Club run to Greta Valley - 20 January 2013

We were not going on this run. We had been reserved by my daughter to babysit her 2 year old while she went to the movies - it being her birthday and all. However - after phoning her on Saturday night to confirm the time, we discovered that her birthday was actually on the Monday..! I am very good with dates.!

However - that meant Sunday was now free. Yay.! I texted Thomas to make sure that Greta Valley was still the destination - as we were too late up to get to the Bush Inn for liftoff. I think he said yes - his answer was a bit abstract. We decided to ambush the gang out on the highway, and headed out to the northern motorway to head them off. We stood on an overbridge with the camera fuse lit, waiting for signs of the BSA gaggle - but after 20 minutes we were wondering if we had muffed the start time. I am good at that too...

We gave up waiting and headed north. Loads of traffic which seemed to be moving at somewhat less than the legal limit - so we passed them of course.! Got to Amberley and spotted a lone Bantam near the Dairy. Swung around and went back. It was Pania and she too was waiting for the riders to turn up. No problems then - we were ahead of the pack.!

Thomas and Marian arrived and with them a terrific bunch of assorted bikes. They just kept arriving. Brilliant. This was looking like the biggest turnout in a long time. The O'Rourke clan was here in numbers - with the family spread over a number of bikes. Terry had a large screen fitted to his A10 in preparation for a forthcoming trip to the West Coast. Peter was giving the Goldstar an outing. Maurie and John P were there, and Jim on his A65. Jason and Wayne with 5 cylinders between them. Ritchie and Herb on BSA and Triumph, Max on his B31 and Ross on his Honda. Tony and Glenda whispered in on their starship. Barry had a new Triumph that looked like the old Triumph, and Harry had his trusty Honda. I think Honda were the runners-up in overall numbers. Everyone was happy with the weather and happy to be here. Perfect.!

The girls get the cool thing.. (sorry Brett, but that's a campy pose..)

We all caught up on important bike stuff while various cold foodstuffs were consumed. It was that sort of day.

The Boys hang out and look tough. Ice creams and sunhats all round..

Brett had discovered a huge dent in the rear wheel rim on the Bantam, so he cruised off to the nearest petrol station to borrow a hammer. He returned soon afterward, with the rim looking a bit flattened, but mostly in the right place once again. So that was nice.

Forget the pedigree - a lot of bikes is good...

Pania left on the Bantam before anyone else was ready to leave. This was a planned move - as it would take her several decades longer to reach Greta Valley than the rest of the group - despite the fact that she would go direct while the rest of us would go up through Waikari and the Scargill road. Yum.!

The best aspect of motorcycles is to be seen when they are in motion. For this reason, I usually watch them all leave before I join the migration. It also means I can go faster in order to catch up.! Tis a cunning plan. When we hit the road, there was not another bike in sight. I am always amazed at how quickly moving vehicles open up a large gap. Keeping the necessary legalities of speed management in mind, we maintained a steady 105K towards Waipara, and passed a few bikes along that section. Then we followed Maurie all the way up towards the Weka Pass, at which point temptation got the better of me and I got the bit between my teeth. Several bikes were despatched and we joined Max as we slowed for Waikari township. Max turned up the Scargill road then waved us on - so I felt obliged to do the right thing and pass him. The Scargill road is a lovely snake up the valley on any day - but today it was magic. The surface was clean and there was no stock in evidence. We flew along, trusting that the NZ Police did not have enough able bodies to post a car way out here. A few more club bikes were encountered until we caught up with Thomas - but he recognised me in his mirror and gave me the wave through. Or some similar gesture.! I complied, and we were out on our own - until some bike with a fairing showed up in my mirror. Damn. This always slows me a bit because it could be someone with the authority to cost me large sums of dollars, so I tried to keep things to within sensible limits. A few miles passed without any flashing lights, so I decided to just get on with the game, and we did so. Greta Valley arrived far too soon, and we ducked into the Tavern carpark to join those who had already arrived. Some because they did not know we were taking the longer route. All good. Turned out it was Tony C and Glenda behind us - so no points lost.!

Suitable adornment for any country pub on a sunny Sunday.

As usual, there were the necessary debriefings going on as we forged a path to the Bar for anything that might cool us down. Mostly brown things. Adrenalin takes a bit of quenching you know. We filtered outside to the beautiful verandah where we made ourselves at home while the meagre staff worked overtime to prepare food for us all. And indeed they did. Big thanks to them and the Club for shouting. Jeez I love this stuff. Haha.

Perfect place to compare notes with your clubmates.

The serious chaps braved it out in the hot sun - and were even happy enough to smile for the camera - so they can't have been discussing any mischief. Well - no more than you would expect. As nobody had broken down or been arrested, we had reason to be in good spirits. Harry had a brief offroad excursion, but found the path and all was well. Even Pania turned up with the Bantam still purring along on it's newly shaped rim. Quite a stint for it really, and huge respect for her to have chosen to ride all this way.

Backbone of the club - the long-termers.

Here's a thing. This happy family group encompasses something that I have not personally seen until now on a club run. Young people who are enjoying the shared experience of an ancient art - a BSA club gathering. This is such a positive note for the future of clubs such as ours, when many are still locked into an inflexible format that began in the 60's and 70's. Surely if we are to survive, we need to foster this attitude and welcome those who are keen to follow in the footsteps of the original bikers. New interest in the continued excitement of riding bikes together. Surely this was the perfect day and the perfect venue to bring all those facets together. I salute the O'Rourke family and their commitment to making this ride on the two smallest bikes of the day. Grandad Ray assisted by carrying the fabulous golden-haired Daphne as his pillion - I could not believe my eyes as I caught up with Ray's A10 and saw the cascade of gold from the back of a crash helmet - I thought Ray must have attached some stolen locks to the back of his helmet until I realised there was a pillion.!

Brett, Daphne, Ray, Pania, James. You guys rock.!

Apres lunch was a nice chatty session and a chance to meet new faces. I did not get a chance myself, as I was too busy talking to the faces I already knew. Never mind - perchance there will be more occasions such as this one. It was a great place to be this day, and the Publicans showed their appreciation of our patronage by donating a bottle of wine as a prize for the best bike of the day. Well done Club Captain Thomas, who awarded the prize to Pania for her stoic devotion to the BSA marque by riding the Bantam all this way. Not long after this award she headed towards home in the knowledge that her meagre pace would require a fair bit of head start. Brett left later on the Yamaha 225 - second smallest bike of the day - with James on the pillion too. Well done you lot.

The final stages of the day's event.

The best thing about the close of play at the venue is that you still have the ride home. It is always a thrill to head back to the carpark and see all these magnificent machines awaiting our command for whatever we might choose to do next. This is so cool.

The sleeping beasts..

We don the leather and say our farewells. Thanks to each and every one of you for making this day what it has been. We wave and nod and eyeball each other as each bike roars into life and moves off as if to do battle. Quite heady stuff, and I do not feel less impressed by any of these machines, regardless of make or capacity. It has been a shared experience by all, and we each got what we got from it. I feel once again proud to be a motorcyclist and to be amongst such a group of people. None are shy or retiring, and each knows just why they are here and how they got their interest to begin with. It is the thing that holds us together, and keeps us attending events such as this.

Cheers mates, hope to meet up with you all again soon. Kilroy.



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