Blog: February 23. What a great week!

TriumphTiger800XCX_020I’ve been looking forward to riding the new Triumph Tiger 800 for a long time, and this last week I got to give it a run.

I’ve always been a big fan of the 800, and since I’ve been chatting to the Triumph people I’ve become a huge fan of the company as well. On top of that, Marty laid out the route for the release ride, and it felt good to sit there and listen to some very seasoned journalists saying how much they were enjoying the riding.

So there was lots to feel good about.

The bike was even better than I’d hoped, and as I’ve seen at previous Triumph rides, the company representatives encouraged us to thrash the bikes way beyond any reasonable assessment of their probable use. Of course the journalists – including me, I guess – obliged.

TriumphTiger800XCX_012We finished up thrashing the bikes along Stockton Beach. I make no secret of my fear of riding deep sand, and I genuinely hate what sand does to bikes. The other riders didn’t share my fears or sentiments, and there was some VERY irresponsible behaviour. Irresponsible, but incredibly spectacular and, Lordy! It was a lot of fun!

Triumph has parked a new 800XCX – the up-specced model – in work’s garage, and I’ll now be riding it in ADVX instead of the KLR. I had the KLR ready to go, but hoo-aah! This Triumph is a wet-dream of a bike. I admit I’m peeing my pants to spend some time on it. It won’t take much to build, but Andy at Andy Strapz has thrown me a few premium bits and pieces, and Triumph’s tech manager – the larger-than-life Cliff Stovall – was on the ride. We spent  fair bit of time planning what will be done to the bike. It was awesome to have the tech standing there and recommending changes based on the way he saw me riding (except for the usual, “We’ll chuck the seat to the shithouse if you’re not going to use it.” Even I’m starting to think I stand up a bit more than some riders).

There were a lot of great moments on the ride. My favourite photographer, Wilko, was on the camera. At one point he propped on the inside of a turn on the Oxley Highway and asked us to run as close to him as we could. As we lined up at the starting point, I offered $50 to anyone who could tag Wilko on the way past. The other guys thought it was best thing they’d heard all week. How Wilko sat there without flinching still defeats me. Perhaps he didn’t realise how slender was our grasp on control. I’m pretty sure I had my left-hand ‘bar slip just over the top of his head, but Rennie Scaysbrook clipped him a pearler.

It was worth the $50 to see the look on Wilko’s face (and I was glad no-one was hurt).

Those guys were maniacs in the best possible way.

As we came back from the beach, one of our Japanese tourist chums was sitting there in a hire car. Apparently he thought that seeing as the sign said ‘Vehicle entry to beach’ he’d be right to drive out and have a look at the surf.

The blokes got him out of trouble, although he left behind the sump guard of the hire car.

TriumphTiger800XCX_024Okay I’ve rabbited on a bit. But it’s a great bike, I had a great time, and DualSport Australia finished up looking very good, thanks to Marty’s hard work leading up to the ride. I confess I’m glowing with pride at being able to say Triumph Australia is a happy customer.

I have some personal commitments this week, and then next Saturday I’m going to run my new Bucket road-racer at the Grafton Hillclimb track. This is the bike I bought to replace my beloved Kawasaki KH100 when the club outlawed drum front brakes. A 1983 Suzuki GS125 came up for sale in the club, so despite how pitifully slow they are, I grabbed it. In a curious coincidence, my first ever Bucket race bike was a GS125. This one has a pipe, shocks, some hefty front braking and a few other bits and pieces, but it still feels as slow as an episode of Downton Abbey. There’s certainly no two-stroke sting about it. I’m looking forward to running it this year, and it kicks off with a set-up day next Saturday.

Sorry! The club doesn’t like us to talk about ‘Bucket racing’ any more. It’s ‘short-course road racing’ now.

After that it’s the Ultralight Adventure.

Pottsy looks like he has a good list of starters. At this stage I’m hoping to follow the ride on the Triumph. I know it’s not a 250, but Craig Murcott has the Dominator for some more tuning, and be real…if you had an 800XCX available, wouldn’t you be riding it at every possible opportunity?


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