The Barmera 3 Day Club Run, 17-19 November 2007
I rode the route on Saturday from Pelican Plaza to Barmera with around 30 others from both the V&VMCC and the Classic Owners MCC. There were a number of others who joined us in their cars and I am forced to wonder if they were the smart ones.
Our first stop for the trip was Mt. Pleasant, where we met a few riders who elected, because of geographical location to start there. We had a drink and a bite to eat before setting out to Walker Flat, where we rested for a short time before crossing the Ferry & moving on to Swan Reach, where the Swan Reach Area School was to supply lunch. They had set us up under a large verandah and had the BBQ fired up. Lunch was on as we arrived with sausages, bread and salad. They also had tea, coffee and cordial included in our lunch package as well as cool drinks which we could buy. It was soon time to leave for the next leg of our trip heading for Loxton. This was very uncomfortable temperature wise, but the stop at Loxton under the trees near the river was most welcome. Rob Smyth’s Triumph ridden by his son Michael decided it did not want to go any further, but with a bit of coaxing from Rob it fired up and was OK for the rest of the trip.
Between Berri and Barmera we had a thunder storm which drenched all riders still on the road, however with the exception of Bob Hill’s Henderson which got a little moisture on the h/t wires and had to be towed to get it fired up, we all arrived at Barmera safely.
Saturday at the Cobdogla Club was enjoyed by all, but because of a wedding in the adjoining room our meal was very slow being served. The Salad & Veg bar kept everybody fed until the Main meal arrived.
Sunday was a short trip to Cobdogla where the highlight and main purpose of the trip was to be the running of the Humphrey Pump. With the first four attempts to start the pump being unsuccessful I can assure you I was beginning to panic. However we were assured this was not uncommon and eventually it was up and running. It was certainly a sight to see with the deep thud and the water rising in the shaft of the pump and spilling out into the Coffer Dam.
They also had the Steam train running and all the children e.g. Rob Smyth, Rob’s son Michael, Dean and Audrey Govan and Geoff Barnes just to name a few, all enjoyed a ride. We were also shown the traction engine in motion as well as many stationery engines of all types running. After finding out they were going to serve sausage and steak sandwiches along with cool drinks, tea and Coffee and biscuits etc. we decided to stay for lunch.
After departing Cobdogla we rode around the lakes towards Waikerie where we had our only serious break down of the trip when Natalie Halstead’s B.S.A. decided it was not going any further. It was loaded on to their trailer & they continued on to Waikerie. At the Waikerie Restorers Group we saw all kinds of machinery including a hand winnower, an orange sorter and many tractors and other machines. They laid on afternoon tea for us as well as a Raffle which was keenly supported by all of us. Many prizes were won by members of all three clubs. It was then time to cross the ferry and be on our way back to Barmera.
I had intended to call into the Overland Corner Hotel but time had begun to run out so unfortunately we had to bypass it and head back around Lake Bonney and back to the Caravan Park. Some of us went back to Cobdogla for tea and others decided to do their own thing. It had been a very hot and exhausting weekend for all riders and many asked to go home early. As we were spread out all over the town I offered those who wanted to go home early the option to ride the Rally Route and we would be through during the day to help if they needed it. Those who were going home in groups and who did not want backup could travel home as they liked. I decided that I would ride the route as advertised and would leave at the set time. Bob and Ross Hill on the Harley and Henderson outfits left at 08:40 AM and the back-up trailers Laurie Leibhardt and Franz and Jude Keuning (Classic Owners), along with Glen Poyner (Classic Owners) and myself, left at the Rally time of 09:30hrs. We arrived at Williamstown to end the Run at around 3pm, to be the only ones to officially complete the full Route. I must extend to all people who helped me on the Run my sincere appreciation for your efforts. To the backup trailers for sticking with it and most of all the small band of Marshals who because of low numbers of volunteers had to do a lot more than would normally be expected of them. The extremely hot conditions made the job very uncomfortable and I thank them for their efforts.
