Marty H’s Dragon Ride

Dragon ride

With two days to go riding in the summer holidays with mates, some new riding was needed. With both north and south extensively covered last year it only left west.

West in January can get a bit hot and bothersome, so plenty of zigzagging was in order to keep the ride in the New England area and hopefully cool, and the finished course looked a bit like a dragon’s head.

Map1

A night to spare

Group

Because this was a midweek ride with four days’ notice it kept the number of riders with two days and a night to spare.

An early meeting at the Promised Land, saw Cain (990), Gibbo (990), Dean (690) and Phil (DR650) following myself through the fog past Dorrigo. A quick refuel at Ebor got us to the start of the main dirt on the brilliant Old Ebor Road.

Old Ebor Road is a ‘roo-spotters paradise and it didn’t disappoint, although it might have been a bit early for some of the roos, with what looked like their jammies on, almost white and fluffy as they tried to cuddle your front wheel.

Apparently a local resident found out Tom frequents this road and is opening a coffee shop? With no latte drinkers on this tour we powered off toward Wollomombi.

KTM versus ‘roo

Rolling New England countryside followed as we worked our way past scenic dams and rows of poplar trees lining the smooth granite road winding through AV station and on to Wollomombi.

Station

More undulating granite followed willow-lined streams through paddocks dotted with sheep, and we were almost lulled into a relaxed cruisy morning when a ‘roo disturbed by the DR whispering past decided to jump Cain.

Unfortunately for the roo, Cain saw him coming at the last second and a handful of throttle dispatched the ‘roo soundly. Roos be warned there is nothing soft about 990s with hard panniers. I’m not sure you can say the same about 990 riders though.

CainRockDragonback

Entering the dragon back section behind Wollombi through more undulating farmland and numerous ramps which unfortunately flat spotted both my rims (not that I was going fast) and a short tar section with flowing corners, then climb onto the ridges of Greenhills Rd into Guyra for chips and gravy, burgers and fuel.

AroundHereBikesleigher

Refuelled, we hit Baldersleigh Road, and to avoid any re-enactments at Marty’s mistake we turned off early onto Old Armidale Road. Off Old Armidale Road an inviting dirt road snaked west, so a touch of exploring and cattle mustering was in order, but when I hit camels that was west enough. We turned back onto the dragon course and onto Black Mountain looking for a lair, a few old houses, fuel and a highway. But the only lair was in our group.

CamelsSunnyside up

DamThe shortest six kilometre section ever saw us overlooking Malpas Reservoir and a ‘Stop Survive Revive’ stop had us feeling refreshed and after a freshly graded Sunnyside Road invigorated as well. The loose road hanging on the side of hills and through gullies had the 650 riders grinning like hoons.

A short highway transport then a series of dirt lanes had us right to the edge of town when a walking track ground everything to a halt. Bloody Google Maps! Just because I had it set on walk didn’t mean I wanted walking tracks.

Suburban special test

CainCrossing

Disappointed at backtracking and one-way streets, no through roads and town, a familiar road turned up, so back out of town we headed to pick up the desired dirt roads of the original course. Apple Tree Road proved fun dirt roads can exist in town, along with a short grass section and nice water crossing, all less than two kilometres from the city centre.

Part two of the suburban special test involved four blokes steering a trolley through Coles in full moto gear doing a bloke shop, terrorising little old ladies while Marty attempted to sell discs and KTM accessories in the car park to no avail.

After a successful hunt we filled a pannier up with ice, beer, meat and other goodies distributed across the bikes we headed for camp.

No point camp

Just four kilometres out of town we were back onto sparkling New England backroads soaking up the atmosphere and riding smoothly through where historic Hillgrove used to be and out to Long Point where, according to National Parks’ website, push-button barbeques and water waited at the camp.

Finding neither,  we had a look around after a short walk to Chandler Lookout where a wedgetail eagle put on a dazzling display just metres away, soaring on thermals then retreating as soon as cameras where pulled out as wildlife often does. You just had to be there.

Eagle

Retreating back out we continued on to Wollomombi falls to cook dinner then had to move a considerable distance to camp on the side of the road, still nice night though.

