Thursday, October 13, 2011

13 October - Barry Sheene Memorial Ride

The Barry Sheene Memorial ride is held each year to coincide with the MotoGP at Philip Island. The ride starts in Bairnsdale and proceeds to Philip Island via Sale, Traralgon, Morwell, Leongatha, Inverloch and San Remo. This year Zane and I participated and Bryce joined us as a pillion on Zane's Harley. We left Traralgon at 07:00 this morning for the ride to Bairnsdale. This turned out to be quite a challenge due to the heavy fog in some places and the sun shining directly into our eyes. Once in Bairnsdale you have to register and have your bike scrutinised before you're issued with a sticker which allows you to participate and to complete one lap around the Philip Island circuit. This ride is a huge event - there must have been around a thousand bikes of all shapes and sizes - and every town we passed through was crammed with people waving flags and cheering us on. All the intersections are temporarily closed and so you can ignore all other traffic and red lights. Having said that keeping a safe distance from all those bikes around you is quite a task. The first stop was Morwell where we pulled up at Kernott Hall where various service clubs had prepared hamburgers, sandwiches, hot dogs etc for lunch. As I approached Morwell I happened to pull up alongside Zane and Bryce - it is quite difficult to stay together.

After a one hour lunch, toilet and fuel break we were off again this time heading for San Remo. We got there about 3 pm  and by 3:25 we were off across the San Remo bridge on our way to the Philip Island Race track.

As you can imagine, lining all these bikes up for an orderly circuit of the track was a daunting task but in the end managed very efficiently. It was quite a thrill riding around the track even if shared with all those other bikes. Within minutes we were done and the ride was officially over. Met up with Zane and Bryce in San Remo for coffee, hot chocolate and cakes - well deserved - and another toilet stop. From there all that remained was the trip home which we completed by 7 pm. The biggest day ever on the bike.

Total Distance 572km.

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