Blog: March 20. Crap weather

It’s Saturday morning and I’m just back from driving the Yamaha quad-thing. It’s windy and very wet, and I don’t expect I’ll do any riding today or tomorrow, so I may as well write this now.

Obviously my ‘riding’ this week was mostly the quad – correctly called a ‘ROV’ – and it was an interesting experience. There was nowhere near enough time in the driver’s seat to make the vehicle work. We were allowed just enough driving to start thinking, “Hmm. This could be really be a lot of fun!”, which was usually when things started becoming hairy. As soon as that happened we were waved down for a driver change.

The buggies – or whatever the correct name for them is – sure looked the business.

The three-cylinder, one-litre motors and heavy-duty suspension were crying out for a thrashing (I thought). The cars sell for a tad over $30,000, and Yamaha is certain there are plenty of people ready to purchase. It seems like a big investment to me, but it’s comparable to the big adventure bikes, and as Yamaha was quick to point out, the cost of a comparable rally car or building a race-ready ROV from the currently available choices makes $30,000 a very reasonable proposition for an unregisterable, high-tech paddock-basher.

I’m clearly in the wrong profession.

Still, it’s easy to understand why people are keen to race them.

We were allowed to drive a ‘motocross’ track, a flat track and an adventure or trail loop. The pic above is from the trail loop.

There were quite a few people I knew through work who I hadn’t seen for a long time, so that was pleasant. Probably Australia’s best dirt-bike photographer, and undoubtedly one of Australia’s best sports photographers in general, Greg Smith, was on site to do camera duty, so the pics will be spectacular – not like my ones on this blog. I wandered around with my trusty Nikon taking a few pics here and there. Here’s what Greg takes with him when he needs to be mobile…

There were a few big-name drivers from the quad world to show us what the vehicles could do, and climbing into the passenger seat with them for ‘hot laps’ was an eye-opener. But the biggest thrill for me was a session of hot laps on the flat track with Stephen Gall.

I understood what was going on on the motocross and trail loops, and could see the pros were doing what I was trying to do. But on the flat track I was lost, and to sit there in awe as Gally drifted that car around at what seemed to me insane speed was truly awe-inspiring. I several times thought the car had rotated past the point of no return, and each time Gally fed in some throttle, juggled the wheel, increased speed and floated us around. Each time I looked over he was so relaxed! It was a really incredible experience for me.

The best bit was, everyone was so excited about running the motocross track with the Americans they were all queued up over there, so when my time on the flat track was up there was no-one waiting to jump in. I asked Gally for another session and off we went, pulling even shorter lap times.

I won’t forget that part of the day in a hurry.

Back to bikes.

Craig Murcott dropped the Dominator back and it looks sensational. As soon as this rain stops I’ll get a few pics and post them for you. Craig’s eye for detail is amazing, and he has that bike looking really special again.

Craig swapped the Dominator for the KLR, so that’s over in his shed now, being prepped for the Touratech Challenge and Travel event in Victoria in a couple of weeks. I’m still not sure, but I think I’ll ride down. If I take a couple of days instead of blasting down there in a single day I think it’ll be an enjoyable outing.

It’s bucketing down rain again. I think I’d best go start pumping up the floaties.


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