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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Maldon Classic tomorrow

Mate, strap yourselves in for a ripper of a day tomorrow (Saturday 2 March) at the Maldon Progress Hall because we’ve got the third biannual Maldon Classic Bike Show revving up! For just a fiver, you can score entry, and all proceeds are chucking a U-turn straight to the Maldon Hospital – fair dinkum-worthy cause, that.

Get ready to cop an eyeful of the biggest and best display of classic pre-2000 road racing bikes you’ll lay eyes on anywhere in Australia. We’re talking around 100 beauties on show, so if you’re part of the push bike crew (or even the push bike sheilas), this is fair dinkum a must-do.

Now, there’s no denying that pedal power for health and fitness has had a fair dinkum resurgence. Just take a squiz along any sealed country road near Maldon, and you’ll reckon it’s about time we had an event like this. Don’t miss out, mate, or you’ll be kicking yourself waiting another two years for the next one.

And how did yours truly, the most uncoordinated bloke in the galaxy, end up scribbling about something that demands strength, courage, and grace? Well, as they say, “Right place, wrong time, mate.”

The call went out from the big boss, the Sloan Ranger, followed by the TT’s enforcer Viv jumping in. Who’s up for covering the Maldon classic bike show? Newbie Blythe reckons, “Grouse, I’m in, I love classic bikes.” But, reality check, it’s push bikes, not the roaring motorbikes. Smythe and Robinson have a laugh at poor Blythe’s expense. What’s he gonna do there, they reckon, to jazz up this gig? Easy fix, turns out, just chatting with the three legends involved was a top start.

Peter Gray, Michael McCartney, and Jim Knight are living legends in the world of classic and vintage road racing bikes. Lucky for me, their passion and know-how are contagious – well, their passion, at least. I still couldn’t tell a derailleur from a side stand if my life depended on it. This bash is all about showing off elite road racing machinery from before the 2000s, either kept pristine or lovingly restored to tip-top condition.

The guts of these blokes who ride these bikes like they’re born for it is nothing short of legendary. They’re hitting speeds up to 120KMH on downhill stretches, perched on tyres as thin as 21mm that are practically disintegrating as they tear along. Death’s practically breathing down their necks on these wild rides.

Michael lines us up shoulder to shoulder, explaining how a slight mishap could lead to a full-blown pile-up with blokes stacked on top of each other like a game of bloody Jenga. It’d be a bloodbath, no doubt. There’s no room for error in these elite pelotons – it’s like a battle out there, not just a race.

The poor writer, barley, had seen enough and couldn’t stomach another word. So, he bolted off in search of a stiff drink. As he scarpered, Mike yells, “We’ll get you on a bike one day, Mark!” to which our scribbler shot back, “In your dreams, McCartney.”

Check out www.themaldonclassic.org for more deets on tomorrow’s shindig, cobber.

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