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The Coromandel Loop is one of New Zealand’s most well known riding routes, From 25km/h corner uphill and downhill descents to peaceful long sweeping corners this road has it all. The scenery is something to behold as large trees and cliffs creep over the road and hang there watching you ride.

As well as being one of the most favourite roads, it is also one with a very large casualty rate which is rather unfortunate as the police patrol the loop rather well though on our trip we only saw a couple of police cars which was nice.

Because I have lost my license for 3 months, I was on the back of a friends bike, the bike was a streetfighter GSXR1000 K7. It was lucky that I trusted him completely because it is a fast bike and on those corners you really need to know how to ride so that you don’t lock up and fixate on a bank or cliff and ride into it. We also had a large pack rack on the back so the front end was really light, which made for interesting times as we passed cars or going up the hill to the lookout as any time it was given some gas, the front end would lift up and make for a very unstable bike.

He was rather disappointed that throughout the whole ride he never managed to make my heartbeat rise and I was some how calm the whole ride, even though we nearly hit a dog, mattress and a large caravan that came around a corner.

The road is in surprisingly good condition  for a New Zealand road and there was minimal gravel on the road either which made for a nice trip. We had a friend on a VTR1000 who for most of the ride was following us and for the rest of it led us through.

It was a beautiful day for the most part but half way around it started to really rain down on us, which was funny to watch as our friend had his back wheel step out at one point which would give you a bit of a clenching moment. We also had intercoms so that the rider and I could chat away about the road and anything else that kept us amused, whilst the rain was coming down it was so hard on our helmets that we could hear the rain in each others visor through the speakers which was a little odd.

The Coro is an amazing road, there are a lot of tight, tight corners through there and they never seem to end, and being on the back of a monster of a bike, made things a lot more fun than sitting on a little 250cc trying to keep momentum going up the hill.

After the uphill slalom we reached the lookout and sped past as the spectators that had come to take pictures from the top heard our bikes roaring up the hill turned around and started taking photos of us. 

The downhill slalom was even more interesting and amazing, tight 25km/h  corners at some speed far above that with nothing to hold on to at the back, I had some how managed to use my calf muscles to hold my in place but after awhile they began to hurt something chronic and so did my backside after sitting on a small seat for however many hours I was on it for. We stopped for a quick smoko and to stretch our legs and soggy leathers and then made our way to Thames to stay the night before the Paeroa Battle of the Streets races where we were marshalling.

The views were breathtaking and I wanted to do it again and again it was that much fun! If you have ever ridden this road please leave a comment below on how you found it and if you have never ridden this road, do it, you will not regret it.

Matt

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Intro:

The Paeroa (Pronounced – Pie – Row – A) Battle of the Streets has been running for 21 years today, top racers from New Zealand battle it out head to head on the peaceful streets of a small, NZ famous town in the North Island. Many classes compete in this event, such as Formula 1,2 and 3, sidecars, post and pre classic, king of the streets, supermoto and Formula Paeroa. The street is cordoned off and hay bales deck the side of the road, and spectators line the fences, inches away from 260+ km/h bikes flying past. Around 10,000+ spectators come to view this event every year and the numbers are growing.

Sunday Morning – 7.00am

It is early in the morning and fog is sitting low along the hills and fields that line Paeroa, the street is set up for the days racing and there is a hive of activity buzzing around to finalize everything so that we can get going. I am marshalling for the event so myself and friends go to have our briefing, get our gear and set up on the corners. We get the best seats in the house and really get to be part of the action when bikes go sliding past in a shower of sparks and riders tumble into bales alongside the track. At 8am practice rounds start and the sound of bikes roaring past fills your ears and you can’t help but to feel excited for what the day will bring.

Bikes of all sorts fly past and the whine of each engine is music to your ears. The real crowd pleaser’s are the supermoto class, going over the bump on the back straight, both wheels lift of the ground and they land with a wobble and get ready for the hairpin, where they wait till they are pretty much in the corner, kick down 4 gears and drift the back out with their right foot hanging centimetres of the ground. After the practice and qualifying runs, the racing begins which is usually around 11.25am.

Bikes enter the hairpin at reasonably high speeds and sometimes struggle to keep the rear from stepping out, side by side the ride around corners, looking for any way that they can get past the person in front. It really is something spectacular to watch and I would recommend it to anybody, and you will not leave with out a smile. The only bike down on our corner was one from the Supermotard class, he came over the bump on the main straight, and his bike then began to start what is known as a tank-slapper where the front tyre moves rapidly from side to side and the only way out of it is to give it some throttle and try to raise the front end.

Unfortunately, this rider failed to do that and came off, sliding down the road into the bales with the bike soon to follow, after the bikes move past we run over to him and check that he is alright, help him up and move his bike out of the war-path. Ambulance and bike recovery teams come to the rider and take him away as he has a grazed wrist and a sore ankle. The hairpin took the largest amount of bikers, with a total of around 6 or 7 from what other marshals tell me, so they were kept rather busy. Funnily enough, most of them were apparently the motard riders which for some reason does not surprise me.

Sunday Afternoon 12.00pm – 5.00pm The sun is shining down onto our overall covered bodies and the heat is really starting to kick in now, I can but imagine how the racers would feel! Racing continues on without many hick-up’s and I get some good video of the riders battling past.

One rather special nutter decided that his need to cross the track was more important than the fact that F1 bikes were tearing down the back straight, mere seconds away, so he sprinted across the track with a battery in his hand for one of the track bikes down in the pits and was not far from being collected, which added a little more excitement to our day!

The racing ended with one more crash, which was a girl who was swinging on one of the sidecars, sliding off into the bales at high speed and badly damaging her arm, which is a shame as she was supposed to be racing in Phillip Island in a few weeks and now I very much doubt that she will be able to compete.

Aussie rider Dan Stauffer was crowned King of the Streets, after dominating 3 races over the day and winning the Battle of the Street race and also Formula Paeroa, races one and two. Dan has been pulling in wins all across the country and has that Aussie’s aren’t as slow as we think they are. After racing, we pack up, get changed into our bike gear and sweat it out on the bike till we get to a coffee shop and sit down for a few minutes regaining our strength. It was a great weekend in all, and I would happily do that again, with the hope of one day competing in it.

Matt

Photo’s taken from http://www.Battleofthestreets.co.nz

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