Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Hooray for winter!

 ...and the delicious gravel it produces!

We had a long weekend this last time around so with three days off were always going to go for a skid somewhere.  Sunday was the day.

I kept the route fairly secret, Colin only knew that we were making our way down towards Eketahuna for our fuel stop and then from there he knew nothing and apparently, didn't care...

Andy was also coming with us but had something important on the go later in the day so we decided on an early start to get in as much riding as possible.  So, I was forced to get up early on a Sunday morning - but at least it was for a ride and noting silly like work or something...

I met the guys at the bottom of the track just before 8 and Colin and I made pretty good progress over the hill on wet roads.  Apparently we got away on Andy a bit and he didn't see me waiting at the bottom of the hill where I waited until I thought he would have seen me before charging after Colin.  Oops!

Never mind, he worked it out and caught up to me when I stopped at the next turn before we both took after the other KTM rider.

At the next turn, Colin actually let me past and I lead us onto our first gravel.  Our first taste of gravel was in some reasonably deep stuff but as there'd been rain, it had settled down quite nicely and it wasn't too long before the confidence levels came up and stones were being flung about a tad.  One tractor driver probably barely had time to lift his hand of the wheel to wave before the three of us had stormed past him.  And the gravel only got better after that...

In Eketahuna we stopped for some juice (just under 18L for me for the just over 400km the bike had done on that tank) and to express our heart-felt displeasure at the road conditions...

From Eke, we turned off SH2 to pick up some of our favourite fast gravel on Mangaoranga Road but at the next turn we went right instead of the normal left at Mangamahoe Central Road to take us back toward Mauriceville.

Rather than run through Mauriceville we took Dreyers Rock Road (which is all seal but a great ride great ride) over to Route 52 to carry on South.  I think it was somewhere on 52 where we disturbed a hawk having the meal of his life - a turkey that must have had an argument with a car.  We also nearly took out some lycra clad turkeys who owned the road somewhere along the way too - the hawks would have had a field day if we'd clipped one of them...

Our next turn took us off towards Bideford and eventually got us out onto some more magnificent gravel that got us to our first and only proper photo op.

Dropping down the hill, we were back on 52 for about 1km before snagging Bartons Line so we could get more gravel in before we hit Alfredton.

Pori Road was next on the list and doing it in the South to North direction means that you get a really good hill climb.  This was great fun too with the only excitement being the need to dodge a kid (4 legged type) who was terribly surprised by the rapid arrival of a T7 with an 890 sniffing at its heels.  Both Colin and I somehow managed to avoid it.  I reckon if it had been a sheep we would have got it (and some ouchies), goats seem to have a lot more sense than those dopey woolly suckers.

With the need to get Andy back in time for his hot date, Pori Road had been the point where I planned for us to head back to Pahiatua for lunch and then maybe a blast over Tararua Road to finish off the ride but we'd made such great progress that I had to come up an extension to my plan.

Instead of turning left at the Makuri Gorge, we went right and then leapt onto some more magnificent gravel on Coonoor Road.  This bit was an absolute blast - the rain during the week really had settled all of the gravel down nicely and there was plenty of front end grip for some decent power slides in places.  I was fizzing - and even considered Makairo Track for a minute but we perhaps need to check it out on the WR's as it can be a bit challenging...

The last bit of gravel on Waitahora Road was actually the "boniest" with some decent sized stuff that just wasn't as settled as the rest - at least it slowed us down for the coming sealed sections 😜.

Back on the seal, we cruised on into Dannevirke where we found some premium parking before having an average lunch (but nice coffee eh Col).

After our early(!) lunch it was time to head homewards via the usual sealed back roads.  I gave Whariti a good look as we neared the turn-off and was pretty keen to head up there but apparently Andy's life wouldn't be worth living if he was late home...

Absolutely mint ride and man the little T7 was an absolute blast on that perfect gravel!

Look at that smile!


  1. Your gravel looks like small boulders, man the size of that stuff.
    Good ride

    1. A bit different from your dirt super highways...Nice when the rain settles things down - in summer we're often riding on marbles.