Blog: April 4. The VSM ride is ready to go.

It’s Saturday arvo, and seeing as I broke both mowers and the Dominator last weekend, I can safely blog now. I have time, and I won’t be riding anywhere tomorrow.

Marty HC has sent a few pics and some info on the Vince Strang ride running on the ANZAC weekend, so I’ll pass it on. He’s actually talking about the Saturday afternoon loop, here I think. The Sunday loop is all-day affair, running something like 300km. The ‘Paradise Loop’ I’m pretty sure includes a run up Mount Topper. I was talking to Vince Strang about something unrelated on Thursday, and he commented it wasn’t what everyone else calls Mount Topper – with the trig station – but what the Inverell locals called Mount Topper…which I guess doesn’t have a trig station.

We’ll find out when we get there, I guess.

One of these pics has a trig station, so maybe it was the other way around.


I was planning to try and get up there to ride the Sunday, but Vince offered to shout me in to the dinner with the guest speakers if I rode the Saturday instead. I don’t think I’ll be able to stay Saturday night, but he’s convinced me the shorter Saturday loop has the more interesting riding, so I may opt for that day instead.

At this stage I don’t know what I’ll be riding. It’d be nice to be on the Dominator, but it may not have been repaired yet. We’ll have to see.

Log on to for the latest information on the weekend.

Here’s Marty’s rave on the Paradise Loop and a few pics he sent:

Afternoon Delight Paradise Loop

The Saturday afternoon loop has been extended this year thanks to Super Mario showing Dualsport Australia around to offer more tight sandy tracks through forest and an incredibly scenic road meandering through the aptly named Paradise Creek Station. All up it’s 121km of top riding over three hours.

The Afternoon Delight loop runs in the opposite direction this year, so after a short transport out of town it’s flowing dirt lanes with short tar links to Gilgai, then into the bush where the erosion mounds start. The track turns and weaves through unmarked trails making GPS almost essential. It’ll be hard work just following a route sheet through here.

Popping back onto the tar, there’s a short transport then back into more tight, sandy bush, the trail weaving through rocks and ruts, deeper sand in the corners, an easy climb up to an excellent lookout on Mt Topper, all in all a fantastic section the DRs will eat up and is still easily rideable on a big bike – probably just a fair bit slower.

Although Vince took the Africa Twin around this loop last week to good reports and no problems, he declined my offer of durability testing so I can’t say.

The one-kilometre run to the top of the Mt Topper lookout is the same way in and out, so some extra care is needed in that short section. Riders will need to watch for oncoming traffic.

That could happen anywhere during the weekend as roads aren’t closed. Remember to adventure ride, not rally or race, and you’ll be fine.

After all the excitement of the tight bush, the 10km transport will feel like torture (well it did for me anyway), but this is soon forgotten as Paradise Creek works its charm. It’s incredibly scenic as it winds its way across Paradise Creek and over hills causing conflicting thoughts from wanting to stop and take photos or just enjoy the fun riding. The riding won out ,but there are a few photos that don’t really do the area justice. You’ll just have to see for yourselves.

All too soon you’re back through Elsmore and onto the delightful Old Armidale Road that was a highlight last year as you jump and rail berms back to Inverell.

It’s a delightful loop well suited to the mainly enduro background of riders that turned up last year, while still offering the big-bike rider a feeling of accomplishment without beating the rider up.

The Sunday loop from Dualsport Australia’s VOL-3 (New England east and west) Inverell to Barraba is also much tighter with heaps more elevation changes compared to last year’s Ashford loop.

With this year being a full navigation run (last year we marked the course) some extra care is needed to watch out for corners while navigating. The number of corners overshot last year was a bit of a worry. That style of riding could easily see a trip to hospital this year, with plenty of tight corners even over rises, without room to run off safely (this section has bitten me and three other friends hard) especially after lunch on Coreena Road and Baldersleigh Road.

Add in huge sections of unfenced road bristling with stock, the odd Landcruiser, big kangaroos even in middle of day, a few gates to open and close, and plenty of things to watch out for. Ridden sensibly, it’s a fantastic loop, fun and scenic, one of Dualsport Australia’s favourites. Slow down and enjoy a fun, cruisy adventure ride, not rally or race to Guyra hospital (which by reports is quite good but not everyone remembers being there. So are Armidale and Coffs Hospitals).

DSC07010DSC07005DSC07000DSC06997DSC06994DSC06988DSC06981DSC06980DSC06977DSC06975DSC06971DSC06968DSC06961So there you have it. Hopefully I’ll catch up with some of up there.




  1. We’ll see you up there Tom. Mt Topper looks interesting, we’ve only been up the section with the Trig. Anyone wanting to dash up Saturday morning with us or camp Sunday night at Ironbark Campground in Kings Plains Nat Park, you’re most welcome, check out the event below. If attending the Saturday night dinner you need to book & pay soon.

  2. Will there be ANZAC bikkies? On the ANZAC weekend? TF

  3. Every weekend is Anzac biccie worthy & especially that one. I’ve managed to replicate your Chapati style, run over by a truck lookalikes. Can get more in the box so might bring them 😉

  4. Looking forward to it. Coming back from a day early so that I can drive 8 hours for this event! Not booked any accommodation yet. Coming up on the Friday and leaving on the Monday – any recommendations?

  5. there is a accommodation list available on VSM website,as for accom,with Dualsport Australia’s expense card we can report that the ground is quite soft but it gets cooler this time of year

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