50th Anniversary Ride Report – Day 1 Sunday 20th March 2022
By Ian Snadden
We finally made it, what a relief after 3 years of planning and two postponements.
The planning team arrived on Saturday 19th to ensure everything ran smoothly when rally participants arrived the following day.
Sunday morning the first official day of the rally saw an early flurry of activity by the planning team, rally bags to be packed, registration desk to be setup, bus to be picked up from Warrnambool, liaison with Big4 to ensure breakfasts for participants was organised, happy hour supplies purchased, and the function room (Shearwater Room) set up for the week’s activities.
From midday onwards members began to roll in and get themselves settled into their accommodation for the week ahead.
Rally registration by John & Vicki began at 4.30pm and by 6.00pm we launched into our first Rally Happy Hour (sometimes 2 hours) that proved to be a highlight of the rally. Winding the clock back 3 years when Graham and I first visited BIG4 Port Fairy to establish its suitability as a rally base, when Glen from BIG4 showed us the Shearwater Room and told us that we would have exclusive use of it for the duration of our rally, Graham & I looked at each other and said “what a great location for a Happy Hour each night”. Happy Hour certainly proved popular during the week, it brought everyone together each afternoon after the day’s events & became the focal point for socialising over a few drinks and some well prepared and enjoyed nibbles by our bar staff Rob (5 Forks) Mullins and the ever-jovial Greg Myers. Well done guys.
That evening we enjoyed a buffet meal at BIG4 supplied by a local caterer, yours truly welcomed participants and discussed the week’s Rally program along with some vital housekeeping information.
We all retired for the night looking forward to the start of rally proceedings the next morning.
50th Anniversary Ride Report – Day 2 Monday 21st March 2022
By Jimmy Linton
After a couple of false starts for the rally we finally made it to the first day of riding. With a full day’s itinerary ahead the ride briefing kicked off at the slightly earlier time of 0800 for a planned departure of the main group at 0830 from the Port Fairy Big4 Holiday Park. Key for my ride briefing was the use of a Chief Marshall (CM) and corner markers in order for the main group, with me as the lead rider, to be guided along the ride.
With the briefing over the CM and markers headed off under cloudy skies around 0850 to mark the route to the first stop, George Taylor’s Hardware Store at Grassmere. The hardware aspects of this unique store located on a crossroad was of no interest to a group of motorcyclists, but what was of interest was the 100+ vintage and rare motorcycles (loosely applies to some) that line the inside of this building. Owned by a private collector the motorcycles are predominantly European marques such as BMW, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, DKW and Peugeot. There was even a solidarity Triumph amongst this feast of two-wheels, but sadly not a design that was graced by the guiding hand of the great man Edward Turner.
After a talk by the store’s owner about the store itself and the history of the collection and the man behind it, we stayed for about an hour wandering around looking at all the bikes. Some even decided to not let an opportunity pass by to make a hardware purchase as you never know what could come in handy on a ride.
With the visit over all riders made their way by bike to the morning tea stop at Hopkins River Falls, well nearly all riders. Mark’s (Mensch) BMW had refused to start so was promptly loaded onto the trailer (should have taken the Triumph Mark, you never have any electrical issues with Old Man Lucas). On arrival at Hopkins River Falls we were greeted by Lyn and Snads who had gone ahead to setup and prepare hot drinks and snacks for us all. Ever the showman, Snads decided to do a few laps of precision riding on his Ariel around the carpark.
From Hopkins River Falls the next destination was Koroit for lunch and a fuel stop (more on that later). The ride had covered approximately 80ks of open countryside riding until we had an unscheduled stop at Woolsthorpe as the CM had got his sums wrong and ran out of corner markers. As we waited for the riders and the back-up trailer, which now had a pair of BMWs on board with Neil Primmer’s done for the day, a few cautious riders decided to take the opportunity to fill up.
With the CM and a few corner markers out ahead, the main group took off to cover the last 14ks to Koroit. About halfway there my bike started to lose power and I had a sinking feeling that I too should have been cautious and taken the opportunity to top up the fuel at Woolsthorpe. With a bit of fuel still visible in the tank I tried sloshing it over to the reserve side, but this only managed to get me a short distance down the road. After a quick roadside deputization of lead rider duties, Peter (Andrew) took the ride into Koroit.
