Wheel alignment

Monday 7 February 2011

Classic motorcycle race meeting, Auckland 2011

For a country with a 4 million population, NZ always seems to have a bigger percentage of "cool stuff" than it really ought, not that I'm complaining!  Old planes, rare cars, innovative boats and especially classic motorcycles.  Where the heck do they all come from?  Everyone's garden shed but mine it would seem!

A lot of the classic bikes turn up at the Pukekohe circuit in Auckland  for an annual 3-day meeting and I went up yesterday to watch.  I love it because you can wander anywhere and everywhere and the riders are incredibly friendly.  Also, there's no concession to the age of these bikes, they get seriously raced despite their age!

Yesterday was a particularly memorable day for me, for a whole range of disparate reasons.  I rode to the circuit with a local businessman who lives in the same road as me - didn't even know he rode bikes until late last year.  Bruce is a "mature" rider, albeit not quite as "mature" as me.  An ex-car racer with a long history of bikes too, his latest acquisition is a Hayabusa, so he's not mucking about!

Bruce gassing up before leaving Coromandel

We hadn't ridden together before so the first few km through the twisties were spent dialling in to each other (a much nicer way of saying sizing each other up, haha) and it soon became apparent that Bruce was seriously good with his roadcraft and teaming with someone you trust completely makes riding such a joy.  Both to and from the circuit, we didn't hang about but with the complete lack of stress, the whole ride was so wonderfully enjoyable.  That was the first memorable part of the day.

The second was arriving at the track and meeting fellow blogger Raftnn (Roger).  What an absolutely top guy he is and within seconds, we were chatting like we'd known each other for years; laughing away like a couple of schoolkids.  For the followers of Roger's blog, I'm delighted to say that he comes across as a nice guy in his blog but the real bloke is even nicer!  Sadly, we didn't have much time to spend shooting the breeze but we'll no doubt be getting together for a ride-out before too long.  Roger has a heap of great photos from yesterday on his blog, so I'll stick on some complementary ones and a link to Picasa web for the whole set.

Me and Roger enjoying the sun!

Another delight from the day was to see how many of the racers were seriously "mature" and I'm talking of well over 70.  Like the machines they rode, there was absolutely no concession to taking it easy and they're a fantastic advertisement to getting the most out of life.

Days where you ride bikes, talk bikes, eat and breathe bikes are truly days made in heaven.  This contented biker slept very well last night!

Here are a selection of photos: (click to enlarge)

My mate Paul from Coromandel with his trick 850cc Norton racer

BSA Gold Star with the motor hung from the frame

The most expensive bike at the meeting?  Brough Superior.  Rare as hen's teeth doesn't begin to describe it!

Nortons of all ages

Rare Benelli Sei 6 cyl 750 with 6 mufflers!

Close-up of flawless Henderson 4 cylinder

Nimbus 4 cylinder

A word or two about the next photo.  The Ducati Desmosedici RR shown below is to all intents and purposes a Moto GP/Superbike and costs over NZ$100000 if you can lay your hands on one. It took part in what might loosely be called a "demo" race although there wasn't much quarter given!  When it was being warmed up, it was akin to aural sex (not oral sex, for the grubby-minded)!  Now look at the age of the rider.  If you had seen the way he rocketed round the circuit, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was a current race star on board!

Old meets new - a fantastic pairing

Yet another youthful rider - forever young

Lunchtime entertainment - P40 and Spitfire

The unmistakable silhouette of the Spitfire

McIntosh-framed Jawa - looked like 2 Manx Nortons mated together

Munch Mammoth powered by 1200cc NSU car engine

4 cylinder Cleveland

The incomparable Britten - a work of genuine genius

BMW Rennsport racer

Flawless HRD  Vincent 1000

Trying to start the Harley flat-tracker on rollers called for serious downward pressure!

Interesting Moto-Guzzi racer

What a day!  Here's the link to the full photo set: Pukekohe 2011


  1. Love your work Geoff!!!.....just sat down with a coffee and have taken quite a few moments of office time to browse through your photos and now I can barely string words together to describe what a fan-bloody-tastic day that must have been!!

    I've been checking your blog all day to see when the photos might appear.....thankyou so much for sharing them.

    Truely amazing machines....well done mate.

  2. Hahahahaha - love it!! Thanks Anthony, it really was a magic day for all the reasons I mentioned. Such a day really makes you fizz. Do y'know, we saw relatively little of the racing as the real pleasure came from strolling about, drooling over the hardwareand talking to the riders. Even past world stars like Kiwis Graeme Crosby and Ginger Molloy were absolutely approachable.

    P.S. Humble apologies in keeping you waiting - got dragged off for the monthly grocery shop this morning. Rough, tough biker.... yeah right....

  3. Great pictures, Geoff. I was hoping that you would also post some pics from the event. Can't get enough from the vintage yard. I wonder how all those beautiful bikes made it to Kiwi Land.

    The shot with the old guy and the BSA is most intriguing. Very impressive. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Britten, slobber, Britten, slobber, slobber...

  5. I'm always inspired to see the "older" generation out and about, whether by bicycle, motorcycle, or whatever, it's encouraging to see!

    Great photos of all the bikes! :)

  6. Great pics Geoff, your ones of the planes turned out well, I just got blue sky!! Hard to pic a favourite bike , but if i had to choose, i was in love with a lot of the old nortons. Just classic bikes. Just carnt single one out, they were all great.

