Bart’s 10am start time at Makairo seemed reasonable, but given the switch across to daylight savings, it required a fair amount of commitment from me to get there. I'm not generally an early riser (Mandy can attest to my grouchiness early in the morning).
I’d spend Saturday afternoon tinkering with the carbs – but I'd probably made them worse in the end, so went back to a setting which was close but still not quite there. This meant it was still a little rich running into corners – with consequence that there was not too much engine braking available. On gravel that can be exciting from time to time.
Met with Ricky at Rimutex just before 8.30am (7.30am pre daylight saving), then shot up the main road to Pahiatua, where we topped up the fuel in an expectation of a 300km+ MAD ride.
The start of the Makairo track has been well modified by some idiot with a big chainsaw & digger. There was adequate warning with road closure signage (which we ignored). I assume that the Pratt responsible was looking to mill the Macrocarpa shelter belt. Hopefully the damage is remedied, and not just left as is.
Met Wade, Bart, & Marty at the beginning of the track. Marty had already been in for an explore, & his bike was pretty well covered in shit. He indicated he'd already got stuck in there. That didn’t bode well for Gus getting through.
Photos By Night Falcon
Ricky was poetry in motion going through that. He just gunned it & rode the KTM across the slop like the big dirt bike it is. I guess dirt riding experience pays.
Certainly made me feel (more) inadequate.
Given the low exhaust I wondered how I would get on. Sure enough, I was soon bellied out on the first few drainage channels (don’t know that they shifted any of the slop – I suspect they were laid as tank traps – they certainly worked as such). I guess I should have been more aggressive.
Marty kindly took video & photographic evidence, including of a spill fairly early into it. Marty, I picked it up quick because it was hemorrhaging gas over the handlebars…Wade kindly offered to act as a mud guard, to prevent Gus from doing too much muck spreading while we went in search of traction. You probably should have pushed from the side Wade.
I notice Bart took photos from after the initial destroyed section of the track.
Photos By Bart
I didn’t stop once I passed Bart – I knew I was going to be the slowest through there.
The balance of the track was pretty much as normal. More paddling than standing. Somewhere in there I blew out the arse of my leathers. I’ll need to fix that before the next ride, or the KLR riders will get excited.
Photo by Bart
I was blowing fairly hard by the summit, & had a few rests (not drops) on the way down. I remembered the portion of the track I bellied on at the RRRR (sits right in the middle of the track), so avoided that.
Don’t know I’ll do Makairo again until I’ve got a different exhaust on. I mean, look at what I was competing with..
Photos by Bart
The guys kindly organized a search party from the end of the track – not needed. I just needed to catch my breath.
From the Makairo Track we rode across Towai Rd, Manuhara Rd, & up into the little Manuhara. This track can be a bugger, because it starts fairly grippy, then throws some fairly slick clay bits in under a camoflage covering of pine needle. A heap of fun through. It's not as tight as Makairo, & better for Gus (I can stand). I understand that some bikes were dropped in there (not me).
Photos By Bart
Bart had planned on stopping at the Pongoroa shop for lunch (actually both he & I had packed lunches to keep partners happy). Unfortunately the shop doesn’t open on Sundays, so we relocated to the Pub. That was a good decision. But next time I’m buying lunch. The $10 burgers & chips Wade & Ricky had were massive, looked delicious, & had 2 steaks in them. Not drooling…much.
Photo By Bart
At lunch I decided I would split from the guys. I realized why the leathers felt…well… drafty. Gus had been reluctant to start when I went to shift him, and had made a funny noise when the starter engaged. And I was starting to cramp up from the workout in the Makairo (got to work on fitness).
Marty also split. I see in other threads he’d damaged his knee.
Bart, Wade & Ricky went off to explore roads towards Akitio.
I rode off to Alfredton (should have gone via Puketoi Rd – I’ve wanted to do that road again for a while), then decided to do the Castlehill Rd down to Castlepoint. It was blowing a fair bit there, & the tide was up, but I rode down into the lagoon & watched some surfers for a bit.
Then across to Langdale Rd, Homewood Rd (decided not to go to Riversdale), & through the forestry to Te Wharau Rd, popped out nr Gladstone & along Ponatahi Rd to Martinborough for some gas (was on first reserve).
On the road towards Featherston I made the mistake of switching off to take some photos of clouds...
And Gus just clicked at me when I went to start again. It was a fairly easy crash start in 2nd gear (wouldn’t have wanted to do that in gravel or in the Makairo), then across a very blustery Rimutaka. The new section of the road caught me again, & I visited the gravel on the other side of the road (the wind gets caught by the new cutting & really pushes you around). I wasn’t sure if it was a starter, battery, or alternator fault, so rode with the minimum of lights on, & the heated grips off. It was just getting dark when I arrived home. 570kms for the day. And Gus is still bloody thirsty.
Monday night I was too stuffed to do anything. Tuesday night I transplanted the Bosch starter motor out of the RS & into Gus. Wednesday I went to a work function. Tonight I waterblasted ½ of the Makairo off Gus.
The balance of parts I was waiting on arrived Wednesday. I’m taking Friday off, so we’ll crack into it & see what transpires. Postscript: