MGCGB Guzzi Festival – 19 to 21 Aug 2016.

I attended a very wet first Guzzi Festival last weekend on the edge of the Forest of Dean. It was only about 110 miles each way for me but probably 170 miles of this was in the rain. Then there was a wet ride out on the Saturday. Luckily my waterproofs are good. By my reckoning about 200 brave souls were there and we had a good time.

You can’t do anything about the weather. “Once you accept you’re going to get wet, you might as well enjoy the ride” (adapted from a Samurai saying?).

It was the first time I had dragged the trailer (the tuperware trolley?) behind The Fire Bike. Pleased to say this went without incident. Once loaded it weighed 80Kg (which is less than me) so is actually about the same as carrying a pillion while not having the weight actually on the bike. The nose weight was 14kg so I didn’t even have to increase the preload on the rear shocks. It’s also only about an inch wider than the bikes fairing. I didn’t notice any real performance difference. The bike is best at the 55mph mark anyway. My fears about the brakes were also totally unfounded. I had the luxury of being able to carry what I wanted but resisted the urge to allow the camping gear to grow to fill the space available!

Happily, there was a lull in the rain so I could get set up in the dry. Both my tent and the bike are facing SW ready for the predicted gale force winds. It did get a bit rough!

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I didn’t take many photos of bikes at the event due to the weather. However there was some interesting stuff there. My favourite was this 1924/5 Guzzi Sport (500). Remember, Guzzi only began manufacture in 1921.

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Erm, “secure” parking for my V7, Seb’s Ambassador and the Guzzi Sport on the Saturday night.

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You could have “knocked me down with a feather” when I won an award again! My V7 and trailer won the Chairman’s choice award. A significant amount of alcohol had been taken by the time I had to go and claim it and I did my best to walk in a straight line.

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2nd Marches Italia bike meet – 5 Jun 2016.

Today I climbed aboard the Racing Rhino and headed over to The Powys Arms in Lydbury North, Shropshire, for the 2nd Marches Italia bike meet. I went last year on The Fire Bike and, like then, the weather was perfect.

The 85 mile run there was enjoyable with surprisingly little traffic about. My route takes me up the coast of Wales to Aberystwyth then inland to Llangurig and Newtown. Then on to Bishop’s Castle and Lydbury North.The weather forecast was for rain on the Welsh coast for my return but I managed to make it home just as the first drops fell. At times today it did feel like my main purpose in life was to kill as many flies as possible. You should see the state of my riding kit!

The meet takes place in the pubs car park. You can see that the turn-out was pretty good.

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The Rhino was parked among friends.

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There were plenty of Guzzis. I took photos of some of the older ones.

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This is a Quota-engined T3 hybrid.
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Then there were the Ducatis.

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There were a couple of Laverdas. I particularly liked this one.

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Big and little Morinis.

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There was a lot of more modern stuff which was nice to see as well. I enjoyed my chats with old Guzzi friends, made a couple of new ones and was able to put a faces to those I’ve only met via the web.

Llandovery and Llyn Brianne – 8 May 2016.

I haven’t posted anything for a while as I’ve not done anymore work on the ‘bikes. I’ve been rearranging the junk in the workshop which seems to have taken forever.

I have been out and about on both bikes but thought I’d show some photos from my Sunday ride on Rhino.

I rode over to The Owls Nest cafe in Llandovery which has become a bit of a bikers’ haunt. When I arrived I parked up next to one of Rhinos’ old relatives – a Moto Guzzi Superalce from the late 40s/early 50s.

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After a bacon sandwich and a couple of coffees I left to explore the upper reaches of the Towy valley. I knew there was an interesting (to me) railway viaduct near Cynghordy about 5 miles or so outside Llandovery so decided to take a look. First I went to Cynghordy railway station to see if there was a train due. There was one coming south in about half an hour so I went on to the viaduct. What a disappointment! It was undergoing renovation and was partially covered in scaffolding. I took a couple of photos but didn’t hang around to catch one of the train passing over it.

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I rode on to Llyn Brianne which is a reservoir near the top of the valley. According to Wikipedia “The dam is the UK’s tallest, standing at a height of 300 ft (91 m), and is the world’s largest clay core dam”. No water was coming down the spillway as the weather has been relatively dry lately. However there is an electric turbine house at the bottom of the dam where the water pressure ejects the outfall as a fountain.

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I went up to the top of the dam near the bridge over the spillway and had a wander about.

