After reading on Dualsportaustralia.com.au about the fundraiser ride being run by the Inverell lads, and having a Friday free, I thought, “Why not head up the hill from Coffs Harbour and join in the ride?”
I packed up the BM-Trouble-You, got away just after lunch on Friday and made my way to Guyra via Gleniffer, Dorrigo and Ebor. It’s such a picturesque ride up and across the plateau!
From Guyra I headed to Bundarra along Baldersleigh Road that had recently been graded. Some parts were like riding on marbles.
At Bundarra I dropped in some parts from my vintage Yamaha TX650 project to be chromed at Triple Chrome, where the owners, father and son, are both into bikes (HD brand).
On arriving at Inverell at about 5.00pm I fueled up for Saturday’s ride and met local bike- and car-enthusiast, Terry Romer. Terry has a stack of cars, and while he mainly collects pre-unit Triumphs, he has a 1978 Honda XL250S in showroom condition. If you visit the local transport museum you’ll see Terry’s 1958 Triumph Speed Twin and his blue GTHO Falcon on display.
Time had slipped away when I had the tent up at the local van park and made it down to the Oxford Hotel for dinner. The pub was empty when I arrived – at 7.45 on a Friday night?
It wasn’t long until a few local drinkers rolled in and then the roar of a couple of KTMs was heard. Four lads had ridden down from St George on their 990s for the Scrapheap ride. That’s 600km away!
A few drinks later and the first DR650 rolled in. Graeme had just arrived from Sydney after belting it up the New England Highway.
Saturday arrived bright and sunny (or was dull and rummy for the St George boys), and by 9.00am some 42 riders had turned up to follow Col Meacham’s directions. Some fine machinery turned up with a DR750S upstaging all the other modified DR650s.
Some of the other interesting bikes were a 1973 XL250 Honda, A Scrapheap XJ650/4 Yamaha sidecar with enough supplies in the chair for an around-the-world trip, and a bright-yellow Ural sidecar. Oh, and Col’s KLR that looked like an ex-army WLA Harley.
Once underway everyone was having a fun time with a slow pace on the slippery gravel roads. The cornerman system was being used and this was a great chance to view the bikes coming by and splashing through water crossings.
Lunch and fuel was at Gurya, but somehow we ended up in Armidale. Col reckoned it was his fault by leading us all astray, but I think the huge KLR couldn’t pull up at the turn to Guyra and took until Armidale to halt. Then to top it off, Graham, who rode up from Sydney, got a flat while we regrouped. The “Lost 1” was now the “Deflated 1” and was trailered to Guyra for lunch.
With the tyre fixed and bellies full we continued past Wards Mistake and into Glenn Innes. Graham limped in with the rear tyre flat again. After lots of advice on where to buy tyres, tubes and levers (mainly AdventureMoto), the DR was again loaded on to the trailer for the last leg back to the Oxford Hotel at Inverell.
Back at the pub the final thankyous where made both by the organisers and the participants, and the stories flowed on through the night. A new tyre and tube were organised so Graham could ride back to Sydney, and a helmet was also organised as he’d left his in Glenn Innes, even after the backup driver asked if he had everything.
Myself, I visited the Transport Museum on Sunday morning and headed back down to the coast via some backroads outside Tingha. It was a shame a few more didn’t come from Coffs as it was a terrific weekend with the country folk’s hospitality.
Thanks to the organisers for such a great and safe day on the roads. It seems even some of the back-up crew were having fun on the slippery roads, especially the silver dualcab with the flying trailer.