Wonthaggi ����������������� ���������������������������� Sunday 1st May 2011

Damir Djikic

Honda CBR1000

Pina Garasi

Honda CBR600

Misho Zrakic

Honda CBR1000

Joe Klopfer

Kawasaki ZRX1200S

Tony Stegmar

Honda CBR1000

Marty Thompson

Kawasaki ZRX1200S

Tim Emons

Honda CBR1000

Jason Wilson (1/2 rear)

Kawasaki ZX9

Ron Johnston (lead)

Honda CBF1000

Roman Biaroza

Kawasaki GPx250

John Willis

Honda XL1000V

Bill Simpson

Suzuki GSXR1000

Craig Morley

Honda VTR1000SP

Cindy Lee

Suzuki GSXR750

Ben Warden

Honda CBR954

Sam Sirianni

Suzuki TL1000




16 bikes, 16 people

With a host of family commitments keeping me occupied I hadn�t managed to get out on the bike since theDargo weekend, and what better way is there to get back into the groove for a Sunday MSR ride than a track day at Phillip Island? I�d seen the messages going back and forth from members on the Club Google group arranging to book in a track day for Easter Tuesday and jumped in on it. The weather was perfect, and apart from Kurn suffering a �minor cosmetic� in the morning, (back on the track for the rest of the day, with one footpeg half the length of the other), a great day was had by all.

The forecast for Sunday�s ride hinted at a chance of rain starting around midday, and a check of the radar revealed that it was already coming down in a big front to the west. So I opted for the winter jacket. I caught up to Craig on the freeway, and we pulled in to Berwick, fuelled up and joined the growing crowd. The track day was discussed and I met a couple of unfamiliar faces including ex-member Sam Sirianni on his thundering red TL1000.

John Willis revealed that this was to be the Varadero�s farewell voyage, hanging up the comfortable old ugg boots in favour of the fancy new Nike�s. Pina pulled in on her own. Soon after (Misho had run out of fuel on the freeway...) and could barely contain her enthusiasm for the day ahead, after enduring all day Tuesday in the pit garage watching the rest of us blast around the track.

Cindy arrived and complained about a slow leak in her rear tyre, presumably coming from a mushroom plug fitted recently. Ben inspected and found a 30mm nail sticking out somewhere else. Plugged � now ok.

Ronnie gave us the spiel, and Jason put his hand up for rear rider and first aider. We departed east on the freeway, uneventful as usual until Marty took off up an exit ramp somewhere around Pakenham. I thought he was just relieving some of the boredom of the freeway leg and was going to merge again at the next on ramp, but that was the last we saw of him. Turns out he was not feeling well.

We took the Nar Nar Goon exit where I cranked the bike over into the big roundabout realising the last time I leaned hard right I was hooking into �MG�... Further on, something drew my attention to my right hand mirror, but all I could see behind me was the underside of an SP1 � nothing unusual there. It was a view I was treated to regularly as the day continued.

Market Day traffic in Longwarry slowed our progress briefly en-route to Drouin. Then Ron led us towards Poowong, picking up Main South Road and Timms Road along the way.

John Willis rounded a bunch of us up on the way out of Poowong, so I gave chase until I caught up to Ben just before heading into the tricky twisty bit. I hesitated and decided not to pass � there are some corners that confuse me here and I didn�t need the added pressure of Ben on my tail. As expected, he pulled away effortlessly as I tied myself in knots trying to stay on my intended lines.

As I corner marked with Ben at the Loch-Poowong Road intersection it was reported that Joe had gone down. Ben went back to assist, while I made myself comfortable, cleaned my visor and played a few games of Sudoku on my phone to pass the time (strange, but true...). We then made our way into Loch for morning tea / lunch #1. I went in to the shop to order a toasted ham, cheese & tomato sandwich on wholemeal and a short black, but had to wait in line while Cindy ordered exactly that!

