Tuesday, October 24, 2023

2023 NI800

The weekend before last, Colin and I kicked off a decent bit of motorcycle therapy by taking on the New Zealand Distance Riders North Island 800 (800km in 12hrs).  We even managed to convince Brett, Glen and John to join us.  Unfortunately John had to pull after catching some dodgy Ozzie virus...

For us, our adventure started with getting up to the ride start in Ohakune.  After a morning of getting things sorted at home and loading up both the Connie and the Super Ten, I pottered over to Sanson to meet up with Colin and Brett.

Now we just had to decide how to get to Ohakune.  It turned out that a trip up the Parapara's was just the ticket and we had a great ride up before making our way to ride HQ and bike scrutineering.  Naturally the Connie whistled through, after all, she is barely run in.

Important start km photo

Then we finally had the chance to have a quick catch up with Chris and Stella but unfortunately didn't have enough time to have a really good chat about their Iron Butt Rally trip - oh well, we should see them again in February at the TT...

After finding our digs and dumping some gear, we popped out for dinner before heading back to ride HQ for the route unveiling.  The Paras ended up being on the menu...

Back at our motel, the route was sorted and loaded onto GPS's and then it was time for some shut-eye.

Next morning saw us hunting down a decent brekkie in town (with about 100 other riders) before lining up to start.

Our team, Brett hiding behind Glen

Chris and Luke

Stella giving us a wave

The Goldwing boys

Colin, me and some nutters!

One of Chris's Connies 😜

Long distance farkles galore

Super Twisty 1600 start

This year, along with the NI800, there were 2 NI1600's being run - a "standard" 1600km in 24hrs and a "Super Twisty 1600" which was designed to offer a little bit more of a challenge...Naturally, Luke, Chris and Stella were starters for this...They got away about 30 minutes before us.

After watching five other groups leave before us, we were finally let off the chain at about 9:15 and left Ohakune with a few spits of rain chasing us out of town.  About 10-15km South of Raetihi these spits of rain went elsewhere and we ended up on a nice dry run down the Para's to the first checkpoint in Whanganui.

No need for fuel, engine running, quick stop and gone...

You'll notice in the above pic that some clever person is in his fluro wet-weather gear.  He obviously knew something...Not far North of Whanganui we rode into the rain.  And then it got wetter.  This wetness was then followed by gusty wind and even more rain.  And then a bit more rain and wind.  Overall, a lot of wetness - with wind.

North of Hawera on the Coast road, it seemed to get even worse and it was interesting fun trying to maintain a decent pace while avoiding some of the massively slippery bits of shiny tar.  Here's a we sample of some of the conditions.

A bit more splishing and splashing got us to CP2 at Rahotu where we all agreed that it was a tad damp.

More of the same weather chased us up the island to our first fuel stop at Oakura where I also bought some lozenges for a sore throat that I was working on - not ideal.

The next leg was a reasonable hop up to Te Kuiti and it featured a whole lot more rain and yet more slipperyness.  We still made reasonable time but did I mention that it was wet?

Check out the lovely blue skies...

Leaving Te Kuiti we had to make our way through a few sections of road works and new seal but eventually the rain eased off and the road out to CP3 at Raglan was even dry on places.  Nice, cos that bit of road is not too shabby 😜

Unfortunately, we now had to turn around and do the Raglan road again 😜.  This may have put a wee smile on our dials and check the video for some of the action 😜.

Eventually the fun had to end and we rain into our old friend "torrential rain" again somewhere North of Te Kuiti.  Oh, what fun...

The ride from 8 mile junction to Taumarunui was particularly memorable.  Talk about rain Trev, talk about slippery Trev.  This is normally a magic ride but this time around it was a real grind and it seemed to take forever to make it to Taumarunui.

From there, it was a slightly nice ride South to Ohakune as the rain eased off a tad.  We touched down at the finish at around 18:50, wet and ready for our burgers before heading back out into it...

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