Scomadi TL200 / Tumbulgum and Winter Scooter Rallies Australia

I was fortunate enough to be able to move a Vespa P- range on to a new home, and in it’s place a Scomadi project scooter arrived in the back of a tail lift truck..

There is some irony, as part of the reason I got out of the Vespa was that I do not enjoy working on scooters and that is usually left to the workshop of the motorcycle dealership, so that I have scoots that I can put on a helmet turn the key and be confident of arriving at a destination and returning home again without mechanical issues. This was going to be a lot more than I anticipated, and though I will never do it again I did learn some things about scooters along the way that is always a good thing.

When it arrived it was Matt Grey, but I would be changing all the body panels over to gloss black.

Apparently if you know what you are doing swapping a panel set over is something that can be done in a matter of hours.. that did not turn out to be the case for me.

Once the panels are removed there is not much left, with the frame sticking pretty close to the concept it is inspired by. Though ABS disc brakes and a liquid cooled engine are welcome changes.

Quite a few lessons along the way, and the panels came on and off a number of times for different reasons, there was a few different radiator cowls, much along the lines of Goldilocks before the one that was just right was found, some plastic welding was required to repair some cracks and then a later mishap with bleeding the brakes and not wiping the spilt brake fluid off soon enough that resulted in the leg shield and glovebox being resprayed.  

Obviously with my contempt for such fettling there was a few people who helped and kept the project and my interest in it going, helping with sorting things out with panels and fabricating the radiator grille and engine servicing and brake bleeding (*ABS is very difficult to bleed).
Thank you, Vince Everett and Stuart Tiainen your help was truly appreciated. If anyone needs some plastic repairs, I have no hesitation in recommending QPR Pty Ltd (Queensland Plastic Repairs) Ph: 0402 288 384

My appreciation for what happened when my scoots are away to be serviced and maintained has shot up. But it was completed eventually and in time for the Bubblegum 10 rally in Tumbulgum.

I have attended this rally in the past and you can read about rally 6 & 7 on Scooterfile.

It was not river flooding making the planning of the event difficult it was COVID. Bubblegum 9 was a victim of the virus.

Though it was replanned a couple of times, in the end 2020 was not the year to be organising group events and it was ultimately cancelled. The event generally falls around the Anzac Day end of March, but as I recall there was some COVID loose in the community and the border between NSW and QLD was closed and restrictions in NSW meant anyone who could go, could not dance or drink standing up or a  bunch of other activities that are usually part and parcel of a scooter rally. The Tumbulgum organisers did manage to get down to the No Dancing National rally in Umina and one of Tony’s recently acquired scooters took the “Best Vespa” award in the show and shine.

A number of COVID-19 restrictions across NSW were eased as the state continues to move forward in a COVID-Safe way.

From 12:01am Monday 29 March, the following applied:

  • no restriction on dancing including at weddings and in pubs and nightclubs
  • no cap on visitors in the home (if there are more than 100 people there must be a COVID-19 Safety plan and electronic recording of visitor details)
  • 200 people allowed for personal outdoor public gatherings
  • all venues to move to the one person per 2sqm rule (venues will be allowed at least 25 people before the 2sqm rule applies)
  • 100% seated capacity at entertainment venues including stadiums and theatres
  • mask use including on public transport will move from ‘mandatory’ to ‘strongly recommended’.

Businesses and other organisations must continue to ensure they keep accurate records of all attendances, including through QR Codes, to enable fast contact tracing in the event of any community transmission.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the easing of restrictions is a significant step forward as NSW continues its COVID-19 recovery. 

Which meant a new April date was possible and planned for the 16th to 18th of April 2021

To remove travel hesitancy that the on again/off again Covid restrictions induce the organisers offered to go half’s on the rally pack ($25) for anyone that was flying in to Coolangatta airport, as for the same reason I was hesitant to ride, others who had paid were reluctant to chance the rules changing (you would not have a scoot with you so you would have had to to chill on the riverbank and enjoy everything else, the music the banter and the boat trip etc, but not the ride outs). I paid full wack, as the ride outs are the primary reason I attend.

I did some test rides to Mount Glorious and Mt Nebo to confirm all of our fettling and to get some kilometres on the scooter, to get it ready and reliable as though it is a 2017 model the engine had not been run in, and had been standing for a while before I got it.

All was going well, some gremlins such as a coolant leak and some missing nuts that were easily resolved but was all progressing well for the Scomadi’s first big ride, but the relationship between states was a bit tense with NSW requiring a declaration form for each border crossing from Queensland in the lead up to the rally.

