Monday, December 14, 2009

The Rally - days 4 & 5

Home for the next two nights. It was raining and windy and the beach races were cancelled. Drat – the beach races are one of the highlights of the weekend.

An aerial view of the rally site taken from a previous year. The sites for three events can be seen from this picture - the beach, the ¼ miles speedway oval (centre) and on the left the track circuit (teretonga). The street races are held in a town nearby.

The beach race from last year - note the guy on an HP2. She’s a grey old climate down here. Invercargill in northern hemisphere terms is up around Vancouver in Canada.

The speedway is a well organized event and attracts a capacity crowd. The bikes follow the European format so there are no Yamaha’s, Suzuki’s etc as you would see at US short track meets.

Sidecar racers are the hoons of speedway and are hugely popular with the crowd. They look to be hugely dangerous and certainly crashes are spectacular but the sound of a ZX10 or Firestorm engine on the rev limiter adds a new dimension to the spectacle.

Bert is buried in this family plot at the local cemetery.

This is 105 Bainfield Road and is the house Bert bought in 1951 and from which he did the development work on his Indian. It bares no visual resemblence to the house shown in the movie and I suspect is has no lemon tree either. Me thinks it is to far south for citrus trees to grow. The house in the movie incidentally was a standard 1950's 'state' house. These were houses built by the government to house low income families.

Sunday morning and not much stirs in Invercargill. The rain has stopped but most of the campers will go home with wet tents. The weather in Invercargill is so unpredictable that most of the rally goers stay in motels and as such the town is fully booked for the weekend. The cafes just down the street from this view were full of bikers tucking into the great Kiwi breakfast of bacon, eggs, tomatos and hash browns with a side of toast as it comes. No choice of wheat, rye or sour dough here, it’s white bread or nothin’.

Wyndham is a village north of Invercargill and each year they surrender their streets to be filled with hay bails and motorbikes. The local garage lends itself as a ‘hat check’ for riders gear, the PTA sell hot dogs and the moms from the pre-school sell BBQ lamb in pita pockets and have a line 10 deep.

Bert’s original bike on display in the pits. It is crude in the extreme and a far cry from the Ducati based replicas made for the film. One of the film replicas does the rounds on a trailer nearby.

This guy has taken a old 1942 30 cu in ‘Army’ Indian out to 45 inches and races it both here at Wyndham and also on the beach. I like his new take on warmers, most of his fellow competitors use the warmers on their tires.

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