Tag Archives: Rallies

2018 Rally Report

It was a special year this year for the Yamaha SR500, which has been around now for 40 years, and also it was the SR500 Club’s 20th anniversary! The Rally was very successful again this year, despite the weather on Friday! There was very heavy rain in Melbourne on Friday morning which discouraged a lot of riders from leaving until later in the day. By mid-afternoon, it was very quiet in Bethanga, but as the weekend progressed, more and more people turned up (around 120 people registered) and the weather improved.

Show ‘n’ Shine

At Saturday’s Show ‘n’ Shine, there were eight award categories. Congratulations to the following winners!

  • Best stock SR – Wendy & Mathew Rode (and their 1984 SR500, again!)
  • Best modified SR – Steven Findlay (again!)
  • Best XT/TT 500 – Brendan Van de Zand
  • Best 4 valve (XT/TT/SZR/SRX 600/660) – Scott Wells (SR600 Special)
  • Best non-SR – Chris Rowley (Honda CB77 Super Hawk)
  • Peoples’ choice – Shane Bailey (Kawasaki Z1R Mk2)
  • Best rat bike – Brett Martello (very tasty XT500 Special!)
  • Longest distance – Bill McInerney (900km from Christies Beach, SA)

Saturday night raffle

A number of companies kindly donated items for Saturday night’s raffle, resulting in many lucky people winning some great prizes!

A big “thank you” to everyone who donated prizes:

  • Andy Strapz, Seaford (VIC)
  • Deus ex Machina, Camperdown (NSW)
  • IKON Suspension, North Albury (NSW)
  • Yamaha Australia
  • Court House Hotel, Bethanga (VIC)
  • KEDO Parts Australia, Raymond Terrace (NSW)
  • Motorcycle Trader magazine, Oakleigh (VIC)

Saturday night entertainment

Big thanks to Salty Dog Blues for a great set on Saturday night!

Annual General Meeting

At Sunday’s AGM, nominations for the Committee were heard, and the following elections were made:

  • President: Jeff Gillman
  • Vice Presidents: Paul Newbold, Craig Lemon
  • Secretary: Mike Haysom
  • Ride Captain: Tony Jones
  • Treasurer: Mike Cowie

Congratulations to Jeff Gillman (President again), Paul Newbold and Craig Lemon (joint Vice Presidents), and a warm welcome to Mike Haysom who takes over as Secretary from Tony Jones, who stepped down after serving for 5 years. Thanks Tony you did a great job, and we are glad to have you in your new position as Ride Captain! Mike Cowie continues as Treasurer.

 

2017 Rally Report

The Rally was a great success again this year!

Thanks to three days of clear blue skies, attendance was good (128 people signed in), and there was a great selection of bikes on display!

Show ‘n’ Shine

At Saturday’s Show ‘n’ Shine, there were eight award categories. Congratulations to the following winners!

  • Best stock SR – Rob Rode (1984 SR500). Again!
  • Best modified SR – Steven Findlay
  • Best XT/TT 500 – Colin Jay
  • Best 4 valve (XT/TT/SZR/SRX 600/660) – Peter Hickey (XT600 Ténéré)
  • Best non-SR – Tony Jones (Virago XV920R café racer)
  • Peoples’ choice – Leno Pirotta (Mazda 10A rotary-powered BMW R50)
  • Best rat bike – ‘Mudguard’
  • Longest distance – Drew Jackson (for riding his SR500 all the way from Warwick, QLD)

Saturday night raffle

A number of companies kindly donated items for Saturday night’s raffle, resulting in many lucky people winning some great prizes!

A big “thank you” to everyone who donated prizes:

  • Andy Strapz, Seaford (VIC)
  • Deus ex Machina, Camperdown (NSW)
  • KEDO Parts Australia, Raymond Terrace (NSW)
  • Motorcycle Trader magazine, Oakleigh (VIC)

Saturday night entertainment

Big thanks to Cracked Pepper for a great set on Saturday night.

Annual General Meeting

At Sunday’s AGM, nominations for the Committee were heard, and the following elections were made:

  • President: Jeff Gillman
  • Vice Presidents: Paul Newbold, Craig Lemon
  • Treasurer: Mike Cowie
  • Secretary: Tony Jones

Congratulations to Jeff Gillman (President again), Paul Newbold and Craig Lemon (joint Vice Presidents), and to Mike Cowie and Tony Jones (who retain their positions as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively).

