Penrite Broadford Bike Bonanza 2015
READY TO RUMBLE
When the sun rises at Victoria’s State Motorcycle Sports Complex near Broadford on April 4, it will reveal seven different racing areas and a campground full of tents and bikes. Campfires will still be smoldering and the early risers will be clattering from for their first hot drink. The noise will grow as the minutes tick forward and the first bike will be fired up before 7am. It will remind some that three drinks the night before would’ve been enough and they’ll remind themselves not to do it again.
Down at the entry gates, cars and trailers will start to arrive carrying those who’ve found more salubrious accommodation in the local area. By 9am, those who stayed in Melbourne will start trickling in. It will turn into a flood by 10am where up to 3000 riders and spectators will be heavily involved in Australia’s best-participation motorcycling event.
Motorcycling Australia initiated the event in 2009 to support its Museum and Heritage division. It was designed to get motorcycles out of sheds and provide a place where owners could ride their pre-1990 bikes again in a semi-sporting environment without the pressure of competition.
Last year around 4000 spectators and participants watched and experienced the motorcycle sport of their choice over the weekend.
Many Motorcycle Trader readers gravitated to the road race circuit where you could ride your pre-1990 road bike in either the novice (beginners), intermediate or expert class for four 15-minute sessions each day.
The novice class had everything from Stepthru Hondas and scooters to full-on Superbikes, the latter being ridden by owners who’d never been on a proper race circuit before and wanted to get acclimatised before moving to intermediate or expert in following years.
A similar experience is available for trail bikes, scramblers, motocrossers, dirt trackers, trials, sidecars and speedway riders. All of the State Motorcycle Sports Complex’s circuits are open and a feature of the weekend event is how many visitors discover for the first time the fascination in forms of motorcycle sport with which they’ve never previously engaged.
A perfect example is the Speedway ‘demonstration’ at 4pm Saturday. Almost everyone at the complex decamps to the speedway circuit to witness the proceedings. Demonstration is in inverted commas as this is the closest thing you’ll get to actual racing over the whole weekend. It certainly doesn’t look like a display and many converts leave when the bikes stop at 6pm.
The BBB each year explores different themes from motorcycling’s past. Last year the event celebrated the Castrol 6-Hour races, which prompted an amazing array of riders and old race bikes to attend. It was good for the ex-racers who were able to catch up with each other, but it was doubly good for the spectators who were finally able to meet the heroes from their youth.
The ‘meeting’ bit is easy – there are no barriers in the pit areas to prevent mingling and the riders enjoy this just as much as the punters.
The year previous, the MT team was able to meet Joe Eastmure who famously won the 6-Hour against all comers on a Suzuki 350. The bike was subsequently disqualified and now we finally know why. Joe had ridden his Honda CX500 from Queensland for the event, whistled around the road circuit for as many laps as they’d give him and then rode the same bike home. Legend.
This year’s key theme is ‘50 years of Bathurst’, celebrating racing at the famed Mt Panorama circuit between 1938 and 1988. Many who raced there will be attending and many more will come who were part of the annual Bathurst pilgrimage each Easter until poor social policy decisions by the NSW police removed the joy.
A highlight exhibition from the period will be the Henderson Matchless Mk II.
A sub-theme for the weekend will be English oddities which celebrates the frame builders and low-volume producers of British bikes which boxed well above their weight in international competition. Among them will be a CCM (Clews Competition Machines), but also keep your eye out for a gathering of Rickman Metisses.
In keeping with the Bathurst theme, the Gala dinner on Saturday night (all welcome, $95 inclusive) will offer a rare treat. The Australian Unlimited GP at Bathurst in 1979 is regarded by some as the greatest race ever held there. After-dinner entertainment will be provided by the three key racers in that event: the brilliant but self-deprecating John Woodley, Ron Boulden and the inimitable Graeme Crosby. Here’s your chance to find out what really happened (Croz wouldn’t tell a lie, would he?). The dinner is held in the Broadford Memorial Hall and it’s always a sell-out so get in early.
If you want to ride (remember, it’s non-competitive) on any of the circuits, you need to formally enter (fee includes one-day MA licence).
It costs $120 on the day if you haven’t pre-entered for a discount already. Spectator costs are $30 for Saturday, $30 for Sunday or $50 for both.
The Gala dinner is $95 which includes shuttle transfers from the campground to the event and back.
Camping is a very modest $10 per head, per night which includes hot showers.
MT will have a marquee set up in the pit area of the road race circuit so come and say hello. We’ll be unveiling our giveaway Yamaha SR400 street scrambler and you can fill in an entry form on the spot.
Penrite Broadford Bike Bonanza on April 4/5 – can’t wait!