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October 2013 Club News

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Club Members Old Pictures Gallery

Story by Mike Stephenson

Mike with his second ever bike, a Triumph 3TA 350cc.The story behind the trip: I seemed to get all the bad luck going on this tour! On one narrow stretch of fenced road on a hillside, three young steers who should not have been there, were weaving back and forth across the road; my two mates managed to get past them OK, but when it was my turn, a spooked steer ran across in front of me, with the inevitable result of a collision, the bike going down and hitting a marker post, smashing the headlight! Needless to say, the steer was just fine!

On another occasion, we camped one night by a deserted beach on Tologa Bay north of Gisborne. Before the daylight faded we decided it would be a great idea to do 1/4 mile drags on the beach, and trying to keep up with the 650s, I succeeded in blowing up my engine! One of my mates towed me back to Gisborne, where I put the bike (and myself!) on the train back to Auckland - an ignominious end to an otherwise very enjoyable tour.

Mike racing his Norton Commando 750cc at Auckland’s
          Pukekohe race track.Racing the Commando: I'd love to say that I won lots of races, but the truth is I never got anywhere near the front, mainly, I think, because all the races were push start off the grid, or Le Mans starts (where the riders line up on one side of the track and have to run across the track to their bikes on the opposite side, and then push start them). I was a scrawny 9 stone back then, and trying to push-start a Commando was a big ask! By the time I got it going, I was knackered, and all the two strokes were half way round the circuit! Great fun though, all the same.

Humber 80, modified after an altercation with a power
          pole (1972).How the car became a ute: radial ply tyres had recently become available, and I’d fitted Firestone radials to the car. In the wet they’d hang on really well, up to the point where they’d suddenly let go without warning. Yes, you guessed it, I lost it big time on a bend in the wet, did a 180 into a pole, which left its imprint across the roof, just behind the door pillar. I thought the “ute “ solution was the best way to go from there!

Honda CB450cc, the first one brought into Wellington,
          NZ.The CB Honda: the 450 was a great bike - it could blow Bonnevilles into the weeds! The handling left a bit to be desired, especially when encountering cow pats on country roads! It left such an impression that it was the bike I wanted to race in the Historics, and I've no regrets!

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