturday night

Sunday 2nd Nov

  • Ride to Harrietville via Omea
  • Accommodation – The Snowline Hotel

Monday 3rd Nov

  • Some riding home to Geelong
  • Others, day rides in local area or abseiling or gliding!

Tuesday 4th Nov

  • Pack up for the long trek home to Geelong

Monday, October 20, 2008

Broadford Southern Classic - Sunday 19th Oct 2008

With 10 bikes on the road, it was a it was a great turnout for the ride to Broadford and the Southern Classic race meeting. I think it was the biggest number of bikes on a ride for quite a while & maybe the 29C on Saturday had everybody feeling recharged. Craig was sure to have a cheer squad when he rolled out on the T-Rex Honda. Riding through Gisbourne felt like we stepped into another season - it was freezing. On the way up there was fog and the temperature dropped a few degress - on the way back it hadn't changed!
The smokers regrouped in Kilmore - strength in numbers!
It was a great day at the racing & aweseome to see a girl (Mandy Beales) win in the 350 solo race - she got a big cheer from the boys and the girls!
Then Craig came out for the first race in the afternoon - all was going well until he was given a penalty for jumping the start - race over! Second time out was a different story & he was flying - great result - came first in his class!
There was a few standing there watching that were itching to get out there on their own bikes. The sidecars racers put on the usual "slide" show - unreal to watch - wouldn't get me on one of those things!
It was a great day out - good to catch up with everyone after a long cold winter.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Broadford Southern Classic - Sunday 19th Oct 08

A few of us are heading for the Southern Classic at Broadford this Sunday. Its always a great day out & last year it was a thrill to see a couple of Daytona 675s and Thruxtons battling it out on the circuit. I've heard that Craig from Peter Stevens Geelong is racing the TRex Honda!

This is from the website:

Held in 2008 on the weekend of the 18 / 19 October at Broadford Raceway, Strath Creek Rd, Broadford. Its about 80kms north of Melbourne. Take the Hume freeway to the Broadford turnoff, turn right at the first road and the circuit is about 1km east of the freeway.

Racing starts at 9am and concludes at 5 pm.

Food and beverages are available at the track, the Southern Classic Rally will run concurrently.

We're leaving from outside Peter Stevens shop in Mercer St on Sunday at 8.30am sharp - might see you there.

Monday, September 08, 2008

First Ride Day of Spring - 7 Sept 08

Well it was the first ride day for Spring and also Father's Day so I figured it might be the childless bikers ride day! And, that's fairly close to how it turned out! Six of us rocked up and from the meeting night we'd all agreed that it would be a quick morning ride being Father's Day & all that.
The Martians and the Deans Marsh route is a bit worn out so for a change we decided to go via Stieglitz to Meredith and then on to Buninyong for breakie then back via the Ballan Road through the Brisbane Ranges. Buninyong's a beautiful little township that lies at the foot of landmark Mt Buninyong, 11km south of Ballarat - even gets snow in Winter I've been told!

It was great to see Jason back for a ride - he rocked up on the Thruxton.
Then the big surprise, Cheryl introduced us to her new bike - a beautiful shiny Sprint 955 RS - black & spotless. That's two RS's now with Pete on the other one. It's a perfect move from the TT and an awesome looking bike - another addition to the family!

It was a beautiful morning and the ride up through Steiglitz was perfect - that's a great road, plenty of bends and not a bad surface - and the roos stay in the bushes!
The little cafe in Buninyong serves up a good breakie and after a good feed it was back via the Ballan Rd to Geelong. I always thought the weather was bad in Ballarat but when we got back into Geelong the black clouds opened and down came the hail - it was a massage on two wheels!
We all talked about a week-end trip & it looks like Port Fairy is coming up on the calendar - time to find some accommodation and get it organised - should be good.
Hope all the Dads had a great day - especially the one's that got their breakie in bed...
Catch you at the next meeting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Been a long cold Winter...

