Midweek Ride, 5 March

“Perfect Peninsula Pathways”

Melbourne has certainly turned on a spell of perfect motorcycling weather, so let’s enjoy.  9 bikes head south from Baxter with John and Vicki Best as leaders and Tom Thursfield looking after our tail end on the CanAm spaceship.  Local knowledge is everything, so John had wisely warned us of the Peninsula Link speed cameras hiding in the overpasses we would go under, just in case your speed creeps up.  I’ve put some road details in for those who might want them for their own Peninsula excursion.  We are soon turning off on the Old Moorooduc Rd through the forest and merging with the Nepean Highway where the landscape opens out to vineyards and farmland with the scent of freshly cut hay.

We got important warnings at our briefing.

We follow Nepean Highway to Dromana and along the bayside coast to a left turn up McCulloch St to Arthur’s Seat Rd.  This is the steep side of the hill with switchbacks and hairpin bends as it zig-zags to the top.  Caution here, as John had also wisely pointed out that the blind turns tighten up unexpectantly until we reach The Eagle Sky-lift station.  No sight-seeing today, so we turn right, down the forest lined sweeping bends of Purves Rd.

The Beach Boys are back at Gunnamatta.

We turn right at Browns Rd that takes a left turn at Jetty Rd, then goes through Boneo to the steep descent into Trueman’s Rd roundabout, bury the front wheel into the tarmac and turn left for the run to Gunnamatta Surf Beach.  We take a break, stretch our legs, the surf is up and many board riders are there.

The cool Autumn morning air is warming up as we head to Flinders by Truemans Rd, right on Maxwell Rd to Boneo Rd that travels south through Cape Schanck and then we enjoy the curves “down the valleys, up the hills” to Flinders where we stopped at the Ocean Lookout on the cliffs above Flinders Pier at Kennon Cove.  We get an amazing view east across the top of Bass Strait to Philip Island, and we can clearly see the Nobbies and Seal Rocks on the southern end.

A Classic Club view at Flinders.

A Classic View from Flinders

Balnarring is our lunch date, so we leave Flinders northbound on the Mornington Rd and have a very enjoyable trip through the cool dense Red Hill Forests on Baldrys Rd, Main Creek Rd, Shands Rd and Shoreham Rd.  Turning right at Point Leo Rd leads us to Frankston-Flinders Rd, then left for the short run north to Balnarring.  A sunny afternoon in a popular coastal village, so it was busy with the Bakery queue out the door.

The Best Bits of Bitumen.

Purves Rd / Browns Rd.  Boneo Rd between Cape Schanck and Flinders.  Through the forest on Main Creek Rd and Shands Rd

Today’s Favourite Bikes.

Wally Walsh was staying in Dromana so he came along on his 1997 Triumph Trophy 1200 in my favourite colour – British Racing Green.  Late last century, “Sports Touring” motorcycles were all the rage.  They were big, comfortable and competent Kilometre Killers and most makers had one, with many becoming legends like Honda’s VFR models, Ducati’s ST series, BMW’s K100, Yamaha’s FJ1200 and so on.  Triumph revived the “Trophy” name for their big tourer and it was well up to the category with 108BHP, smooth effortless speed, long stint comfort and good brakes, so I am sure Wally enjoyed the cruise around the Peninsula.

Terry Hoare also brought out his Triumph … the 2017 Thruxton “R”.  Our standard Thruxton pales into the shadows of the “R” version.  The very clever and gifted Triumph designers set about making a model in their “Retro/Classic” range of big twins, that has serious modern road performance.  The Japanese and Euro manufacturers make superbikes and race-bred sports bikes that would disappear into the distance, but not by a huge margin.  They gave the Thruxton 97 horse-power to move the comparatively light 200kgs and then equipped the “R” with “state of the art” upside down Showa race forks, Ohlins piggy-back gas shocks on the rear, big Brembo brakes and then glued all this to the road with a set of sticky Pirelli Diablo-Rosso (almost slick) tyres.  The “R” just sitting there cries out to be taken to a race track and let loose.

Triumph released their Modern Classic twins in 2015 and the “R” was the flagship of the range, both in specs and price, similar to the 1960’s when the Bonneville was THE bike.  Their marketing was clever, targeted and profitable, with rave reviews of the new bikes and most of that was well deserved.  It is a niche market bike, with buyers mostly having “Grey” hair and buying a “keeper”, so once we have bought one, who’s next?  The market is shrinking and sales dropping, so 9 years after the big reveal, Triumph have discontinued production of the Thruxton.  Mass protests by teary-eyed motorcycling seniors couldn’t save it – why make a bike you can’t sell.  The name Thruxton falls back into the historic legends box, but Terry and I are thinking that a Thruxton could now be worth more than what we paid – dream on boys.

We all found our favourite food and relaxed inside or in the shade under trees at the bakery.  Speaking of legends, we were very pleased to see long time stalwart club members Ed and Dawn Sleightholm join us and catch up.  Ed is of course an expert member of the “Back Roads Boys”, leading many enjoyable club rides on “secret” roads that I could never find on any map.  Ed’s race-bred riding skills were always evident as was his amazing knowledge of Gippsland, the Dandenong Ranges and the Mornington Peninsula, and like today’s ride with John Best, Ed always knew which way to turn for a great riding experience.  So good to see you both.

John & Vicki Best, Dawn & Ed Sleightholm, David.

After lunch, members headed off into the hot sun.  Thanks John, Tail End Tom and member riders for the enjoyable day out – see you next “Two Wheeled Tuesday”.

Ride Safe, David and Mez.

Southern Midweek Ride 05/03/2024 Participants List

Rider Bike Year
Brian Shelton Suzuki/Velocette S40 1987
Wally Walsh Triumph Trophy Triple 1200 1997
Paul Clayton Honda VFR800 2014
David & Mez McLennan Triumph Thruxton S 2016
Laurie John BMW F800GT 2016
Terry Hoare Triumph Thruxton R 2017
Tom Thursfield (TEC) CanAm F3 2018
John & Vicki Best (Leader) Suzuki SV650 2021
Brian Mapleback BMW F900XR 2023