It all started with a Queenslander. Ian ‘ideas man’ Brill said, ‘why don’t you do this year’s Giro on the Mount Panorama circuit’. So we did.
The NSW/ACT event was run a little later than the others, due to lack of availability of many of the usual suspects. However the re-arranged date, the June long weekend, was the perfect opportunity for a gathering of the scooter clans. A few hardy souls rode to Bathurst and others drove, and by Sunday morning 15 scooterists had congregated on the grass verge at the bottom of Conrod Straight, staring at what would have been Mount Panorama had it not been completely obscured by fog.
The 5 Ps
But there’s more to this story than simply riding four times round the Mount Panorama racetrack. Most participants took the opportunity to arrive the day before in order to prepare themselves and their steeds, so that both were in tip-top condition for the event. People prep may or may not have included cleansing ales and not-so-cleansing shots. Scooter prep involved Terry Smith wiping the fog from the Lambro windscreen, me checking my sparkplug colour and just about everyone getting lost going to the servo to fuel up.
There’s always one
…and it had to be Chris Johnson, whose people prep was taken too seriously and resulted in a lie-in.
And they’re off!
Sean Heffernan has developed a way to not need a timekeeper for the giro, or rather he makes everyone a timekeeper. People pair up: one rides, the other times them, then they swap. Genius! The event takes a little longer than if everyone set off at about the same time, but it also gives people the opportunity to watch or photograph others riding, which is cool. Sean was very good at explaining to everyone how to use their mobile phone lap timers – there were only a couple of riders who had to do an extra lap because of stopwatch operator error.
Those going first rode mostly in cold, foggy conditions – all a bit other-worldly. Those in the second group were blessed with views from the top of the mountain and warm sunshine.
Mount Panorama is a public road with a 60 kph speed limit which is heavily enforced by both fixed and mobile speed cameras. For this reason, we decided not to wear the Giro bibs and were happily left alone to putter round the circuit four times. In fact, we got lots of smiles and waves (even from some of the bikers) and most of the people walking a lap of the track stopped at our gathering point to have a chat and admire the scooters.
Once everyone had finished their laps, times had been calculated and awards presented, we all did a final group ride round the circuit and followed Terry in his Lambro the long way back into town for a late lunch. We managed to find the worst café in Bathurst and wait foreva for average food, which was unfortunate because Michael King was keen to ride out round the Sofala Esses (100 km loop) but ran out of warmth and daylight for this jaunt. He contented himself with joining a few others (including Chris, who rose from his deathbed after lunch) for one last lap of Mount Panorama.
The evening consisted of further debriefing over wood-fired pizza and Fat Bastard red wine (Sean’s recommendation! It was, in fact, a rather nice Malbec.)
Starting grid – runners and riders
People came from near and far to vie for the title and bought along a wide variety of classic scooters, including Terry’s mighty Lambro (which did make it up the hill, proving the naysayers wrong).
The journey to Bathurst from Canberra is pretty direct, now that the Trunkey Road route is sealed all the way. Making the 270 km journey from the nation’s capital were:
Chris Johnson (scratch!)
Nicky Hussey (me)
Nico Wright with his wife Marita as pillion.
The Sydney contingent had nearly as far to come: 210 km over the Blue Mountains either via Penrith and Katoomba or the Bells Line of Road:
Steve and Natasha Diffey
Mark le Cornu and Fleur James
Team BRB: Phillip Julian, Sean Heffernan and Terry Minutillo
Tim Coffey was the local representative, riding 55 km from Orange.
Michael King and Craig Trimble drove all the way up from Victoria (nearly 800 km) to have a second crack at a medal – much respect!
And the winner is…
Me! Not entirely sure how that came about, as I’m usually the most inconsistent rider out there, but the calculations showed I had an average lap variation of 1.95 seconds on my Series 1. I must have paid attention to my braking marks or something 😊. Terry Smith in his Lambro came second with an average variation of 2.87 seconds. I have a suspicion that riding slow vehicles as fast as they’ll go might be what to do to win this event! Craig Trimble on a new-to-him PX200 came third with an average variation of 3.1 seconds. Lucky last was Fleur James on her TV175 with a variation of 14.68 seconds.
Thanks for all the fish
Many thanks go to Sean Heffernan for organising the event again this year. Bathurst, we might be back next year!
Nicky Hussey – Canberra Swarm SC, LCoA