With no more room on the back-up trailer and me being blissfully unaware of the 20-litre jerry can of fuel onboard (an item not mentioned at the briefing), I watched the back-up trailer and the ride group disappear down the road. Luckily Snads and Peter (VL) came back to confirm what my problem was, and it wasn’t too long before the bus was back with the jerry can and I made my way rather embarrassingly into Koroit. Fortunately my embarrassment was shared by Paul (White) who also ran out of fuel a short distance from a fuel station.
Lunch was taken at Mickey Bourke’s Koroit Hotel, where in between a fair bit of ribbing for running out of fuel I managed like most to have a nice meal.
After lunch the ride headed back to Port Fairy via a short stop at Tower Hill Lookout. As with every day of the rally, the day ended for most of us at happy hour for a beer or six and for me a fair bit more ribbing for running out of fuel.
50th Anniversary Ride Report – Day 3 Tuesday 22nd March 2022
By Jimmy Linton
As per day one, day two of the ride started from the same location but at the slightly more civilised time of 0830 briefing for a 0900 start – great for those who turned happy hour into 120 minutes. Once again Graham (Boulter) was CM for the day but after running out of fuel the day before I was demoted by Snads to a corner marker as he took on ride leader duties. The day’s itinerary did not include a morning tea stop as the aim was to get to Portland for a tourist tram ride and lunch.
The ride headed out from Port Fairy in a north-western direction towards MacArthur, then west to Myamyn, before heading south where the ride stopped for a short break at Heywood. The ride to Heywood was just under 100ks and covered a lot of open countryside.
From Heywood the ride made its way to Portland. Once at the tramway depot the group split into two with one taking an early lunch and the other a 1-hour scenic tram ride. The tram takes in a fair bit of the actual port area of Portland and along the foreshore with the guide keeping us interested with a steady flow of information. The ride included one stop to take in the views of the port before making the return journey – all up an interesting way to pass an hour.
With lunch done it was time to make our way back to Port Fairy. As we left Graham’s (Boulter) Honda decided it didn’t need its righthand side cover, depositing it on the road (not something that would happen with a BMW with good old German engineering!). Kay’s (Di Clemente) Honda also decided not to start after the lunch break and was promptly loaded onto the trailer. The ride back was nice and steady as we first made our way along the coast before re-joining the Princess Highway to cover the ~70ks to Port Fairy.
With day two riding done it was time to prepare for another happy hour(s). Thanks again to Graham for being CM, Snads for ride leader, the corner markers, Stan (Rodgers ) for being TEC and Gary driving the back-up trailer.
50th Anniversary Ride Report – Day 4 Wednesday 23rd March 2022
By Ian Snadden
Wednesday was our only free day with no organised ride, however there were plenty of activities for rally participants to fill in their day.
9.00am Big4 put on a pancake breakfast for us all, which was delicious and certainly a great way to start the day.
Available all week was a free entry mini golf tournament sponsored by Big4 and Wednesday being a free day was a perfect opportunity for rally participants to show off their golfing skills. Prizes courtesy of BIG4 were awarded at the farewell dinner for the winners.
In the afternoon Club member and wine connoisseur extraordinaire Paul White hosted two back-to-back wine education tasting sessions in the Shearwater Room. By all accounts those who participated thoroughly enjoyed their wine experience and rolled out of the sessions a lot chirpier than before the session. Thanks to Paul for generously sharing his knowledge and time for the enjoyment of those who attended.
The usual Happy Hour overlapped the wine tasting and in an alternate venue adjacent to the Shearwater Room.
7.00pm that night participants feasted on a fully catered in house BBQ with desert and more drinks, setting the scene and lubricating brains for the Quiz Night to follow dinner.
Our Club Captain “Half Cut Jimmy” AKA “Got any more drink tickets Snads”, hosted the quiz night with the finesse of, well someone who has indulged in one or ten too many drinks that made the night interesting and humorous. Quizzers struggled to keep up to Jimmy’s pace as host and the night developed into a comedy session that we all enjoyed. Surprisingly enough or maybe due to the intellectual level of the questions, out of a possible score of 50 the winning team managed only a score of 17. Winning answer of the night after the host and his side kick decided to throw in an easy question to help the scores along, went along these lines; “What is the second letter in the alphabet?” Best answer “L”, justification from the team that came up with this gem of an answer “L is the second letter in the word alphabet” you had to be there I guess.
It was a great night Jimmy and a lot of fun, don’t give up your day job though.
