Off to the races

Trip Start Feb 25, 2010
Trip End Mar 21, 2010

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Where I stayed
The Gap, Gap Road.

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Friday, February 26, 2010

Days 2-4: Lakes Entrance to Cowes. A short ride today, only 308 kms. We head back inland to Bairnsdale, Sale, Morwell and along to Wonthaggi. Across the bridge and we're there. Phillip Island. I can smell the racing fuel from here!

We're here until Monday morning, and hope to catch up with some riding mates who we only see once a year, here! The Gap is usually the home of "Terra Firma" an earthmoving company. They move their very large machines out of the sheds, and replace them with bunks. Very basic, but loads of fun. It's an old shearing shed setup, and they have a camp kitchen and a "Baa", so there is always somewhere to congregate and have a chat.

Day 2: The day began with us leaving our hotel at Lakes Entrance at the reasonable hour of 8.30 am, with the plan bring to ride to Rosedale for brekky. About 90 minutes later we found a nice bakery and had a quick feed and very nice cup of coffee.

Ever since my adventure with my Bridgestone back tyre with only 14000 kms on it (see, I have been a bit wary about any front end wobble, however slight. Well I started to get some around Sale, so at breakfast I took the opportunity to redistributed the gear in the trailer. Seemed to improve the handling at low speeds, so we pushed on to Phillip Island, where I unhooked the trailer, and had a proper look. What a shock. Not a good track record with back tyres.

I rang around and found a tyre at Jeffrey Honda in Ferntree Gully. All I had to do now was get Roxy (the bike), to Ferntree Gully. Very fortuitously, I joined the Honda Roadside Assist scheme last week, so I rang them. They arranged for Roxy to be picked up and taken there. One of the boys kindly offered to give me a ride on the back of his Harley tomorrow to pick her up.

Other than that slight hiccup, a very good day. A great ride down the Strezlecki Highway, through the forest with many long wide bends just made for big tourers. Just lucky that the back tyre didn't decide to disintegrate at 110 km/h.

Met up with all the old gang, and some new later in the evening. As I type this I am seated in a fold-up camp chair watching the sunset. Oh yeah, I have a nice glass of red, and Maria, to keep me company.

Day 3 beckons with the hope that they have time to fit a new tyre. Boy, the Visa is getting a hiding over the last few days.

Day 3: Well at 4.30 am we had a light and sound show to rival NYE on Sydney Harbour. Rain, thunder and lightning for about 30 minutes, before it blew over and left us alone. Those poor souls in tents! We managed to steal a couple more hours sleep before the necessity not to miss breakfast took over.

Andrew had kindly offered to double me up to Ferntree Gully to pick up Roxy. I Googled it, and it was 115 kms with a suggested travel time of over two hours. I offered him an escape clause but he was good to go, so off we set. Pretty poor weather, but at least it wasn't raining. Took us some time, but when we arrived at Jeffrey Honda Roxy had been delivered by the trucking company, and was just waiting in line to get her tyre fitted. She was in and out of the workshop in under 30 minutes. An excellent job by an excellent outfit.

I cannot say enough good things about Jeffrey Honda, or Honda Rider Assist. Many many thanks to Victoria's sole Goldwing dealer, "Jeffrey Honda Motorcycles", 1029A Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully. John Levier and his crew did an excellent job at very short notice. I cannot express my thanks enough. And because his (female) Goldwing qualified mechanic was so efficient, John didn't even charge me for fitting the tyre. How good is that?

Back to Phillip Island we rode, stopping in at the Vietnam Veteran's Museum on the Island. Been meaning to go there for a couple of years now, but always let the opportunity pass. Not this time. A very good display with a hologram video similar to that shown at Cowra. A very impressive display well worth a visit. "I wasn't there, but I care" was the patch I chose to buy.

Saturday afternoon saw us kicking back listing to the sound of superbikes practicing, and news helicopters flying overhead. It's cool and windy, so washing the bike is not an option. Rode into town to get some victuals, and get this - apparently the Victorian Government (read "mother" ) has amended the liquor licensing laws this weekend. Basically bottle shops on Phillip Island are not allowed to sell alcohol in glass "if it also comes in cans". Apparently, it is to "reduce the amount of glass out on the street" according to the teenager who served me. Thus, I cannot buy Cascade Light or Blonde in stubbies, only in cans. I HATE beer in cans. But that's OK, I can be a 18 year old idiot and buy as much lolly water in glass as I like. Gimme a break.

But, not to let that impede a good day, we soldiered on. Beer in a can is not so bad that it cannot be drunk when necessary!

More tomorrow. Gee, we might even go to the track ... maybe. It's not compulsory you know!

Day 4: Still at Phillip Island, and today is race day. Two rounds of the Superbike Championships to be run. Maria and I journeyed into San Remo for breakfast, and got the mandatory "licence and rego check" from the Old Bill. (I heard on the radio that it took the cops over two hours to respond to a suspected house invasion on the Mornington Peninsula. Well, i can tell you that there are no cops there, because allthey are all here on the Island. I didn't see too many of them out when it was cold and raining though!)

So the races were run and won. Who won? I dunno. I’m not THAT interested. It’s the smell of racing fuel, the roar of the engines and the excitement of the crowd that I'm here for. Being so close to the track is wonderful – we’re less than a kilometer away from the start/finish line. You can actually get all the reality of being there while watching it live on Fox at the campsite. Magnificent, and $160 bucks cheaper!

After spending most of last night playing six-handed Eucha, we all had a pretty early night in preparation for the long ride ahead tomorrow. Most of our group are headed back to Eden, while we head west to Robe. It’s almost 700 km, and is going to be wet and windy they say.

We’ve had a great time here at the Gap. We always do. And all things being equal, we’ll be back next year. Caught up with some old friends and made some new ones. Life is good.
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Bob Carmody on

I am very wary of front end wobbles due to having the same experience with two Avon tyres. Glad you are both OK and the rest of the trip is trouble free. Have a great time.. Keep the reports coming. We would love to be doing the trip, We did it in 2003 and have always said it is a trip we would love to do again.

David Partridge on

Burnouts and donuts at Phillip Island, will do that everytime !!!
Be safe guys

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