Greenethorpe Overnight Run for V plated Bikes
17-18 March 2012

The Riders:

Ian Brock - Vincent Rapide 1952
Lorraine Litster - Triumph T150 1974
Ian Duvall - Yamaha XT500 1977
Max Fielding - BMW R100 1980
Fran Duvall - Backup vehicle

Some photos can be seen HERE

After the 1st "V plate only" overnight event in December, which went to Bigga, many expressed a desire for another similar event before the season closed. There was a problem however; where to find another obscure town nobody had heard of or been to. Poring over maps I discovered Greenethorpe, between Grenfell and Cowra. I had a recollection of this little town from a VVC overnight run to Wyangala many years ago, when we had passed through it.

Greenethorpe was built by a Mr Greene, the master of the nearby Iandra Castle. He had been granted 50,000 acres of bush in the 1860s and by amazing industry had turned the whole estate into highly productive farmland, mostly wheat. He even brought the railway to Greenethorpe and Grenfell.

After a very unsettled week's weather fine conditions were forecast for the weekend, but not before a nuisance shower over Belconnen dirtied the bikes before we even got under way. Seven of us gathered at the Hall lay-by, six riders and Fran Duvall bravely towing a very large trailer behind Ian's work ute. Ian Brock's Vincent was the oldest machine, but it proved to be fast, reliable and oil tight.

The wet roads gave way to dry only 300m beyond the ACT border, and it remained dry and mostly sunny the whole weekend; (is there a lesson here?). We had no alternative but to ride the recently "borified" Barton Highway to Yass and hence to the Roll-on-inn in Bowning for coffee. The lead riders avoided a pannier which had fallen from a Harley on the Yass bypass. The sorry rider was seen stopped further up the road.

I have to add that these V plated rides are leisurely affairs with plenty of stops for refreshment and sightseeing; and so our next stop after morning tea was in Murrumburrah, just to take a look around especially at the Light Horse memorial. On again we took the back road to Young, a narrow and winding road, with a decent surface, well suited to our mounts.

In Young we had lunch. We had intended to eat in the pub, but one look at us walking in and the cook shouted 'a 40 minute wait for meals!' We took the hint and left for the bakery opposite. On leaving Young we took the valley road to Grenfell (there is a ridge route too).

Grenfell on a Saturday afternoon is as sleepy as most country towns. Here we visited Henry Lawson's birthplace. He was born in a tent; well a canvas covered wooden structure, on a goldfield. The site is marked by an obelisk. Lawson got around as there is a museum to him in Gulgong and the ruins of a house he lived in near Mudgee. By now it was hot, an unusual sensation this Summer, and we were looking forward to a beer at our destination.
At Greenethorpe we were welcomed to the Shamrock Hotel, the only pub in town, which however has three churches! I had ridden 150 miles that day.

The locals were gathering to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, clad in green shirts and with a young visiting Irishman to add to the flavour. Sue Smith, the publican had prepared the rooms beautifully, with fresh white linen. The bikes were parked under the pub awning and were much admired by the locals. Interestingly Ian's XT500 was very much admired, as well as the Vincent of course.

We took a walk around town before dinner, to find that Greenethorpe had seen happier days. Now the railway looks defunct, the shops were all closed and the churches down to one service a month. The petrol bowser was disused too. But it still had the biggest grain shed I had ever seen, a legacy of Mr Greene perhaps. Sue made us a lovely meal in her comfortable dining room, where we remained chatting for the rest of the evening, whilst composing limericks, which we failed to present to the locals.

The night was warm and we slept very well, before a lovely sunny day dawned on Sunday. We took another walk around town (village really) before a full breakfast at the pub. We were in no hurry to leave and enjoyed a lazy start at 10 am. I asked Sue whether other bikers had stayed there, she said no, though a few had passed through. She was evidently very pleased to have us stay.

Iandra Castle lies only 10Km away on high ground and we stopped to see it before riding on into the valley and to the unusually named Bendinck Murrell, which is a pretty village, but about to lose its pub apparently, which will be the death of the place. The road then passed between hills to yet another forgotten village Muringo, which had evidently lost its pub many years ago.

We took fuel in Boorowa, but decided to ride on to Binalong for lunch. The cafe there has reopened and the lady served us a lovely lunch. Before leaving the village we paid a visit to Max's weekender, a charming cottage.

We had decided to ride through to Hall to say our cheerios and collect our gear from the ute. However, when both Ians and Lorraine arrived there the others did not appear. We feared a breakdown, but no, all was well and the others arrived to share a beer with us later. We had all enjoyed such a grand time that nobody was keen for it to end and we sat over our beer for a good while before we said goodbye and rode home. All the bikes had run perfectly and apart from carrying the gear the backup vehicle was not needed.

I had ridden 290 miles over the weekend a good distance for 30 year old plus machines. This will be the last overnight run of the season, and I will have to find another little town for the next V Plate run in the Spring, most likely in September.

Lorraine Litster
20 March 2012

Some photos can be seen HERE