1000 miles in 24 hours (or Pain Is My Friend)
by Matthew Callaghan Date of the event was 16/17-10-1999. Sorry no photos I was busy at the time!
The registration on Saturday morning turned up 3 Laverda's - a 1976 3C, a 1980 (I think) RGS and my 668. Bit of a chat lying around waiting for the start, both the triples were very tidy. I can't
remember the names of the owners.
Scrutineering, I failed!!! Blown fork seal, several increasingly frantic 'phone calls later I established that no-one within 100 miles of Turangi had a Paoli fork seal - what a surprise, turns out there is
no NZ Paoli agent! Eventually one of the dealers in Taupo suggested a local (Turangi) panel & paint shop whose owner was into motocross. We ended up scraping out the inside of the seal with a feeler gauge and
blasting out the grit with an aerosol can of brake cleaner. Leak fixed good enough for scrutineering! Special thanks to Brendan at Turangi Panel & Paint.
I started at 15:08 from Turangi in company with Gavin (R80GS), Spyder (RF900) and John (VFR750). John dropped off the pace quite quickly, when I next saw him a few weeks later he was laughing at me still, after
watching me head down trying to keep up! I was working hard just to hold on to Gavin and Spyder (Gavin admitted afterward that his BMW has never seen a thrashing like it, although he said the same thing last
year and he makes a sight to behold at Manfeild on it...) We went up the west side of Taupo, past Mangakino to the first check point at Pirongia. From there, via Ngarwahia, Auckland Motorway, and the Western Motor
way (this was an experience for a country like me! We were a group of 5 bikes at this time led by a BMW F650, 140/150 km/h all the way ducking in and out around cars etc. I'm damn glad we did not see any
police!) to Whangarei. On the run into Whangarei we caught up to 2 booze buses one after the other then a mufti car (kindly flushed out by our friend on the F650) followed 200 meters later by another mufti car that
had pulled our other friend on the Laverda RGS over for 100k/h over the limit! (150 k/h through a 50k road works the we did not see either!) The policeman let him off with a $55 fine for being unable to produce his
Licence (due to being flustered by being caught at 100k over!).
Stopped in Whangarei for Spyder to replace a headlamp lamp (just as well it was not me, mine take 2 hours to change in the workshop, who knows how long it would take on a forecourt although my taillamp and stop light
were both jammed on together by now.). On towards Kerikeri and Kaitia round the east coast (sort of), my new headlights work a treat, I can see! Spyder disappeared off into the distance, when Gavin and I
arrived at the checkpoint in Kaitia he had beaten us in by some time but had taken a wrong turn to do it so went back to make up the miles. He wasn't alone, apparently several other riders were having so much
fun they missed the turn off to Kerikeri as well.
10 Minutes out of Kaitia, at about 23:15 my rear brake calliper fell off! Desperately looking for alternatives that don't involve removing the remains of the brake entirely. It's not looking good when ......
another kind BMW owner pulled in behind me with a pair of cap screws and an Allen key in his pocket! I was only stopped for 10 minutes in the end.
For the next 1/2 hour or so my confidence was shattered (surprise, surprise) so I was left on my own for while. After the next petrol stop with no more bits falling off (that I noticed at the time anyway) I hung in
behind a small group including the RGS for a while. Its great fun at speed in the dark when I use the other guys headlights to see around the corners a little further up the road. Confidence restored I met up with
Gavin and Spyder in Dargaville and we hit the long flat straights back to SH1.
At the next petrol stop (Warkworth?)I got pleasantly woken up by the sight of an attractive lady wearing a Leather coat and Thigh length shiny black PVC boots! (and nothing else as far as I could see!) The sights of
the big city... Down to Papakura off ramp and some minor confusion amongst ourselves over directions (ie I got lost!) and across the bottom of the Hauraki Gulf to Thames. That early morning mist is loads of
fun after all night on a bike, thanks to the local on his way to work who 'towed' me through! Gavin and Spyder had disappeared in the distance again, maybe they caught a quicker 'tow' than
me? Quick stop for gas right on opening time and over the Coromandel range to Whangamata and the next check-point. This was a great bit of road, the sun was just coming up and burning off the mist, the surface
was great, you get the idea...
Wangamata to Tauranga fairly uneventful until I got lost in Tauranga. Yet another kind gentleman on a BMW pointed me in the right direction (I'm beginning to wonder if BMW vet potential owners of their products
before they allow them to be sold!) and on over the Kaimai range to Tirau and I got lost again. This time I used a new technique (due to there being no BMW owners in sight) and rode around at random until I spotted
a sign pointing towards Tirau. So of course I arrived from a little side street 'sneaking' into the check point. No-one seemed to notice. I managed to hide my confusion from the guys at the check point,
their brief includes disqualifying anyone they believe is getting dangerously tired. On to Turangi via Rotorua, Reperoa Taupo etc. The last stretch was a bit of a battle, SH1 with nothing of any interest (at speeds
within 40k of legal) to keep me awake. Turangi! We made it!
A beer, followed by a huge breakfast. Not much chatting but plenty of watching other riders come in. The chap on the R1 looked to be in a worse state than his rear tyre, if such a thing was possible. The RGS
came in looking and sounding good too. The Kawasaki AR50 only lasted 60km and melted the piston, the Italjet dragster (easily the most photographed bike on the run, possibly the best looking too) made it about 400km
before succumbing to terminal piston disease too.
Anyway, to celebrate the successful completion of our 3rd 1000 miler (the second on my Laverda) we decided to ride straight home, via Tamaranui and Whangamomona. Why settle for excess when the totally insane is so
readily available? After all there had been no gravel for some 1800km and I was missing it! In the end we had a great ride through there, the road from Whanga to Stratford was clean, dry and perfect. After
some 2000km straight the red mist was well and truly down, I had my eye in and was able to stay in front of the BMW for a change, YE-HAH!
Talking about his type of ride recently (after another 1000km in 14 hours effort!) I discovered that although I have been to a large part of the north Island, I haven't seen anything of it apart from the roads!
The price I pay for having fun I guess!
You really do have to do one of these. It's like a month's worth of motorcycling in one weekend. The pain goes away. Eventually. (Gavin was riding his trials bike the
next day! Mutter mutter, soft BMW 'gentlemen').