Weekend to Dalwhinnie Winery

The Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria arranged a weekend run into western Victoria to visit the Quoin Hill Winery and the Dalwhinnie Winery – both owned by club members.  I decided to cut across the top of Victoria, via Shepparton, Elmore, Raywood, Bridgewater and Logan to overnight at St Arnaud.


By luck, I found La Cochon Rose motel in the centre of town.  Access to the motel units out the back was by riding though the old carriage archway.  So the Guzzi was parked off-street and out of sight.   And I was close to the pubs and restaurants.


La Cochon Rose


The carriageway entrance

The next morning, I moseyed down through Avoca – had a coffee – and onto Quoin Hill Winery at Waubra.  The rest of the club arrived soon after for lunch.

Quoin Hill collage

Then we sped along the Sunraysia Highway to Avoca and Moonambel.  This is quite a pleasant ride through the hills with plenty of sweepers.  We rode up to Dalwhinnie Winery for a tour of the cellar and for some bike pics…

Dalwhinnie collage

…before returning to our overnight stay, the Moonambel Resort Hotel.  Stuart had us all sorted out with rooms and bike parking.  A shower, or swim, and we were ferried back up to the winery for a BBQ and tasting session.

Dalwhinnie collage 2

To beat the forecast heat, I was on the road at 8.30am for the 400km run home, keeping an eye out for bloody kangaroos.

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About 1000km for the weekend on the Breva 1100.  She’s 10 years old, now, and running like a champ.

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In Search of Ned Kelly

Living in north-east Victoria, one is never far from historic locations associated with Ned Kelly and the gold rushes -the so-called “Kelly Country”.  So I fanged my Guzzi California EV down the roads to Greta, the one-time location of the Kelly family home.  Greta is not far from Glenrowan, the site of the famous siege and use of armour.


Ned Kelly was hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol in 1880 and buried in the yard.  In 2011, his and other executed prisoners remains were exhumed and Kelly’s were identified by matching mitochondrial DNA.  His remains were returned to his descendants who granted him his final wish to be buried near his mother.  The graves are unmarked to prevent looting by the idiots in our society.


It’s sad that the graves of the men Kelly murdered are not as well known.


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2016 Spaghetti Rally

Spent four days at the Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria‘s annual Spaghetti Rally at Edi Cutting.  The forecast was for fine weather after several weeks of heavy rain.  The King River had flooded a week or so earlier but the camp site had come up dry by the weekend.

Arrived on Thursday to help set up with JFerg and Steve.  The cold storage trailer, firewood, rubbish skip and port-a-loos arrived.  Went into Wangaratta on Friday morning with Ferg to buy the beer, bread, etc.  By 1pm my Cali EV was still the only bike on site!  But then we were inundated and by evening about 80 rally-goers and their bikes had rolled in.  Fridays have been getting progressively more popular.  We put the spit roast on about 1.30pm, aiming for a 6-ish feed.  It came out perfick!

Bikes rolled in all Saturday, so we ended up with about 190 people.  Riders came from Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney.  Saturday night clipped along and the bar was kept busy.  We make a profit on the beer sales, but it’s sold at a price much cheaper than the pubs.  The spaghetti sauce, which the club had made on a  Saturday “Bol-a-thon” a month or so earlier, kept everyone fed.  The local scouts rolled up on Saturday and Sunday mornings and sold bacon and egg rolls for brekky.

The campsite cleared Sunday morning and I hung around to help with the clear up.  Home early Sunday arvo.

I’ve been keeping an eye on an oil leak.  Looks like the seal at the rear of the gearbox is leaking.  I’ll drop the bike into the local Guzzi dealer, Blacklocks, in Albury.



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Run to Hume Dam


Happy Valley, looking back at Mt Buffalo.


The Hume Dam arm near Tangambalanga.

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Breva 1100 60,000km Service

Over several days, I conducted the 60,000km service on my ’06 Breva 1100.

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Before taking the tank off, make sure that you have a safe place to place it.  As usual, it took me some time and swearing to release the fuel line “quick” disconnect fitting.

The rocker cover gaskets were the originals – 10 years old.  This time, one tore as I removed the cover so I replace both of them with the new rubberised metal type.  Checked the tappets but no adjustment was need.

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Changed all the fluids, the air and oil filter.  Ryco now make oil filters for motorcycles so, rather than use their Z418, which I’ve always used in my Breva and Cali, I installed their RMZ126.

Used Penrite’s fully synthetic 10W-60 oil for the engine, with its high zinc content for flat tappet engines, and their 80W-90 gear oil for the gearbox and rear drive.  Used some tin foil to direct the old oil into the container.

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For the first time, I removed the suspension linkage and and regreased the roller bearings.  Fiddly bloody job, but quite straightforward.  Placed a jack under the swingarm to release the suspension tension, and the linkage came out easily.

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I wanted to do the swingarm bearings, too, but piked out.  I spent some time cleaning every electrical terminal I could find with a wire brush until they shone like a spoon.

I also recently dowloaded the Guzzidiag software and obtained the cables from Lonelec to connect to the Breva’s ECU.  This allowed me to reset the TPS.  It has many other functions which I intend to investigate.


Gave the girl a thorough clean and now she’s all set for another 10,000km.


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Run to Milawa

After a life-changing experience – losing our home in a bushfire – I finally pulled the pin and retired.

Busy with a new home in a new town didn’t leave much time for motorcycling.  But we finally hit the road on some local rides before winter set in.