Meanwhile, at Barmera…
We started the weekend by knocking on Caravan Doors in the Barmera Caravan Park at about 10.30pm on Friday night. As it was very hot a lot of people were still awake, we did find out that the Saturday ride was to start at 8am, earlier than planned due to the hot weather.
We arrived at 7.45am and slowly the bikes made their way out of the Caravan Park, a few hiccups with the boom gate and waking the owners to open the gate for everyone and we were just about ready to start. A few words from Bob Gill, who was our fearless leader, and off we went. It was a beautiful morning a slight breeze as we rode on to Berri, a brief stop just outside Berri to regroup while a couple of people refuelled and we were off to Loxton.
From this stop into Loxton it started to heat up a little and we were all pleased to stop in the shade in the main street of Loxton to cool down a little. From Loxton we kept going through to Moorook where a few of us decided to have an impromptu stop to regroup and cool down and enjoy the scenery. From there we went through to Barmera where we all went our own way to cool down.
Saturday Night we all went to the Cobby Club for Dinner, the venue and entertainment appeared to be well liked. The bus left about 10pm to take everyone back to Caravan Park as they were all pretty exhausted.
Sunday we had a little later start with everyone gathering at about 9.15am for a 9.30 start. Malcolm gave us a little talk and off we went to Cobdogla to visit the Humphrey Pump and Steam Museum. We saw, heard and felt the Humphrey Pump going which was quite a treat as it is the only working one of its kind in the world. We saw a huge Traction Engine in action and the Steam train was going for us to ride on. We stayed there for morning tea and lunch and went on our way to the Waikerie Restorers Club.
This is where I finish as I didn’t make it much further and with a communication breakdown of some sort the three back up cars went over the Bridge out of Cobdogla and we went under the Bridge and that’s where I broke down. So a big thanks to Don Cellier who stopped to help me and wouldn’t leave my side until help arrived. Fortunately my mobile was in range and I phoned my uncle who got hold of Brenton and they came with the trailer to pick me up. We did make it to Waikerie albeit in an air-conditioned car with the bike on the trailer.
Thanks to Malcolm and everyone else who helped organize the weekend it was really great.
Natalie & Brenton Halstead
Those attending from the Veteran and Vintage MCC and the Classic Owners MCC:
Ian Baldock 1994 Yamaha Solo
Geoff & Hellena Barnes 1960 BSA O/Fit
Brian Cowling 2000 Kawasaki Solo
Malcom Gray 1971 BMW Solo
Bob & Anna Hill 1924 Henderson O/Fit
Phil Jenner 1928 Indian Scout Solo
Carolyn Jenner 2004 Royal Enfield Solo
Paul Knapp & ‘Rossco’ 1947 Ariel O/Fit
Laurie Leibhardt Back up trailer
Keith Milich 1970 Velocette Solo
Roger O’Loughlin 1989 Suzuki Solo
Colin & Joy Pauley 1926 BSA O/Fit
Ed & Leila Sanders 1951 Norton Solo
Rob Smyth 1976 Ducati Solo
Ron & Joan Truscott 1954 Norton Solo
Geoff Thompson 1976 CZ Solo
Ted & Shirley Williams 2001 Triumph Solo
Don Raethel 1994 BMW Solo
Bob Gill 1913 BSA Solo
Peter Arriola 1974 Honda Solo
Don Cellier 1974 BMW Solo
Brenton Halstead 1949 Sunbeam Solo
Natalie Halstead 1936 BSA Solo
Michael Smyth 1957 Triumph Solo (Visitor)
Ross Hill 1927 Harley Davidson O/Fit (Visitor)
John Beck 2005 Kawasaki Solo (Visitor)
Frans & Judy Keuning Back up trailer (Visitor)
Wietse & Marg Keuning 1976 BMW Solo (Visitor)
Dieter Lobzin BMW Solo (Visitor)
Glen Poyner 2003 BMW Solo (Visitor)
Max Quinlan 1956 Vincent O/Fit (Visitor)
Plus several members & visitors in cars