Bathurst Easter Rally
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.