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Gremlin's Tall Stories

2012 KB Gathering - Sunday/Monday (03-04/06/2012)

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Up at 0700, no-one had really discussed what time we should be getting up in our room, but it seemed everyone liked the time and ran with it. I had a breakfast of Countdown supplies and most of us were ready to go before Qkkid had even surfaced… slow bugger! He tried revising what time he had said, but none of us were having it.

Before heading out I headed around the corner to get gas then returned and everyone was ready to go. Mplant was joining us for the day’s ride and OCD Legend made herself comfortable on the back after a short briefing on what to do (and perhaps more importantly, what not to do). The guys filled up at the Mobil at the start of SH5 and then we headed east to Bayview to meet the Napier crew who would be joining us for the day ride.

I took up position at the rear, playing TEC behind Mplant as SH5 was boring enough and I had OCD Legend to get used to on the back. Mplant was making good progress, not going too badly. Around one very wide uphill left hander I surprised an oncoming Harley in a group. They were barely entering the corner but this one was already almost on the centre line. With my IAM lines I was closer to the centre line than you’d normally be especially since the lane was so wide. I saw a definite correction from the rider as they were forced to stay further out from the centre line.

The rest of the trip to Bay View was uneventful, except for Mplant missing my indicator and he carried on right past all the stopped bikes and the gas station. I pulled in, figuring he’d notice soon enough that I wasn’t behind him anymore. MSTRS and Yungatart and another were already there and waiting for us. We had a brief break and a ride briefing before heading out. I would take TEC again as I was content to have a cruisy day for the most part, but perhaps play a little during the Gentle Annie.

MSTRS led out down some back roads from Bay View, roads I’d never been on, but boy, I sure love having locals play guide, as the roads were a lot of fun being very tight and twisty. Seafield Rd led to Puketitiri Rd and Mplant was soon in front of me as the others overtook one by one. He was certainly looking more comfortable than the trip down, but the poor guy had still only been riding for a couple of weeks.

On Puketitiri Rd it finally fell apart on a tight downhill right hander. Ntoxcated happened to be just down the road (I think he was chatting to his wife) and sort of saw it in his mirrors. Mplant entered the corner, but panicked, jumped on the brakes and went straight ahead, off the road, through a ditch and even managing to half launch it up a steep bank before tumbling off himself. I pulled over to let OCD Legend off before finding a better position to park and provide more warning for approaching cars. Ntoxcated had already turned around as well and we got the CBR250R back on the road side with a bit of tugging. A brief run down the road by Ntoxcated and we were quite surprised by the minimal damage to the bike, as usually sportbikes destroy themselves (or the fairings).

Back on the road we knew we’d lost a lot of time but figured they’d either stop or come back, and there would be corner markers anyway. Ntoxcated takes point to show lines and braking to Mplant while I bring up the rear. We continue on, but Mplant is clearly a bit shaken and within a couple of kilometres another downhill right hander (but very steep and decreasing radius) catches him out. He’s half braking, half trying to turn and I’m already on the brakes expecting the worst.

He hits the marbles near the edge of the road and goes down harder. This time the CBR250R is starting to complain about the abuse and won’t initially start. We leave it for a few minutes before it’s happy starting, so was most likely flooded. I’m thinking that while he’s getting a hell of an experience it’s not exactly what we’re after, but hey, we can’t do much about it. The delays will also be noticeable to the rest of the group. It’s an odd thing sitting on a barrier post waving and giving thumbs up to cars while we wait for the bike to want to start.

On the road again, a bit more cautious, and I’m hyper sensitive now and hanging back. It wouldn’t really make my day to run over another rider (or bike). Puketitiri Rd is a great ride but now there is no-one in sight. Karen the GPS is all over the map trying to route me through our intended route of the Gentle Annie and I’m getting suspicious that we may be heading into a dead end, yet there has been no-one marking a turn. Mmmm… gravel ahead. I’m reasonably certain that MSTRS wouldn’t be taking a ride along a gravel road and while I’m OK with it, we should probably focus on finding the group and not being lost.

