Wellington to Waikato in 10 hours on a scooter

Last updated 07:45 13/01/2014

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A man mounted his trusty Tigress Triumph scooter and travelled 10 hours over two days to join Blue Smoke and Pedals gathering, on a paddock east of Hamilton.

That man was NZ Classic Scooter Club president Pierre Woolridge.

He arrived in Waikato on Saturday in time for yesterday's annual scooter and moped rally at the Tamahere Model Country School field.

Woolridge, standing beside the buttered bread, barbecue and uncooked sausages, said the laid-back event always had an allure to it.

"The thought of coming up here has appealed to me for years and I thought I might as well do it."

The first riders were lining up for skill challenges such as the three-bottle miracle when Woolridge recounted the story of his journey.

He rebuilt his Tigress Triumph, a family heirloom of sorts, from new parts sourced from New Zealand and England. He tuned and oiled the machine to an extent that he was confident she'd go the distance.

Woolridge saddled up and set off on Friday - out of the capital and into Whanganui in four hours.

Next day he set off at 10am and parked up in Raetihi an hour and a half later and ate a chicken and vegetable pie.

It was there that an admirer of the opposite sex caught sight of Woolridge and his Triumph.

"She said it was a gorgeous scooter, but she did read the name first. It's a Tigress so I tell people it's a girl's scooter. And women tend to quite like it."

Not that it detracts from Woolridge's sense of masculinity. He proudly reached his destination after 6.5 hours on the road. The only casualty was his butt - he needs a new seat.

For him it's the journey that counts because you never know what will happen.

Waikato Veteran and Vintage Car Club members Alan Blackwood, 59, and Kevin Heyward, 69, travelled a shorter distance - from Morrinsville - to Blue Smoke.

Heyward brought two scooters, a blue 1981 Suzuki two-stroke and a red 1976 Honda four-stroke.

They took on all the challenges that included slalom, gumboot race and ball strike.

It's mostly fun, but there's an element of competition.

More so between Heyward and Blackwood. Who'll win?

"I will, every time," Heyward crowed before hitting the course.

"That's why he gives me the slow bike," Blackwood said.

Heyward certainly excelled in the challenge dubbed "the three-bottle miracle".

Rider's bikes are strung down to a square board with three bottles standing on top.

The aim is to drag the cargo and keep it upright over the 10-metre course. Blackwood blew it on take off and Heyward still had two upright bottles at the final mark.

Points were tallied for each competitor, of course. But prizes went to every one of the 40 competitors who scored at least a point. Blue Smoke was all about having fun, and taking home a chocolate fish.

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- Waikato Times


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