This is my (our) favourite time of the year; when summer’s incessant heat has abated and winter has not yet unleashed its full chill. It’s also when we throw off the dust covers and roll out the bikes for a series of rallies that we look forward to immensely – a chance to escape the office and the city and take in some country air, catch up with friends that we haven’t seen for twelve months, and roll out on country roads free of the construction traffic that is Sydney these days. For us, this begins with the Bathurst Easter Tour – one of the longest running such events in the country and one that draws bikes from the full gambit of motorcycling history. Although it’s pretty dry out west and you have to feel sympathy for those trying to make a living from the parched paddocks, the Bathurst Rally is virtually unique in providing a different run on each of the eight days, although our work schedule means we can only sample about half of those. Still, we motor through some great country, always finishing up back at the Caravan Park for the mandatory cool drink and natter.
For a decade now, Easter has also become synonymous with the Shannons Insurance Broadford Bike Bonanza – not a rally as such but a massive gathering of motorcycles and motorcycle enthusiasts in a location that Alan Cathcart has described as being unique in the motorcycling world, with all sorts of tracks, camping, displays and swap meets and camaraderie galore.
A few weeks later comes the Singleton Rally in the picturesque Hunter Valley, which always has a decent ride of several hours on the Saturday prior to the presentation dinner. Then comes the incredibly popular Vintage Japanese National Rally, which, after two years in Tamworth, hits the glitz and glamour of the Queensland Gold Coast. There’s plenty of great riding country nearby, and the display of rally bikes, which this year will take place in the car park of the Australian Outback Spectacular, is always a feast for the eyes and a free motorcycle show for locals.
Of course, all this is just in our patch, and all around the country – and in New Zealand – similar events are taking place. It all goes to show that classic motorcycles are not just things of value and beauty destined for a quiet retirement in museums or private collections, but machines that cry out to be ridden – let off the leash so to speak. So that’s enough rhetoric on the subject, it’s time for me to head into the garage. There are chains and tyre pressures to check, paintwork and chrome to be polished, cables to be lubed, gear to be packed.
It’s rally season!
JIM SCAYSBROOK Editor
There’s nothing like fresh country air to blow out the cobwebs.