This did not seem like the ideal time to test the scooter, the back roads I would have taken with the Scomadi may not have been open and the alternative of 110km/hr for a couple of hours on the highway would not have been ideal at that stage of the engine’s life.  So it crossed the border on a trailer behind the car, which is a lot more comfortable and as it turned out my concern about speed on the highway would not have been a problem as the traffic was slow or stopped most of the way to the Gold Coast. I had booked in to a nearby hotel and did not leave home till 2:30pm thinking would have plenty of time, but with the slow-stop drive down I ended up arriving around dusk. Allan’s Seafood was right next door, so once the trailer was parked and scooter secured walk there for a burger and chips.

The next morning had breakfast overlooking the river before getting on the scooter and riding initially to Tumbulgum, but as it was apparent most people were on scooter time, so I decided to ride up the hill for a coffee at Coconut Coffee House in Terranora until more people left the camping ground or accommodation to ride to the meeting point, as the bearded baker had apparently moved on since I was last in Tumby.

When I returned to  Tumbulgum more people had arrived – including a brief cameo by the Gold Coast Vespa club that was there for the rider briefing and the ride through the cane fields to Murwillumbah.

They seemed to disappear after that (though we did seem to take a few turns before heading on to the Hastings Point Lookout for a photo stop). 

The ride back was a varied experience for most, as listening to people once back at the hotel there had been a range of roads taken to end up at the same place, thankfully even if you miss a turn, most roads lead to the tavern. I could not believe my eyes when a car decided to turn across the front of Ziko on the Heinkel – IT IS YELLOW AND AS WIDE AS A SEA CONTAINER. Apparently they could not wait, but had no idea the dilemma they caused Ziko as he tried to slow it down and not hit them… Vintage scooters do not stop as quick as the driver assumed. Thankfully his best efforts and their realization that they need to accelerate saved the situation.

As part of being COVID safe the rally had it’s own check in,

There was a seat on the boat cruise at 1.00pm, which was a bit of good news as I enjoy that and the last time I was on the river cruise was immediately after the floods. Steve, who had flown up from Sydney saved the day on the boat, giving the boat crew his phone so that we had some tunes as meandering along the rivers (Tumbulgum is at a fork of the river where the Rous and Tweed Rivers meet). Also introduced me to Stone and Wood Original Pacific Ale which I had seen before; but never tasted.
It will be a regular in the spare fridge going forward, very tasty.

The show and shine was 2.30/3.00 down the street from the tavern with some of the regulars and a few that had not seen before.

Once the voting was completed on the show and shine I headed back to the motel as some rain was forecast to be moving across North East NSW and the Southern parts of and South East Queensland.
I was very happy with how the scooter had performed during the ride out, and ready to park for the night. While securing it I fitted a  disc lock, but for good measure also fitted a grip lock on the throttle and front brake before walking to the nearby Riverview hotel for dinner.

I did not have a reservation which turned out to be a problem, as they were full, but it was raining and I was walking which resulted in another Pacific Ale on the balcony while waiting for a table to become available. Once the food arrived, I understood why they were fully booked for all seatings; it was delicious.

While I was off walking, others at the motel put on their dancing shoes and called a cab to go back to Tumby for the dancing, drinking, and show and shine award presentations.

The winners:

  • Best Auto – Andy McDermot
  • Best Vespa – Geoffrey Meredith
  • Best Lambretta – Nicholas Hay
  • Best Other – Ziko Hart
  • Best Overall – Stephen Syms
  • Best Mod Scooter – George Shaw
  • Best Street Racer – Paul Cain
  • Biggest Bodge – Neil Raich
  • Best Rat – Martin Rapley
  • Furthest Travelled Chris Moloney
  • Lionhearts Choice – Elden Fryers
  • Best Trophy Trophy – Lionhearts Trophy club
    (though the rally has great support from Commex Concepts which made the majority of the awards)

Sunday

There was a short Sunday ride planned. After breakfast, I unlocked the scooter and found that the front brake had bled off while the brake lever was applied overnight.  This was not good news.
It pumped up a little, and thankfully regardless of how the brakes are plumbed up the rear brake was still working properly with a firm lever and good braking…. So after contemplating loading it on the trailer and missing the ride I decided that having a good rear and acceptable front brake (more lever travel but it still worked) was good enough if you know not to go for the front brake, so I stuck with the plan for the ride.  It must have been an air bubble in the ABS or somewhere else that having the brake constantly applied reared its ugly head.

There was a reasonable turn out for the ride, which went through the cane fields again, then turned toward Crystal Creek and a stop at the Chillingham store where some of the riders were going to continue on into Queensland after the stop.

