Tuesday, January 14


KIWI Rider is going ahead with a Classic Road Trial in the first week of February, so get your fingers on those keyboards and send us an email so we can send you full details.

We have mapped out two superb days of winding roads through the central North Island, most of which few readers will have ever ridden. We pre-ran the route on Wednesday (January 16) and can confirm that of the approximately 500km, there is a total of around 100 metres of gravel.  KR Publisher Pete McPhee, a gravel road master, is a little embarrassed by this.

"There should have been some gravel stretches.  After all, when these bikes were new, most roads in New Zealand were gravel!  But, as slack as many councils are, they have tarred over all the great roads I grew up sliding around on, damn it!"

Back in the 1950s, British bike ruled the roads in New Zealand but by the early 1970s, bikes like this BSA Firebird  (above) were less common than Japanese twins, such as this Yamaha 350 (below).  Will we see examples of these on the re-born KR500?

The route is undulating, winding and meanders around so much that it will touch virtually every point on the compass.  When we say winding, we mean just that. There are only about three stretches of more than four kilometres that run in a straight line!

The ride will start in Taupo on Wednesday, February 5 - two days after the MV Agusta Classic race meeting.  It will involve two days of riding winding back roads and will end up with entrants in the vicinity of Hampton Downs at the end of day two.

There is bound to be a fair bit of banter...
Following the ride is the Triumph Classic Racing Festival at Hampton Downs on February 7-9 for those who want to really soak up the Classic motorcycling atmosphere.

"The idea is to have a pleasant two day ride with people who enjoy older motorcycles," says McPhee, "but we will also include smaller capacity modern bikes because we know there will be fathers with old bikes who have sons with newer machines who would like to come along.   The idea is for riders to stick to a fairly low average speed and follow route sheet instructions."

The daily distances have been kept at just over 220km to allow plenty of time for Classic bike riders to stop at interesting spots, take photos, try the local cuisine, grab a coffee or fiddle with their machines.

Kiwi Rider pioneered Adventure Riding in New Zealand, starting with the first KR 500 event in 1988.  That and subsequent KR500s, as well as the original BMW Safaris organised by Kiwi Rider, incorporated a public road courses that entrants followed using route sheet instructions.
Will we see Italian singles and twins on the KR500, or
will their owners prefer to keep them in their lounge rooms rather than mix with the British and Japanese machinery?  And who can ignore Germany's finest (below) ?

Now magazine Publisher Pete McPhee has decided to run a road-only event to cater for Veteran, Vintage, Classic and smaller capacity modern motorcycles.

"Although KIwi Rider started the Adventure riding movement in New Zealand, there are now plenty of people, such as Mike Britton and Robbie Cricket, offering excellent rides for people who want to get off the tarmac.

"The idea of the Classic Road Trial is to let people enjoy riding their old motorcycles through some interesting countryside at a sedate pace, with stops for morning and afternoon tea as well as a lunch break.  I am sure the route we have mapped out will see entrants visiting places they have never heard of, let alone visited!"

Modern bikes will have a place in the re-born KR500 too. 
Kiwi Rider will have a back-up vehicle follow the route, with penalty points against riders who break down, and perhaps a booby-prize for the silliest break down. That alone should be reason to make sure you bike is in tip-top condition. 

Running out of fuel will be considered a capital offence, with a Lee Enfield SMLE-equipped firing squad ready to deal with miscreants. 

"Reliability will definitely be the name of the game, as well as the ability to navigate according to the route sheet instructions," adds McPhee.

To register your interest, email:  KR500@takeme2.net  right away.