Midweek Ride Report, 4th October 2017

Topping up with fuel en route to our meeting point, I spied a fine, “cobby” looking bike at a bowser in front of mine. The rider, Richard Fanning, informed me that I wouldn’t have seen too many of these because it was very new – an Indian-made Royal Enfield Himalaya, a single cylinder 310cc dual purpose machine. After a brief chat, we departed and were soon both at Chirnside Park mingling with the group that was increasing by the minute, where sleek and purposeful Triumphs were the marque which outnumbered all others, including the BMs, Yamahas etc.John Best’s briefing revealed that we were to travel via the Maroondah Highway, through Healesville, to Marysville for an early lunch, and then back via the Woods Point road and Reefton’s Spur, through Warburton to our dispersal point at Woori Yallock. We were off again, on another adventure with friends, bound for the marvellous roads and forests of the Yarra Ranges.

Soon after Healesville the forest closed in around us and it was all about finding the best way through the bends, without getting too close to the verge or the middle. In a short time we were past the Fernshaw Reserve, (formerly a thriving village from 1860s to 1890) and heading up the Blacks’ Spur to a pitstop at the Dom Dom Saddle. The Blacks’ Spur, also known as the Black Spur, was originally named for the route taken by aborigines displaced from northern Victoria in 1863, as they made their way to what became the government reserve and successful farm of Coranderrk, near Healesville.

Resuming the ride, we found ourselves in more open country as we past Narbethong, and then the looming mass of the Cathedral Ranges appeared up ahead. In the township of Buxton, famous for its Trout Farm, pub and surviving the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, we turned southeast, and enjoyed the beautiful, relaxing road under the towering “steeple” of the Cathedral and on into Marysville. We soon abandoned our bikes for the promise of food in the bakery, and only when we were all well satisfied did we fire them up again to tackle the windy roads of the Reefton Spur back to Warburton.

At first we past several lookouts and masses of dead “stags”, tall mountain ash and other trees killed by the recent bushfires. Once past the Lake Mountain turnoff, the forest thickened, and we ignored the turnoff to Woods Point and headed south, for many kilometres of challenging bends. Here and there yellow masses of wattle were obvious by the roadside, but generally the green of the forest dominated our view, capped by the massive Mountain Ash and other eucalypts such as messmate and stringy-bark. Apart from the odd overhanging tree and deviating four-wheel-drive, the ride was uneventful, but I was ready for the brief stop we made at Reefton to re-group, before our last push onto Warburton.

It only took a short ride through Yarra Junction and Launching Place before we stopped for a well-earned drink, cake and chat at the Woori Yallock bakery. From here most riders made their way alone or in smaller groups to their homes in the various (read “all”) parts of Melbourne.

My “bike-of-the-day” award (which, as the sole judge, I usually don’t publicise) goes to the Himalaya, which seemed to cope admirably with all the conditions, including a short run in the gravel where we had stopped for a re-group. My runner up was the SRX 600, followed by the Triumph Thruxtons, then the GSX 750, then the….maybe that’s why I don’t usually talk of my decision!

Thanks to John Best, who did an excellent job leading the ride in the absence of Reg Hammond, the planned ride leader, who was unable to participate due to family circumstances. Thanks also to Tail-end-Charlie (Ed), and to all the participants whose company made the ride a pleasure.

Bill Washington

Midweek Riders Participants List:

Ian Snadden BMW R90S 1974

Bill Washington BMW K75S 750 1986

Sam Pannettieri Suzuki GSX 750F 1989

Greg Costello Yamaha SRX 600 1992

Peter Gustavsen Triumph Sprint 2000

Laurie John Yamaha FJR1300 2003

Ray Isles BMW F650 2004

Ed Sleightholme (Tail-end-Charlie) Triumph T100 865 Bonneville 2005

John Best (Ride Leader) Suzuki Bandit 1250 2008

Colin Sullivan BMW R1200R 2009

Jack Youdan Triumph Thruxton 2009

Richard Haughton Kawasaki W800 2012

Paul Clayton Honda VFR 800 2014

Paul White Triumph T100 Bonneville 2015

Graham Boulter Triumph Thruxton 2016

Martyn Goodwin Honda NC750 2016

Richard Fanning Royal Enfield Himalaya 310 2017

Terry Hoare Triumph Thruxton 2017