Author Topic: Touring In STyle (National Rally 2013)  (Read 1676 times)

Offline Streak

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Touring In STyle (National Rally 2013)
« on: December 16, 2013, 09:39:29 PM »
Touring in STyle by Streak/Shiney/Stinky Pete

(This is the Article that was in Australian Road Rider

Ride Map:

When I talked to Mick about writing this article, I thought  “I didn’t  want to be the guy writing about the roads we conquered, or how much better our club is than anyone else’s”, so I thought I would write about how with the right people around you, you can pretty much ride anywhere for dinner.

Our little club is called OzSTOC (Australian Honda ST Owners Club), we are based around the Honda Sports Tourers, the Honda ST1300 & ST1100. We are modelled around providing information about both styles of bikes and building friendships within the club. We don’t have positions, rank or politics, and we don’t have membership fees, we simply have a positive, happy group of people around Australia who happen to enjoy the same STyle of motorcycle (funny enough - we started this current group out with an ST1300 & a ST1100!)

There are many things that sum up who and what OzSTOC is - the support and help offered to every member new or old when they need something. It is the friendships and connections made that will last a lifetime simply over a fantastic piece of machinery and a fun, vibrant and positive website to fill in the times between rides.

How do we get members? Our principal way is every member gets a handful of OzSTOC business cards, if you see an ST1100 or ST1300 that does not have an OzSTOC Sticker on it then you leave a card stuck on the bike.  How do you stop getting cards? Buy a sticker!

With the above happening and the stars aligning we have built a really motivated group of people who just love the group, and go out of their way to make sure it stays active and that things are always happening.  Our membership has built to 380 members at the time of writing.

This lead to our First National Rally. It was to be held in Blackheath NSW in March 2012. We had 20 ST’s turn up with 24 people attending. The positive feedback we received from members was awesome, and the group’s collective enthusiasm, we took this new energy and vigour as an adamant message that bigger things needed to be planned to keep up with our group’s ever growing and evolving form. We easily decided to go for round two, and it was decided that we would go to Middleton, South Australia for OzSTOC National Rally 2013.

This is my experience of OzSTOC National Rally 2013...

I have a 1996 Honda ST1100 that I have owned for 2 years. In that time I have put about 26,000km on it, and have it set up very well for both solo riding, and riding two up with my lovely pillion/fiancée Teela.

I had originally planned on doing the ride alone, but Dave (Shiney) - whom had not done this sort of distance before, organised to come with me.  So we added a 2004 Honda ST1300, and much planning and practice went into the trip.

We made the plan simple, working on 500km a day, with plenty of breaks, so you can see the world a little, while making sure you are looking after yourself and enjoying the ride you are doing.

We spent 4 days getting from Toowoomba to Middleton. In Tamworth on the first night we had dinner with Steve (STeveo), along the way Duncan (Cerebral Knievel) joined us, and we camped at the Paradise Caravan Park. It was first class. This is when I first got to see Shiney’s tent - the “TAJ” as I came to call it, it made my little tent very small!

Next day saw us heading for West Wyalong. Along the way Dave (Abe) had joined us in Parkes, and like us, had the look of freedom in his eyes! We organised to stay with one of our very good members Tony, who, with his wife, laid on one heck of a spread - cold beers, home cooked meal and dessert, full bacon and egg spread for breakfast! It was tough!

Wednesday, and it was time to head to Mildura,

with a stop off in Goolgowi to pick up Sabie who had ridden from Townsville down the centre.  His joke was that he “rode 200km inland and 3 days south!” 

We camped the night at the Mildura Big 4 Caravan Park which was comfortable and affordable. We headed out to dinner with our Mildura members “Octane” (Malcolm) & “Lonerider” (Rick)

This is where the strength of the club starts to shine through. It would be easy to have frictions and disagreements between a group of strangers who had never ridden together before, but it was as if we were all old friends. None of us worried about each other’s little habits, we just got on with enjoying the trip.

After a good night’s sleep it was back on the bikes and heading for Middleton, weaving our way down and over the border and into South Australia, got checked for fruit and veg, and we cruised our way into Middleton to the Middleton Caravan Park where we were staying.

Shiney’s wife, Carrol, was flown in that evening and Pete picked her up and brought her out to meet up with us at the caravan park, from Adelaide.
That was Thursday done. One more sleep until the National Rally was officially underway!

Friday up early, as I was seriously excited, how could I not be? We were about to have ST1100s and ST1300s all over the place….

We had members coming from all states except Tasmania & Northern Territory, which is an amazing effort considering the sheer amount of kilometres involved.

One member from Western Australia even flew his family in and hired a car for them to spend the time touring around with us!

The first arrivals started around 10am, and the picture started to build, watching the bikes pulling in beside cabins, the tents going up, the old faces shaking hands from last year, the new ones gleefully walking around looking at bikes, and greeting the old hands, welcomed like they were part of the family.

To put it in perspective, over half the people attending had never met each other before!

It was about now that I realised that I had better have the cabin clean as my fiancée Teela was due in off the plane as well!

By the time we all sat down for dinner on Friday night we had over doubled the attendance of the augural 2012 Rally, with almost double the ST1100 & ST1300s as well.

Up early for breakfast and you could already see the bike inspections, the questions being asked of why you did this, and how did you do that and the other side of the coin with people saying “Nooo! Don’t do that, when I tried it this happened!”

