Longest Day explained…31 December, 2012

TF explains:

“In 2005 I had a one of those interesting thoughts: December 21 is the longest day – sunrise to sunset – in the southern hemisphere. If a rider were to start on the coast at sunrise, how far could he get if he raced the sun west on that day?

“If he could ride faster than the sun crossed the sky, he could ride clean across Australia in a single day.”

That set the challenge. That year the editor of Trail Bike Adventure Magazine and a group of his mates – including the editor’s father – decided to have a crack at it. They started from Cape Byron, Australia’s most easterly point, and after a few problems ended up not going all that far.

Ozzo! Legend, and a great bloke, the one who set the original Longest Day route from Sawtell headland.

Ozzo! Legend and a great bloke, the one who set the original Longest Day route from Sawtell headland that’s still in use.

Then in 2006 Matt “Ozzo” Osland mapped a route from Sawtell headland, just south of Coffs Harbour, that took in a whole heap more off-road, and a more serious group had a crack at it. That year it rained a bit, and things were fairly casual, really. Everyone ended up bunking down at Wanaaring, and it was considered not a bad effort.

It rained a bit, and things were fairly casual, really.

It rained a bit, and things were fairly casual, really.

Since then the pace and attitude has become far more serious. Although there are plenty of riders who consider Cameron Corner their goal for Longest Day, the aim is to go as far as you can west. Cameron Corner became just another landmark for serious Longest Day contenders some years ago. There’s a real need for serious riders to bypass the Cameron Corner store now, because the service there is necessarily slow for fuel, and a great deal of valuable time is lost when riders and bikes are under the maximum stress and need to keep moving.

Longest Day is a serious business for some riders now. Cameron Corner is just another landmark on the way.

Longest Day is a serious business for some riders now. Cameron Corner is just another landmark on the way.

In 2012, Coffs’ riders Boris Everson and Dan Vaughan roosted through Cameron Corner and out on to the Strzlecki Track, something like 1600+km before sunset.

There are no rules on Longest Day. Riders can do whatever they want, and claim whatever they want. If Cameron Corner is an individual’s goal, more power to them. That’s a serious challenge in itself. But for the long-time contenders, it’s the distance west, not the overall distance travelled, nor any particular town, that’s the goal.

Briefly, the ‘classic’ route goes:

Sawtell Headland
Dorrigo
Ebor
Guyra
Upper Horton
Narrabri
Pilliga (Carinda)
Bourke
Wanaaring
Tibooburra
Cameron Corner
The Strzlecki

How the route looks (approximately) on Google Maps.

How the route looks (approximately) on Google Maps.

If you’re still going and the sun’s not set, your goal should be Perth.

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