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Great Spring Run

The Chief and I went on the Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria’s annual Great Spring Run (to shake off the winter blues).

The club meets at the European Restaurant in Spring Street, Melbourne, then tracks out the the north-west to pick up the Geelong contingent.


This year we had lunch at the Radio Springs Hotel in Lyonville.

With a club record number of 41 bikes rolling in, the hotel did an excellent job of feeding everyone.





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Bare Knuckle Run to Bendigo

During this cold winter, I joined the Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria’s “Bare Knuckle Run to Bendigo”

(So called because this is how Bendigo was named.  The old gold mining city of Bendigo is indirectly named after William Abednego Thompson, an English bare-knuckle boxer.  An early Australian shepherd on the Ravenswood Run was also a bare-knuckle boxer with a style reminiscent of Bendigo, and hence was given the same nickname, which was then applied to the area as Bendigo’s Creek.  The town that grew up around the area in the 19th century was named as Sandhurst but reverted to Bendigo in 1891.)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thompson_(boxer)


I joined the ride at Lancefield.  It was 6C when I rode the Breva 1100 into town at 10 am and I stomped around with very cold feet with another chap from Daylesford.  No wind, though.  Eventually the guys and girls rolled into town for a coffee –  30-odd bikes – then we were off.  Ash, the ride leader, set a cracking pace which I did not try to emulate.  He took us over various roads including Burke and Wills Track, which I detest – it’s narrow and rough – and that’s on the sealed bits!

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We pulled into the Brougham Arms for lunch.  Quite nice, good service and menu and plenty of parking for bikes.

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Adam rolled in from South Australia with a Centauro he’d bought the day before.  The oil over the left side of the bike was a real pisser and depressing until Pierre had a look and pronounced a leak from the oil pressure sensor.  Fortunately our new Presidente had come in his Falcon ute (don’t ask why, it’s too embarrassing) so the Centauro was freighted to Melbourne for surgery.

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After visiting a private collection of Indians (motorbikes!) the club went one way and I headed the other.  It was 7C as I entered Lancefield at 4 pm.  Too smegging cold!





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Moto Guzzi’s 94th Birthday Bash at Boort

Finally got back into the saddle with a run up to Boort with the Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria for the marque’s 94th birthday.

Flogged the Breva 1100 up via the old Calder Highway with Jane on her Ducati GT1000 via Maldon and met up with others at Bridgewater.  Then backroads from Inglewood to Boort.

Most of the club camped in fine weather at the Boort Caravan Park on the banks of the lake.  But we did it tough at the Pink Olive House just up the road.

The Club tracked out to tour the nearby olive farm and refinery: 50,000 hectares of plantations.  The Club met at the Railway Hotel for tea on Saturday night.  The food was fair but there wasn’t much beer choice.   Unfortunately the layout of the pub wasn’t conducive to standing around yacking and drinking so everyone hit the sack early.  Like many country towns, Boort has an air of doing it tough with closed shops and not much activity in the evening.

On Sunday we had breakfast at the nearby Boort Ski Club before heading out to visit Spanner Man, John Piccoli.  The sculptures of welded spanners are impressive, as is his collection of birds.

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Jane and I made our own way home, stopping for lunch at Maldon.


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My worst fear – a crash!

After a few days of rain, I took the Cali for a local run in dry, windy weather. A few miles from home I crashed and spent 5 days in the Alfred Hospital, the state’s major road trauma centre. I have no recollection of the crash so the following is based upon other reports.

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As I approached this bend, a kangaroo sped from the left and hit my bike, probably the front rotor.  There wasn’t any skid mark, which suggests that I was taken unaware.  The Guzzi hit the road and speared off onto the edge straight ahead as the bend turned right.  It seems to have flipped onto its other side at least once.  I seem to have hit the road more on my left side, judging from my injuries, and tumbled.  So the ‘roo was found dead in the foreground of this photo, and another vehicle found me sitting in the middle of the road near my bike, up at the bend, trying to remove my helmet and move off the road.

I was able to give them Jane’s phone number and she arrived before the police but after the ambulance.  A local farmer had seen me pass and said that I was doing about 80km/hr.  I have a vague recollection of the ambulance ride, laying on a hard board and running over every bump to Melbourne.

The next day, everything hurt.  I had a slightly fractured occipital condyle at the back of my head and a cracked scaphoid in my left thumb; kevlar burns to both knees and bruises to both elbows; mesenteric small bowel contusion and sore lower ribs ( I reckon that I hit the screen as I was ejected from the bike).

My Neds kevlar jeans had been cut off me by the ambos but had done their job, my Tiger Angel leather jacket had held up well, with no grazing on my elbows, my Rossi boots showed toe wear, my left-hand elkskin glove had peeled back and allowed some gravel rash on the back of my hand, and my AGV helmet had numerous scrapes across the front and visor where I’d hit the road face-down (a demonstration of why not to wear an open-face helmet which I’d been thinking of doing).

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After a couple of days, I was able to get up and walk around.  The Alfred staff had just the right blend of relaxed professionalism and humour – I guess they’ve seen it all before.  The other three jokers in my ward had come off push-bikes (one had hit a ‘roo) and had suffered more severe injuries than I – busted femurs, pelvises, etc and gravel rash.

And my Cali looks like being a right-off due to a suspected twisted frame.  I’ve put a bit of effort into looking after her, so I’m sad to see her go.  Only 84,000km on the clock, I’d intended on always keeping her.

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