Bathurst Easter Tour
Over the years I’ve read about motorcycle rallies and events overseas which always sound very exciting and exotic. Tales of riding various capacity machines through small country towns and hamlets. Visiting various local eateries and hotels for a feed or a beverage, waving to the residents, all while testing your riding skills and motorcycle’s strengths and just enjoying the countryside; always had some appeal and still does. Well I’ve come to realise that you do not have to go to Italy, England or even America to enjoy this sort of motorcycling, you only have to enter the Annual Bathurst Easter Motorcycle Tour. Now in its 43rd year the Tour runs for eight days, leading up to and including Easter, and centres itself in the New South Wales central tablelands town of Bathurst from which it sets rides each day to different villages and locations. People arrive throughout the week preceding the Easter weekend, and Good Friday and Easter Saturday invariably see the biggest turnout of bikes, but the rally is well supported from Day One, which in this case was Sunday 9th April, with a ride to Trunkey Creek. The Tour is unique with the traditional ride on the Monday to Carcoar Dam, (approx. 120km return), providing refreshments of tea and coffee and of all things ‘Hot Dogs’, while on the Wednesday a shorter ride (70km) provides the motorcyclist with a morning tea of Hot Cross Buns. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the Happy Hour at 4.30pm on each day of the rally where free beer and soft drinks are provided giving the participants a chance to meet and share experiences and advice of ‘Just how to get that problem solved’. The numerous motorcycles, of which there were more than 180 entrants, ranged across the years from a 1908 Triumph through to numerous makes of 1980 vintage. Many entrants take more than one machine which is handy especially if a breakdown occurs. It’s a relatively relaxing rally with the older bikes leaving the Bathurst caravan park at 9.30am and those faster at 10.30am which gives you a chance for a sleep in after perhaps a heavy night! If you like motorcycles it’s pretty indulgent, the alarm clock being the sounds of various bikes being warmed up each morning.
Picking a favourite is a difficult task with the caravan park owner providing trophies for just two bikes he liked best; Don Liddell’s 1953 Harley FLE with sidecar and Joe Wurston’s 1939 BSA B26 350cc gaining second best. This year’s Tour enjoyed almost perfect weather with only the Carcoar Monday ride challenging the brave with seemingly near freezing wet and windy conditions. The motorcyclists were huddling like a waddle of Emperor Penguins in the sole picnic hut at the Dam while munching through their Hot Dogs! If you dream of riding those roads in faraway places perhaps they are not that far away after all? Give the Bathurst Tour a go. Thanks to the Organiser; Lee Wright from the Vintage Motorcycle Club and his diligent team of helpers who once again have organised a very successful and enjoyable Bathurst Tour.
Suitably attired, Peter Robinson and his 1928 AJS K8. Historic Hill End was the lunch stop on Thursday. British bangers all in a huddle at Tuesday’s lunch stop at Burraga. Ready for hot cross buns at Chifley Dam on Wednesday.