Once again February had turned on a hot sunny day for the “Battle of the Streets” in Paeroa, a small town in the Thames Valley.
Andre and his son Ryan and I took the long way round to Hamilton, taking State Highway 22 to Ngaruawahia then Hamilton where we picked up my mate Tig Martin. We then crossed the Waikato Valley to Paeroa, then over the mountains to Tairua on the Coromandel for the night. The next day we took the long way back to Paeroa, going through Whangamata and Waihi. There are plenty of photos and stories about this glorious route on our blog site, but we are concentrating on our destination, Paeroa where we met up with Justin and Tony.
The event is a pilgrimage for bikers from the Waikato and Auckland region. Every year, an otherwise sleepy little farming town comes alive to the roar of motorcycles racing through the streets. In true Kiwi fashion, these street races have not yet been stopped by bureaucracy and OH&S rules and you can enjoy superbikes racing through the main street at 275 kph with only hay bales, plastic barriers and wire mesh fences to protect the public.
Races included pre-89 bikes , classic and modern sidecars, superlight, supersport and superbikes. The field was a bit thin this year, maybe due to the greater dangers of a street circuit, but the racing was close and exciting.
The around the “hacksaw” handle seemed to be where most of the falls occurred. In the past there have been some bad accidents in this area with sad outcomes, but the competitive spirit of the riders remains strong.
Another excellent viewing point is the hairpin at the northern end of the circuit.
This post is long after the event, but better late than never. Thanks to Ryan for most of the photos, leaving me to enjoy the racing.