The little coastal town of Hat Head, near Kempsey on the NSW north coast, swelled to capacity for the running of the 21st rally held by the Natureland Classic Motorcycle Club. Even on the Friday’s run, which is usually a quiet affair, large numbers of bikes were out enjoying the country roads, and many more arrived during the course of the afternoon, to reach an eventual line up of more than 160. Friday’s run went out through Kempsey for a refreshment stop at Phil Webb’s property. Universally known as ‘Kiwi’ Phil has an amazing collection of chainsaws – everything from tiddlers to big brutes of all vintages. Saturday dawned fine and sunny, and after a 9.15 briefing the big field headed out for an excellent ride that took us to Scotts Head for morning tea, then on to the lunch stop, the famous Pub with No Beer, immortalised in local lad Slim Dusty’s song. Fortunately the beer situation has been redressed, and a fine lunch was enjoyed by all, with judging taking place in the grounds of the quaint hotel. Then it was back to Hat Head, either via the back roads or down the newly-opened highway, which was a bit of a chore due to strong gusty winds. The presentation took place as usual in the Hat Head Bowling Club, and David Flint did an excellent job of entertaining the masses while the catering tried to cope with the task of feeding the sellout audience. A short ride on Sunday morning, around the Hat Head area, concluded proceedings, and then it was time to head home, a task made increasingly difficult as serious bushfires ranged further south, eventually forcing the closure of the highway neat Karuah. It made for a long trip home, but the riding and camaraderie in this very scenic part of the country more than made up for it. As always, the marshals and helpers did a terrific job, the back-up trailers coped well, and everyone had a great weekend.
Saturday lunch stop at the famous beerless pub. ABOVE Mark Kunze on his 1959 Golden Flash BSA. BELOW RIGHT Ferne Thompson on her Suzuki T20. BOTTOM RIGHT Warren Walsmley enjoying the country roads on his 1972 Moto Guzzi V7.