2017 Rally – A Club Member’s Report

Drew Jackson and John Davies rode all the way from Warwick (QLD) to attend the 2017 Rally in Bethanga.

Here’s Drew’s account of the long ride down and back!

The ride to the Rally began in Warwick on Wednesday [Nov 22] and it was raining. We usually ride down to the Bruxner Hwy via Killarney, Legume and the Tooloom Scrub to Urbenville and eventually to the Bruxner; however, with the rain, we decided to go directly down to Tenterfield on the New England Hwy.

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Our bikes are good back-road tourers, but constant highway speeds seem a little cruel. The KL250 Kwaka is happy at 95 kph, and so is the SR, especially as the round trip will be about 3000 km.

The Bruxner Hwy from Tenterfield to Drake is a great ride with a good variety of corners, but take care, as there are a couple of corners posted at 30 kph that tighten up pretty quickly and have caught out a few riders. Just before Tabulam, we turned south and headed for Grafton. Because of the small tanks on our bikes, it was necessary to fill up whenever we needed to cover more than 150 km. Both bikes were getting over 25 km/L, but running out of fuel is not much fun, so we were being careful.

After a quick lunch in Grafton we headed towards Ebor and Armidale. This is one of my favourite roads, with plenty of corners and only light traffic – it was a pity it was still raining lightly. The new Metzeler on the back of the SR was performing well on the damp roads. From Armidale, we headed to Uralla, and then Walcha, where we spent a very comfortable night at the Apsley Arms Hotel.

An early start the next morning saw us in Gloucester for a coffee after an interesting ride over some pretty rough sections of road. From Gloucester, we headed to Dungog, and then Singleton and Denman. The next section was the Bylong Valley Way to Rylstone; this is great ride with great sandstone formations and plenty of tight corners in a couple of places. I hope the protesters manage to keep the coal miners out of the area. From Rylstone, we headed to Kandos, Ilford, Sofala, and Bathurst – there are plenty of good corners on this section. Our destination for the day was Blayney where we were booked into the Royal Hotel. It was steak night at the Royal and it was booked out – every table in the pub was taken, but the barmaid found us a spot, and for $12 we had a steak with a great selection of sides. We had done about 650 km and we only had about 500 km to go to get to Bethanga for the Rally.

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From Blayney, we headed to Cowra and then Boorowa and Jugiong where we joined the dreaded Hume for a few kilometres on the way to Gundagai. It was good to get off the Hume and head to Tumut, Batlow, and Tumbarumba for lunch. We were getting pretty close to our destination, so after a pie and a coffee, we refuelled and headed off to the border at Jingellic. The ride down to Jingellic from Tumbarumba is another good ride, with plenty of good sweepers, and with the aid of gravity, the bikes performed well.

After crossing the Murray River, we turned along the Murray Valley Hwy and headed towards Granya where we turned off to Bethanga. We arrived mid-afternoon and set up our camp before going to the hotel to meet a few of the regular Rally-goers. All up, we did 1615 km getting to the Rally.

The Rally is fully catered and the food is very good and the prices charged are fair. Hot showers are available and there was a cricket match to watch on the Saturday. Saturday night was the official part of the Rally, with awards given out for the Show ‘n’ Shine – Best Original SR, SRX, and so on. There were some very interesting bikes on display.

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The Rally was very good and the SR Club did a great job. The venue is a cracker, with a fair amount of shade and green grass to camp on.

The ride home was a lot faster, as we took a more direct route – back to Tumbarumba, then up to Cowra, Wellington and Gulgong. The next day, we headed north to Coolah, Manilla, Bingara, Warialda, Yetman, Texas, and finally to Warwick via Greenup. It was a long day and we did have a break at Yetman at the Codfish Hotel.

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We refuelled in Texas – still the cheapest fuel in Queensland.

Over the six days, we averaged 500 km per day, even given the rest day on Saturday.

 

2016 Rally – A Club member’s report

Drew Jackson from Townsville (QLD) attended the 2016 Rally in Bethanga in November 2016.

Here’s his account of the long ride down!

GETTING TO THE RALLY

The annual SR500 Club Rally was the destination for a week-long ride. The ride began in Warwick on the Darling Downs after travelling from Townsville in the ute. My riding companion was already with his Kawasaki KL250 Super Sherpa packed and we set off south on Tuesday morning [15/11] with the intention of covering about 400 km per day and arriving at the rally on Friday [18/11]. We had decided to travel the back roads to avoid traffic and find as many windy roads as possible while still heading south. So we headed to Killarney and from there we headed for Urbenville through the Tooloom Scrub. These roads are narrow, but good fun. From Urbenville, it was then off to Tabulam for our first fuel stop.

