The Inaugural Bellarine Bash, 19-21 July 2019

Day 1 - Friday 19th of July
The club’s second rally for the year should be re-named the Bellarine ‘Bask’ rather than ‘Bash’! Being the mid-winter rally most of us were prepared for a cold and potentially wet weekend. Now I don’t know if our lead for the weekend Andy Symons had sacrificed a few chickens to the weather Gods, but if this was winter on the peninsula then I think I might move here! The weather from Friday to Sunday was absolutely perfect, with not a drop of rain across the weekend and just enough cool air to keep all the English bikes running on song and away from the back-up trailer. Well...nearly all.


Our home base for the weekend was the Ocean Grove caravan park . Unlike some who had given work the flick years ago, I turned up about 4pm to find a few members already entrenched in their cabins and half the committee bunkered down around a bottle or two. The focus for the first night of the rally was prepping the bikes for Saturday’s ride, followed by a social dinner, which was a short walk to the the nearby by golf club.

Day 2 - Saturday 20th July
The assembly for the ride was 9am for a 9:30am start, and for a while it looked liked it was a BMW club run! Andy gave the ride brief right on time, and like a Billy Graham from yesteryear he used the back of a ute as his pulpit to brief the group on the day ahead. Key was the use of the corner marshalling system, finding a buddy to keep a lookout for each other, dodging Asian tourists driving on the wrong side of the Great Ocean Road (GOR), and that Stan Rogers was TEC on his BMW.

The ride took us out through Barwon Heads, along Thirteenth Beach Rd and west through Torquay. Fortunately we picked up a few Triumph riders along the way to balance out the BMW ledger. Then it was on to Lorne along the GOR for morning tea. The conditions were perfect for riding with little wind and no tourists on the wrong side of the road to test our evasion skills. On a road such as the GOR you wouldn’t mind being a pillion to take in the views, but only for a split second, as the fun is definitely had sitting closest to the front wheel piloting your bike through the multiple twists and bends.

At the morning tea stop, the President made a few presentations to those who couldn’t make the AGM the week before. This included:
- Ed Sleightholm – President’s Award of Merit, in recognition of 20 years as midweek ride coordinator.
- Special Award – Steve Inman for Steve’s role as webmaster & creating and maintaining our Facebook page.
- Merit Award – Ron Study, recognising Ron’s assistance to a fellow member in need.

I was a bit worried that word of Andy’s reference about Asian tourists driving on the wrong side of the road had got out, as we had a couple of Chinese tourists come up to us during the presentations. Turns out they were just interested in what we doing and curious about the age of the riders, not the bikes.

Morning tea was at one of the many shops close to the foreshore, which all had a cockatoo or five loitering around for a feed. One old scruffy noisy one with a few feathers missing of the top (let’s just call him ‘Ian’) was quite persistent for a meal as a couple of times he jumped on Michele Prentice’s shoulder to get closer to the food. Allan of course was quick to chase ‘Ian’ away. Not sure if Michele knew, but word was that as Allan was chasing ‘Ian’ away with one hand the other was putting food on her opposite shoulder at the same time!

After morning tea and a stroll along the shops we headed back to the bikes for the next leg of the ride. This would take us north inland through the hills towards our lunch stop at Winchelsea. The riding was great with a mix of twisty roads up then down the hills, then then open roads to open out the throttle. There was a bit of a head wind that slowed some of us down as we got into open country, especially two up on older bikes, but it was nice to see fellow members show empathy by overtaking us. As we rode in to Winchelsea for the lunch stop there was a slight confusion as the President in a haste to rid himself of his morning coffee led a few riders to the toilets rather then the lunch stop. All was not lost as this was only a stones throw down the road and they quickly did a 180 and returned.

The first and only bike to get a ride on the trailer over the weekend was Ian Bryant’s Matchy with timing issues between Lorne and Winchelsea. Unlike February’s ‘Pub & Grub’ ride, for Ian unfortunately there was no room on the back of Paul Clayton’s bike as this time he was on his Matchy and the VFR. (Ian did though sort out the timing issue back at Ocean Grove and was a part of Sunday’s ride. Great effort Ian!)

Lunch was a leisurely affair sitting around in or outside enjoying the great weather on offer. Well done Andy on picking a spot where all the bikes were grouped together as it provided a great photo opportunity. With lunch done the ride was back on.

After lunch it was a leisurely ride back to Ocean Grove. It was though not without incident. Colin Sullivan and his Commando came under a bit of friendly fire from behind at slow speed. Fortunately there was a few members close by to come to the aid of the Commando and get it back upright. Colin too was mostly alright, just a bit sore on one leg, so there was no need to swap with Julie in the car. As expected this incident stretched the ride group out a bit with a few riders taking an alternative course home. In the end all riders and their machines made it back to close out a great day of riding. In the evening we once again formed up and walked, a little bit further this time, to the local bowls club for dinner and some good conversation.

Day 3 - Sunday 21st July
Sunday’s ride started as per the previous day with Andy back on the tray of the ute to brief the ride. After this Snads awarded beanies for the following awards:
- Longest distance travelled on a classic bike was Richard Somerville: 254kms on his CX 500.
- Oldest combined bike & rider was Paul Clayton: 137 years (a clear winner with 2nd a long way behind).
- Youngest rider was Jerome ‘Jezza’ White (good to see his old man has got him onto Triumphs).
- Hard Luck was Colin ‘Lucky’ Sullivan (beanie to be shared with Aaron Symons).

With formalities out of the way it was time to head off. The mornings ride took us up through Drysdale to Portarlington, along the Esplanade and on to St Leonards. Here we stopped at Andy’s place (sorry Reg, no time for morning tea) to check out his shed, or more importantly what was in the shed, bikes! Central was a fantastic Panther outfit that Allan Prentice was fairly interested in. Andy’s collection and shed was very envious, but there was room for at least one more bike, say a nice ‘74’ Triumph Tiger.

After poking around Andy’s shed for a while and once he made sure that nothing had been appropriated it was time to continue the ride. This took us along Bluff Rd to the Portarlington-Queenscliff Rd and into Queenscliff for lunch. The last stretch of this ride was very hard on the ears for all those sitting behind Aaron Symons on his CB350, I think we may need to pass the helmet around so he can buy the young fella a decent set of mufflers! With all the bikes lined up it was again another great photo opportunity.

After lunch and farewells a few groups started to make the journey home whilst the remainder headed back to Ocean Grove for the offical end point for the Bellarine Bash.
Thanks to Andy for a well organised and run rally, Noel Wills for providing the always welcomed insurance of a back up trailer, and the Bureau Of Meterology for getting it pretty right weather wise over the weekend. In total for Saturday & Sunday, thirty one bikes took part with four pillions and a couple of cars following. Of these twenty four were classic eligible bikes representing eight marques, which was a great turnout.

Now with the Bellarine Bash behind us cast your eyes out west for the next club rally, the Western Wanderer in October. If you haven’t been on a CMCCV rally before or it has been a while I highly recommended dusting off your machine and joining in - lookout for details in Sprocket.

Club Captain James & Celia Linton

See gallery for more photos