Wished them well and safe travels before mounting up and riding to the Tyalgum hotel to take in the sun and some adult beverages in the sun.

The ride back followed the Tweed river through Murwillumbah onto Queensland road, then Cane road which was where I turned right the ride to return to the motel to load the scooter. The rest of the riders turned left back toward Tumbulgum passing the Condong Sugar mill which sits on the banks of the Tweed River and has been crushing cane since 1880.

One of the organisers of the National Rally was at Bubblegum 10, riding the “National Rally Best Vespa” and produced the YouTube video in the link below, which includes some drone footage of our stop at Hastings Point and is well worth a look.

An uneventful drive home with a brief stop for a pie and peas at Yatala pies on the way home from an enjoyable weekend and the warm glow that comes with confirmation the Scomadi vs Vespa was the right decision for me.

I think the only time I rode the Scomadi after returning was to take it to the professionals to bleed the brakes before the next event:

The Winter rally at Boreen Point.

This is a new rally in the Queensland scooter calendar, so was looking forward to it after watching the posts of the show and shine trophies and T-shirts etc as the rally date approached.

Winter Rally is based at the Apollonian Hotel, named after the Greek god of music (archery and dance as well, apparently, among others). Which originally serviced gold miners in the Mary Valley and came into operation in 1868 in Gympie. The hotel from relocated to Boreen Point in 1987. Situated on 2.5 acres with large grassy lawns surrounded by shady trees, it makes the perfect place to host the rally with it’s own budget accommodation in some historic railways barracks also relocated from Maryborough in the 1980s and other camping onsite and also with additional campground and motel options nearby.

Boreen Point sits off the shore of Lake Cootharaba, which feeds into the Noosa River, the Noosa Everglades and the Great Sandy National Park. Boreen Points sits north of the much better known township – Noosa. Boreen Point is 20 kilometres from Tewantin, and about a half an hour drive from Noosa Heads with Cootharaba as is its neighbouring town.

I opted for some lakeside accommodation at Lake Cootharaba Motel. The traditional owners of the land, Kabi Kabi (pronounced as Gubbi Gubbi) used the lake to catch stingrays, fish and sand crabs, making up an essential part of their diet. Queensland’s largest natural saltwater lake, Lake Cootharaba connects to the Noosa Everglades, which is one of just two everglades systems on the planet.

The rally was been organised by Ziko Hart – Ziko is a well-known musician and creator of fine handmade ‘African Harps’ under his company, Hart Harps. Ziko has a variety of scooters,  but most often is seen riding his (YELLOW) Heinkel Tourist scooter as mentioned above.

The Plan for the weekend was as follows:

Friday 30th July 2021 – Arrival Friday – Meet and Greet

Friday Night – Andy V performing ska/reggae 5.30-6pm for 3hrs.
With his multi-instrumental skills and looping abilities, Andy has performed Jazz, Reggae, Dub, Latin and Drum and Bass around the world, though for this set he was looping ska/reggae.

Saturday 31 July 2021

  • Saturday Morning – Breakfast. The hotel is running 5 staff and a breakfast for us for only,  07:30-09:00 for rally pack holders
  • Saturday Morning Ride Out 9.30am
  • Saturday Arvo – Show and Shine and Awards
  • Saturday Arvo – Scooter skills and activities – Slow ride and more
  • Saturday Dusk – Quadrophenia Movie in the Beer Garden
  • Saturday Eve – MP3 Playlist Throwdown – Create your greatest 30 mins set or playlist and share your music, we will be looking for a  variety of genres and sounds, can you entice us to get out of our seat for dance and or singalong (Northern, 60s Soul, 90’s Manchester bands, Ska, Punk) .

Sunday 1 August 2021

  • Sunday breakfast – Breakfast. The hotel is running 5 staff and a breakfast for us for only,  07:30-09:00 for rally pack holders
  • Sunday Noosa Cruise – Ride Out 8.30-9.00am leave back 10.30 -11.00am Caffeine fix only.
  • Sunday 11-11.30 awesome live chill out music for 3 hrs from “Those Folk” check them out www.Thosefolk.com while relaxing and having lunch.
  • Event finish was expected to be around 3.00pm

Annual leave was applied for, then the nervous wait to see if the rally would be able to go ahead as planned. The guys planning to come up from greater Sydney were the first to be knocked out from collecting their rally packs as virus took hold in the South Western suburbs initially, but eventually spread enough for them to classed a red zone. At this stage the scooterists from the Northern Rivers area were still good to cross the border as Queensland left the border open to greater NSW as long as possible. Eventually enough people form greater Sydney had attempted to sneak over the border and the greater Sydney numbers were not improving and leaking into the regions. Which were accordingly added to the locations in NSW that would require 14 day hotel quarrantine if crossed the border into Queensland.