50th Anniversary Ride Report – Day 5 Thursday 24th March 2022
By David & Mez McLennan
We are now starting Day 5 of this fantastic two wheeled discovery tour around Port Fairy, Victoria. We have done weekend rallies and long day rides, but the enjoyment of being on the bike every day for a week exploring countryside we have never travelled through, is fabulous to say the least. Luckily some new softer rear suspension units on the Thruxton mean we can still walk and have circulation in that body part you sit on.
Today’s Rally Book destinations are Port Campbell and a pub lunch in Allansford … Yes Please. We are briefed by James, buddied up and head off with a full tank (checklist complete). Oh, hang on a minute, we have 30 plus motorcycles from Classics to moderns, so congratulations to James, Graham, Ian, Rob and their group for the Precision Marshalling Method. Our Corner Carers in Hi-Vis went ahead of the main group like some military scouting party and every corner we came to had enthusiastic members giving animated hand signal directions … very entertaining.
From the Big4 Holiday Park it’s along the A1 coast road to Warrnambool or should I say bounce your way to Warrnambool on this, a National Highway with the surface of a neglected “C” grade country road. Reminds me of a statement I heard that “we don’t just ride on the left of the road, we ride on what’s left of the road”. Through the City of Warrnambool (it’s BIG) and a short “re-group” stop before we go through Allansford and turn onto “The Great Ocean Rode”. It doesn’t seem to matter where you go in Victoria and on what day, but you will have “ROADWORKS” somewhere. Road repairs these days take so long, they even install Traffic Lights at each end and we had a few “stop and turn your motor off” events during the rally.
We headed to Peterborough and passed Val Smith doing her “Speed Camera” segments for the “50th Rally the Movie” soon to be released. Glad to have some coastal corners to lean into on this part, as most of this South Western Region has dead straight roads forever. Got some glimpses of the ocean as we went into Port Campbell for a morning cuppa. Panic set in for the small tank bikes as the petrol station was closed! The back-up trailer’s fuel can was getting a real work out.
From Port Campbell we headed north through Curdievale, Niranda East and Ayrford on the Terang Road. Huge paddocks one after the other, some with cows and calves were passed at a quick pace, as 4 Wedge-Tail Eagles circled above one paddock looking for lunch in the grass below. If you have seen one up close, they are huge with a 6-foot wingspan and telescopic eyesight that can spot a mouse meal in the grass below from a high altitude … amazing. We turned west onto the Cobden Warrnambool Road taking us to the lunch stop at Faye Owen’s home town of Allansford for lunch. Look in the Rally photo’s for Faye’s Harley Davidson sparkling in cream paintwork and that Harley Chrome. Faye was just ahead of us on the road, resplendent in her pink safety vest (outdid the marshal’s drab colours, but maybe not strictly OH&S) and this is a very smart and very well ridden USA Classic. STOP PRESS – Faye has ridden thousands of kilometres more than most of us all over Australia and New Zealand, and is an octogenarian still cruising along at a cracking pace … Go Girl.
As we approached Allansford, we followed David and Lois Morse on their 1936 Panther outfit in its Australian Olympic Team Green and Gold colour scheme, thumping along at a comfortable 60 (Miles Per Hour that is). During all the Rally Rides, as we left each stop point we would be in a different part of the main group and enjoyed watching Classics in action and listening to the not so muffled exhaust music. Rob King’s Norton ES2, El-Presidente’s Ariel Red Hunter, David’s Panther and Wally Walsh’s glorious A Series HRD with all of its brass fittings glistening in the sun. Some roads weren’t smooth, so I am sure those on a “rigid” or “Plunger” frame, must have needed a very comfy soft cushion chair to sit in at the end of the day.
The Allansford Hotel lunch was HUGE. If you can, go there. You get this monstrous plate of food for the cheapest “pub-meal” price seen in ages. They have a big dining room and an extensive menu that beats 5-star hotels in the city. Why would this be the case … well according to the waitress, they regularly get 200 people for an average Friday night dinner!
We head down Hopkins Point Road to the Logan’s Beach Whale Lookout, sorry no Whales this time of year, but judging by the extent of the “watching platforms”, a lot of people come when they are here … must come back. The ocean view from this high cliff was amazing enough. Back on the road towards Warrnambool, across the big Hopkin’s River bridge connecting back onto the A1 Princes Highway near
the site of another lost icon of Australian manufacturing – The Fletcher Jones factory, now the home of the largest “stall type” market in South West Victoria and surrounded by the original Heritage Listed gardens. The bucket list of “we must come back” is growing.
