I’ve had a bikeless week, except for Dan Vaughan doing some work on the KLR, and now it’s better than ever. He sure has an incredible touch with a bike. I thought it needed new clutch springs. Dan reckoned I should try a new cable first. Sure enough, that clutch is as smooth as butter now, and more progressive than a Steiner school.
I’ve had some new lights turn up for it as well.
I originally bought some second-hand Touratech spotties. Touratech has an interest in the bike, so I thought that was a good idea. But when the spotties got here they were way too big and heavy. So Dan’s fitting them to my Yamaha cruiser instead, and I bought a pair of Denalis for the KLR.
They’re expensive little buggers. So were the Touratechs.
This past week I’ve been in Victoria for the fourth time in six weeks. Mt Buller. Again.
But this time I was down there mucking about in a four-wheel-drive, which explains the opening image. It looks spectacular, but I don’t remember the puddle because I had my eyes closed most of the time. I don’t know anything about four-wheel-driving, and we went into what I thought was some gnarly shit…
For four-wheel-drivers that’s probably main road, but for me, in someone else’s car, I was quietly pooing myself. We were each provided with a driving instructor, and I was lucky enough to jag Danny MacKenzie, a bloke I know quite well. He’s a good mate of my son’s, and he often tells everyone we used to race Thumper Nats. So we did. But where I donkeyed around at the back of the wobbler’s class, Dan used to set a brisk pace in the serious classes, depending which bike he was on. These days he’s a pro rally-driving instructor and competes in the national side-by-side series. He finished second in 2017, so he goes alright.
It was a classy international event, so you can imagine how well I fit in (not). The company gave us all a gorgeous Drizabone jacket and a few stickers and so forth when we arrived – before we climbed into helicopters for the trip to Buller.
On the second night we got to our rooms and found a Kathmandu backpack. When I opened it, look what was inside…
Can you imagine how cool that was?
There was a scarf, beanie and a couple of other things which I passed on to Craig Murcott. Before I left he told me to ‘fill my pockets’ with any stickers or freebies for him, so I was glad to oblige.
This turnout included Wednesday, which was, of course, ANZAC day.
I was the only Australian in the international group of 20 and it was strange to be with so many people who didn’t know what ANZAC day was about. I glared at the Turkish guys a bit, just to show the ANZAC spirit lived on. I don’t think they noticed. The group also included Icelanders, Germans, Chinese, French, and a couple nationalities I couldn’t identify or connect with. A few, like the Chinese and French, had personal translators. The French driver said hello and we tried to have a conversation, but I couldn’t work out what he was saying. Finally he whipped out his phone and showed me a picture of Peter Goddard. Peter Goddard is Ted Goddard’s (inventor of Barkbusters) son. Like his father, Peter is a lovely bloke. He can ride a bit, too. I met him when I interviewed him during his time in SBK. That was after he’d ridden 500cc GP and won a road-race enduro world championship.
I straight away lit up and realised the Frenchman was trying to ask if I knew Peter Goddard.
From there we got on famously, and when the interpreter arrived it turned out Christian – the Frenchman – had been Peter Goddard’s teammate when they won that world championship, and Christian was now racing cars. He’d just completed his 15th Dakar.
That was pretty overwhelming, I can tell you.
I had a smile to myself when Christian was buried in the middle of the four-wheel-drive convoy and I overhead his driving instructor telling the others how difficult it was to hold him back. Apparently Christian’s understanding of English, and his understanding of his fluent interpreter, was a problem for commands like, “Slow down,” or, “A constant throttle and let the vehicle idle up the rock step”.
Dave and Karen Ramsay are still in Nepal as far as I know, and I haven’t heard from anyone else. I hope that’s because everyone’s out riding.
I have a good story here from Marty HC. I’ll post it as soon as I get a chance. I’m a bit flat out now trying to catch the time I lost swanning about in Victoria.