NI800 2018 Ride Report

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NI1600 Sorry, that’s NI800

The NI1600/NI800 came around again and I could not decide which one to do. Last year’s NI1600 was a bust for me due to a bruised rib from coming off my Jetski at 60kph and the constant rain. I was sore and very uncomfortable. I was planning to do the NI1600 but have had a bad cough for a couple of months which the doctor said was the 100-day cough. Been going for 6 months now and still can’t get rid of it. Some days are good and others I have trouble breathing so decided on the 800 this year.
It was going to be a work day this year but decided to take the whole week off to give me 12 days off. That failed when they scheduled training on two of my last four days off. Tires were getting down so on the 3rd of October I went and got another set of Metzelar Roadtec 01 HWM. Went to Tauranga to get them and waste a bit of the tread that was left on the old ones. May have been enough to do the ride but better safe than sorry. My insurance bill and registration also arrived which put a dent in the old wallet. Insurance was $1089, and they took away the ride side assist so got a better deal from Kiwi Biker. Told the other sorry too expensive. They quickly said they could knock 20% off that price but I said too little too late.
Checkpoints arrive via email as requested and I loaded these into Basecamp and the GPS Friday night ready for the morning.

NI800 2018 Map

Was going to get up at 4am and leave by 5am but cough and very noisy breathing had me awake at 3am so decided to make an early start. Had a small breakfast as not feeling that great and at this point wasn’t sure if I would see the day out or return early. Weather was supposed to be cloudy turning fine with cloud returning in the evening. Outside it was wet a drizzling. Not a good start. Got everything loaded and hit the road at 4:15am. Had stopped drizzling now but as I got half way to Patea if was quite heavy again, so I stopped under a veranda in Patea and put the rain suit on. As is what happens it stopped by Waverly but left the suit on just in case. By the time I hit National Park the temperature had dropped to zero degrees and the handlebar heaters still could not keep my fingers warm.

Arrived in Turangi and topped off with some very expensive fuel before checking in and getting the bike checked. All good so just 2 hours to wait until start time. I had my brand-new GoPro Hero 7 black and rigged it up to a battery back via USB and then the battery pack to the bikes Powerlet outlet to charge that. Worked a treat. Had it set to Hyperlapse 4K 15X. For the nine hour ride this produced 4 files of 3.8GB and 1 of 500MB and a video of around 34 minutes. Will link this in below.
I was in the first group away so at 10am we were off on our trip. Feeling a bit better now from the morning and the weather nice and sunny, thought I should be okay, but I had my puffer the doctor gave me just in case.

The first checkpoint was 162km away down SH1 to Vinegar Hill and then onto Cheltenham. Two cops nearly straight away but one not using his radar and the other already had someone pulled over. It was quite windy (as it usually is) on the desert road and traffic not bad so made good time. I had decided to stick to 108kph for most of the trip so that if I did get a ticket it was not too much. GPS was reporting arrival time of 18:39 but after the first checkpoint it said 19:00 and stayed there the rest of the trip. Not much to report so far and arrived at Cheltenham Pub and took the photo.

Checkpoint 1 – Cheltenham Pub

Next stop was Rangiwahia which was only 41km away and not much to say about the ride there. Arrived and took the photo of the Memorial and ready for stop number 3.

Checkpoint 2 – Rangiwahia

Next was Pohangina and Basecamp said that this road was gravel, but a check of Google maps showed tar seal. I had to turn off the avoid gravel roads to get it to route this way which caused issues later on. Basically had to get onto Pohangina Valley East road and take that to the bridge. The road was very nice to ride and again uneventful. Arrived and took the required photo.

Checkpoint 3 – Pohangina

Mauriceville was the next stop on the list, so we came down to Ashurst and popped over the Saddle road. Very windy and the road itself is crap in most of the places. Yellow lines go on forever and speed restrictions varying from 50kph to 80kph. The track is a far better option. Once over that it was onto SH2 through Pahiatua and Eketahuna and left on Falkner road to the Lime Works in Mauriceville. SH2 as always is a boring ride but once off that the ride was again enjoyable. This leg was 115km and arrived on the GPS schedule. Another NI800’er arrived from the other direction and I think he must have taken a gravel road that my GPS tried to send me down due to the avoidance being turned off. Anyway we both got there and photo taken. No harm no foul.

Checkpoint 4 – Mauriceville


Next checkpoint was only 23km away and getting there meant going through Masterton. I stopped at the Mobil station to fill up even though I still had about 160km range left. Turning left in Masterton I headed for Gladstone and some road signs that required me to photograph them.

Checkpoint 5 – Gladstone

Next checkpoint on the list was the wind farm 47 km away. Originally when I set the route I had a via point because I didn’t want to go over the gravel road part, but the guys said that it was fine stuff and would not be an issue. My GPS was giving me a turn that was not on the notes printed out. I hit the skip button to skip the via point and it still said same thing. I carried on to the road in question and it was going to take me to Martinborough via another place so I decide to carry on down the road I was on and after a recalculate it gave me another strange road. It had also shaved 20 minutes off the expected finish time. Pulled over and cancelled the route and restarted it with checkpoint 6 as the next one and it then gave me the right road to turn down. Seems the GPS cannot skip over via points and it skipped the checkpoint. Anyway back on track now there was an extreme tight turn onto Te Muna road which I just managed in one shot. The gravel was very fine and I cruised over it at 80kph no issues with only a little squirming. Some more twistys and arrived at the wind farm at little bit fast. The entry was loose chip and I had to brake straight to avoid losing the front (that would have been embarrassing) and had to cut the left-hand entry point a little close. Again, no harm no foul and photo was taken and ready for the homeward leg.

