-- 2013 Honda Broadford Bike Bonanza to celebrate off road Golden Era
Following on from the success of the Honda Motocross 1973-84 CR display, Jeff Leisk and Ray Owen salute and “Golden Era” reunion in the Speedway Hangar at last year’s Honda Broadford Bike Bonanza (HBBB), the focus for the 2013 HBBB will be Honda’s off road range from the same period.
Featuring the XL, XR, MT, MR, TL and TLR models the big shed at the State Motorcycle Complex in Broadford will be a red sled fest.
While Honda took a little while to get their head around this new phenomenon when they did focus on the dirt they produced some ground breaking and market leading motorcycles.
The vintage enduro (vinduro) scene is awash today with every size and year of XRs, the bikes are hard to kill and strangely endear themselves to owners with their mellow power and nimble handling. Apart from a few naff features (17” rear, 23” front wheels, twin carbs on a single etc) the XRs have been the perfect fit for Australian conditions. For those wanting more poke, a plethora of ‘hot-up’ parts are readily available and several companies have profited big time from those always wanting more.
The big ‘six-tundred’ XR was used as a rally bike in the early Australian Safari days and its reliability if left largely stock was legendary. Two examples of this beastie will be on display at the event; Steve Chapman’s 1985 restored by David Murray and Steven Greenfield’s 1999 winning bikes. Another winner displayed will be Rod Hinton’s Rally XR 250 of 1995, preserved just as it finished the event.
The rarer MR models were Honda’s answer to their Japanese competitors two stroke invasion of the day and they sold the 175 and 250 in limited numbers but their rarity wasn’t matched by their performance. While based on the popular and competitive CR 125 and 250 there was a lot lost in the transformation.
At least they were a step up on the anaemic MT 125 and 250 put out as everyman and everything bikes in the early 1970s. Yet they were loved by the newcomers to the sport as great ‘hack around’ bikes. And after all, they were Hondas. There were also the perennial SLs of the late 1960s that morphed into the early 1970s XLs that flooded the forests of Australia didn’t require a spark plug change for years. ‘Stone Axe’ reliability endeared them to those on a budget and who were happy just to make tracks slowly in the bush.
Again, Honda’s cautious entry into the trials scene introduced the 125 ‘Bials’ which caused a lot of mirth. The 250 was a better piece of kit and once Honda hired Sammy Miller for the R & D things improved into the TLR.
So while our highways have been bituminised steadily since the Scotsman McAdam’s discovery there is still plenty of dirt in the world and what better surface to play on?
Make sure you come and see the display of Honda’s off road catalogue with their own interpretation and solutions to covering rough ground quickly. Keep in mind that the display will be at its peak on the Good Friday night before we release the display bikes on Saturday afternoon for their owners to dig a little dirt.
The 2013 Honda Broadford Bike Bonanza will take place at the State Motorcycle Complex in Broadford, Victoria on Easter weekend 30-31 March.
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