    I will diffinitly be back next year. I was most impressed. Next year I hopefully will be able to ride down, via Coromandel Township...

  7. Sonja:
    Thanks, that meeting is an absolute "must" for lovers of old and not so old bikes. I'd pick that some of those bikes arrived in NZ as normal transport not long after they were made.

    A lot of guys around that age were racing. They may have had the odd spot of bother getting on and off their bikes but once they were rolling....

    Yes indeed. 'tis a thing of exquisite beauty. You'll have to come along to that meeting!

    It's especially encouraging for me, falling into that category ;-). Seriously though, age is largely a state of mind if you really mean business.

    Confession time - I deleted 15 shots of blue sky (well, one had about 1 foot of the nose of the P40 in it so make that 16)! Yep, hard to single any of those gorgeous bikes out.

    Always a comfortable bed, good food and dubious company down this way!

  8. Obviously a great day out Geoff. I couldn't agree more about the enjoyment a day amongst these bikes, their owners and fans generates.

    I like your neighbor's Hayabusa! They are tremendous value in Oz at present at AUD$18K ride away - I priced one last Friday as fate would have it.

    Cheers Jules.

  9. Cheers Jules - was thinking of you when I was up there!

    They're a great bike all right. He's had his lowered a touch as he's about the same height as me and feels more confident over uneven ground now. I note the "fate would have it" phrase. Is there tacit Management approval????

  10. from the neighbor, just viewed your blog for first time, and very good it is, it is great riding with careful and obvious skilled persons, make riding a pleasure looking forward to next ride.

  11. Hahahaha - hello Bruce, nice of you to drop in!! Yep, it sure was good riding. Will definitely have to sort out another jaunt!

    Cheers :-)

  12. Awesome pictures Geoff. I love to see all the close up and interesting angles as well as the full bikes. Nice that you captures some of the riders too.

    Great to see one of you and Roger together. I look forward to following any adventures you take on together.

    Looks like you had an amazing day full of laughter and good times.

    Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us. We appreciate it.

  13. Thanks very much Trobairitz! Those older bikes do have all sorts of angles and interesting insignias. In all honesty, we could have spent a couple of days up there taking photos and still missed some gems - there were bikes tucked away in every nook and cranny and we would have missed heaps.

    Yes, it was great meeting Roger at last and there's no doubt that we'll have some fun rides in future.

  14. Mad stuff Geoff - there's something very special about classic bikes. They're certainly not for the faint-hearted (or mechanically disinclined!) Great pics :-)

  15. Geoff, yes full approval from "management" for a new machine within the next 12 months. The new ZX1000 Ninja is at the top of the list currently, though I was surprised at it's short wheelbase and thought that it looked a little "plastic" when I saw one for the first time last week.

    My heart still says 'ZX14' or 'Hayabusa', but my head says 'forget them' and go for something lighter.

    Cheers Jules.

    Cheers Jules.

  16. Sue:
    Yep, I learned my mechanical and electrical skills from using early Triumphs as everyday transport. I was super-fit then as I probably spent as much time running alongside them as riding 'em!

    Great news, excellent to hear. Wonder what "management" will want in return ;-)??? I must look up the Ninja - have got a bit out of touch with new models over the last few months.


  17. Geoff:

    I think that's one of the joys in life, meeting others with the same interests. Perhaps one day in the future you will be sitting somewhere having a beverage and reminiscing about the "old days", remembering when we could ride.

    I also like the Ninja ZX12 (something like that). It's the only way to turn the clock back as we age

    Wet Coast Scootin

  18. 'ello Bob!
    Yes, it certainly is. Good people are good people, no matter what part of the world they come from.

    If I can't ride, I'll probably be sitting somewhere grinning from ear to ear from the thrash I've just had in a Lotus 7!

  19. A very nice post...the vintage displayed at this meet, both Human and on two wheels, is equal to none..I particularly like the Norton 850 racer and Oh that Henderson...a beauty.
    I've looked at these photos over lunch time...nothing like a bit of motorcycle porn to help get one's mind refreshed. Cheers

  20. Hi Baron and thanks for dropping by!

    Paul's Norton engine is a bottomless money pit according to his wife, with all the goodies that go inside! BTW, he's in his late 50's and still has the Commando Fastback which he bought in his late teens - completely restored to showroom condition!

    Completely agree with your "bike porn" sentiments - lifts the day. You have a great blog and I look forward to delving into it!

  21. Thanks Geoff. I look forward to following your blog as well...lots of good stuff in there...It's what we folks our age do to stay out of trouble...Looks like Paul is the Man....The Commando fastback must be worth a king's ransom now. Cheers mate and keep well

  22. Geoff:

    What Luck. I happen to know Mr David 0 Saville Peck who builds the Caterham (Lotus 7) here in Canada. Actually not that far from Cowichan Bay. I will take you there when you visit. He is the one responsible for putting the Hayabusa engine into it and he designed the reversing transmission for it.


    I was going to do a blog post from August where there was a gathering of Lotus 7's here in Vancouver, but didn't get around to it.

    Wet Coast Scootin

  23. Hey Bob - what fantastic and influential friends you have! I'd really appreciate the opportunity to go and drool, so thanks very much. Do you think that there's the opportunity to grab a shop-soiled sample to stick in my suitcase ;-)? Incidentally, the "7" with the Blackbird engine I showed in the photo was built completely from scratch by a retired panelbeater in the far north of NZ. He was well into his 70's!

    I'll have a look at the site shortly - about to go out cycling to slow down the ageing process!


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