K1300 Rally

40th An­niver­sary Kawasaki Z1300 Rally

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS - Re­port Ron Weste

Late in 1978 the Kawasaki Z1300 made its way onto the Euro­pean mar­ket. The first one saw the light of day in Aus­tralia early 1979. I first be­came aware of the Z1300 when in Bathurst for the mo­tor­cy­cle races in Easter 1979. It took me some years be­fore I ac­tu­ally owned one, how­ever af­ter hav­ing my first ride on a mates ’79 model I was hooked for life. Around 1992 I was con­tacted my Wilco Vonk pres­i­dent of the Dutch Z1300 own­ers Club and we have re­mained friends and have main­tained reg­u­lar cor­re­spon­dence ever since. Wilco has been out to Aus­tralia three times when he and some other Dutch- men trav­elled around Aus­tralia. I vis­ited Hol­land for the 30th an­niver­sary of the Z1300 in 2008 and my re­port ap­peared in OBA. As the 40th an­niver­sary ap­proached I en­quired if there was go­ing to be an­other rally to cel­e­brate the event. Wilco had it in mind so I said I would come over for the rally which was planned for the week­end of June 1617. My wife and I in­cluded a trip to Spain in our itin­er­ary and made it over to Hol­land a week be­fore the rally. Wilco had ar­ranged our ac­com­mo­da­tion with his brother who in­ci­den­tally also rides a Z1300.We spent the week vis­it­ing var­i­ous in­ter­est­ing peo­ple with a mo­tor­cy­cle flavour. Nol Bikker, who I met ten years ago is still in busi­ness as a Kawasaki dealer now mainly into wa­ter­craft, how­ever he showed me his enor­mous col­lec­tion of NOS parts for old Kawakas and his dis­play of most of the Kawasakis ever pro­duced has to be seen to be be­lieved. An­other fel­low, Koos Smits has a garage full of vin­tage mo­tor­cy­cles, most of which I had never seen be­fore. I was also taken to see a clever guy who had fet­tled two Gold Star B.S.A. en­gines to­gether to make a 1000cc twin, a fine look­ing ma­chine. The Rally it­self was held at Meddo, a very small vil­lage with one pub, to­tally biker friendly. We ar­rived in time to see other Z1300 rid­ers come in from Hol­land and as far away as Swe­den, the UK and Ger­many. In all 25 Z1300s made it to the week­end. I caught up with a few guys I had met in 2008 and the party started. Sat­ur­day night took the form of a din­ner and prize giv­ing for the long­est dis­tance trav­elled for which I re­ceived the award. I did not ride my bike all the way, but the boys agreed I had made the ef­fort, so the award was mine. Sun­day’s ride was led by Wilco Vonk through the back lanes and mi­nor coun­try roads to lunch at Felsen Muhll, about 60 km in­side the Ger­man bor­der – an­other friendly biker stop­ping place for any­one think­ing of vis­it­ing Ger­many. The ride re­turned to Meddo for Sun­day night din­ner and more mo­tor­cy­cle fel­low­ship in the form of lo­cal ale to wash down a great spit roast put on by the Meddo pub­li­can. On Mon­day we had time to make one last visit to see Elaine Schenk, widow of an­other great Dutch friend of ours who was trag­i­cally killed last year. Hans Schenk was a Z1300 rider, his 1300 col­lec­tion has mostly been sold, how­ever I did re-ac­quaint my­self with his pride and joy a ‘Leg­endary’ model with less than 3,000km on the clock. That bike is be­ing saved for Wilco. Then came the long and mostly bor­ing trip home via Abu Dhabi with great mem­o­ries to keep for the rest of my life. Is there go­ing to be a 50th an­niver­sary? Well I will be aged 90 so they will have to come to Aus­tralia!

Ron’s host and friend from Nether­lands, Wilco Vonk.

ABOVE Ron Weste (kneel­ing) with the en­trants in the 40th an­niver­sary Z1300 rally at Meddo. BE­LOW Wire-wheeled Z1300 took Ron’s eye.

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