Laverda lovers hit the high country
National Laverda Rally
September 27-28, 2014 – Bellingen, NSW
Following on from the success of two earlier National Laverda Rallies held five years apart, in 2004 and 2009, it was agreed to hold the latest this year, and Club Laverda Queensland again agreed to organise the event. Previous rallies were held around Easter and both were impacted by wet weather, so it was also agreed to change the timing to late September. Riders came from most states, with forty-seven Laverdas finally assembling at the rally site, which must be the largest gathering of Laverdas anywhere in Australia for many years. We Victorians were facing a round trip of 3500kms as we headed North – detouring on the way, to take it many of the great roads – the Monaro Highway, Bell’s Line of Road, the Putty Road, Thunderbolt’s Way and Waterfall Way included.
The fifteen Victorians riding, with eleven on Laverdas, left in different groups at different times and converged as we approached Bellingen. We met with the ACT contingent at Newcastle and then collected the NSW crew at Uralla before the short ride through Dorrigo to Bellingen. By the time we reached Newcastle, the group included thirteen Laverdas, so the ride as a group was a rare experience and a highlight, and the change of date worked a treat, as the entire rally was amazingly rain free. “Tazzie Tim” ferried and rode up from Hobart with the unrestored Laverda 3C he has owned from new. On Saturday Terry from Adelaide arrived on his RGS “Yellow Peril” to sample the barbecue, check out the two bands playing in the farm machinery shed, and then on Sunday he set off to ride 1,800km all the way home again.
All the rally visitors gathered at the Federal Hotel in Bellingen around Noon on the Saturday and the large line-up of these rare bikes caused a great deal of interest, with many locals photographing the lineup and asking for details of the various machines. Most models were represented – numerous 120 degree and 180 degree Jotas, 1200 TS Mirage, RGS triples, 750 SF twins, SFC 1000’s, Corsas, 750 SFC twins, a lone 650 Atlas and so on. Only about 500 examples were ever made, and Yogi brought his one to Bellingen simply so those who’d never seen one before can now say that they have. Another highlight was the unveiling of a new Laverda triple techno-racer built by Redax Laverda for their friend Paul to ride in Australian BEARS racing.
Access to the rally site requires riding across a ford on the Kalang River, which proved to be a huge challenge in 2009, as the area had just endured a one-in-a-hundred-year flood, which made the river a fastflowing torrent. Pictures of Jotas being ridden across through crank-case deep water and ploughing their way through the soft river bed made a very unusual sight! The steep gravel incline from the road to the river’s edge is also a challenge, as bigcapacity Laverdas are not known as great off-road bikes! The river level this time was very low and the crossing was altogether a less exciting business than in 2009.
A couple of local bands provided entertainment on the Saturday night while the visitors camped in a beautiful setting in the forested area beside the river. The brilliant weather and large rollup made the rally an extraordinary success and there is already talk of the next one, which may not be five years away!
Tasty SFC replica.