I live in metro Brisbane and we were not without restriction, though mostly the wearing of masks when indoors or when outdoors and unable to socially distance, light in comparison to Victoria and NSW at the time, and the expectation was that that would be lifted at 06:00am on the morning of the 30th July which was the day I planned to ride up… all perfect.

On the 29 July 2021 the mask restrictions were extended for another week for the 11 local government areas in SEQ. Restrictions, particularly regarding wearing masks until 6am Friday, 6 August 2021. No problem, use to them and getting much better at not leaving home without one. A new pack of 10 was shoved into the riding jacket pocket to ensure that they would be with me when and as required.

The other bit of preparation was the rear rack on the Scomadi. Ideally I would have ordered a SLUK rack, but with all the disruption to freight and hardly any international flights in and out of Australia I could not see one arriving in time for the rally – so had to do with some ply and cable ties (no provision for it to hold two bottles, or glasses in my low tech version).

Normally I have the luxury of a handle bar mounted Tom Tom GPS to point me in the right direction, but have travelled the route I had planned often enough on the Burgman to not even bother packing the Tom Tom, worst case I would find a new road or a new way to get there.

The ride out would mostly be through the hills that people forget about when looking at visiting Queensland which is more known for it’s pristine beaches than winding roads, so over to Dayboro for a fuel stop before heading up the range via Mt. Mee, Woodford and Maleny before a fuel stop for me and the Scomadi in Kennilworth.

Generally when you arrive in Maleny if there are any bikes on the main street or outside the hotel they are Harleys, or cruiser-style motorcycles with a few BMW GSs or similar mixed in… this weekend was the 2021 Kenilworth Chook Chase, which is a non-competitive off road trail ride through Private Land, State Forest and National Park, sponsored by KTM Australia. Accordingly, the showgrounds and streets were full of a different kind of bike getting ready for the event on 31st July & 1st August 2021.

I stopped at Nanna McGinns Coffee Shop for a steak sanga and the Scomadi some Premium at the BP. There was two options from here if heading to Federal – Pomona – Boreen Point.

As you can see there is little difference, so saved the grey route for the way home.
The road from the Old Bruce Highway to Pomona had a scattering of traffic control and illuminated signs warning of a cycling event that would be on the road on the weekend, so seemed Ziko was not the only one that was going to have all their planning put to good use.

I initially went to the rally site, but with luggage, etc., still on the rack, departed to get checked in to the motel and find a coffee.

There was a bit of breeze and accordingly some people setting up their sails on the beach, the Coffee Tribe Café was an easy walk and had a few other supplies for the fridge and pantry for the weekend, all was set.

So after a bit of time on the verandah, walked back to the Appolonian hotel for a look around and to collect my rally pack before having something to eat.

Most of the scoots were still with their camping area or back at the motel, which made the AMG Royal Alloy scooters on display stand out. My scooter is closest to the GT125, the main difference in appearance is the radiator under the floor on mine, versus the air cooled in the 125,

the next in line was the GP300 which looked really good with some sculpting in the side panels, I obviously have seen them online, but this was the first time standing next to one and I have to say getting one of these versus putting the Tasso performance parts on the Scomadi would probably be the right decision given that I would be paying someone to install the parts.

I thought I would be head over heels for the TG300 which I saw on it’s own at the cane fields run the Vespa Club of Brisbane had organised earlier in the year, but when looking at the GP300 and the TG300 side by side the green one was the one for me if buying a scoot.

Enough drooling, it was time to eat some food.

The hotel has a large smokehouse to the side of it with large outdoor tables, which was the perfect setting in these times of Covid to go get a tray of pork and beef with some salad and a beverage or three. The slow cooked meat were perfect and hit the spot, Andy V started his set with some dinner music that is was mixing and looping live.

Woke up before the sun on Saturday morning, so took the opportunity to take some sunrise photos across the lake as there was no breeze it was perfect for reflecting the morning light.

Breakfast was included in the rally pack, so after removing my rack extender and some other maintenance headed to the hotel, which normally does not offer breakfast, but they had put on some staff to offer a big breakfast, way more than the egg and bacon muffin I was anticipating, combined with a coffee a perfect start to the morning.

