Archive for April, 2009

Seafield Road Motorcycle Hillclimb

Monday, April 20th, 2009

My good friend Steve TXT’d me about a hill climb, or sprint, whilst I was in Washington DC at a workshop in mid-March. I’ve been to hill climbs at Te Onepu and Salisbury Rd a few times to watch a variety of cars give it a go. However, I missed the point of Steves TXT when I was in DC. On Saturday past I got a TXT from Steve about another hill climb. I called him that evening to discover that he and a group of local bikers had arranged for the road closure at Te Onepu and now at Seafield Road to allow bikers to legally thrash up the road as fast as they dare.

The road was closed from 0900 until 1630. In that time they hoped to get as many runs as the time, number of riders and any incidents allowed. On the day there were 35 bikes and they should manage maybe 6 or 7 runs through the day for the princely sum of NZ$40 (GBP15). If I had the DRZ ready with the supermoto wheels I would have given it a go. But given the fact that I had way less than 24 hrs notice and the fact that I’m a bit rusty having not ridden much over the last month or so, I wasn’t prepared to risk it on the Speed Triple which could bite back much harder than the DRZ. I’m definitely up for it next time.

In the meantime, some photos from the day.

Steve launches the CBR off the line and keeps the front wheel on the floor

Haven’t seen one of these for years. Well used, but smelled and sounded the same!

Familiar sight of the day – big thumper hoists the front off the line…

Not sure if the full moon was out….

… but more sane than this in my book.

Thankfully the owner/rider didn’t attempt to run this up the hill. With a 350 c.i. Chev motor in there it is extremely long, wide and heavy. Must handle like a pig, but sounded pretty good.

Old Man Emu

Monday, April 20th, 2009


My 1981 ‘Classic’ range rover, three door finally failed a WOF (warrant of fitness) because of worn tyres. I’d been preparing for this and had lined up some 235 section tyres to replace the 205s. At the same time I knew I had to replace the shock absorbers as I could feel the front wheels pattering over bumps which means poor handling, reduced braking efficiency and excessive tyre wear. One of the rear shocks had eaten its lower rubber mounting bushes too. After some research it appeared that the best solution was a complete set of springs and shock absorbers from OME, or ‘Old Man Emu’, supplied by one of the main 4WD suppliers ARB. The four springs and shocks, plus the steering damper, are tuned for the vehicle. Many reviews I read suggested that this choice transformed the handling on and off road and removed the temptation to either remove the rear ride height strut or add anti-roll, or sway bars.

It cost me around NZ$1500 or about GBP600 for the full set, but it has indeed transformed the handling. It would have been interesting to compare against new original suspension since mine was 28 years old. However, I’m happy with new setup.

Now I’ve had a heater bypass hose blow. Old vehicles – love ’em!!