I guess I should’ve said ‘Vince Strang ride weekend’, except I only went up for the Saturday afternoon.
I had family visiting for the long weekend, so I thought I’d try and ride just the Sunday – a 300km loop. Then I was speaking to Vince and he said he reckoned the Saturday loop was a more interesting than the Sunday loop, even though it was much shorter. So I changed my plans and rode up Saturday morning, rode half the loop on Saturday arvo, then headed home home again.
It was fabulous to see so many familiar faces, and to see so many happy riders on so many different bikes. The atmosphere was great.
I can’t remember everyone I bumped into, but first up was Marty, of course. He’d set the course – a loop from the third disc – and was on hand to sweep and help with the general running.
I don’t think I have a pic of Super Mario, but he was there, as cheerful and as capable on a bike as ever. I also didn’t get a pic Danny ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson, one of my favourite photographers, who fanged around on his KTM and grabbed a few pics.
I was walking back from lunch and heard a massive bellow from the most loaded-up BMW F800GS imaginable. It was Dave Ramsay, and of course Karen was there beside him on the DR650. By the time I arrived back at Vince Strang’s dealership, they’d pulled up and were chatting to Nigel Locke.
I was on work’s F800GS and was telling everyone how much I was loving it. Dave pointed out he has 120,000km on his 800 (I think he said 120,000km), so not only are they great to ride, but they seem to be durable as well. Nige was on his decked-out TE630.
I was sprung heading over to the servo for a bain-marie pie by none other than Kane with his 990.
As I headed in to the store, who should I see but Motorbikin‘ legend Phil Hodgens, who’d ridden down on a new SWM.
Before I could in the front door I bumped in to local boy and Scrapheap notable, Col Meacham. Col had quite a dapper ensemble too…if you like Star Wars pants.
The ride itself was fantastic. The weather was glorious for the ride up through Dorrigo and Guyra. The BMW loves the road, and seeing as I didn’t have a camerabag and wasn’t working I could relax and enjoy it.
Marty’s loop was really nice. I need to get used to the bike, and I didn’t ride all that well. I didn’t get any pics out on the trail, but as I said, I was bludging and enjoying myself. Unfortunately Marty and Wilko weren’t as relaxed as me, and there might be a pic or two of me laying under the Beemer after another display of incompetence.
The reason I only did half the loop was because things moved in a fairly unhurried fashion, and Marty was good enough to point out – after he had the pics of me decking the BMW – that the afternoon was getting away. He’d forecast we’d be finished by 3.00pm, and I was planning to scoot home before it became too lively on Kangaroo Alley on the run into Ebor. As it turned out, at 3.00pm we were only halfway round, so, having picked up me and the bike, he pointed out the quick way home, and off I went.
It was a great ride home too, even though it rained from Guyra to Ebor. I honestly didn’t care about a little light rain. I had a glorious time.
Just before I sign off, I want to offer up a congratulation to Scott Britnell. Scott entered the first two rounds of the FIM Cross Country World Championship – Dakar is the final round – and completed both. He finished sixth in Qatar yesterday. It’d be tough going at any time, but Scott’s a tough bloke, and as a privateer he doesn’t get a lot of help or luxury. He rode a Husqvarna FE450 he mostly built himself with advice from Lee Palmer of Cross Roads Motorcycles in Grafton, and he stuck it out when a great many riders DNFed in the tough conditions. Scott’s aim is to get to, and finish, Dakar in the Malle Moto class. I hope he makes it.
Lee Palmer showed up on the ride this arvo too, by the way.