Bathurst Easter Rally

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS - Re­port Peter Drury Photos Sue and Jim Scaysbrook

It was Good Fri­day 25th March 2016 at the Tarana Pub, (a small vil­lage 200km west of Syd­ney) where while stand­ing at the bar a fel­low pa­tron asked; ‘are you with the bikies?’ Now you have to pic­ture me wear­ing a jacket and boots with a flu­oro vest – not re­ally what a ‘Bikie’ would ever be seen wear­ing – and cer­tainly I was in no way try­ing to im­per­son­ate one.

‘No sir, I am a Mo­tor­cy­clist rid­ing in the 2016 Vin­tage Mo­tor­cy­cle Club’s Bathurst Rally.’ The flu­oro vest of course was to make me a lit­tle more out­stand­ing while rid­ing my vin­tage and clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cles dur­ing the event, a bit slower than mod­ern mo­tor­cy­cles and I am keen not to be run over on the very pic­turesque but nar­row country roads. The pa­tron con­sid­ered my an­swer; ‘A mo­tor­cy­clist you say’ shook his head and walked off. The Bathurst Rally, now in its 42nd year, is like no other Clas­sic or Vin­tage Mo­tor­cy­cle Rally, be­ing run for a week from Sun­day 20th March to Easter Sun­day the fol­low­ing week­end. It takes in sur­round­ing towns of Bathurst in cen­tral NSW where it bases it­self at the Gold Pan­ner Car­a­van Park, with each day be­ing a hub run of any­thing up to 160 kilo­me­tres. The event pro­vides each par­tic­i­pant a chance to ride more than one bike (I take two) and to choose the mount con­sid­ered the most prac­ti­cal for the day. In­deed the badge minted for the oc­ca­sion, which is pre­sented to each en­trant, in­di­cates that I am ac­tu­ally a com­peti­tor! No prizes are of­fered, though the car­a­van park pro­pri­etor chooses which ones he likes and a tro­phy is ac­cord­ingly pre­sented at the Satur­day night’s BBQ.

The Rally this year en­joyed ex­cel­lent weather, warm but free of the hu­mid­ity that has been grip­ping the coast, and at­tracts riders from var­i­ous States with two com­ing from as far afield as Perth. Due to its week-long length the event pro­vides time to fix the grem­lins that of­ten show them­selves at the wrong time, my 700cc Moto Guzzi re­fus­ing to fire on the first day; a prob­lem found to be a blocked fuel line and later what ap­pears to be a faulty bat­tery but was ac­tu­ally a bad ig­ni­tion switch. Luck­ily I had a re­serve bike to ride. Oth­ers too, three in fact, I knew all rid­ing GT 750 Suzukis from the 1970’s all had Car­bu­ret­tor is­sues … must be like catch­ing a cold with those things?

Back-up cars with trail­ers fol­low the routes each day and col­lect those ma­chines that might ex­pire. With over 200 ma­chines of all sizes, ages and va­ri­eties run­ning each day the trail­ers were a great guar­an­tee of a re­turn ride should the bike or rider fail to com­plete the jour­ney. The Rally gives ev­ery­one the op­por­tu­nity to try out their ma­chines, check out the va­ri­ety of other bikes, dis­cuss reme­dies in per­for­mance or fixes but im­por­tantly a great time in so­cial­is­ing with friends old and new in cre­at­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle ex­pe­ri­ence that is unique and cer­tainly should be seen as a terrific mo­tor­cy­cling hol­i­day.

A run to the Tarana Ho­tel on Good Fri­day has been a Bathurst rally tra­di­tion since the be­gin­ning.

A meet­ing of horsepower in So­fala’s main street.

All roads lead to (or from) Tarana.

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