As per usual we met up in Ashhurst and spent some time waiting to see who turned up before kicking around some ideas on where to go. Initially Sarge had been humming and harring on whether to do the ride so to help persuade him I suggested we head over towards Danniverke (where he parks his bike) so that he could have a bit of ride and then pootle home if he didn't want to continue.
I led us out and over the Saddle at a moderate pace - the Saddle also suffering from hot melted tar (and possibly some post Targa car rally damage) at this time of the year. From Woodville we followed the ranges (Pinfold & Topgrass roads) before popping back onto SH2 for a careful (had to avoid a radar buddy in a sneaky hiding position) cruise to Oringi.
When we turned off at Orinigi it was a nice surprise to see Sarge continue on with us rather than heading home and we set off through some great back roads taking us in a round about way towards Mangatainoka. It really is a lovely ride through Jackson road and then River Road - great scenery and a road that can be enjoyable at a quiet pace without being boring.
It was along one long straight that I all of a sudden (I'd been in a bit of a dream world) when I noticed that the lights of Sarge's bike had disappeared. Fearing the worst I did a quick U-turn and returned back the way I'd come. Luckily there was no major calamity - one of the other's had managed to run out of gas (hmmmmmm, ride starts at a gas station). Thanks to some very generous farmers (and bikers too) the hungry VFR was back on the road again and we were back into it.
Next up was a pause at Mangatainoka for a cold drink (I checked out the river as I crossed the bridge and there were people in it but I'm not sure if they were the Tui girls - should have stopped really) and a chat. After our break Sarge and a Bandit Rider (he, he) went one way (home to Danniverke) while the rest of us rode into Pahiatua so that the VFR could be filled properly before the assault on the Pahiatua track.
The track was a blast although by now we had to take care of the low sun blinding us as we came around certain corners. At the bottom of the track we paused to re-group and say our good-byes before taking off in different directions for home. A perfect night and a very enjoyable ride on the little red Honda!