Well I gotta say I haven't been out on the road much recently - the term freeze the balls of a brass monkey comes to mind! But, we did get out for a quick ride last week-end even if it was just a short burn down the coast & back through Moriac & home - definitely looking forward to the warmer weather & a good week-end trip away - maybe Marysville or another trip up the Grampians.
Anyway, I was going through my computer at home looking for a few things & never finding anything but came across heaps of photos of many trips with Geelong RAT going back to 2002! Seems like it was yesterday.
Here's a few to jog your memory for those that still have a memory...

So, I hope some of those brought back memories - did for me, bloody hell we had some great times...

There's a meeting this Thursday night 28th August at The Max - might see you there - V-line permitting!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Ride Day - July 6th 2008

Have you ever stood listening to 6 blokes standing around discussing lubricant and how big the hole needs to be? Well, I heard it all today when I was out on the monthly Geelong RAT ride day - but it wasn't what you'd think - or was it...
It was a great turnout for a winter's day with 8 bikes rocking up for the ride to the Hepburn Springs.
There was a rumour that it might snow in Daylesford & that just got a few of the northern hemisphere ex-pats excited remembering the good old days of negotiating snow drift and black ice!
Stefan had left the bonnie at home (still not sure why) and instead rocked up on the ZZR1100 - reckoning he was gonna take it easy but I knew that wouldn't last long!
The calendar had suggested a Xmas in July ride so the plan was to get to one of our favoured pubs for lunch - what better than the old Triumph faithful - the Hepburn Springs Hotel.
The cruise up through the Brisbane Ranges was pretty tame - lots of traffic in convoy and with school holidays there was bond to be a cop somewhere in the bushes! We didn't spot a radar gun all day but a sneaky camera mounted on a falcon station wagon parked on a nature strip on the way back was hard to miss!
Janey was on her first group ride on her Street 3 and loving it - she kisses it more than me these days!
Unfortunately Mick had to return to Geelong when we got to Ballan - for those that don't know Mick & Vicki became proud grandparents a couple of weeks ago.
As we got into Daylesford the group had pulled into the Shell servo & there was a lot of activity around Martin's Street 3 - it was the dreaded puncture scenario that we've all known at some time or other. Well, it's not so hard these days if you've got the reamer, lube & plug handy! Great if you've got the tools but you need to know how to use them (reminds me of a saying I heard before somewhere!).
ryone looked at each other & my first thoughts turned to the only person I knew that had plugged a tyre since I'd knew that a plug kit even existed! Where's Muz when you need him!
With is all standing around trying to understand the instructions that had been written by some Taiwanese kid using a Taiwanese to English dictionary, Warren took control, lubed up the reamer & got into it. There was lots of background talk about lubricant & putting things into small holes - generated a bit of excitement among some!
Well, eventually the job was done - perfect! See photo of the end result - hard to believe that it's good enough to hold back 40 psi!
On to Hepburn Springs pub for lunch and the Wobbly Wazzer on the cocktail board caught a few eyes - Midouri, Kahloua & Baileys - maybe that's for the next RAT meeting!
On the way back the temperature was dropping & Stefan seemed to appear, disappear and reappear! One minute he was up front riding into the distance & then I'd look up and see the ZZR tail-lights in front of us!
It was a a good days riding and great to catch up with big Bruce again too. Martin made it back safetly and with a fully inflated tyre - highly recommend getting one of those kits - they do work!
For those that don't know Warren & Mick have organised a Demo Day on 9th August - it's bookings only - good chance to have a go on something different.
See you all at the July meeting at Max on 31st July.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blood on the Southern Cross - June 21st 2008

Blood on the Southern Cross is an evening show at Ballarat Soveriegn Hill re-enacting the Eureka Stockade.

