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  • Town/City: Wellington
  • Bike: BMW R80 G/S, R100GS & M72 Sidecar, Gilera Runner ST200
  • Rank: 1200cc Rider

Day Three: Clarence River Reserve to Hanmer Springs:

Bacon & eggs for breakfast.

Packed up the sidecar, tidied the cabin, & the headed for the summit with a sense of foreboding, nervous about the switchback descents on the other side of Blind Saddle. A little rain overnight that came to nothing – which could mean that the other side of the range might be wet. Given a heavy clay component to the track….ummm.

And then there was the issue of – ‘Brakes, they only slow you down’… Juan Manuel Fangio.

Beautiful day at Blind Saddle itself, floating above the clouds. We spend a bit of time on the summit making the most of that, before descending into the gloom.

Hauling on the brakes gave me some retardation, & I was glad I had a low 1st gear. But I was fairly relieved to get past the switchback unscathed.

The clouds were burning off as we came further down. Took the Inland Road, then turned south towards the Hundalees. Stop/goes at a couple of roadwork sites. The workers were always friendly, one was a young tourist on a working holiday. They all waved to the passing traffic.

Just after the Hundalees, we took a minor detour right onto Ferniehurst Rd, through to Hookhamsnyvy Road (yes that’s a real name – not misspelled). This was shown in MDs Kiwimaps book as a 4WD track, but was actually a delightful flowing gravel road through Mendip Station, with cattlestops between paddocks. That hooked back onto Leader Rd, & looped us back to Cheviot for lunch.

Onto reserve just outside Cheviot. Last year I was the most economical of the five sidecars. This year, 1st equal for fuel consumption. The difference is in exhaust & gearing. Same motor. Same carbs. Same sidecar (weight & air resistance).

Lunch at Paddock Cafe. Very nice lamb pie & coffee. We were there last year as well. Unfortunately the staff got a little confused with some touring Aussies on bikes ordering on our table no. Nothing that a large appetite couldn’t resolve.

Gassed up at the 24 hr unmanned prepay Allied Fuel station. The Challenge pumps round the the corner weren’t working.

I was originally going to detour around Random Spur Rd, as that runs over farmlands, is a non maintained road, & I thought it might stress the forks. But as it happens, while it was pugged up from recent rain, it was fine.

That led onto Kaiwara Road, which we had huge fun on last year. A few gates on the way through. Nothing our friendly rally bike rider Tony couldn’t help us with. Real Cowboy & Indian feeling territory.

That runs onto St Leonards Rd, & out to SH7. Then the drone back to Hanmer Springs. Actually pretty cool travelling at the back. The four sidecars set up a sound like a radial aircraft engine.

Different cabins this time. Five piled into Cabin 22. I took a little solar powered cabin 23. Fish & chips & burgers for dinner. Tony got a ride in a sidecar.