Friday, December 7, 2018

Lap of the Mount

I had a call from my older bro last weekend asking me if I'd like to meet him and the kids at Bathurst for lunch. Checking in for permission with the minister of finance and warfare who was conveniently tied up with the kids at a netball event I was in luck. He said to meet him about 11:30am at Mt Panorama one of Australia's premier car road racing circuit. Sweet I thought, sounds like a fun day out on the bike

First stop was at the historic marker at Mitchell's Pass coming down the other side of the Blue Mountains. The westerly winds were blowing hard today with 50-60kmh gusts, I was getting blown about a bit and the roads were covered in leaf litter and fallen tree limbs.

Historic Mitchells Pass marker 1832

Victoria Pass
I continued on out to little hartley and turned off down the Oberon road. I had plenty of time till I had to be there so I thought I'd ride down through Jenolan Caves as it had been some considerable time since I'd been this way.

Blue Mountains
I stopped to put the gopro on, but low and behold it turned itself off after a few seconds, then when I got to the cave noticed it was off so no footage. It went flat within 10 seconds of turning it on. I think its time for a new gopro.

Jenolan Caves main entrance

From the inside looking back out

The inside of this cave is absolutely huge. It's so big there is a building built inside up on the top of one of the rock outcroppings. Stalactites hang down from the ceilings on one side of the cave.

The R1's exhaust sounded pretty fucking magic giving it a few revs inside the cave. Just after I arrived a group of about a dozen dirt bikes showed up on a group ride.

There are many different smaller caves that lead of out of the main cave. I'd like to come back here with the kids one day and explore these.

After leaving the caves I rode up the steep incline out of the valley, the wind had picked up again. It was blowing that hard I had to slow down to 80kmh in a few spots as I was getting blown about. I stopped in for fuel at Bathurst around 11:30am. A large storm was blowing in quickly. After refueling I messaged Flyboy and headed straight up to the mountain.

Just as I arrived I noticed their Suv in the motor museum car park so I pulled up and said hello. They were unloading the push bikes so they could ride them around the mountain circuit. Better them than me I thought. Just then it started to spot with some rain, but as soon as it had started it was over again and the storm had blown off to the east.

I stopped for a pic of the start/finish straight as those mtb's flew by at a blistering 12-15kmh. I pulled up next to them before darting off up the mountain for a few photos.

The famous Mount Panorama skyline

Bathurst with passing storms
I reached the top of the skyline and looked back, the mtb's would still be climbing mountain straight, so I have plenty of time to stop for more photos before I lap them, heh heh.

Bathurst from Skyline

Coming down the mountain through the dipper and esses is a lot of fun, but you could easily be doing license losing speed up here. It's a public road most of the year and it has a heavy police presence year round for obvious reasons, so I was on my best behaviour.

Conrod Straight
I came around the start line again and headed back up the mountain. As I was going slow I was curious to see how far around the mtb's would be, I found them riding up the steep hill towards the cutting the 3rd corner on the track. Pulling up next to Flyboy I checked the speedo, yep 6 kmh, it is a very steep hill in their defense. He speed up to 16kmh after I gave him a ribbing and then he tried to grab hold to get a tow but I speed off and left him in my dust. Haha. A few more photo stops and they caught up at skyline.

Flyboy, Flygirl and Batman

More storms over Bathurst after one lap

By this time they rode off down the hill. I checked my tyre's temperature, the front was a little warm but the back was no longer warm. I thought this could be interesting coming down the twistiest part of the track with cold tyres.

The first right hand bend and the rear tyre was sliding, then the very next left corner into the dipper the rear was sliding again. I little disconcerting, lucky the front didn't slide. I caught back up to them down near the end of conrod straight. They can go down hill pretty damn fast. Bet they were breaking the speed limit, bloody hooligans. You wouldn't see me doing anything like that.

Back at the motor museum about an hour later we decide to have a look around the museum. Neither of us had been inside for years and the kids had never been.

The size of the museum had doubled since I was here last more than 15 years ago. I was surprised to see that they had a lot of bikes in here. There was an excellent display of Greg Hansfords race bikes. Sadly Greg was killed in a touring car race at Phillip Island back in the 90's.

The front 3rd was a mixture of cars and bikes, but the middle 3rd was dedicated to bikes which was a pleasant surprise. The last bike racing that I remember here was back in 1988 before it was abandoned for being to dangerous. I wonder if these people have heard of the Isle of Mann.

Wayne Gardners 1987 championship winning 500cc two stroke beast was on display with wayne's rothmans leathers of the day.

I noted that his Moriwaki Superbike and race leathers were also on display here. He raced this bike famously in Britain, Daytona and Japan where he won the suzuka 8 hours and humiliated the honda factory team.

The exhaust engineering seems to be pretty shonky on that pipe

The list of race winners has some pretty famous names on it especially the last year 1988, one Michael Doohan.

Moving on into the last 3rd of the museum this was dedicated to the V8 race cars that had made Bathurst famous.

Peter Brock lauded as King of the Mountain by many famously won 9 bathurst 1000 races the most in it's history. His 1978 X9 Torana is on display as well as one of the early race winning Commodores(Taxi).

After finishing up looking at all those beautiful bikes and cars we headed into town for some grub, at the Oxford Hotel. I thought I'd just get a small burger for lunch. When it came out it was anything but small. I think it was almost as big as my head.

I said goodbye to the family as they made their way home back towards Brisbane. I decided that I would ride back through Lithgow and take the Bells line of road home through the mountains. I was soon regretting have such a large lunch, especially seeing as I had a late night before as I began to get very tired riding along here. I thought I needed a coffee to keep me alert and awake.

The scenery along the Bells Line sure is great every time you travel along this bit of road.

I was about an hour from home but desperately needed to stop for a coffee as I was feeling unusually fatigued. I stopped in at Bilpin. One shop had a nice deal for coffee and home made apple pie. I didn't need the pie but boy it sure was good. The coffee did the trick keeping me alert for the last leg home. All up a great days riding if only a short ride. Thanks bro.



  1. Thanks for coming out. It was good to catch up.
    A couple of points - 1. we were so slow because Lucy hasn’t ridden all year and we were sticking with her. 2. I went to the last motorcycle race meeting at Bathurst at Easter 1994. (I’ll post some photos up of that)
    Also, I really have to get to Jenolan Caves one day. That road from Goulburn to Bathurst was freaking awesome too, even if I was in a 4wd with bikes hanging off the back. I will be back with a motorbikecycle......

    1. I'd be interested to see your pics of the bikes at bathurst. That would have been pretty awesome to see.

  2. Wow, what a fantastic post and photos Steve - definitely a ride to remember in your dotage even though it wasn't a long one. So much automotive history. I remember Tony Longhurst's Sierra Cosworth. Great to get photos of your bike on the circuit. Are you sure you didn't give it a little squirt down Conrod with your bro acting as a scout? Bathurst is massive in NZ too.

    1. Hi Geoff
      There were no high speed shenanigans along Conrod, I prefer to keep my license thanks. Thats not to say that coming down the esses on the twistiest bit of track I didn't nudge above the limit slightly.

  3. Now thats my kinda ride out on the bike... We are just starting the cold weather here in the UK, but heated grips are a god send!
    Thanks for your comment on Everyday Superbikes Chiller... Things are looking up, my mates got a new bike :)

  4. That's a mighty impressive line up for a one day ride Steve. The caves, the track, the museum, the burger!

  5. This is too much for me to process. The cave alone had me captivated. And then all these handsome cars. Looks like a great day to be had.