There were plenty of bikes in Loch today, and several others passing through. I heard a nice sounding Gixxer burbling into town, and looked up to see Bill pull in � I�m not sure when he left, where he�d been or what he�d been up to, but he greeted us with his best back of beyond Aussie drawl and kept those around him in fits of laughter. Ron was filling me in on the latest with the 400/4 saga, having recently fitted 16 heli-coils to the case in an attempt to put an end to the head bolts stripping the fragile threads when tensioned. Almost ready to roll, we should see the little 400 belting through the twisties again soon.

Joe decided to head home from here, reducing the original field of four Kawasaki�s down to two. It was a shame to see such a pristine example of a bike suffer a �minor cosmetic�, but both bike and rider appeared to have emerged mechanically sound.

Ron took us out along the highway and down the Loch-Kernot Road (taking it easy on the three slippery corners he�d forewarned us about) for a lovely blat towards the Gurdies and Grantville, then down through Glen Forbes and onto the dusty roads surrounding the water pipeline works near Woolamai, and downhill offthe range into Dalyston. We kept our carbon footprint to a minimum as we droned along the highway and into Wonthaggi for fuel and lunch #2.

Ben returned from the fish and chip shop down the road with a piece of flake and a tasty looking Greek salad. Cindy was trying to use telepathy to send an olive her way, but as discussed afterwards, the mind of a man doesn�t work that way � the salad was gone before Ben received the message. Sam�s absence was noted during the break and it was revealed that he�d retired due to a slipping clutch and had headed for home.

We departed north on the Wonthaggi � Loch Road and gradually released more horses as confidence in grip levels grew. The pace had been relatively cautious until now, due to the amount of gravel, dried mud and cow dung along the roads. I needed a bigger fix, so I passed a few bikes and wound the power on into a fast left hand sweeper, up over a rise then spotted John corner marking just ahead and struggled to keep the rear tyre in contact with the road, desperately trying to wipe off enough speed for the turn. The trusty �blade took it all with ease, and I pulled over to corner mark as Ron took off down Koetsveldt Road.

I had investigated this road when putting a route together some time ago, but I stopped when it turned to dirt. Ron was more thorough in his inspection and found that the good dirt only goes for around 3km, and resulted in an interesting loop back through Archie�s Creek. We continued on almost to Kongwak before climbing up the scenic route to Bena, across the Highway and onto the Warragul-Korumburra Road where I corner marked, sensing the excitement building as each rider blasted past.

There was a bit of traffic to negotiate along the way, but the old favourite was in relatively good condition, and the pace was satisfying the craving to say the least. We were following the road all the way into Warragul for a change, and as I barrelled into a fast sweeper on the outskirts of town, an oncoming car flashed his lights at me. Over the next rise I found myself pursuing a highway patrol car. Lucky for me, his flashing lights indicated he was clearly focussed on something ahead, but I wasted no time giving up the chase, and pulled over for a break (being repeatedly victimised as a motorcyclist has resulted in a guilty conscience, even when I�m doing nothing wrong).

I waved the following bikes over, then Ben appeared from the opposite direction and explained � the patrol car had been travelling in the opposite direction when the leading pack went past. By the time he�d managed to turn around in pursuit, he came across Ben who had already pulled over (in a well practiced confusion technique). When he accused Ben of �going a bit quick�, Ben replied that he wasn�t going fast, it must have been the guys up the front.�It wasn�t you at the front?�... The seed of confusion was planted, and by the time he took off after the others and came across Ron and Bill casually waiting at a roundabout (he didn�t notice Misho and Jason hiding in the bushes), pleading ignorance to the situation, he frantically scrolled through the onboard video footage, but couldn�t find any evidence of them. He declared it their lucky day and departed. By the time the last of us idled through there were five marked cars going round in confused circles.

We regrouped before the final leg up Brandy Creek Rd, into Neerim South where John and Craig took off for a Powelltown adventure, the rest of us partaking in a final dose through Jindivick to finish in Longwarry North. Thanks Ronnie for an interesting ride, near catastrophe somehow averted, and Jason, Tony and Ben for sharing the rear riding duties. I registered 275km as the official ride length. We all rode as fast as we could on the freeway home to avoid the chance of being harassed any further...


Tim Emons