48th Arrowtown Motorcycle Run
15 November, 2014 – Arrowtown, New Zealand
The Southland branch of the Vintage Car Club of NZ organises a great run each year from Lumsden (80km north of Invercargill) to Arrowtown in Otago (an historic Gold mining settlement). The early runs, from all accounts, seemed to be an excuse to visit every pub and hotel on the 140km run, however things have changed. Many of the pubs have gone, the road has been improved, traffic volume has increased and a number of machines, now eligible, weren’t even built 47 years ago. The run has evolved to accommodate these changes, the veteran and vintage machines still take the direct route to Arrowtown, but the more modern machines take a long detour out to Mossburn before meeting up with the older machines for lunch, at the Kingston Golf Club, at the bottom of Lake Wakatipu. The route then runs up the side of Lake Wakatipu, along a 30km stretch called the “Devil’s Staircase”, a very twisty and undulating piece of road cut into the lakeside cliff face, which is a real challenge on a belt drive Veteran or early Vintage machine. Despite a howling gale there were 35 machines on the run, with a good spread of ages, 1918 to 1981, and a good range of makes from Ariel to Yamaha. Triumphs were the most popular with AJS/Matchless a close second. Unusually there was only one belt drive Veteran this year, Brad McLeod on his 1918 Triumph. However there were a good number of Vintage machines including, a “barn find” 1925 Indian Prince, a recently restored 1929 CO Triumph, two Model 9 Sunbeams, a Henderson 4, a 1926 Rudge and an 1928 Ariel Model G. No machines broke down on the run and Tony Warren joined the rally at lunch time when his 1928 BSA Model L decided to fire up, having refused to at the start. The run finished in Arrowtown with field tests, novel ways of embarrassing the competitors, and a quiz to gauge their ignorance of motorcycle history. The evening drinks and barbeque were, as customary, in the local fire station; several riders were feeling no pain by the end of the evening! The prize giving was on Sunday morning with the snow-capped “Remarkables” Mountain Range as a stunning backdrop. Overall Winner was Colin Bishop on his 1955 VH Ariel, Best Restoration went to Stuart Russell’s 1929 CO Triumph and the Publican’s Choice was Graeme William’s 1925 Henderson 4.
LEFT Robin Barnes sets off on his 1929 Model 9 Sunbeam. ABOVE The only belt drive entered; Brad McLeod’s 1918 Triumph. RIGHT Wayne Calderwood with his 1965 YDS3 Yamaha.