Day One - Wellington To Hanmer Springs Gus was only a few weeks out from being rebuilt - had a shake down run across the Remutakas to Carterton for mushrooms, but no offroad yet. So a wee bit of an unknown. But as ready as I could make him for this ride. Heard the others go past on the motorway Wednesday night at 10.30pm, very distinctive sounds, but I wasn’t quite ready to go, & given loading for the overnight ferry to Picton wasn’t scheduled until after 11.00pm, not really feeling pressured to get to the Ferry. Calm, clear night, no wind. Met at Bluebridge. 2 solos – Bill on a Triumph, Tony on a Honda Rally bike. Four slidecars, 2 LHS – me on Gus & a Velorex 562 sidecar, Norbert on an R60 & Ural sidecar, 2 RHS - MD on a Ural, & Ken on a Dnepr, both BMW repowered. No passengers. Bugger all sleep for the night. Heard the safety briefing at 2.30am, up at 5.15am. We hit Port Underwood Road in the early morning light. Very picturesque, but hard on the eyes once we topped the hill (sunstrike), tight, & once the seal ended quite corrugated on the bends. I was tail end charlie. A slow people mover just ahead, on a winding descent into Robin Hood Bay. The bike stalled, we were going too slow to crash start, so I hit the starter. There was a big BANG, & then the starter screeched over, but would not engage. I knew exactly what had happened. Cheap valeo clone, & the nose casting had broken. Rolled to a stop, fished the broken pieces out of the flywheel & then enlisted the aid of 2 burly Gerrman tourists freecamping on the foreshore to assist me crash start Gus. Moving quickly along, a few kms on found Tony coming back towards me to check what was going on. Together we pressed on to catch the others. But a few kms after meeting, on a downhill, there was another issue. This time with a noise at the front, then the brake locked. I assume a piece of gravel had lodged between the magnet & speedo pickup, & broken that away. The magnet then stuck to the disc, & locked the brake. Rolled the wheel backwards, discovered the issue, picked the magnet out, then continued on. After a magical mystery tour of Blenhiem, found the 5Tapped Cafe & Bar (behind Harvey Norman) for breakfast & a coffee. We used that as a base to tap a number of Airhead contacts to try to source at least a Valeo starter nose casting. The backup plan was for me to leave the bike at Picton & take the ferry back to Wellington to pick up a Bosch starter I have salted away. After a few calls, MD was successful in finding a working Valeo, rebuilt, but not one fully trusted by a prior owner, & consequently held back 20 yrs as spares. That’ll do nicely. Huge thanks to Wayne Brock for not only giving it to me, but also for taking time out of his day to deliver this to us. MD quickly fitted it in the car park, & we were mobile again. Only 10.30ish so hadn’t lost too much time. Over Taylor Pass, one of the fords had a huge hole in the middle of it, which was briefly exciting, regroup at Awatere Valley Rd. Whilst we had planned on looking up Mt Altimarloch, they are reporting to be logging up there, & we were already running late, so by passed that. I always find the Awatere Valley / Molesworth interesting but long. The speckling on the photo is airborne dust Yes, there are two Slidecars in this picture Stopped at the Molesworth Cob cottage, then the Homestead to regroup. The Homestead is still munted from the Kaikoura earthquake. Part way along Molesworth bottomed out the front suspension, & dislodged the snap ring that the fork guard rides on. Thought that unsual, it was twisted, so I was unable to reinstall it, so took it off. The zip ties I used for suspension travel indicators weren’t at the bottom of the forks, so a head scratcher. Maybe I hadn’t calculated spring coil bind correctly – I thought I had plenty of room. Jollies Pass Rd was rough, & full of significant potholes. Made Hanmer Springs, & took a cabin at Alpine Adventure Holiday Park – we’d been there last year. Cooked dinner rather than try lucky dip at the pubs. Google maps tells me 264kms, & about 6 hrs riding time.