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I decided to make my way home via the “mountain roads” to Tregaron. It’s hardly mountainous but the roads are mainly single track with a lot of loose gravel. I stopped at the top of the climb above Llyn Brianne.

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Here’s a view without that old ‘bike in the way!

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I stopped at The Talbot Hotel in Tregaron for a drink. There were about 50 mainly modern Harley Davidsons in the car park. Members of a French Harley group were being shown around Wales by a Welsh group. We had a short chat and I set off for home.

V-Twin Rally – 28 to 31 Aug 2015.

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend I attended the Moto Guzzi Club GB V-Twin Rally on the V7 Fire Bike. It’s one of my favorite events and was held at the riverside sports ground in Fordingbridge, Hampshire as has been the case for the last twelve years or so. I’ve been a regular visitor to these rallies for 15 years. Sadly this is to be the last “V-Twin”, at least in its current format. Apart from this year, attendances have been down and running at a financial loss to the club.

Fordingbridge is on the edge of The New Forest and entails a journey of about 200 miles each way from my home in West Wales. The forecast was for showers but I set off without my waterproofs on and got away with it. The sky was grey and the wet roads were evidence of heavy rain at times but it missed me! It was fairly sunny on arrival so I set up the tent in a quiet corner before going shopping for supplies.

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There were probably about 400 bikes at the rally and a large proportion joined the Saturday morning parade around the town. V-Twin motorcycles of all makes are welcome at the rally and on the parade. The majority were Guzzis with Harley-Davidsons next. Victory, KTM, Ducati and Morini were represented as well this year along with some 180° V-Twins from BMW!

Here I am in the parade. It’s not a good photo and is a still from a video of part of the parade.

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The evenings were spent sampling the beer, talking rubbish and listening to the bands in the marquee. On the Sunday I took a ride to Sammy Miller’s Motorcycle Museum which is well worth the trip.

During the weekend for some reason I didn’t take many photos. Here are the ones I took of “my” type of Guzzi.

V7Sport Telaio Rosso Replica.

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A well looked after red V7Sport

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There weren’t any 750S or S3 this year.

His and her V7s belonging to a couple from the Netherlands.

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There were also these two nice loopframe Californias.

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I had to include a picture of this Le Mans outfit ridden from Belgium.

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On the Sunday night awards are given for longest distance traveled to the rally, the concours and best engineered bike. There is also the Mayor’s Choice award which I won with The Fire Bike!

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I woke on the Monday morning to the sound of rain on the tent. It continued as I packed the bike and pretty much rained most of the way back to the Severn bridge into Wales.

I’m really enjoying riding the V7. I’m happy to keep the speed down and to take it easy and it’s such a relaxed ride. You can’t hide with a bike like this. Every time I stop there seems to be someone who wants to talk about it.

UPDATE; Keith from the Squadra Guzzista Forum had a better photo of me on the V7 Fire Bike in the Fordingbridge V-twin Parade .

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Clocks Forward Rally – 27 to 29 Mar 2015.

I attended the MGCGB Clocks Forward Rally for the first time this year. It was held at The Drum and Monkey near Upton-upon-Severn. Here I am loaded up ready for the off.

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There was a pretty good turnout. I didn’t count the number of bikes there but reckon there were 50 to 60. I went on The-Big-Red-One and had a great time. I always enjoy meeting up with Guzzi folks. It was nice to catch up with old friends and to make some new ones. Guy, Kate and Dave had brought their loopframe Guzzis so a photo line up was called for.

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The weather was “variable”. Although the ride there through Wales was made under threatening skies it didn’t rain and it brightened up as I neared the site. There was a little rain early on the Saturday but I explored Upton with a few others during the day. Overnight the weather deteriorated and it became very windy and then turned to heavy rain. Although I slept badly, my tent was still standing in the morning and I was warm and dry, which was an improvement over some camps in the past.

I rode most of the way home in the company of Heinz on his Guzzi Quota. It was still windy and gusty enough to throw our heavy bikes off line but the journey home was otherwise incident free. The run of about 200Km each way underlined that the bike needs a good tune up. The carbs are not anywhere near synchonised now that the throttle cables have settled down. I also need to look at the tail light as Heinz says it’s dim while the brake light is good. I could just need a new bulb. We’ll see. I also found that, once my right wrist/hand has got tired, I struggle to work the winker switch. I’ll most likely have to fit a more modern set of switches incorporating the winkers on the left. Originality will be compromised but I need to be able to ride safely and the dip/main switch isn’t quite right anyway.

First there will be cleaning to do. Tent, bike and leathers are all muddy.