Mopeds Plus at Strathalbyn, 2nd June 2019

5 Jun


  • David Saint 1973 BMW 600cc M/C
  • Rob Smyth 1970 Motobecane 50cc Moped
  • Warren Duncan 2002 Honda 250cc M/C
  • Graham Riley 1960 Vespa 125cc Scooter
  • Peter Arriola 1957 James 147cc M/C
  • Ian Roddie 1947 Excelsior 98cc Autobyk
  • Tony Earnshaw 1972 Yamaha 125cc M/C

The day started badly with a message from Alan Wallis that he was unable to attend due to family sickness. The weather for the journey down to Strathalbyn was not too bad but there had been enough rain overnight to make some of the roads slippery and it was certainly a day that riders needed plenty of layers of riding apparel. At the start seven riders lined up with 2 mopeds, a scooter, and four bikes.

Messrs Roddie, Smyth & Duncan

The planned morning run was to the Clayton lunch stop via morning tea at the Finniss “General Store”. Our aim was to arrive at Finniss about the same time as the steam train, the Southern Encounter Service from Mount Barker to Victor Harbor. Our morning tea venue used to be the Railway Station at Finniss years ago, and is located adjacent to an open level crossing (without bells). It is on a long straight stretch of railway, and past experience has been that the locomotive driver likes to turn on a bit of a show both for the enjoyment of the patrons at the store, and to ensure that any motorists in the vicinity of the level crossing are aware that a 200 tonne locomotive No.621 The Duke of Edinburgh is about to thunder across their path. We were intending to include this spectacle in our itinerary.

Back to the ride, the bikes left Strath and rode toward Milang. More light rain and a strong southerly wind caused extreme difficulties for the smallest bikes, such that 40kmh was about the best that they could achieve. It soon became clear, that at this rate of progress, our rendezvous with the steam train would probably not occur.
Approaching Milang an executive decision, soon to be regretted, was made to send three faster bikes on ahead to make the deadline with the train. The remainder of the group continued on to Finniss arriving well after train time, and finding no sign of the three faster bikes. They arrived later, having experienced some navigational difficulties along the way. We all dismounted and went inside the store for a late morning tea by the wood fire – and nobody saw the steam train. There are some important lessons learnt from this experience which should ensure that different strategies will be applied next year!

As it happened both Ian Roddie and the 98cc Excelsior got tired of the travelling conditions and arrived at Finniss aboard the car and backup trailer.

Mr Happy (dog) in the official COMCC car with Excelsior autobyk in tow

The run over to Clayton for our lunch stop at the Sails Restaurant was uneventful. The stop lasted for a little over an hour and then the riders departed for Strathalbyn via Milang and Langhorne Creek. After passing through the village of Langhorne Creek the strong wind really increased and the smaller bikes struggled once more. Tony Earnshaw’s 125cc Yamaha then experienced engine failure. Rather than suffer in the cold on the last leg of our journey, Tony’s bike was loaded on the trailer, without further investigation, next to the Excelsior autobyk, and taken on to Strathalbyn.

Breakdowns are fun

Well it was not the best Strathalbyn outing we have had, but still a lot of fun for most of it. We certainly missed the presence of Tail End Charlie (Alan Wallis) and hope he will be with us on the next run. Our thanks go to Tony Earnshaw who handled all the marshalling duties throughout the day (not a bad effort on a small bike). We also should acknowledge the big day carried out by Wayne Williams with his car and trailer rescuing two bikes for the day. Wayne (and his dog) were joined for the day by regular Mopeds Rider/Marshall Don Jennings who lent a hand as required.

Report by Warren Duncan.

NEXT RUN: The Williamstown Wander – Sunday August 4th 2019
MEET: Williamstown Oval (Just outside Oval gates off Springton Rd.)
START: 10.00am for 10.30am dep.
RUN: Williamstown/Springton/Eden Valley/Angaston (lunch)
Nuriootpa/Tanunda/ Lyndoch/Williamstown (80kms)

REMEMBER: These runs cater for the slower rider, backup trailer always provided. Enquiries: Warren 8388 1770 or Alan 8295 5097