Lavers Hill    Sunday 8th February, 2009


Suzuki GSXR1300

Tony Stegmar

Honda CBR1000

Paul Southwell

Suzuki GSXR1000

Cliff Peters

Honda CBR1000

Ian Payne (rear rider)

Suzuki GF1200

Ron Johnston

Honda CBR1000

Misho Zrakic/Pina Garasi

Yamaha R1

Geoff Jones (leader)

Honda CBR954

Ben Warden

Ducati 1098

Craig Walker (1st ride)

Honda CBR600

Dennis Lindemann

Saturday 7/2/2009 has become the worst of Victoria’s many deadly bush fire events but the extent of the fires and loss of life was not so evident on Sunday morning at the West Gate servo for Cliff’s ride to Lavers Hill.  Cool south wind and rain as relief from Saturday’s 46 degree scorcher.

Gathered for the Otways corner fest were 11 people on 10 bikes identified above. 

On to the freeway for the run to the Little River turn off in that rare thing in Victoria, RAIN. By the time we got to the Little River it was dry and remained so for the rest of the day. Wet roads are not the best in the Otways. I was thinking of back-tracking to Gisborne via Bacchus Marsh if the wet persisted. No need to bail as the roads soon dried out. In to and out of Lovely Banks and through Batesford, Barrabool and on to the Great Otway Road and first stop Moriac.

Tony popped into the shop and came out with a small jar of that universal lubricant, Vaseline.  Normally found by the bed, I am told, but put to use by Tony, laying beside the mighty Busa, lovingly applying the white jelly to the rain-washed chain. A different view compared to the normal Moriac chat and chew.

Deans Marsh Road calls so we move on past the Wurdboloc reservoir enjoying the sweepers and head through Bambra, Deans Marsh and into the Otway National Park for the twisty drop down into Lorne. Usual suspects rounding up the ride: flash of lights in the mirrors if you’re lucky then the Honda CBR signature as they disappear round the next corner, often accompanied by the roar of a Suzuki Bandit.  

Into Lorne, wall to wall traffic, then onto the fabled Ocean Road, signed at 80k but still a great piece of MSR type road for the run to Apollo Bay and a splash and dash of fuel as the supply at Lavers Hill is not always available.  The south west wind that had created fire havoc on the Saturday was still strong as the road turned right around the many exposed headlands. Pick a line, then correct it as the wind pushes the bike into the turn.  Noted along here by Misho and Pina an open top Merc with big engine and AMG badges that was very territorial about his patch of road. Not happy to share with a bunch of bikes. We ran into this guy a couple of times.

We rode away from the sea at Marengo and inland to Horden Vale, the big sweeper at Glenaire and onto Lavers Hill.  Lunch outside in the breeze, chew the fat a bit, then the subject of Pina’s R6 comes up and a discussion ensures about mixture strength adjustment via the dash. All very technical and dry for a short while. Then the subject of diaphragms came up and the tone of the chat took a very different tack. Ben’s supply of CBR coils to be tried again but they tend to stand up from the head further than the original fitment units, sort of like erect nipples in a tight t-shirt, was the description. Pina still looking for a fix of the troublesome tendency for the R6 to play up. Welcome to Yamaha ownership’s love/hate thing, Pina.

Dirty talk time over, we suit up for the rerun to Apollo Bay. We top up fuel, then take the Skenes Creek road to climb up the Otways through Tanybryn, Forrest, and Barwon Downs. Then a bit of straight road to the turn off to Deans Marsh, Bambra and back to Moriac. More chat and the photo done, we head for ride break up at, I guess, Lara. Noted on this bit the awesome grunt of the Busa as Tony opened it up on a straight bit. I tried to stay with him on the R1, a rather fruitless exercise as it happened.  I left the ride at the Elcho Road, then turned off the Geelong to Bacchus Marsh Road and headed north to Gisborne.

Thanks to Cliff for the lead and Ian for rear riding. The group seemed to stay close together for most of the ride and so the corner marking times were kept short.

As I type this on Wednesday after three days of the horrible reality of the bush fires, it seems future Club rides will need to be changed.  The fires have impacted on most of the routes we use on most rides. A small thing I guess compared with what has happened to so many people caught up conditions that seem to be similar to a nuclear event.


Geoff Jones