It was about six years ago when the first murmurings within the
Albany Classic Vintage MCC of a trip to South Aust. Being a
Perth member of the club, I didn't have anything to do with the
organising, managed a work-leave swap, changed the oil, packed
and I was right to go (even threw in my Speedos and swim goggles
in case we camped near a 50m pool).
Of course this was to be an old bike event (25 years minimum), so my '81 R100 now certainly meets that grade. Bob Boyes was astride his eligible (just) '91 K100. Understandably most of the machines were trailered across the continent, as the trip's main intent was riding the scenic areas of South Oz, not the huge k's getting there and back.
The first club evening rendezvous was to be Sat at the Fraser
Range Caravan Park, could have easily done this in a day, but I
was itching to go so headed off a day early, hammer my tent pegs
into the Coolgardie cp, then into the pub for several hours... a
good first day.
Next morning would not have wanted to be anywhere else as I cruised the winding road through Widgemooltha upon my way towards Norseman as the morning cool air did its work with those fins. Obtain beer at Norseman, then several hours later at Fraser Range caravan park catching up with the Albany crew as they arrived.
Club Pres Bob Rees had his '64 R69S and Chris her '51 R51/3 as
did Huw Jones with his '64 R60/2, all three bikes in immaculate
condition. Out there man Ronnie had his ever reliable '42 Indian
600, Antoinet her '82 GS 80, John had his '70 75/5, Gary and
Raelene looked a snappy couple with their matching red mid-70's
500 Moto Guzzi’s, have a chat Col, the just retired mechanic
with Leanne had his K750 Honda four, Kim aboard his Honda Bol
D'or 900, over the years I have owned three of these lovely
machines . . . Kim is a good bloke.
Now Phil with Bronwyn is not such a good bloke, because he bought the bike that John Wightman should have sold to me, the sexy green R75/6.
from Kojonup had on his ute two classics, a 650 Panther Sloper
and a '57 Triumph T110. As well there was break-down back-up man
(knows everyone) ol’ Warwick. Getting three weeks time off isn't
really that easy for most, so no doubt, would have been many
more had they been able.
Next evening stopped at Eucla, then the following afternoon we
all arrived at Streaky Bay cp located right on the bay, next day
we headed down the Eyre Peninsula to the scenic town of Coffin
Bay, did some nice rides around and through Port Lincoln.
John came off his 75/5 whilst taking photo's on a dirt road,
slight damage to him and the bike, he holed a rocker cover. It
was interesting watching Ronnie fix it up with a stick of soft
metal, next morning, good as new.
For Bob's birthday, the pub-supplied Tarago carted us all to
the pub for dinner, a top little evening had. Next day a 600km+
day ride up the east of the peninsula then down the York
Peninsula to coastal Moonta.
Arriving in a torrential downpour with near cyclonic winds, my
little tent hung in there, though Col and Leanne were up all
night clinging to the inside of their camper as the Spencer Gulf
southerly attempted to remove it from them.
Next morning, thankfully no rain though plenty of wind, we all rode through Port Victoria, Port Vincent, Ardrossan. Another top day had, finished again with dinner and drinks at the cp kitchen, Bob later had his guitar out and knocked out a few tunes. He later talked a little of his earlier adventures from the UK to Africa, where by chance in the early 70's he ended up in Albany with a guitar, purple shirt, lots of hair and no money, met Chris and a bike club was born.
The next day, to the Kadina markets, then to Port Broughton.
From the big jetty at Moonta, Ronnie, Huw and Kim caught a few
squid, were cooked up very nicely that evening.
Next day we all headed to Clare for several days of riding the local countryside, where John's son Andrew joined us for the remainder of the trip. Then Thursday we headed towards Victor Harbour stopping at the magnificent motor museum at Birdwood, whilst over the road was "Bill's Bikes n Bits" old school bike shop, its something out of a past era.
Our final destination was to Pete and Loyla’s beautiful
property just out of Victor Harbour, for five days of scenic
motorcycling. Next morning Pete got his old 75/5 started, with
Loyla they led the way showing us the little seaside towns of
the Fleurieu Peninsula. The next day more of the same, the 50k
ride from Cape Jervis (where the Kangaroo Island ferry departs)
to Victor Harbour was a most enjoyable ride. In Victor I dropped
into Woolies for some supplies, 50 metres into my trip back to
Pete's place my gearbox became stuck in 2nd gear.
Back at the property I informed Bob of my dilemma, and discussed options, one option being that if we can get the bike on its back the gears can be clicked up... so Bob (and John) said. I didn't want to hang around for three days then trailer my bike home being the only real other option I had.
Pete did have a tractor with bucket in his shed, so off came the bike's tank and out came the tractor, strap hanging off the bucket.
Ronnie had it all under control as the bike
was placed on its back. The audience were being treated an
unexpected unusual show.
then clicked the gears into top, (I really wasn't expecting it
to work) then up again and back onto its wheels, where Bob
attempted one click down for the preferred 4th, nothing there
but 5th. So I gave it a short test run, and decided to give this
a shot tomorrow.
Realised that this was most likely my last evening with my fellow campers, as later on with his guitar Bob put out a few tunes.
Next morning I felt a little like Lindy in ‘27 as he was about to head over the Atlantic, with a gathering of onlookers as bike was pushed onto the tarmac, clutch in, start her up, then splutter off. Three years earlier I had put into this bike a tough clutch, I believed that it would handle what lay ahead. My main concern upon this Easter Saturday was negotiating my way through the small hilly winery towns east of Adelaide, also avoiding any contact with the ever vigilant SA Police, (SA's coffers are empty) and avoiding uphill starts, thankfully the roads this morning were fairly quiet.
No real problems were encountered, though I didn't take in too
much of the scenery as my mind was working as to what lay
directly ahead as well as the next town, as I passed through
each town it felt as if another hurdle had been cleared. By
three I was fuelling up at Clare, from now on the roads were
only going to open up, through Horrocks Pass, more fuel at Port
Augusta, then ended the day at Kimba, free camping site
(donation) nice pub there, puts on a good meal.
Next morning both feet on the ground as she starts to gain
momentum, a working of clutch and throttle and I was off, passed
through the border about 2.30. On two consecutive border runs I
had always finished the first day return at Southern Cross, so I
thought if I could knock off several hundred k's past, then
making home the next day shouldn't be a problem. But 125k's into
WA the heavens opened up, also there were a few dead roos, I
didn't wish to bump into a live one, so it was time to put up
At first I was a little annoyed to have had to pull up so soon,
though once settled within my tent on the Nullarbor with rain
pelting down, a 2 litre cask of red keeping me company I would
not have wanted to be anywhere else. It was a rather chill-out
experience with head poked through the flap in the rain taking
in the Nullarbor nightscape, if ever I was going to be abducted
by aliens and be taken of to exciting planets it would happen
tonight, or maybe the Nullarbor Nymph might just drop on by...
neither of those things happened (I'm sure she's a hoax).
I wanted to get home today, so it was to be a big one, 1,315k's
later at 8pm, I arrived home. Going through Midland down the
Reid Hwy was a little nervy as my rear lights were not working
and the vigilant police being upon their Easter Mon evening
About four days later the rest of my fellow adventurers had
safely arrived home. It was a great motorcycle trip with great
Web editor's addition: was this a new record by Guy and the
R100 - 2,776 km in the same gear?