The event is on the Geelong RAT calender - Leigh has done the ground work and provided details. There's a poster on the Geelong Peter Stevens shop window outlining details of the show, costs and departure times.
Cost is $72 for dinner and show. If you want to stay then there's plenty of options in Ballarat or at Sovereign Hill.

Details can also be accessed via the Sovereign Hill website.

I've heard that the shows spectacular and I'm looking forward to finding out a bit more about local history of the rebelllious type!

There's a meeting next Thursday night at the Max - 29th May 08

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tragedies in Irish Road Racing

Its that time of year in Northern Ireland when the public roads are closed off and the real men of racing fire up their bikes for the North West 200.

Unfortunately, I heard last night that it's a sad start to the road racing season this year. Joey Dunlop's brother Robert was riding in the 250 practice at Mathers Cross when the engine of his bike seized and he was thrown off at 160 mph. I'll always remember him racing in black leathers on a Norton at the NW200 while the other riders wore bright colours and rode the latest works bike from Honda & Suzuki. He's been doing it for a long time and even held the record for the most wins at the NW200.

Then another shocking piece of news - Martin Finnegan was killed earlier in the month at a road race meeting at Tandragee in Northern Ireland. He was an awesome rider & could literally make a bike fly. These guys are legends - riding on public roads at 200mph with no run off - great entertainment for the spectators but fatal for the rider if it goes wrong!
Racing at the North West 200 kicks off just before the FA Cup Final at 11am GMT on Saturday 17th May and if you've got broadband you can log onto the BBC Sport website and watch live coverage of the racing.
If the weather stays dry then the racing will be fantastic - definitely worth a look if you have the internet speed to keep you connected.

Here's a bit of video to wet your appetite!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Broadford Classic Racing - March 30th 2008

It was a few weeks ago now that we took the trip up to Broadford for the Victorian Classic Racing. The weather was perfect and the racing was awesome - especially watching the Daytona 675s and Thruxton in action.
We had a chat with the bloke racing the Thruxton and he loved it - even the flexing frame!
He was racing a bike that was more or less straight out of the shop - some tyre changes and ohlin shockers and he was keeping up with the best of them. There was a lot of interest in that Thruxton!
The Daytona's looked sleek - especially in the union jack decor - I want one...
Best part was watching those crazy dudes on the sidecars coming around that tight bottom corner - they were screaming through the bend - the green machine was smoking up the tyres! Top marks to the pillions leaning out over the side - wouldn't catch me doing something as crazy as that!
It was a good day out & we all got to see 'Murray Corner'!

The meeting's on this Thursday night at the Max (24/04) - Warren had a chat to them about the early lock down last month so hopefully we can stay a bit later this time. It's the All British this week-end - weather isn't looking that flash though!

Might see you Thursday.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Port MacQuarie RAID - August 15-17 2008

Just had some information sent to me from Mal about the Port Macquarie RAID this year. There's a meeting on Thursday 27th March at the Max so maybe we can discuss details then. A few from Geelong went last year and had a fantastic time. In the meantime here's the details:

Date: Aug 15-17 2008
Venue: Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park, call Jake on 1800 636452.

There will be a few exciting new changes to the weekend. One of which is our fantastic new sponsors 'Skips
Motorcycle Performance Centre (Brisbane)'. Of course 'Shannons' will be on board as usual.

Organisers should have all the weekend details finalised by the end of March early April but what you can do now is get your accommodation sorted & get the flyer with all the details when it is completed.

The weekend will be limited to the first 300 people this year as opening it up could bring upwards of 500 which is way too may to handle and enjoy. Yes, the booze crooze is on again, but will be limited like last year to the first 100 people.

Please direct any enquiries to our new email:

The closing date for registrations will be 4th July 2008.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Geelong RATS storm the Alpine Hotel - Bright - March 8-10

Well it was a big week-end and one that I'm still recovering from!! Even harder if you had to go to work on Tuesday after riding down the Hume Highway in 38c temperatures.
I reckon Bacchus Marsh was the hottest place on earth on Monday as we passed through on the way home on Monday.

