Mount Macedon Memorial Service

Each year around 11th November Victorian Ulysses Branches converge on the Mount Macedon memorial cross to remember not only those who died in military service, but also to commemorate Ulysses members who have died in the past year. Each of the deceased member’s name and branch is read out. The service is run by the Macedon Ranges Branch with the Geelong Branch providing the catering. It is officiated by a sprightly octagenarian  motorcycling minister of religion with many hundreds of thousands of kilometers under the wheels of his ageing BMW – many with his wife pillion.

I led the riding group left from the Corio Roadhouse (Geelong) straight to Bacchus Marsh where we met the Westgate Wanderers and a few fellas from the Grampians Branch.  Once we negotiated the road closures in Bacchus Marsh we headed along the Avenue of Honour and then out the back way to Toolern Vale and on to Gisborne. We stopped for a minute’s silence at 11.00am on the roadside a few kms out of Gisborne. From there it was a good run through to Centennial Park at Mount Macedon.

Gentle & Coll, Willie and Lindsay travelled by car towing the chuck wagon and a trailer with tables and chairs etc. Gentle did an amazing job of organising the catering supplies and logistics. I’d also like to acknowledge all those who contributed by way of cooking (Willie, Lindsay & Steve) and all who set up the tables and shelters, served the food and helped with the pack up at the end. Great teamwork!

Once we were at Centennial Park, the ride up to the cross and service was run by the Macedon Ranges Branch. There was an excellent turn out of motorcycles, trikes and Spyders. Our crew cooked whilst the service was held a few kilometers away.

Lindsay on the snags

(Photo credit Peter Barclay)

(Photo credit Peter Barclay)

(Photo credit Peter Barclay)

After the service the hungry hoards returned to Centennial Park where we served a BBQ lunch. There was a very friendly ‘vibe’ as people from all over the place mingled and talked all things motorcycling.

Our members serving the food(Photo credit Peter Barclay)

The riding group travelled home in beautiful sunny conditions via Woodend, Trentham, Greendale, Ballan and wound up at Anakie.

Many thanks to Mark Nicoll for amazing TEC work, especially when we diverted around a road closure in Bacchus Marsh after I led the combined branches to a road block!  Thanks also to Peter Barclay for his amazing photos of the event, of which you can see more of on our Bulletin Board, just CLICK HERE


Phillip Island MotoGP 2018

Mrs T and I camped in a caravan park in Phillip Island for four nights for the MotoGP weekend, rather than our usual day visit. We arrived by car with our camper trailer in tow on pre-race Thursday afternoon, set up and then wandered into Cowes for a look about. Our camper trailer is fairly basic, however, with its battery, solar panels, ‘fridge  and stove we are quite self sufficient. However, a powered site was the only option so we had the added luxury of running a heater – which was very welcome in the evening and the chilly PI spring mornings. The caravan park and its rental cabins were completely occupied by motorcycle enthusiasts by the end of the day.

Thursday evening in Cowes was pretty quiet, although we did come across the legendry duo of Tex and Bundy. The pop up merch shops were doing a brisk trade as their goods are less expensive than the vendors at the circuit.

Everyone loves Valentino it seems!

We drove to the track on Friday morning, fully prepared for all weather conditions! The place was a hive of activity with all the teams getting their practice sessions underway and spectators sorting the best viewing positions and visiting the trackside Expo.

It was sunny but only around 13C with a very cool breeze, so the shelter and free coffee offered at the Spokes tent (yes that “brick wall” is fake) was too appealing to Dorothy and she settled in for the morning whilst I eventually wandered off to turn one to watch the action.

Moto 2 rider Marcel Schrotter getting up to speed.

Rookie rider Franco Morbidelli in front of one of the big TV screens

All the big names were out, and based on prior form, Dovizioso and Marquez (above) had to be the favourites.

Caught the bus to the track on Saturday to avoid the parking hassles at the track and had a great day after some early morning showers. Chillertek had rung early and suggested bringing an umbrella, which were glad we did. Saturday’s qualifying sessions are actually my favourite part of the whole weekend and all of the afternoon sessions were really entertaining. And to top it off,  Maverick Vinales qualified on pole.

Vinales exiting pit lane.

After a few missed communications, we managed to catch up with fellow blogger Chillerteck of the famous “Road to Nowhere‘ blog. You really should check out some of Steve’s trackside photography – it is excellent. It was great to catch up with Steve, and to meet his brother Dave for the first time – see his View from Above blog for some excellent cycling info, as well as motorcycling. As always, the time absolutely flew talking to these guys, and it was great to catch up again Steve.

Saturday night in Cowes was vibrant with lots of people out and about, however, the police and security staff nearly outnumbered the race enthusiasts.

Sunday dawned dry, sunny and still a little chilly and we again caught the bus to the track. Each stop had stacks of racegoers waiting and there was a great ‘vibe’ and plenty of banter.

We spent raceday in an elevated position at the start of the main straight, which affords a view of Lukey Hieghts,and turns 10, 11 & 12. It also has a big screen to see the rest of the circuit. This was the first time we’ve watched from here. It was packed due to the the shelter it offers compared to more favoured sopts such as Siberia and MG corner. I’m glad we were there early and secured a good spot! The racing conditions were perfect, the morning ‘Waurm Ups’ were entertaining and in no time the races had begun. Arguably, the Moto 3 race was the race of the day in terms of hard elbow to elbow racing and excitement. Unfortunately, I was just a little too far from Turn 12 for any good pics from my camera.

All of the races were excellent and the MotoGP races was altered dramatically when Zarco ran into the back of Marquez at the end of the main straight and ended both of their races for the day. Even so, Vinales had started poorly and spent the first few laps in 10th place. However, he quickly picked his way through the field, and went on to lead by 4 seconds – pretty rare at PI.  It had been an excellent day that had flown past in the blink of an eye. Had a great evening chatting to other race fans over drinks at the caravan park, including our camp ‘neighbours’ – one who’d flown in from Auckland and met his mate who’d flown from West Aust and then they’d hired a van at the airport.

Departed on Monday morning having had a really enjoyable (and comfortable)  5 days at PI. We plan to do it all again next year.

The sun sets in Cowes on Sunday evening.

Post script: Seeing interesting motorcycles is also a great aspect of the GP weekend. here are some that caught my eye.

Kawasaki Z1R – the same as the one we owned in 1980

Had two of these over the years, both in the candy apple red colour

A retro Suzuki Katana

I’ve never seen an elephant in the wild before!