It was in February 1981 a weekend after my first rally. Mother Hardy’s was held down in Victoria. Inland from Bairnsdale. I can’t remember the club that ran it. After my first rally I wanted to go to another straight away. We would turn to AMCN to give us the dates and places for rallys.
I rode with John (Jacko) who I worked with and his mate Greg. They both had XJ650s. We left from work on Friday arvo at about 3pm and set off down the coast. Being on a 250 I lead at times so as to set the pace. Most of the ride is now just a blur of non stop riding. Fueling up and rising. As it got dark Jacko took over and lit up the road with his 9 inch head lamp.
We got as far as Bega and rolled into the servo for fuel within 60 secs of the locks going on the pumps. The attendant didn’t have the keys. So we slept on the forecourt next to the bikes. At least one car also joined us waiting for dawn and arrival of the keys.
Dawn indeed did bring the keys. Fuelled up we headed for the border. Had we have gotten fuel the night before we would have pushed on until we got to the rally. In hindsight I am glad we didn’t. I don’t know if we really knew the threat of wildlife at night.
The road on the NSW side was so different than that of the Victoria side. This was the first time I had been to Victoria. The NSW was a goat track. There was a visible line in the road from the NSW tar and the Victoria tar. The road was now very smooth and wider than that in NSW.
I remember riding through Lakes Entrance. Then Bairnsdale. Then the dirt road into the Rally site. Remember this is way back for the ‘Adventure Bike’ and chook chasers were frowned upon at Rallys. How things have changed today.
The Rally site was great. Lush and green. We wandered around the rally site checking out the bikes that were there. Learnt about what camping gear is good to take on a bike. There were a lot of European bikes there too. Most people at the rally were from Victoria. Some from other states like us. The drinks flowed on Saturday night and many stories both true and not so true went from camp fire to camp fire. We had travelled over 700kms for a drink. Then another 700 to get home. But that is what rallying was like back then. Oh and it was in the days were you had to bring everything with you and there were no bands.
I took out “Longest Distance Under 250cc” trophy. But as we had to leave very early to head back the way we came I could not accept the award. So they mailed it to me. I have since lost this trophy. It was a piston and conrod mounted on a varnished bit of wood with the award plaque and Rally badge.
At the rally we meet Brad and Andy. Brad was on a GSX750 (first model) and Andy on a Kwaka 650. Andy also wore green leathers. He was of course christened Kermit. I think they lived out west somewhere. They rode with us up to the NSW border and then took off west.
On the way home I learnt a very important lesson. Don’t mess with Semis. I went to overtake one semi. Now on a 250 with a big barn door handle bar fairing on it I had to slip stream the semi and then scoot out and try to get past him. Being that close behind I couldn’t see what was coming the other way till I pulled out. And guess what was coming the other way. Another semi. I had no time to pull back. I ended up riding between the two of them. Both Jacko and Greg following thought I was a going to get run over. Somehow I held onto the handle bars and rode between them. I did do this once more on the way to another rally. Hey I was 19 and thought I could conquer the world. Not anymore.
Between Genoa and the border the Victorian Police placed white tape on the roads. The tape was a certain distance apart. Then a helicopter would time you between these two tapes. If you were going over the speed limit the helicopter would radio a Police car to chase you down and book you. We looked heaven ward for the helicopter. None was seen. So we tried to cut the tape by slamming on our brakes as we went over the tape. It didn’t work. The tape remained in place.
I arrived home well after dark. I was worn out but buzzing from the trip.
So this is what I remember. If you are reading this and knew were this rally was held and which club please let me know. Also for some reason I had black and white film loaded in my camera.
Jacko enjoying a few cold brews.
Brad, Andy and Greg. On the way home.
Lunch time stop Sunday. Where I can't remember. Bikes from left to right. Greg's XJ650, Brad's GSX750, Andy's Z650, my GSX250 and Jacko's XJ650.