But back to the beginning... we all set off on Saturday morning as planned making our way to meet Mal & Cheryl in Yea.
I thought it would be a good idea to go a more adventurous route through Hurstbridge, Kinglake to the Whittlesea/Flowerdale Road but the traffic on that narrow little pass over the mountain was horrendous and the Rockets must have struggled a bit on the tight stuff. Heaps of bikes and lots of passing on narrow bends trying to get past cars that just didn't want to pull over to let us past. A little white car over the side reminded us of how dodgy it was.
The ride along the Flowerdale Road to Yea made up for it - just the stuff for Rockets! After a regroup at Yea it was on to Mansfield on full alert for the police pursuit car that patrols this stretch - and we weren't disappointed when we saw him fully occupied booking a truckie!
Next thing the Coffin Cheaters were weaving in & out of the group getting past us in a hurry - I've heard since they were on a poker run with money going to the Royal Children's Hospital.
At one point I saw one of them trying to get past Stefan on the Bonnie and he wasn't letting him through - I was thinking to myself - this could get very ugly - let them thru!! Further up the road they were regrouping massed at a pub and it looked like hundreds of them!
We didn't stop until we reached the Mountain View pub at Whitfield - now there were 2 bikes missing - where were Leigh & Graeme/Tina! I forgot to mention that Stefan tried a bit of dirt riding on the Bonnie, or should I say ditch riding - luckily all was okay, just a few scratches on the bike! Anyway, after a nervous wait we found out that they had stopped at Powers Lookout to take in the view - buggers!
The Alpine Hotel's a great place to stay and a reasonable price - we were all welcomed and had great parking for the bikes. We all gathered at the pub (where else!) and started testing the local brews, giving Mal plenty of Happy Birthday wishes, kisses and a chorus of Happy Birthday To You.
Then it was off to the local micro-brewery and back to the pub - after a few of those beers at the brewery at 8% alcohol we rolled into the pub... or at least I did! The band would have been good except for the drummers ego - he was all we could hear! I had a polite word (turn the f..king drums down!) with the guy doing the mixing and even tried mixing it myself but he wouldn't have any of it! Good fun was had by all.
With a few sore heads we set off after breakfast for Mt Hotham - the road up the mountain was fantastic - even with a hangover and we stopped at Dinner Plain for coffee and plenty of water. A few of us decided to keep going and headed over to Omeo while the others headed back for a relaxing afternoon. Leigh headed back to Geelong on his own on Sunday as he could only stay one night.
I don't have words to describe that road to Omeo - it was f..king unbelievable - I thought the roads in Tassie were good but this ones on a par with the road from the west coast of Tassie up to Cradle Mountain - I still dream of going back to that one! The ambulance and cop car on top of the mountain were a bit worrying-but only for a second!
The hard part was the road back down the mountain on the way back into Harrietville - all downhill & 30km/hr tight corners - it was a good workout! Stefan was riding that Bonnie in front of me like a true champion! At one point we pulled over to admire the view and thought we'd stumbled across Ewan & Charlie!
While we up the mountain acting illegally - Graeme & Pete took the Rockets for a test-ride & had an appreciation of how much the boys would have had to work on those tight mountain roads.
Needless to say, most of us had a quiet night on Sunday except for the girls and a couple of blokes that shall remain nameless - especially the one standing on the table at the back of the pub calling me to come back to the pub and getting told off by the bouncer!
The journey back was long, tiring & hot. We split at Seymour with some taking the highway and others cutting across via Gisbourne & home. There were heaps of speed cameras and cops on the way back - hope we didn't get any tickets!
It was a great week-end with 10 bikes and 13 RATS - next one should be good to the All British on Anzac week-end. Get details from Warren or Mick at Peter Stevens Geelong.

Couldn't forget a photo of the girls!