Checkpoint 6 – Windfarm

Second to last checkpoint was 145km away at Aokautere. Achieved this via Martinborough, Greytown, and Carterton. Took the by-pass around Masterton and took a left at Tutaekara road to head for the Pahiatua track. Road was quite busy today, but again nice ride over the track and right onto SH57 where the school is to take a photo. At the wind farm checkpoint, I had disconnected the battery from the bike as it should have had enough charge to last out the rest of the ride. After cleaning the lens of dead bugs, it did not look like it was drawing power from the battery but could not seem to get it to change. Had to leave it alone and hope.

Checkpoint 7 – Aokautere School

Another 51km away was the last checkpoint. Had to go through Ashurst for the second time and head for Feilding. The GPS took me a different way to the notes, but I was comfortable with that. Through Feilding and onto Halcombe road to the Rangitikei river bridge. Boring ride this bit and the photo was taken.

Checkpoint 8 – Kakariki

The finish was just 168km away and a boring ride up SH1 again. I stopped at Mobil Taihpe to refuel again so I didn’t have to stop before I got home. However just before this, Mr Plod pulled out from the side of the road and decided to slot just in front of me slowing my ride. He sat on about 96kph meaning I would have to speed to pass him. However a car in front decided to pass a campervan that had partially pulled over and he did this on a yellow line going half way over the line. I though good on you and relished my chance to get rid of my moving road block. While the cop did speed up and pull up behind said violator he did nothing about it and went back to his mobile road block. A passing lane came so I though stuff it and passed him doing 105kph and from then on he had his radar on me until I finally lost him by pulling in and getting some gas. Hope that learned him. A couple more cops of which only one had a chance to get me but again he never turned his radar on. I rolled into the Turangi Cabins at 19:10 and a total of 790kms on the ride. Not sure where the other 15kms went as the GPS showed my route as 805km but I wasn’t feeling the hottest at that stage and decided not to go another 5km up the road just to get the 800. Close enough is good enough for me.

Turangi Start Speedo

Turangi Finish Speedo

Spot track of the NI800 2018 – Including ride over and back

So after an uneventful NI800 I decided to get some Burger King before heading off home. I was feeling crap with my cough/breathing at this point so didn’t much at all and decided to head home. Up over the saddle and by the top damn it all, it is raining again. This lasted until about National Park and it was not really heavy. Trip down the Parapara’s was nice and fast and the only incident I had was going through Wanganui. As I came around a corner in town and idiot backed out of a driveway on the right side of the road. I saw this reasonably early so decide to head to the left-hand side of him as being the safest option. He then just cut straight left to park his car on the left side of the road closing the gap that was there. Managed to get the bike stopped and was nearly in the gutter. After I backed it out I pulled up to his window and politely asked him “what the f**k was that?”
He asked what was what so I had to explain to him what he just did and his reply back was “I didn’t see you”. I said it must have been because he did look because the lights on my bike give grief to truckies. Then his mates came over and said I should have tried to avoid him if I saw it. I lost what little I had left at this point and called them all a bunch of tossers and left.
There was one more incident before I got home. Just before Mokia, there was a Fonterra tanker grinding up the hill with 4 cars behind it. The last being a cop trailing the rest with a gap of about 5 car lengths. Once we came up onto the straight with the speed camera on it the cop was doing 40kph and the tanker and rest of the cars had dragged him off so I pulled out and passed him. Once past and back in line the arsehole put his lights on full beam and left them on the full length of the straight before dipping them. Not sure what his issue was but one of them was being a wanker. I would have reported him, but I had the camera off at that stage and couldn’t be stuffed dropping back behind him.
Arriving home at about 22:45 I very quickly took a few puffs from the inhaler and felt a bit better after that.
All in all a great ride and saw a few more roads I had never ridden before. Thanks to the team who did all the work to make this ride a reality. Much appreciated. The NI1600 route looked really nice but I am sure I would not have made it in my state this year.
The GoPro worked well and even though many bugs killed themselves on it they didn’t seem to show up extra for one that hit dead centre towards the end. The smearing didn’t seem to be an issue either until the sun was low down and in the frame. Will take some cleaner wipes with me next time.
Hopefully will better for the 1KC coming up soon.


3 thoughts on “NI800 2018 Ride Report

  1. Geoff James

    A really enjoyable write-up thanks! My last Grand Challenge was 2010. As a matter of interest, I had 2 sets of Roadtec 01’s on my GSX-S and thought they were great. Now on Road 5’s and seriously impressed. Commiserations on the 100 day cough. I had it last year and it took the best part of 5 months to totally get rid of it. Wears you out!



  2. Belinda Morehu

    Hi John, thanks for the great read, thank goodness you didn’t get any tickets.
    I would have called the idiot that backed out in front of you than a tosser, I would have called him an fkn wander and more.
    I hope you have got rid of that cough and chest problem?


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