Blog: June 19. Glad to see the sun

It’s a sunny Sunday morning, and I’m glad. All the rain has everything pretty sloppy and slippery. I’m heading out to shoot some pics of the Ducati Multistrada 950 today and it has very road-ready tyres, but that’s no problem.

It’s no problem because Craig Murcott will do the riding. Ha! That bike with those tyres on the Bongil slop will be a handful.

Meanwhile I’ve been in Victoria for most of the past week riding the Royal Enfield Himlayan.

It’s an interesting bike, and I really enjoyed it.

The Himalayan is a 400cc, air-cooled single. It’s fairly small and light compared to most bikes I ride lately, and that made it really good fun. There’s no modes or electronic aids to think about, and there’s not a lot of horsepower, so it’s not intimidating. It’s a good old-fashioned bike and I took to it like Donald Trump to Twitter.

The ride was set on and around the Great Ocean Road, and it’s a great area to ride.

We naturally scraped along the road itself, but also headed into some dirt and sand roads where the bike did well. There was nothing too ridiculous, but still, it was an interesting reminder even the most basic of bikes will go anywhere and do just about anything. I watched with interest as some of the other riders, who clearly didn’t have a background in the dirt, were far less intimidated than I’d seen on bigger, more powerful bikes in easier conditions.

I especially enjoyed a short session riding with a Kiwi enduro competitor named ‘Jock’. He and I went for a little explore and found a creek crossing with a steep, muddy exit that turned 90 degrees and headed up a very sloppy, wet-clay hill. The bikes had road-ready tyres and neither of us made it up the hill, but the amount of laughing and insults hurled at each other as we tried brought back memories of riding as a youngster when that type of thing used to make a large part of any day out. I think the non-threatening, inexpensive nature of the bike had a lot to do with it.

The Royal Enfield crew looked after us really well with great catering, accom and everything taken care of, so there wasn’t much to do but have a good time.

As icing on the cake for the week, the photographer was Jeff Crow, one the best. His pics are absolutely stunning. I don’t have any to share yet, but I saw them on the back of his camera and I was in awe. I still am. I can’t wait to get hold of them.

I had a great time, but the time away from my desk has cost dear and I spent most of yesterday catching up. Today I’m at my desk again just trying to get back on the pace to cope with whatever happens tomorrow morning. The next two weeks are going to be brutal from a work point of view.

Finke ran last weekend, of course, and without Toby Price…actually Toby competed in a Trophy Truck but DNFed…Yamaha won for the first time in as long as I can remember, and good on Daymon Stokie. That’s a big win. I see Yamaha also did well in the side-by-sides (I forget the proper terminology). I was interested because third place in that class went to Danny McKenzie in the Yamaha I test drove a month or so ago. Danny was one of the driving coaches at that test, so I thought that was pretty cool to see him do well. That was third after he had to do a repair of some kind, so an even better result.

Enough from me this week. I hope you guys are all out there coping with the cold.



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