The Spaghetti Rally is the Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria’s main rally of the year and we wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
It is held at Edi cutting in central Victoria which gave us the perfect opportunity to take a scenic and wiggly ride up through Healesvile and around Lake Eildon on the way up. We had some rain showers in the morning but after that it turned into a beautiful day.
It was about lunchtime when we got to Jamieson so when we saw a scenic roadside picnic area we stopped for lunch. Intrigued by the bike an elderly local farmer stopped for a chat and told us a bit about the area we were looking over.
Jamo as the locals call it is about 200km North East of Melbourne and is adjacent to Lake Eildon and the Goulburn and Jamieson rivers which feed it. It is in the heart of the Victorian Alps and was and still is gold country. Where we stopped we were looking down over the confluence of the two rivers. Lake Eildon was created by the damming of the Goulburn river in several stages from 1915 through to 1955. When full it contains about six times as much water as Sydney Harbour.
It seems unbelievable looking at it now but Victoria and most of the south of Australia was in the grip of a 10 year drought in the 2000′s and at one point in 2006 the lake was down to 15% of it’s capacity and you could walk across it in many places.
We spotted this apocalyptic rider on the side of the road close to the pub at Tolmie and turned around. We couldn’t miss that picture. Now where have the other two got too ?
Arriving at the Spag site around mid afternoon we pitched camp.
Karen was pleased to be walking fairly normally by now but got tired easily still so had sensibly arranged for the wheelchair to be taken up to the rally just in case. It was also the first time we had been camping since the accident and she didn’t know how she would cope sleeping on an airbed on the floor. Fortunately it wasn’t a problem which bodes well.
It turned into a very sociable weekend and we spent much of it talking with people around the campfire.
We finally got to meet Andy Gadget as there was quite a contingent over from Tasmania. Kerry wanted to introduce us when we stayed with her in Tas but he was working away at sea at the time. She was right we got on well and it was nice to meet him at last and catch up with some of the other Tasweigans.
The reason the rally is called the spag apart from the obvious Italian connection is that the club cook a Spaghetti dinner for everyone on the Saturday night. This is the specially made industrial sized cooking equipment the club have made up and Guzzi’s pasta even supply the pasta for free.
There is a picture below of the spaghetti being stretched to make it go further and the queue for dinner. Here also is Gadget with an alternative use for a Guzzi sidepanel. The other picture is him living up to his name and showing us his portable expresso maker (coffee gadgets are a bit of a spag tradition)
There were about 300 people and some great bikes there including a couple of really well made BMW outfits. Of particular note was Claude’s 1951 Matchless. We got talking to Claude and his mate Chris. Claude showed me some pictures of him covered in bulldust riding the Matchy up to Cape York at the very top of Australia. It’s only a 350 (if memory serves) and it has been everywhere in Australia several times over. Chris has travelled a lot on bikes too and they were both really interesting guys. Chris also had a really nasty crash caused by a rear tyre blowout on a BMW in New Zealand which he told us about. During the course of a long conversation the subject of the pudding came up, what is the pudding we asked ?
The pudding is a tinned steamed pudding and it turns out it has had an interesting life too, back in the 70′s it was taken to the border rally (South Australia/Western Australia) not eaten and taken home again. This happened several other times and eventually it became tradition to always take the pudding on rallies and journeys. Eventually it started to be passed around different travellers and it has now been around Australia many many times and is a very, very well travelled pudding. Although it was still sealed in its tin after about 20 years the can started to rust and it started getting a bit whiffy so it was encapsulated in resin and now has its own leather travelling bag. We were given the honour of carrying it back to Melbourne and dropping it off at Ringwood Motorcycles ready for its next journey when the right person drops by.
I asked if it had ever been abroad and the answer was no. Chris the custodian of the pud was a bit concerned that it would not get back through Australia’s strict quarantine regulations but I can’t see that they could prevent it as it’s effectively sealed. It did go missing for a while a few years ago but eventually surfaced again much to everyone’s relief.
It involves some risk (doesn’t all traveling) but I think they should set the pudding free and start its own website. There should be a short introduction attached to the bag or the pud itself with its website address and the conditions for being it’s temporary custodian are that you must update its website with pictures of where it has been and then pass it on to another traveller. Imagine the adventures it could have.
During the course of the weekend we were also introduced to Teo Lamers who now lives out here. For anyone that doesn’t know TLM Teo Lamers Motorcycles are based in Holland and are probably the worlds biggest Guzzi dealer. Teo is now retired but the business is still in the family and is now being run by his nephew (I think ?) I have bought several parts from the shop over the years and it was nice to meet him.
We also met Alf who came over and introduced himself. He is 80 years young and still rides his Guzzi California regularly. He has been following our journey since New Zealand. He almost didn’t come to the rally but was delighted he did as he got the chance to meet us. It was a real pleasure to meet and have a good chat with him.
The MGCoV sadly lost one of its members (Jonesy) this year to a brain tumour and I went to his funeral earlier in the year along with many of the other members of the club. I never met him but he said he wanted as many bikes as possible at his funeral and as I had just got the bike back on the road it seemed the right thing to do. He was also at the Spag rally to oversee proceedings.
That’s him in the boxes on the seat trying out the road warrior for size along with our mate Kier and Jonesy’s sister Christine.
From sad to happy, our best surprise of the weekend was that Kerry and Paul from Tassie showed up on Saturday night and surprised us. They were over on the mainland to buy this gorgeous old classic Holden and they managed to drop in for the weekend on the way back. Kerry has a nice habit of surprising us, you might recall that she popped in at the hospital out of the blue too.
It was great too see them and catch up. Kerry like us is always up for a picture so we got some great shots of Karen and her messing about.
Our band of brothers did well on the trophy front. Here is Glendon who won best small block for his V7 Racer, Pierre who won a very worthy best Ducati for his gorgeous 750 and us who won best engineering. That possibly should have been best over engineering but we were chuffed none the less. Here are some pics of us with our trophies. We couldn’t fit our trophy in a pannier so we rode home with it strapped on the front Marlon Brando style.
On the way home we rode up Mount Buller for a look and just for the fun of it. It’s seriously steep and twisty because for about three to four months over winter it is a ski resort. We bumped in to Sean and Heather from the club up there, they were just heading down but pointed us in the direction of the restaurant with a view. We expected it to be horribly expensive but it was actually really good value and very nice food.
The Spag was a really great weekend and we are sooooooo glad we had chance to go.
Next up – Moving up to the beautiful Dandenong ranges.