The Moto Guzzi Owners Association NSW recently held their big yearly ride with the support of Motociclo and Moto Guzzi Australia. Despite mixed weather conditions, there was a bumper turn out and MCNews.com.au went along for the ride.
With dark clouds looming and rain pretty clearly on the way I wasn’t sure what to expect upon reaching the starting point of Harry’s Cafe de Wheels in Tempe on a Sunday morning, but I needn’t have worried – the Moto Guzzi community is obviously made of tougher stuff and don’t mind getting their pristine machines dirty.
Machinery of every vintage was already lined up with more trickling in by the minute. I was lucky enough to be on board a Centenario V9 Bobber provided by Moto Guzzi Australia for the day, putting me very much in the spirit of the occasion.
Over 100 bikes fill the car park despite light rain coming and going during the morning. A ride to the Headlands Hotel down the coast was on the books to celebrate 100 years of Moto Guzzi. Hence the Centenario V9 Bobber. A Centenario V85 TT was also in attendance.
Parking the V9 Bobber up among the other Guzzi’s offered a great look at just how well the brand has stayed true to their heritage, with the air-cooled transverse twin everywhere you looked. That included modern California and V85 TT models, through to older V7s and much more.
With a morning coffee under everyone’s belts the group head off from Harry’s, due-south and I’ve got to admit there was something pretty magical about pulling up at the lights alongside five or 10 other Guzzis, with the combined exhaust notes beating away.
Granted some of the older machines with loud pipes were pulling more than their weight in that department, but that’s what motorcycling is all about.
The V9 Bobber was a great mount for the day, a relaxed riding position and plenty of performance for trundling along, a crack of the throttle delivering smooth torque when the chance arose to catch up.
It’s been years since I rode a V7, but the additional performance from the updated powerplant was welcome – with that extra 15 hp and almost 10 Nm of torque very noticeable. Traction control is a worthwhile standard inclusion for the slippery weather too, not one I needed as it turned out, but nice to have regardless.
The tyre profiles reward planned corner arcs but capable of a quick turn of direction when the pace picks up a little. Likewise the Brembo brake set-up did the job, with plenty of power and bite at the rear, and a more progressive action at the front.
The 785 mm seat height is inviting for riders of different heights and the overall build quality is something to admire. This is a modern classic that will have people thinking is a proper retro machine. Keep an eye out on MCNews.com.au though for the full review.
The rain truly got set in as we got out of Sydney and into the National Park, with Moto Guzzi’s stretching as far as the eye could see at times, although through some of the twistier sections that wasn’t too far.
The languid pace eventually led us to the Headlands Hotel for lunch and presentation of a variety of awards, from the furthest travelled to best Moto Guzzi by popular vote, while the cleanest bike award held a particular challenge after slogging through all the rain!
With council approval we were also able to get some of the bikes parked up on the grass next to the hotel, the space quickly filling up.
After a bite to eat, those prizes were awarded with Jon Eales winning the cleanest bike award for his 1965 V7 700, a bike originally bought in Milan by Giovanni Medici.
Best Tonti went to Martin Schols with his 1981 Le Mans Mk III powered by a Mark V 1000 motor, with Agostini half fairing, seat unit and timing gears. Tonti refers to Lino Tonti, who designed that specific frame used for the big block Guzzi’s from 1971 through to 1992.
Best Loopy, you guessed it – original Guzzi twin loop frame – was Steve Eagles with his 1973 Eldorado, while Best Small Block went to Jerry and his 1987 V65 Lario. That small block was developed in the ‘70s and continues in modified form in the V7, V9 and V85 models of today.
Mal Gilles’ 2010 V7 Classic took out the most used award with 221,000 km on the clock and Longest Distance went to Steve Ryan who’d made his way all the way from Tamworth on his 1986 Le Mans IV 1000 for the gathering.
By popular vote the Best Bike went to Bruce Hollows 1987 Magni Arturo 1000, and dealer Motociclo awarded their own Best Bike choice which was Bruce McGregor’s 2016 California 1400, as the ‘youngest’ of the award winners – bikewise.
That was a wrap for the day, with riders scattering towards the motorway or back up through the National Park for the scenic route to their respective homes.
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