First fuel stop, Tabulam (NSW).

The service station was out of 95 octane, so I filled the SR with 91 and it ran just fine at the speeds we were doing. The KL used about 10c less on this section and a quick calculation on the phone returned a consumption figure of 66 mpg (imperial). I don’t like L/100km. From Tabulam we headed down the Clarence Way towards Grafton where we stopped for a pie and cold drink and to fill the tanks again. The SR only holds 12 ltrs and the KL250 only 9 ltrs, so keeping them topped up was essential. From here we headed to Armidale on the Waterfall Way, one of the best roads in NSW, especially the first section to Tyringham – really good fun on the SR as you can ring its neck and enjoy the handling. John was having a ball on the KL as well. We refuelled just before Armidale and again our consumption figures were within a few cents of each other. Our next stop was Uralla before heading to Walcha. This is where the first signs of trouble emerged. I was following the KL when I noticed a couple of puffs of white smoke from the exhaust. We pulled over and checked the oil, but all seemed OK and we spent the night in Walcha at the pub. They provided a shed for the bikes.

Walcha (NSW).

The next morning, after loading all the gear, we were about to head down Thunderbolt’s Way when the KL refused to play ball. It wouldn’t fire. John is a skilled mechanic, so we set to work to diagnose the problem. We had spark, compression and fuel, but nothing could coax the KL into life. So after an hour it was decided that I should push on and John would catch up at our next overnight stop. I headed off towards Gloucester on my own. There was a lot of roadworks and some of the hills required a bit of a run up and even the occasional downshift to maintain a good speed.

Summit, Thunderbolt’s Way (NSW).

I stopped in Gloucester for coffee and rang John to see if he’d managed to revive the KL, but he was stumped. He eventually rang a mate who came and took him to Newcastle where repairs took a couple of days. As a result, he didn’t get to the Rally, which was a real shame as we were going to catch up with some of the SR Club members who we rode around Tassie with earlier in the year. I eventually rejoined him in Canberra after the Rally for the ride back to Warwick.

From Gloucester, I rode to Dungog, Singleton, and then onto Denman for lunch – a schooner of Toohey’s Old. It was pretty hot and the Bylong Valley Way was waiting. This is a beautiful part of Australia and the protest signs along the way made me wonder for how much longer will it remain beautiful. The coal miners want to stuff it up like they have the Hunter Valley. The road itself is great with a variety of sweepers and tight sections.

Phipps Cutting is a rest area on the Bylong Valley Way (NSW).

Bylong Valley Way (NSW).

Bylong Valley Way (NSW).

By the time I arrived in Rylstone, I’d had enough for the day, so I took a room at the Globe for the night and was seated in the bar in time for the Happy Hour. They also provided a lock-up garage for the SR. I am an early riser, and after a quick breakfast, I was on my way south to Kandos, Ilford, Sofala and Bathurst. I did of course do a couple of laps on Mt. Panorama. It still staggers me how the likes of Crosby and Hansford could do the speeds they did around the mountain.

Mount Panorama, Bathurst (NSW).

From Bathurst, it was once again on to the back roads after a short ride on the highway to Woodstock, where I turned south to Wyangala, Boorowa and Harden.

Wyangala (NSW).

This is a very pleasant ride and again plenty of corners and bugger-all traffic. Because of the early start, I had plenty of time to cruise along at a relaxed pace, and the SR was running really well. The Airhawk on the seat made it even better. Eventually I arrived at Jugiong where I had to take the Hume Highway for a few kilometres to Gundagai. Sitting on 110 kph was OK, but the SR prefers a gentler pace.

Gundagai (NSW).

From here it was off to Tumut and Jingellic. The road along the Murray was interesting as recent rains had filled the Hume Weir and the water was backed up all the way.

Kennedy’s Reserve, Thologolong (VIC).

A huge contrast to the drought conditions at home in Townsville. Eventually I made it to Bethanga and proceeded to set up camp for the weekend. I had arrived early, but a few other members had as well. In total, I had ridden 1680 km to the Rally and my fuel consumption varied from 62 mpg to 75 mpg. I did lose one bolt from my side cover, but I had a spare. The oil consumption was nil.

Made it! Bethanga (VIC).

The ride home is another story!

SR500 Club Rally Bethanga 2016