Part One - Neil's loop
This month's BRR ride started in Marton and after a quick ride over from Palmy I fueled up (at the wrong petrol station) and met up with the rest of the guys for our briefing. This month we even had a new rider with exceptionally good taste join us to sample some gravel:
From Marton Neil led us North for a bit before turning West onto Taurimu Road which would eventually take us to Turakina Valley Road and a great ride up the Valley.
But no sooner than we had hit the gravel Neil decided to give us our first bit of excitement when his Tiger decided that it needed a rest and threw itself down on the ground right in front of me. Unfortunately my GoPro was not going so I didn't capture the action but I can confirm that there was plenty of dust and the RHS foot-peg did a good job of creating a furrow in the road. Luckily Neils gear also did a good job and after some choice words he was up and checking the bike out. The crash bars and bark busters also did their job as the Tiger only required a bit of straightening to the rear brake lever to get it ready to rock again.
|Crash bars are good!|
|So are bark busters|
As mentioned earlier Taurimu Road spat us out onto our first section of Turakina Valley Road. This small section of road I've ridden plenty of times - even on the Connie and some of my other road bikes - but it was still fun chasing Neil through this first short section of gravel.
As you can see from the map below Turakina Valley Road zig zags all the way up the valley. During it's wanderings there are sections of sealed road but probably more gravel overall. It is great riding and there is some pretty nice scenery to look at too. We also had to avoid some turkeys, sheep and even a bull on the road in one place. There were even a couple of other bulls having a ding-dong in a paddock near the road - noisy Adv bikes didn't even make them lift their heads for a second.
And if you were hoping for a lot of video, well unfortunately this next bit of Turakina Valley Road is the last video I got courtesy of GoPro (I think battery) issues.
Up towards the Northern end of Turakina Valley Road the road open outs a little with faster more flowing corners (and a spectacular view of Ruapehu - sorry no piccys) but this would also add some excitement to a few of us.
I was first up with a big front end wash-out coming out of a right-hander. I was sure that I was going down but wound on some gas and kicked the road away from me. Slightly sorted out I got around the next couple of corners but the front was feeling very squirrely and I actually stopped to see if I had a flat front tyre. All was good on the tyre front so I was soon on my way slithering my way through the last of the corners before enjoying an awesome gravel straight that took me back onto the tar at SH49.
Stopping in Waiouru for a regroup the five of us soon realised that we were missing a few and waited a wee while before I remounted to go to see if we had another incident on our hands. I'd just got out of Waiouru when the other guys past me going the other way - good stuff.
Unfortunately though, the delay had been Peer on his 1200cc Panzer. He had had a similar incident as me but unfortunately he'd ended up dropping the bike. I'm guessing that as tail-end Charlie he probably had a little wait for the rest of the guys to realise and come back to help him recover his machine. Once again no injury and no damage to his battle-tank so all good.
From Waiouru we pretty much main-roaded it to Taihape except for one short piece of gravel on Paengaroa Road and some nice tarmac twisties on Spooners Hill Road. In Taihape it was time for a well earned lunch to fuel us up for the afternoon's adventure.
|A fairly familiar lunch stop|
Our next bit of gravel was the fabulous Watershed Road which is always a lot of fun with some tighter sections along with some more open and faster bits making it a great ride.
Back out on SH1 we cruised into Hunterville for a coffee and some fuel for Part Two...