It’s a short ride back to Port Fairy on the A1 and we turned left to take the coastal road past the golf course. Apologies to riders behind us for my indicator being stuck on. I believe it must be the switch is faulty and I will have to take the bike back to Peter Stevens and get the “60 Plus Riders” self-cancelling indicators. A great day riding and looking forward to Rob Mullins and Greg Myers serving a “refreshment” at the daily Rally Happy Hour. Well done to the ride leaders, marshalling team and tail end team for a great hassle-free ride day. No breakdowns today, didn’t lose anybody in a cow paddock, had to increase the spring “pre-load” on the rear suspension after that big lunch and the 5th straight day on the bike – gotta love that.
50th Anniversary Ride Report – Day 6 Friday 25th March 2022
By David & Mez McLennan
With great anticipation I am checking the Rally Program each night for tomorrow’s adventure. We have never ridden in the south west past Geelong, and I wasn’t able to go to the Warrnambool Rallies in their heyday, and that I had heard great stories about. This is “Star Date 250322, Day 6” and 50 years in the making. All of you that are hopefully reading this have made the Club great, and for me the mid 1970’s seems like yesterday, when I was a teenager sitting with 30 or so Classic Bike enthusiasts in the Deepdene Angler’s Hall.
The Port Fairy Rally weather is getting better and predictable … foggy with a dew in the morning, a bit overcast, then warming up as the sun struggles to break through, but actually good riding weather. Had some light misty rain earlier in the week, but that’s cleared for this, our biggest rally day out @ 230 K’s, so where did we go? Dunkeld and Hamilton, but as we all know, on a bike it’s not the destination that’s important but the Journey.
All organised, briefed and Marshalls gone ahead, we’re off and up the road a bit from Port Fairy we follow the arm waving of our first marshal (is he actually awake yet), turn left up the Penshurst Road to Kirkstall, through the little town and arrive at a marshalled right turn into Steven’s Road. Val and Rose had set up the panoramic movie production team on the corner to capture some Classic action, so we waved and made a smooth clean turn for prosperity.
Some other back roads and then left onto C175 heading towards Woolsthorpe with the guidance of a very enthusiastic fellow Triumph rider, one Peter Hansen with exemplary marshalling skills. This C175 road next joins C174 to Woolsthorpe where the large expanses of paddocks have changed to crops (corn) and no dairy cows in this area. We are now into Caramut and a re-group stop for the main body of riders before we head down the B140 Hamilton Highway and enter the Southern Grampians Shire.
We follow the highway into Penshurst, seeing a large hill to the south that kept getting bigger on the otherwise flat landscape. Left onto C178 and then a backroad to reveal this a very big hill that is Mount Rouse, and we’re up to the Lookout/Picnic ground for the very welcome Lyn Snadden “Pop-Up Cafe” (they went to a lot of trouble to spoil everyone .. many thanks). Mt Rouse is an extinct Volcano that provides a high vantage point to view the surrounding countryside clear across to the Grampians some 60 kilometres away. A group of us were standing there admiring the view and a medium sized Wallaby just calmly hops through the scrub just in front of us (the friendly natives).
Suitably refreshed we ride back to Penshurst, then north to Dunkeld to pick up B160 that goes South-West to Hamilton. This is another large rural town centre servicing the Victorian South-West farming regions. James had booked for the Rally group to have lunch at the Commercial Hotel, a 1900’s period décor pub that served the 40 plus members a good lunch. A leisurely walk back to the nearby carpark we were in, to settle the food, and enjoyed some more bike-banter before the trip home to PF.
We left Hamilton southbound and then onto the Hamilton-Port Fairy Road C184. We were moving around in the group of bikes getting a look at them “in action” as we passed through Byaduk, and slowly gained on a low flying Triumph ahead with a cracking exhaust note. It is Ian Young on his 1968 Bonnie and its going great, so we stayed following Ian as we “cruised” into the next town of Macarthur. Along the tree lined main street, we were with Ian as we approached a very visible Rob King marshalling a right turn. Ian slowed, so did we, he turned right, so did we. Then Ian stands his bike up in the corner, goes straight up the walkway ramp onto the footpath, we did not. Gravel, Gravel, Gravel. The bitumen of the side-road had a deep layer of invisible grey gravel all over it. We gently coasted on a neutral throttle and ran a wider turn on the very slippery surface and slowed down, while Ian in the meantime, had travelled along the footpath and down the first driveway ramp he came to, back onto the road in front of us. A perfectly executed precision manoeuvre to cut straight through the first gravel and use an available path to go around the rest of it – well that was his story. We’ll ignore the bragging about the nimble handling of a ’68 Bonnie.