We make a conscious decision to support the local area and its local business operators in every way possible to repay the fact that we are welcomed with open arms by the community. For instance, one of the first plans our group makes is to the local Lions or Rotary Club in the area to cater our breakfast each morning for the cost of the breakfast, and a donation for them to distribute to their respective community support groups. In this case, it was the Middleton Lions Club who put on a first class breakfast both mornings.

Saturday - first official day of the Rally:
9am came around, and Pete gave us the run down on how the day’s ride would go.  At 10.00am we headed off, being well led by Pete, and we had a first for OzSTOC:  we had a police roadblock both ways to let us out all as one unit! The ride took us from Middleton to Clayton and Milang on the shores of Lake Alexandrina,

through wine country to the regional town of Strathalbyn and across the ranges to the Greenman Inn at Ashbourne for lunch. Stephen and his kitchen staff did a great job of feeding the masses in very short time indeed. 

The road from Ashbourne to Meadows is one of the motorcycling gems in the region, but it was showery and puddled, and so it was a sedate and careful ride.  We worked our way through the hills to the scenic ride along the top of the range to the Myponga Dam.   

With the south coast stretched out before us, we rode down into the beachside town of Carrickalinga and Yankalilla, and then along the Inman Valley Road towards Victor Harbor.

Pete had arranged for us to use a grassed area at the golf club for a photo opportunity and the sight of almost 40 Honda STs lined up was spectacular!

6.00pm came around and it was time to go to the Middleton Hotel for our official dinner and awards presentation. We really enjoyed dinner - seeing we had ridden hundreds or thousands of kilometres for it!

We had an excellent Guest Speaker to go with our food - Mr John Evans, from the SA Tourism Commission, spoke about the region (the wonderful Fleurieu Peninsula) and all the fantastic places to see and visit. This was beautifully received by our group, and provided great reasons to some back and enjoy the rich history and vibrant culture of this region in the future.

Then we Presented our Yearly Awards, Our Member of the Year was Stinky Pete (SA) for all his hard work with the Rally and going the extra mile with the club, Best Presented ST went to Leethal (SA) for his immaculate ST1100, for the second year in a row Most Charismatic ST was awarded to Tipsy (QLD) for the bike that we don’t know how but everything works! We had many others but you will have to come and check out our website to see the rest.

After the awards were presented, Diesel and I spoke about the growth of the club, where it has come from, how friendships and networks have grown, and how the Club now has such a strong base, and positive, robust forward momentum.

We then thanked Pete and the South Australian members for their efforts in putting together such a fantastic, well run event.  It was a truly fantastic evening amongst a truly amazing bunch of friends.

Sunday morning and many of the attendees, packed up, shook hands and said their goodbyes. Those of us remaining visited the Goolwa Motor Museum, the mouth of the River Murray, and the Goolwa Barrage which separates the sea water from the fresh river water, on a guided tour by Pete and PhilSTer of the SA crew.

Sunday evening saw the last of the OzSTOC members sharing, pizza, beer, wine and stories in the camp kitchen.

Teela and I were hanging around a few extra days to be tourists and see a bit of what the locals had to offer, and we had washing to do - something that never appears in a story about motorcycling.

If you do get down this way, make sure you take the horse drawn tram over to Granite Island - well worth the trip.

Wednesday came around to fast, and we loaded Shiney’s bike with all the camping gear. Teela hopped aboard with me, and it was homeward bound.

1st stop was Bendigo, staying with Chris (Red Baron), and we ran into the first proper wet weather of the whole ride on Thursday. We followed a storm cell across Victoria and New South Wales, which, after being hammered by wind, and having a couple of eyebrow raising moments, we found out next morning there had been mini tornadoes!  Needless to say, coffee and breakfast tasted that bit better after hearing about that!

Friday and it was to Sydney to stay with Dick (Dick B “Yewie”) and put Teela on the plane back to Toowoomba, and a very nice dinner with more members of OzSTOC (as you can see by now we don’t miss a chance to catch up if one of us is in town).

Saturday: Shiney and I were ready for home, with original plans to stop in Yamba.  We decided to see how far we could get (now remember at the start of this Shiney had never ridden more than 500km in a day) and it was 600km down for lunch in Grafton. While it was hot, we were drinking plenty of fluids, so we decided that we would go for home! 14 hours and over a 1,000km for the day and we both walked in our respective doors and gave our partners a fright as we may have neglected to tell them we were coming.....

There you go, 2 weeks, 5,100km, 1 ST1100, 1 ST1300, we saw country that we would never have seen if we had not set ourselves to challenge of going for dinner in Middleton. If I can offer any advice to anyone wanting to travel distance, you don’t need to do it in one day! If you plan, prepare, and practice, you can do what you and your bike are comfortable with (and if you’re not comfortable with your bike, I know where you can get some advice on buying a good ST1100 or ST1300!)

I thought this might bring a few memories back, and tweak the interest of those who want to go to National Rally 2014! Quick Link:
Streak (Graham)
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Offline Wild Rose

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Re: Touring In STyle (National Rally 2013)
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 09:51:10 PM »
Great read again  :thumbs
Leo (Wild Rose)
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Offline Shiney

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Re: Touring In STyle (National Rally 2013)
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 08:55:09 PM »
Awesome to read the adventure again :thumbsup :hatwave :runyay

But I think it might need to be moved from the 2012 section to the 2013 section?
My Ride: 2011 ST1300  :wht13
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Offline winston66

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Re: Touring In STyle (National Rally 2013)
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2014, 09:58:49 PM »
That was a nice read, and now I am looking forward even more to this years National Meet, and afterwards a short trip around  Tassie. (couple of weeks tour)  ,is also something to anticipate.
Cheers ,Winston66
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