Riding guide extraordinaire KTM Spark became officially old on the weekend turning 50 and like a lot of old men celebrated his birthday weekend sitting around in a sauna. Unlike other old men they were mostly clothed and on dirt bikes.
With around 40-odd dirt-bike riding mates to celebrate with and at least a degree each to keep them toasty, Friday was spent exploring a private mountain [1300 acres] with the grass crackling undertyre before melting back to the pub for fluid replenishment. Fluids are very important, so apart from a break for a tasty steak dinner it seemed the order of the day to consume lots of cold beverages.
As riders slowly staggered off to bed, fresh replacements turned up thirsty after a long drive, thus keeping enthusiasm high to the wee hours of the morning. At around two o’clock the heat abated and the revelry quietened down for a few hours’ sleep.
The bright, early-morning sun combined with what seemed like the noisiest birds alive and had the crew up, and while there weren’t really any bright eyes everyone was keen for the bush.
Proving it’s not the number of the crew but the crew in the number, the massive group of riders assembled and headed off with no dramas and flowed at an amazing pace. Dust was almost non-existent and conditions perfect ’till we cleared the first five kilometres of tar transport and into the bush. From then on there was a constant brown haze that would make LA proud, with intermittent complete brown outs.
So the games started, juggling for position and clear air, some riders seemed oblivious to the conditions and roared through the pack in a whirlwind of style and speed while others used quiet bikes and underhand tactics to steal the clear air gaps riders were trying to establish [sorry about that].
The trails followed skinny ridges and grassy paddocks to a well-deserved break at a cool billabong.
Taking advantage of a flat tyre, riders jumped in the cool refreshing water in full gear and lounged around in the shade, some with energy for mischief while others tried to recover from the previous night.
Unfortunately the tyre was fixed in record time, and we headed for the hills.
A long, flowing climb had riders juggling for position and rivalries formed. Recent fires meant the trails were clear but often deep with powdery, loose soil from being freshly dozed.
After cunningly backtracking a few kilometres, a couple of us were rewarded with dust-free riding in what seemed to be like a combination of sand and powdery snow as we carved our way to a creek-side barbeque lunch.
After a delicious lunch washed down with ice cold cans of coke [bliss] we retreated to the shade or lounged around in the cool, fresh water.
Eventually the riders were lured out of the water by bags of cold chockies and we were on the way again.
The climb back out, unfortunately, wasn’t dust free, with the DR being passed by a few KTMs up the steep, loose hill, the last being Cain who sneakily slipped up the inside turning the air thick enough to carve, just in time to end up on the next corner.
The next section was void of turns and I enjoyed a long, dust-free run until I was run down by the fast guys, another short regroup and back to the pub on leafy, undulating bliss.
As the hardy riders settled in for another heavy fluid-replacement session a storm brewed, so a quick pack-up was in order and the rain chased me all the way home, bucketing down minutes after finding safety in the shed.
Thanks for the invite Spark, great weekend.
PS: Marty has a link available where you can view over 60 images from this ride. Punt him an e-mail if you’d like to sift through them (I accidentally deleted the link) TF.