Now where are we? This is the Mt Eccles Rd to the Budj Bim National Park, and we stopped there to have a look at the Mt Eccles Lake in a volcanic crater that the locals say is “bottomless” (spooky – the water was a strange colour). Gwenda Malseed had told us that in the park’s properly managed heyday you would see Koalas. The park has deteriorated somewhat to a more natural bush setting with an
elevated, rickety and very weathered wooden viewing platform that had us somewhat concerned about its maximum carrying capacity as the whole group walked on to get a look at the lake. Pretty spectacular and Gwenda true to her word provided at least one lone Koala, a big one, in a tall gum, and he was level with our viewing height but wouldn’t look at us, just pretending to be asleep. James and Graham and the Ride Mappers have done a great job putting such interesting but unknown (to us) places in our path.
We ride back to Macarthur with a “gravel detour” back onto C184 and into our final section down the Port Fairy Road. Travelling through Broadwater and Orford we are heading South-East and will come into Port Fairy from a different direction. A big day out and great to be enjoying the bike through Victoria. Thanks Committee, thanks Marshalls, thanks back-up support, thanks good friends, but a special thanks to Mez, who somehow wrote travel notes with a pen and paper while she had her gloves on and we were on the move, without dropping either over 2 days riding. Now I need to polish up Thruxty for the Rally Show and Shine tomorrow.
50th Anniversary Ride Report – Day 7 Saturday 26th March 2022
By Jimmy Linton
The last day of the rally was a full agenda, starting off with a show and shine at the Big 4. In all 35 bikes were lined up for not only members to look at but also other guests staying at the Big 4. To ensure members didn’t go hungry, a never-ending supply of scones with jam and cream were provided by the CMCCV catering ‘Corp’. Val (Smith) was also on hand to take pictures of members alongside their bikes.
After the show and shine the bikes were taken out for the last ride of the rally, which was supposed to be a short 70k ride on roads to the north-east of Port Fairy. The ride was pretty much uneventful except for an unplanned U-turn due to road works that the lead rider was blissfully unaware of, reducing the ride to 60ks.
On the way back into the Big 4 accommodation we did manage to pick up two additional motorcycles as a couple of locals were very curious with Wally’s HRD Series A replica that they just had to have a closer look.
With the riding for the day and sadly the rally over, most took the opportunity to load their bikes onto the trailer and prepare for the rally’s Gold theme dinner.
The rally dinner was held at The Wharf @ Port Fairy and most got there courtesy of Ian’s (Young) taxi service. It was great to see many members put in a lot of effort into their gold them attire. Faye (Owen) and David’s (Morse) outfits (not his Panther) were absolute standouts, and for ingenuity have to mention Stan (Rogers) pinning 24 carrot cut-outs to himself.
During the course of the night David (Langridge) conducted an auction, which along with a generous contribution of $300 from our Farewell dinner host Sean, raised a total of $1,000 that was donated to the Port Fairy aged care and palliative facility Moyneyana House.
The food from the entrees to desserts was excellent, and no Club event could go by without the President (AKA Sir Talk A Lot) giving a speech or six to formalise the proceedings. This included the awards for the best dressed and the all-important bike/rally related awards.
•Best Dressed Awards
- Best dressed couple – Lois & David Morse
- Best dressed female – Christine Wilson
- Best dressed male – Keith McCracken, Steve Inman and Rob van Lohuizen
- Best British – David Morse 1936 600 Panther
- Best European – Greg Myers 1972 Ducati 750 GT
- Best Japanese – Peter Andrews 1974 Z1A Kawasaki
- Best Patina – Mark Mensch 1972 Triumph Tiger
- Best Pristine – Col Borthwick 1972 Commando 750
- Bike of the Rally – Wally Walsh HRD Series A replica
- Oldest Combined – David Morse & 1936 600 Panther
- Longest Travel – Eddie Preston
- Dill of the Rally – currently under dispute
All up the 50th Rally and the Rally Dinner was a fantastic time for all those that were fortunate to attend. Like any big event though it couldn’t have been pulled off without the hard work of many. So a big thanks for all those who contributed to the planning and the execution of the rally. From a ride organising perspective thanks to all those who undertook chief marshal, corner marker, ride leader and tail end Charlie duties. And a special mention to Gary & Suellan McKechnie for volunteering to do the back-up trailer duties over the whole rally as four people, including myself, are extremely grateful you were there.