The ride out was due to depart at 09:30, so after some photos of some of the other scoots on the lawn in front of the hotel

I went back to my own and found that I had a problem. Laying in the sand next to the centre stand was the return spring and the lug it should have been attached to on the frame of the stand. Without it the centre stand drags on the ground and that was my ride done before it started. As this reality was sinking in Bruce Gaskin was quicker at thinking it through than me and went off in one direction to find a bungie cord to hold it up. I did the same in the opposite direction and went to Chris Moloney to ask if I could borrow one of his. We both ended up returning to the scooter with a solution to the problem thanks to the generosity of other riders. As a result I was pretty well last out of the hotel carpark and once on the road realised that I was behind a couple of caravans that were not in a hurry and watching the ride recovery trailer disappear into the distance, I had to hope someone would need to fiddle with their scooter before the first turn off as there would be no corner marker waiting for me after the recovery trailer passed. 

The black Puch and Heinkel were not doing as well on the hills, so by the time I arrived at the intersection with the Pomona Kin Kin road I could see them and turned the same direction, but this was shortly followed by scooters approaching and signaling to turn around, as the way there were  heading to Pomona was the wrong way… so did that fast enough to be in front of the recovery vehicle and close enough to stay with people till the first regroup point next to the railway in Cooran.

The scooter now had enough kilometres on it to consider it run in, so enjoyed opening it up on the way to Imbil and the Borumba dam. Once we were parked and starting to take some pictures of the scoots with the backdrop things changed.

Lots of people were on their phones once we stopped getting the news that Queensland authorities introduced a snap lockdown for 11 local government areas after the state recorded six new local COVID-19 cases of the Delta variant. This was not the news we had been expecting and to my recollection it was the fastest that a change in status had been implemented, if we had been given till 6pm Sunday to get into lockdown not much would have changed.

I need to refuel so went back to Imbil to get fuel and confirm the news about lockdown and sure enough – this would be the end of the rally.

More people came back to refuel and by this time Ziko had some time to think. The time to have a rest and beverage in Imbil after the photo stop at Lake Borumba was deleted, as was the group photo with the Commonwealth games “Matlida” the winking kangaroo, the 13m tall mascot which arguably the most publicized Big Thing of Australia. She is well-remembered for her role as the official mascot of the 1982 Commonwealth Games held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The event involved 46 nations, 1,583 athletes and 12 sports. Producer Ric Birch, recalls “The chap who was in charge of Matilda’s eye movements was chemically enhanced on the day. He’d had a small smoke before he went out which I only found out later on. He sat up in Matilda’s head … working the eyes and the rotation and was very relaxed about the winking business.”

There was not really any option other than to go straight back to Boreen Point and pack up to go home. However, as the group I rode back to the hotel with went right past the entrance to the service station where Matlida now resides I could not go past without a quick stop and photo op.

With no wiggle room for the organisers or the hotel, they still managed to make the most of a grim situation.  The Sunday breakfast token’s dollar value could be used toward purchases in the pub or smokehouse for anyone that wanted some lunch, and booking could be rolled over to a future date.

Some lunch and then returned the bungie cord to the person Bruce borrowed it from, re-secure the centre stand with cable tie and say goodbyes before packing up to go home.

The show and shine, slow race etc would be planned for a future date, which has since been confirmed as the 22nd to 24th October at the same location. These dates were going to be for the Kin Kin scooter rally normally organised by the Brisbane CaneToads, but they were happy to release the date for Part 2 of the Winter Rally.

As noted earlier the only change I made to my ride home was taking the road through Belli Park and Gheerulla from Federal on the way to  Kennilworth to refuel the Scomadi.. I did fancy a stop at the Bakery, but the town had pretty well shutdown and as I went past the showgrounds it was well on the way to being empty with the Chook Chase having suffered the same fate as the scooter rally.

The silver lining I guess is the roads were almost empty, a quick stop at CJ bakery was substituted, as by that stage I was ready for a coffee and some time of the saddle before returning home.

As I pulled into my driveway the odometer turned over to 1000km.

Once again, the scooter exceeded my expectations. The only issue the whole weekend was the spring lug letting go, but with the help of others and cable ties that was overcome. Obviously there is more to learn about fettling on scooters, as it became apparent that I should have been using thread locker on some of the fasteners. I found one side panel screw on the floorboard outside Nana Mc Ginn’s coffee shop on the way up and by the time I got home had picked up some more panel rattles that will need attention before October.

The more the merrier for Winter Rally Part -2 .. the organisers need reorganise , hideouts, catering , shirts , patches , stickers etc

So anyone who could not make the July event watch the page for updates regarding October. See you there.

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