Sunday, March 24, 2013

Be Patient - Windingroad

A Signpost For Life

This image comes from Google, I was busy at the time ;-) but got the message anyway!

Suzuki Boulevard Rally 2013

This year the rally was "Journey Through Middle Earth" and what a great ride it was too! We started at Mount Maunganui near Tauranga on the Saturday morning, that meant riding down on Friday afternoon to catch up with the team, and stay overnight with my Dad.

I was hoping to get away early, but meeting, meetings, and meetings... and on a Friday too! As it turned out, I did get away a bit early and headed home to drop off work gear, and get into cruise-gear. Of course - I locked myself out of the house - with keys and helmet inside! Luckily (kind of) I have watched 80's TV shows where the hero opens doors with whatever he has in his pocketses. Thanks McGyver. I was in time to experience the slow drag out of Auckland that is typical of a Friday afternoon, but eventually I was underway properly and enjoying the freedom of the ride through 2x gorges and into the Bay of Plenty.

A beer or too and a hot curry later I was tucked into bed in Papamoa - thanks for the great night.

Mt Maunganui to New Plymouth

An excellent route, and one with a few twists that even I had not been on before.

View Larger Map

We stopped for lunch at Whakamaru where we also gassed up - poor girl in the gas station on her own with 143 bikes wanting fuel! All good in the end. Once we got onto State Highway 3 we spread out a bit, and I found a journo riding a demo bike - one of the new blacked out C90's. We rode with spirit on that wonderful road through the Awakino Gorge and over Mt Messenger - fun indeed - almost to the point of losing the chicken strips - which is a feat indeed on a cruiser!

New Plymouth - Conference

The Rally Conference was at the Devon, and I stayed at the Autolodge - probably a good call as I did get some sleep before the trip continued home on Sunday. Thanks to Troy I had a cold beer waiting at the end of the ride - VERY welcome! The meal was good, but forgettable, the beer was Peroni and so good, and free flowing, and the entertainment a bit of fun, with a hypnotist providing us with the laughs. Sunday was the ride home, and another chance to ride through the gorge - brilliant. I caught up with Donna and friends in Te Kuiti for brunch and headed home through Whatawhata and Ngaruawahia.

Another great weekend with great friends.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

NDR2013 Wairakei

The New Zealand National Ducati Rally for 2013 took place last weekend at the Wairakei Resort near Taupo. A fantastic weekend it was too - with the Evil Stig heading out on the black Ducati 916 on a hot Friday afternoon from Auckland.

Ducati 916

I met Craggsy on his Ducati 999R and we decided to take the direct route down through Matamata, where we stopped for a top up - fluids for the bikes and for the riders - it was hot, especially in leathers. What we did then was unexpected and rather exciting - we swapped bikes. This meant I got to ride on the magnificent 999R.

Craggsy's Ducati 999R

What a beautiful machine - so much power, and very comfortable and inspiring to ride. I rode between Matamata to SH5 through Te Poi - amazing! Dave must have been laughing in his helmet to see me wind it on a bit through the corners ;-) Thanks Dave, a real treat.

We were hoping for a trackday on Saturday, but unfortunately for us, we hadn't booked, and MotoTT were fully booked with no no-shows on the day. No problem, we had a great blast around the Lake, meeting our brethren near Turangi who were riding anti-clockwise. Then in the afternoon the show-and-shine - where all the bikes were cleaned and polished and lined up in model years to be judged. Its a bit kind-of bike-geeky but the array of bikes from old to new was really engaging - and the riders/builders and onlookers all had stories to tell about this model or that. I just appreciated the beauty of the Ducati bikes. Dave however managed to pick 'Best in Class' with the 999R.

With the riders and support families, were a few dealers, and Bayride brought down a Diavel and a Panigale to show off at the dinner. These bikes were also demos and I managed to get a ride on the white Panigale. Oh boy, what a ride!

Evil Stig on the white Panigale - oh yeah!

I only had around 10 minutes, and I made sure I enjoyed them... and did some 'serious' research. 195HP is quite a few - especially if you are sitting on them - and they all seemed to be working - wow! Tried out an emergency stop - man some serious stopping power! I looked down to see if any traction control lights would show - nope - just electrifying stop and then with the quick-shifter in action - electrifying go! And dare I say it - I found it comfortable to ride on, not as forward or aggressive position as the 916 - which I find to be comfortable anyway ;-)

Sunday we glided back in the rain - we finally get the rain we have been hoping for and it turns up on a Ducati Rally day! Oh well... we tagged onto the back of the Ducati Turismo, which has another week of riding the North Island to go, and headed for home, stopping at Hampton Downs to watch a couple of NZ SBK races.

A fantastic weekend. Next year it will be in Hanmer - can't wait - I wonder what I will be riding??