I suppose it all started happening the day before , with a phone call from Nick who was riding down from Lismore with Adam on their Hondas. All I got was a message on my phone: ” Hi Pottsy. Broken chain somewhere south of Grafton , can you help ?”
Struth. Their Honda’s were already trying to get out of riding with a few Yamaha’s and Suzuki’s, dropping their chains in fright! But after a nice ride on the back of an NRMA truck and an hour in my shed Nick’s Honda was ready to go again.
No excuses from now on. But this was a sign of bigger things to come for Nick the next day.
The big day
It was up early the next morning and down to the servo, only to find everyone already there, a dozen bikes, riders giving the coffee shop a workout and smiles all round. Even Marty Hardcore was there with a 250 sticker on the side of his big DR – the things he’ll do to get in on a ride .
It was great to see such a wide variety of little bikes there. From enduro bikes like Dan’s Husaberg 300 tw-stroke and my WRF, Nigel and Jonah’s 450 enduros , Meg and Mal’s safari look-a-like big tanked 250s, Gibbo and Adam representing the new-age 250 trailbike brigade sporting fuel injection and liquid cooling , and – the best, I think – Lianni’s two-stroke CRE250 Honda, straight out of the late 1990s.
With Tom taking a few pics before we left and showing off his work’s shiny new 800XCx Triumph to everyone, it was time to head out.
Off and running
We almost lost a few finding our way out of the servo, so it was an early regroup to make sure everyone understood the cornerman system. Then, keeping a tight group, we made our way to Coramba to the start of the first challenge section.
Everyone was champing at the bit to get straight into it, so it was three abreast into the first section, fighting for holeshot rights into the first corner. It was on, and there I was thinking this was supposed to be a casual fun ride. But Mal on his TTR led the pack to the top of the first hill and the whole group was hot on his heels right behind him.
Everyone was laughing and smiling it was looking like it was going to be a great ride.
But it was the next section that would sort the group out and see how the rest of the day would go. Briggsvale Road is an easy enough trail, but with a bit of rain leading up to the ride the clay can get a bit slippery. I need not have worried. Other than Nick getting a bit excited at the start and rubbing red dirt over his left side on one greasy corner, everyone rode through it without fuss. I rode sweep through here, following Meg, and for someone who’s only just started to ride, she
handled the greasy trail like she’d been riding for years.
It must have been slippery through there because even Marty was in go-slow mode and very quiet at the end! But for me the best bit was everyone was looking out for everyone else in the group, making sure they were all having a great time. It’s good to see a group all support each other .
With perfect weather the ride out to Mobong Falls was as good as it gets.
After the flowing leafy trails everyone was grinning when we pulled up.
After photos at the falls, then a headcount to make sure we hadn’t lost someone over the edge, we realised we were missing Adam. A check revealed his bike not there. We’d lost him after Briggsvale. It was then Marty confessed he might’ve lost another rider under his care – a habit he’s getting good at from all reports.
We sent Mal back to find him, seeing as Mal grew up in Briggsvale and he knows every rock and tree in the area by name. If anyone could find him, it would be Mal.
Luckil, Adam realised he was lost and returned to the place he last saw us and waited. It was the smart move and saved us a lot of time getting him back in the group.
So now with Marty banished from riding sweep the run to Tyringham was uneventful, other than Gibbo having a run in with a two-metre goanna and everyone having trouble concentrating on the road due to the amazing scenery.
While we were refueling and having lunch at Tyringham , a Falcon ute with a bike in the back did a big U-turn, sideways across the grass, to slide to a stop right in front of us. The driver leaped out, and, yep, I was not surprised to see it was Matt Osland doing the stunt driving.
As Ozzo had seen some adventure bikes he had to stop and say hello. And as he knew most in the group it was good for everyone to catch up.
It’s another sign that nice people ride adventure bikes .
With full tanks we wobbled up Schultz’s Road, amazed at how green the grass was up there and all the interesting homes built into the hillside, and arrived at Pikininni Flat, and like every other time I’ve been there, everyone rode around the natural motorcross track giggling like little kids…until Jonah announced that his radiator was leaking.
We whipped off his seat and tank and discovered that when fitting his new tank he didn’t fit the front tank mount – (Oh yeah, Jonah. I remember reading somewhere you have to use the standard mount off the original tank). The tank had pushed the radiator onto the mounting bolt, rubbing a hole in one of the cores. Luckily Dan had some metal putty, so it was fixed in a jiffy and ready to ride again.
As always Jonah was cracking jokes the whole time, telling us of his adventures riding scooters as a kid in England. The only thing that stopped him smiling was telling him the repair would cost
him his nice new soft “Seat Concepts ” seat that would have looked really good on my WRF . But he rode off before I could bolt it onto my bike.
From there it was more swoopy leafy trails slowly heading north. When we regrouped at one point on the way there though. Nigel, who was riding sweep at the time, pulled up and sat there shaking his head. I looked at rider who had pulled up in front of him – Meg – and she was sitting there dripping from head to toe in water. Her hands were shaking as she tried to take off her helmet. Nigel wandered over to her and casually said, “You might want to slow down for those creek crossings next time.”
Apparently Meg didn’t see one crossing until it was too late and nailed it at great speed. From Nigel’s detailed telling of the story there was now no water left in the creek, and she hit it at such speed the trees were been watered for 30 meters either side of the trail.
Hydrate and die
From there it was down the tar to Namboida and Kangaroo Creek.
Meg left us to ride back the tar at the turnoff to Bardool Station, which everyone was disappointed about, but she was pretty tired and had some nice blisters on her hands. Seeing as this was her first ride with a group, and the hardest trails she’s ridden, she did a great job. She’s improved a whole lot since she first rode the poker run, and it’s great to see new riders on these rides.
That was the whole idea of the ultralight’s ride.
But I think Meg might’ve had an inkling of the next bit.
With the recent rains the next creek crossing was up a bit, well over front-wheel deep, and one by one, like Lemmings, we attacked the creek. A few bikes stalled halfway across, but luckily they restarted and rode through in one piece. That is until the last bike, Nick on his XR400, which he has ridden across Australia.
He must have thought it needed a wash to get some of the dust out of it, as at the deepest part he threw it into the water. He did a great job of washing it. He even washed inside the airbox, carby and exhaust!
So after a bit of tipping the XR upside-down – thanks Nigel for helping – and draining a few litres of water out, and then Nick kicked and kicked untiol he went bright red. Mal then kicked some more until finally the XR started and flushed out the rest of the water.
After that it was an uneventful ride to Glenreagh for a quick fuel, bite to eat and back to
The best part was at the end. Everyone was swapping phone numbers, everyone had made new friends, and they were lining up rides to do in the near future.
It was a pleasure to go riding with such a great bunch of people.
This ride proved you don’t need a big bike to go adventure riding. The 250s go just as fast as the big bikes, and, I think, are more fun.
So now to plan the next ride. I have a few ideas. I will talk with Tom and see when a good time is for everyone to get out and do it all again.
Oh. And Tom is talking about another poker run as well, similar time as last year – June – so keep an eye out for a date on here .