St Georges

StGeorges

Next morning we were up early and headed straight to Gorges Junction through countless ‘roos and curves and a blast out to the point for a quick look. More curves clinging to cliffs followed as we wound our way down following the Macleay River to Bellbrook for fuel.

DunnoDragongate

DragonOnGate

Leaving Bellbrook we crossed the Macleay River and headed down the road of gates to Toorooka. This is a fantastic road, nice and tight and reduced to grass on some section as it weaves its way through farms, across creeks and through the odd gate or two (around 10).

Traditions were upheld before crossing at Toorooka then onto Collombatti lookout for a look.

Dunno02A hill too many

After listening to too many stories about the climbing ability of 990s, how easy Kilprotay is and DR riders are a bunch of girls, I didn’t think Gibbo would mind a little ridge section that is not only a favourite of mine, it’s steeper than I had remembered (you don’t really notice steep hills when you ride a DR because the bike just flattens everything).

So after a couple of steepish hillclimbs, and descent and worse in front, guilt got the better of me and we turned around and went the girl’s way, which also had a couple of decent downhills that gibbo thought were worse than Kilprotay.

Nice tight ridge trails had the boys warmed up by the late Macksville lunch break so we cruised home via Valla and Martells Road, content with a good couple of days away.

Dunno03

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Comments

  1. Great ride report thanks Marty, we rode through some of that country on the weekend with Chris an co. Long point road was a highlight, even on the Darcinator.( camp ground was somewhat uninspiring )till Muzz dropped his bike on that tight right handed on the way back to Hillgrove. Terribly dry an dusty everywhere unfortunately.
    Trying to plan an overnighter up our way soon, will keep you all posted.

  2. Hey Marty H,thanks for the great ride and story that followed. I’m having a bit of trouble working out the liar in the group.I’m thinking maybe it has something to do with the WALK into chandlers lookout or maybe the considerable distance we relocated at Wollomumbi falls to set up our night camp!
    By the way thanks for putting together a choice ride and your great navigation of those tracks.

  3. bloody uneducated KTM riders. lair a place where wild animals live ie across the creek from your place.
    I didn’t want to say it took 4 of us to drag /carry you back up the hill from the WALK.
    it felt a long way to chandlers rd to camp to me even if it is close on map.
    Maybe the liar is a guilty conscience, you can tell us. Where did you really go the other day when you told us it was kilprotay, when making up stories it helps if they are believable not fantasy like the 990 went through kilprotay and what hills, easy as.
    No one will believe that.

  4. Once again I will put it out there .Lets do a run thru there before it rains.
    Who’s in????
    Don’t let fear hold you back!!!

  5. Ok Gibbo I’m in. 😉

  6. Would you fella’s with balls as big as coconuts like me to bring down a support vehicle, an I don’t mean the F8, was thinking more the V8 Cruiser ute. Should carry 2 bruised an bloodied Kato’s.

  7. Ok Gibbo I will join this merry bunch of ktm riders brave enough to conquer the mighty kilprotay trail again that’s right marty I was there to see the mighty 990 blast up thoughs dreaded steep hills the last time are you coming with us marty or do dunny rolls only ride the road most travelled.

  8. no worries
    just happen to have a brand new 606 in the shed.
    Nice rain last night!
    Road most travelled? Doesn’t sound like me, I was trying to show you guys the singletrack Craig almost got stuck in on Wednesday and you were complaining about luggage.
    Phill having a broken foot and work boots on [his foot was too swollen to fit in motocross boots, DR riders are a tough lot] was the only reason we didn’t come back through Wednesday.

  9. Now, now boys, if you kick all the sand out of the sand pit you will have nowhere left to play.

    Anyway, Gibbo has said it would have to be dry only, so saved by the rain hey. Trouble is, it doesn’t dry out quick, could be years to settle this bet. Who’s safe to hold the kitty, that’s the next problem to solve.

  10. When chris(tiger) and I (dr) rode threw kilprotay three weeks ago we had to deflate our rear tyres and unpack some of our gear to get up those hills.three hours to travel 1.5kms the heat was exhausting we had trouble getting our breath back ,after man handling our bikes ,then having to walk back to get our gear.i won’t say anymore till I get the photos from Chris to put up here .(hopefully next week) I would love to do it again but not if the track is wet.

  11. Not quite the end of the earth, but you can see it from there!

    Looking forward to the photos

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