Text heavy write up - I took bugger all photos. Hopefully I can steal from others.
The weather for this ride wasn’t looking too flash.
I took time off late on Friday afternoon to get a WoF for the bike. I’d needed to do some work on the bike prior, & because of a delay in getting the parts in, I was rushing to get the bike together after attending a work function. The moral of the story is don’t work on the bike when you are not umm…firing on all cylinders. I missed the WoF with a leaking fork seal (just replaced these & the bushes) & hyper flashing indicators. I was the last inspection for the day. The inspector didn’t comment on the YZF forks or the brake lines as expected.
Up at 6.00am to leave by 7.00am. Unfortunately when I bravely peered out the window, it was already raining. The Metservice real-time data indicated it was raining at Paraparaumu & Palmerston North. Fortunately it appeared dry in Masterton, but it meant I needed to ride the Rimutakas (what a chore)…but that way is also slightly longer time wise.
By Pahiatua it was obvious I was late (it was already 9.00am), but I figured I had enough gas, & I thought I’d meet the guys coming towards me if they left on time. That wasn’t to be. Got to the Woodville meeting place to be told 5or 6 bikes left 5 or so minutes ago.
Okay the other meet point was the Makairo track itself. Should I ride thru or go around & meet them on the other side. What to do.
Gerard was waiting at the Mangatainoka turnoff on his R1100GS hybrid (I think he’d been looking at the rally cars that were using the compound for scrutineering for a Whariti Rd hill climb). Together we set off towards Makairo, noting no sign of bike passing in then gravel roads. Then, not far from Makairo, lot of sign. Okay, guess they came in a different way. (Photo by Bart).
Bart & five of six others were waiting at the entrance. He noted more riders were expected from Dannevegas.
The group (when it finally assembled) consisted of: Me - Box’a’bits (R100GS); Bart (DR650); Waihou Thumper (Husky 610); DR Girl (Dr200); Nic (XT225); Chris (KTM 690); Hugh (DR650); GPS Man (KLR650); GSers (R1100GS); Clint 640 (KTM 640); Rosie (WR250R); Waipukbiker (KL250); Pomgolian; and a couple of others who I didn’t really get an opportunity to catch up with.
Makairo Track is a disused road, which has reverted into single track. It runs through bush, & up along a ridge line, to an open summit, and then a descent into a quarry. It is infrequently maintained, & is now mainly used by hunters & mountain bike clubs. I don’t think that you could get a 4WD through it now, given its overgrown nature & steep drop offs on the right side of the track.
I grabbed a handful of stinging nettle at one point when I jumped off to help Nic. She graciously allowed me to photograph the moment.
Gerard cross rutted fairly early on, with inevitable consequences. Later he dropped a wheel off one bank, which we needed to lift back up. Gus beached both jugs on the downhill section in one of the ruts. It definitely proved a workout, & I was fairly tired by the end of the track. (Photo by Bart)
Bart took the group over Towai Range, & down to Little Manuhara Rd, another disused road, now likely used as a stock route. This starts promisingly with hard packed limestone, but deteriorates as it climbs into Macrocarpa trees (ruts & roots) & a bit of slick mud. It was my turn to cross rut in there – I landed hard on my back & was later surprised my camera (carried in my camelback) survived the impact.
Lunch stop at Pongoroa, at the general store. I overheard several comments surprised at how few kms we had traveled compared to the felt work rate.
After replenishing reserves, we headed down Coast Rd to Akitio. Bart had organized access across Akitio Station & also across Tautane Station. This was generally wide well formed tracks, paralleling the ocean.
There was one stream ford there, which had obviously seen some water thru it. The ford was concrete, but the stream had been up on one bank, creating a silty bog. No real issues once you were on the ford though, & no one took advantage of the number of cameras pointed at them to fall off. (Photo by Bart)
At the Tautane Station we had a moment with a station horse, who decided to play race the bikes. Clint attempted to overtake on the grass, only to find a culvert. Whilst he made the jump over that, he dumped the bike turning back onto the track.
Bart decided that discretion was the better part of valor when the horse decided to run straight at him to get thru a gateway. I hope there wasn’t any issues with the station when they discovered their horse a few miles (and paddocks) away.
About then we discovered 2 of our party were missing. Wade went back for them, but they had disappeared. It seems that when we made a right turn to go to Akitio station, they went straight ahead. I guess the lesson is to make sure tail end Charlie is fully aware of the route. Fortunately we caught Nic again at the Porangahau Hotel (she was probably just thirsty). Hugh eventually turned up after dark at Napier, having done a bigger tour than he’d anticipated....
Bart had been concerned about a climb out of the Tautane Station. This had been pugged fairly recently, but dry, & was fun with reasonably good suspension.
Having left the station we moved on to Blackhead, & rode the beach over the slip (which now had a track across it) to Pourerere. We were much later than expected, but fortunately the tide hadn’t come up too far. I really enjoyed this section on Gus. (Photos by Bart)
Followed Pourerere Rd back to Waipawa for gas, riding straight into the weather front which had been traveling along the hills. Still only light rain. At Waipawa a few decided to exit for Home. The balance went inland to Range Rd, then Argyll Rd, only to the turned back at Rauakwa Rd when we came across an accident (fatality). Back Te Onepu Rd to SH2, to Westshore Holiday Park, Napier to overnight.