50 Anni di bicilindrici – 9 to 11 Nov 2018.

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No, I haven’t been over to Italy for the weekend. I saw these excellent shots taken by Paolo Rossi on FaceBook when he went to the show at The Novegro Exhibition Park, Milan. The title means Moto Guzzi, 50 years of the twin-cylinder.

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Paolo kindly gave me permission to post his photos here and, although I have had to reduce the resolution of some of them due to space considerations, they give some good visual points of reference for our type of bike.

V7 700 Polizia Stradale in olive green.

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V7 700 Polizia Stradale in blue.

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V7Sport “Red Frame”.

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V7 Sport “Production series”.

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V7 750 Special.

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850GT.

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850 California.

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850T.

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750S.

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750S3.

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850T3 California.

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850 Le Mans.

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850T3 Polizia, 850T5 Polizia and 850T5 Carabinieri.

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Centauro.

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Griso “Tenni”.

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Mid Wales Classic Motorcycle Show – 7 Oct 2018.

Today I headed east on The Fire Bike and into mid-Wales for this little show at Pant-yr-Dwr near Rhayader. It’s the third time I’ve been and I always enjoy myself, not only looking at the exhibits in the show but, also the varied machinery which turns up in the bike park during the day.

Before I get started on today’s trip out I should mention the MGCGB Red Kite Weekend that was held a month ago. I help organise this one and went over to Baskerville hall on The Fire Bike towing the trailer. There is an event report here.

Back to Pant-yr-Dwr. The show itself is centred on the Village Hall which accommodates the main exhibits. This year there was some overflow to the area immediately outside.

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Inside the Village Hall

There are a good number of bikes with a competition history but there are usually one or two Italian classics to report such as this neat little Garelli 50. The owner told me that he has had it virtually from new but it had lain neglected in a shed for many years until recently when he decided to restor it completely.

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This was a machine I didn’t recognise – a 1964 Laverda 200. The tag said that it was orignally a barn find restored some years ago. It was for sale.

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There were a few traders out front where this sad looking Ducati was apparently for sale.

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As was this Laverda Chott.

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The weather was kind and a visitors many. These two photos are of the bike park fairly early in the day.

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People came and went and I chatted to a good few. I liked that this Morini was clearly getting used.

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And had a chat with the owner of this Guzzi Nuovo Falcone who isn’t afraid to use it regularly. He demonstrated just how easy it was to kick start. I love these, the last of the Guzzi 500 singles.

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I left mid-afternoon and decide to ride back through the Elan and Ystwyth Valleys. I might have said before how much I love these high but accessible Welsh landscapes even if they do have a man-made element. I took the chance to take a couple of snaps stopped above Craig Goch, the top dam in The Elan Valley complex of dams. The Autumn colours are beginning to appear.

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Guzzi Festival – 10 to 12 Aug 2018.

As I indicated in my last post, as usual, I attended the MGCGB Guzzi Festival which was held near South Molton in Devon this year. I had decided that I would be brave and go on the V7Sport and hope that I was not crippled by the riding position. Although I’m still pretty flexible, the heavy throttle and weight on my wrists can cause me problems and this would be by far the furthest I’d been in one day on it.

Another reason was that The Fire Bike feels like it needs to be “gone through”. It continues to be reliable but I think it might be a bit down on power and possibly getting a little tired. The trailer also need new tires.

I bought a huge seatbag at the Llandovery Motorcycle Weekend last month in preparation for this jaunt. It was new old stock and appears to be an old version of the “Speedpack” by Bags Connection/SW Motech. It was very cheap which is always a good thing. The bag is actually in three parts. The main bit is fabric with some sort of aluminium frame in it and there are two rigid fabric side bags which fasten under it to give a pannier type arrangement. The whole lot is strapped down to the pillion seat without the need for a rack.

If you look you can see that there is a fault with the set I’ve got. There are two right hand lower bags. The left one is just fitted the wrong way round. It makes no difference as the shape viewed side on is the same.

I decided that I would be travelling light without any cooking gear or such. It turned out that I could get everything for the weekend including my new smaller, more compact tent into the bags. There is a nice secure waterproof cover which was tested over the next few days.

The weather forecast for the weekend was not good and the Friday departure day started off very wet. In fact, as the bike stood loaded up outside and I wriggled into my waterproofs, it was raining so hard that the rain was bouncing a foot and a half off the ground. As I went outside I questioned my own sanity but the rain stopped and the sun came out.

It stayed mainly dry for the 200+ mile run to the Festival. I’d gone well over half way before I was briefly rained upon. Although the sky was black and the roads often wet it was the traffic and not the weather which became a pain. The motorways were choked with traffic and I filtered through what seemed like miles of stationary or barely moving traffic. I will only filter at about 25mph so you can tell how slow things were.

I also witnessed a “Police incident” on the M5 where a group of police cars tried to stop a car. This resulted in a crash with the driver being pulled from his vehicle and then restrained on the tarmac. The already heavy traffic came to a standstill and, as the tailback grew, a number of motorcycles filtered to the front. After 15 minutes or so we were allowed past the scene with a “careful how you go” from the Police officer who waved us on our way. Faced with three totally empty lanes of motorway tarmac progress was what could be described as swift. Some of the other bikes were quite a bit swifter than me!

The campsite for the Festival was a field at the back of a rather nice commercial camping and caravan park with good facilities. After signing in I was invited by Dave P to pitch my tent near him and two other loopframe Guzzi owners.

The two very similar 850GTs belonging to Dave and Phil had been joined by Kev’s very nice 850 Eldorado.

There was another 850 there that I don’t think I had seen before.

These were the only examples of loopframe bikes at the event and there were no big-block Tonti-framed 750s other than mine. However I had to include this photo of an outfit complete with tandem on the roof rack.

The already large sidecar appeared to have been widened and possily lengthened as well.

I’m glad I took my few photos soon after arriving as the following day was wet and miserable for a lot of the time. I decided to not get involved in any ride-outs but wish I’d gone despite the weather. However, there was no reason to get bored on site during the day. The evening entertainment was provided by a Paul Weller tribute act who I thought were pretty good.

There was a break in the musical entertainmet for the obligatory raffle and awards. I was chuffed to be given the award for the best Guzzi at the event. Kev came second with his white Eldorado.

It was almost dry on the Sunday morning when I packed my tent away to come home. I went for a cooked breakfast, donned my waterproofs and headed out in the rain toward the motorway traffic once more.

As it happens the ride home wasn’t that bad. Yes it did rain for some of the time but it was nothing like the deluge that had been forcast. The traffic was easier as well. The Racing Rhino was a pleasure to ride and my wrist survived fairly well. I worked out that it managed 50mpg which I reckon is very good. There’s now a leak from the clutch pushrod seal at the back of the gearbox but, you can’t have everything.