I motion to turn around and we stop in a layby to assess the situation. There’s no reception so I can’t contact MSTRS but I send a txt anyway to inform him of what’s going on, before deciding we should back track. I take lead and we head down the road, only to run into MSTRS in less than 1km and yep, he’s out looking for us. We let him take lead and it pans out that we should have turned between Mplant’s two bins (so uh, the second one kinda wasn’t necessary). The main group has had lunch and continued on through the Gentle Annie, while a couple are stopped at Puketapu Tavern waiting for us.

We arrive (just a little later than planned) but once the lunch finally arrives it makes up for it, as it’s delicious. Ntoxcated almost had his death wish granted when he tried to send mine away saying none of us had ordered it, but since I rescued my food, he would live to see another day!

It was almost mid-afternoon and too late to tackle the Gentle Annie now, especially with a learner in tow. I still really wanted to, and night riding is fine by me, but the group, and especially a learner’s needs, come first. MSTRS led us back to the main drag and Ntoxcated offered to take TEC to give me a break. I warned Mplant that at times I would step up the pace and he didn’t need to keep up, as I would wait down the road. The plan was to lead, but now and then have a play through the tighter bits to give us both a nice time.

Bar one cop out hunting, the return trip was uneventful, but the main group had still beaten us back to Taupo when we arrived in the early evening. Their report was that the road had been fun, but very slippery in places and no place to take a learner, so we made the right choice to return via the main roads. OCD Legend reported she’s enjoyed the back of the BMW, so maybe Ntoxcated will see the light in due course and get himself a lovely practical BMW tourer… or not.

While the rest headed into town almost straight away, I told them I would catch up, so it gave me a chance to check on emails and ring one or two people. Later on, searching the town (which isn’t really that large) I failed to find them, settled for some takeaways at a place I’ve been to before on previous trips, and then found them back in the backpackers already, having bought themselves some pizzas.

We had a fun night swapping stories, but the southern lot had already had late nights on the previous nights, and had an early start the following day to head south so they turned in and we weren’t far behind. We briefly discussed leave times and routes, but there were a lot of options and no-one really choosing anything so we left it for the morning.

It took me a short while to get to sleep but then had a good sleep through to morning.


It was a lazy start, surfacing after 0700 and since there wasn’t far to go there wasn’t too much rush either. It was another Countdown breakfast of nuts and raisins and orange juice, but a healthy start to the day. Several options on offer for the return to Auckland got whittled down to one basic route, mostly main roads, SH1 to Tirau and Okoroire Pub for an early lunch, then SH27 to SH2 then SH1 and home.

The whole group was pretty much going to do that, so while they headed out to Wairakei to fill up, I found the Shell in town and then joined them, taking up my usual position of TEC. Traffic was reasonably light on the open road but the lack of cops was quite surprising.

The Okoroire Pub was quite when we arrived but then got busier after we arrived. No repeat of the antics we had on Maha’s ride where someone locked the keys into the car. I had a delicious mango drink and burger, but not everyone ate as it wasn’t quite lunch time. I’m not one to pass up an excellent burger on offer, so got stuck into it.

Turning onto SH27 after Okoroire there’s an oncoming police car… ah, more expected, but the second one wasn’t too expected, but no-one was even at the limit yet after pulling out of the side road. The rest of the trip was uneventful, but in excellent sunny conditions.

I peeled off as we passed through East Tamaki, waving good bye, and once home noted I’d still notched up over 1000km for the weekend. Didn’t go exactly as planned, but still saw some faces you see once or twice a year and had a good time with plenty of laughs.
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  1. gijoe1313's Avatar
    Ahh this is what happened after I left you guys! When I was leading Mplant down to Taupo, I was a bit concerned myself. We had some slight drizzle and slippery conditions - I really had to emphasise the lines and braking to ensure he had the right cues.

    Wish I could have tagged along for the rest of that ride!