A few of the Coffs guys tackled Longest Day and one of them sent their view of the day…
Our Longest day ride started with eight bikes at Sawtell.
Boris (Everson) , Mick (Crutch), Dan (Vaughan) and Fogo were on a mission to fracture the western horizion, and they left our group, led by Bisho and Sando, trying to fumble our way into the thick fog up to Guyra. Dean and myself brought up the rear – that is, we dodged guide posts in the pea-soup fog.
As has been said in all the articles before in all the magazines, once you hit the centre of the known universe – Guyra – the sun comes out, the temperature starts to rise, and the ears are pinned back. The throttle’s held on and the undie-staining fun begins.
Baldsleigh road went by in one continuous slide from sheep to kangaroo to sheep – the less said about the sheep the better, eh Sando? They were the first of the skid marks in the undies. Gulf Creek Road was better. There was less wildlife and not as many excursions chasing rabbits and overshooting corners.
With some terminal velocity runs into Narrabri it was time for a refuel. With our fuel-pump attendants – Tom and Gav – long gone, we were met by Fogo on his quick old KLX. Boris and the crew were about half an hour in front of us and we were delayed by a carload of very nice young blondes in short shorts. We couldn’t leave as someone had to look at their legs and tight singlets – well, three of our group are single. Sando, of course, looked politely in the other direction.
With Fogo leading the express train west it was goodbye to the tar and hello to the start of the real dirt.
Fogo was leading us, but his throttle seemed to be stuck on as he screamed his KLX to the redline and disappeared.
It was about this time my route sheet notes blew out of my bumbag. It was just as well Boris and his band of merry men were leaving skid marks at the corners.
Pilliga and Come By Chance flew by in a heat haze. We pulled a quick refuel at Carinda, then stretched the throttle cable to the bustling metropolis of Burke. But just as we were just cruising into Burke we passed Fogo’s KLX in the back of a Landcruiser ute. I guess a KLX can only sit on the rev limiter for so long.
A quick chat to a few KTM 990 riders and a BMW 1200 rider at the refuel had us looking longingly at their big, wide seats, but half an hour later in the soft, red sand on the road to Wanaaring our little DRs were on the rev limiter, swapping from lock to lock and going great. We passed the BMW 1200 about 40km into the sand and he didn’t seem to be having much fun.
We rode into Wanaaring three-wide with the loud handle still wound on, only to be greeted by a young, friendly bloke with drinks – on ice – next to the bowser. I could’ve kissed him (but I think that sort of thing isn’t approved of out there – well, not past Narrabri and its Madi Gras).
The road to Tibooburra became a hard and fast run into the sun, which had lost none of its intensity. Luckily, I’d spent a few years in Kalgoorlie getting used to the heat a while ago.
The country getting into Tibooburra opens up into the real desert. Flat, treeless plains with rocky step-ups here and there, and real nice country to ride in.
Our last refuel was in Tibooburra, where a quick drink of anything that was cold set us up for the final run to the Corner.
The sun was low and we were dodging dust and cows, and was clearly the best bit of the ride.
We were all on a high for the last 20km before the gate. The road had big, soft sand berms along the corners, and I couldn’t help but pass Dean on one left hander, top gear, pinned and railing the berm…well…’tank-slapping out of control’ is closer to the truth, but it was worth it for his story that night over a few beers.
All of a sudden the gate was in front of us. We rode through and then stood around trying to slow down our brains that had been buzzing with adrenalin for the last 13 hours or so. The grins on our faces complemented the feeling of satisfaction at achieving a goal set long ago.
This memory will still be making me smile for many years to come.
That night over a few drinks at the Corner store, I walked up to the bar and asked for a carton of milk. The bar went quiet. It was one of those awkward moments in an outback pub. The barman passed me a litre of Devondale’s finest and I headed to the nearest door and retreated to the camping area.
The next morning I parked my bike in front of the Cameron Corner store sign, put the dairy product on the front guard and took a photo. I’d just been to the Corner shop for a carton of milk.
The things we dualsporters do just for a photo.
The ride home through Queensland was another story. We ended up doing about 3000km in three days. Boris and Dan ended up doing about 1585km in one day. That’s from the NSW coast to 30km past the Strezlecki track in single session between sunrise and sunset. That’s seriously legendary riding.
A huge thanks to Boris for handing out route sheets and advice to help the first timers, and arranged for all the fuel stations to be ready for us. It was a huge day. Thanks mate!