Blog: October 5. A Dominator just went past my window!

It’s true!

Just as I sat down to start writing this blog a late-model Dominator cruised past the window! It was one of the red ones with a white tank. It happened so unexpectedly I didn’t get a pic.

Who was that masked man?

It’s been a busy week.

First I went down to Wollongong and met up with Matt Phillpott.

Matt’s an interesting character. He’s a big KTM fan – he has an 1190, a 690 and a Freeride, all with Rekluse clutches – and of course he owns Rideworx. For those who don’t recognise the name, it’s the company that produces Barkbusters. After producing the Barkbusters, Rideworx then exports them to more than 30 countries and supplies OEM product to five of the world’s biggest manufacturers.

Matt’s such a quietly spoken bloke it’s hard to grasp the level of robotics and automation he’s brought to the process of making Barkbusters. Actually, that’s not hard to grasp. It’s the fact that he designs and builds the industrial robots himself.

MattPhillpott_006I’d met Matt on a rides here and there, and it was awesome to get a tour of the Rideworx headquarters and then hear some of his ISDE stories over lunch. It was a very pleasant afternoon.

On the way back from The ‘Gong I dropped in on Nick Dole and Ernie in Sydney’s west.KLRForkValves_028 KLRForkValves_001Ernie (top) showed his usual interest in someone who’d throw the ball, and Nick (above), as always, threw his workshop open and welcomed me. I volunteered to work on the bike in the parking lot because he had so much going on, but Nick insisted on putting the bike up on the bench and me having a free run of his workshop.

Here’s the first drawer I opened.

KLRForkValves_027That was just one drawer of one tool chest at one work station.

I nearly orgasmed!

As always, Nick quietly and tolerantly let me try and do things, then, when I’d cocked everything up, he stepped in showed me how it should’ve been done and the tools I should’ve used…which is all very well when you know those tools exist and where to find them. And as for putting fork tubes in a lathe and ‘sorting out the poor finish and fit’, that’s just beyond me. The frigging lathe looked like a steam locomotive with the wheels taken off. It was huge.

At the end of it all, Ernie had a top day and work’s KLR had its forks serviced, V4S valves fitted and a new needle and clip slipped in place. It also had a ‘leak-down test’ done. I’d never heard of a leak-down test – I asked for a compression test and Nick rolled his eyes and scoffed – and it’s always awesome to watch a real professional do his thing.

It was a good fun couple of days.

I rolled back from Sydney in time to meet Scott Britnell on his way north.

Scott’s the bloke who piss-bolted from Byron Bay to Steep Point and back in just under 174 hours.

ScottBritnell04Scott’s a nice bloke, even if he does have this intense manner about him that makes you feel you should just quietly back away and keep your voice down. He always has the demeanor of a man on a mission, and at the moment his mission is to get to get Dakar. He’s trying to raise the funds he needs, while at the same time heading to Dubai to ride the rallye there so he can qualify. One of the things he’s doing to raise funds is selling his two 640 Adventures. Typically, he wants them to be in top condition because he doesn’t want to sell anyone a bike that’s not first class, so he was on his way to Grafton to see his mate Lee Palmer at Cross Roads Motorcycles. Lee and his wife have a long history of Dakar and World Rallye competition, and it’s a certainty that bike will be in premium condition by the time the new owner takes delivery.

I’m lucky to be able to spend time with people like these. If there’s days I feel like things aren’t going my way, or perhaps I think I’m getting a raw deal about something, I think about people like Scott, Nick and Matt, and what they must go through every day to make things happen on the scale they do, and it quickly makes me take a breath and get on with things.

And let’s not forget Nick Dole’s dog, Ernie. His life’s not all beer and skittles, either! Some days I bet there’s hardly anyone comes in there with time to throw the ball.

Life’s not so bad.

I’ve rambled on, as usual, and there’s other people with more interesting things to say.

Here’s a thought from Pottsy…


This is something I have been studying for a while now. It’s when you pop out the bush somewhere and you have no idea where you are. I’ve found it helpful to notice mailboxes.

When you come across microwave mailboxes it’s a good chance you are a minimum of 50km from a town.

Then again, the type of mailboxes has some bearing on how big a town it will be, too. It’s like when the mailboxes are the shiny, stainless-steel, mass-production ones, you know it’s a reasonable mid-sized town. It tells you this because the mailbox was obviously bought at a Bunnings store and they only are in a town of medium size.

So I am going to start taking pics of mailboxes from now on.

All this came to me recently when I was sitting at the intersection of Schultz Road at Billy’s Creek the other day. Those who know this corner would be well familiar with the row of mailboxes, from old fridges to microwaves and oil drums. Three or four cars over half-an-hour pulled up and took photos.

So take note of mailboxes. They can tell you a lot.



That was very philosophical, I thought. And lord knows, the unique mailbox is certainly a trait Australians can be proud of as a cultural statement.

Unfortunately, Pottsy didn’t provide a pic of the mailboxes in question, but here’s one of my favourites. It’s out in the Flinders Ranges somewhere, and I’m guessing the property owner must be a bike owner…or was at one time at least.

TriumphRATRide2014_468If you have any mailbox pics you’d like to add, send them in. It’s just the kind of thing I reckon would be a heap of fun. Let’s see your mailbox.

That’ll do for this week. It’s late Monday arvo, and because you’ve had to wait so long for the blog, you got a big bugger.

The next ride I’m hoping to get to is the Snowy Ride in November.

Snowy_Ride_LogoIf anyone else is thinking of going, and is maybe looking for company, let me know. It’s a bit of a road ride, but a fantastic atmosphere and a slow, easy pace through awesome scenery.



One Comment

  1. I saw something on the web the other day, that Scott Britnell has only just recently finished a crossing of Central Asia too, thru Russia, Mongolia and China – all offroad. He must be a fascinating bloke to talk to.

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