Blog. March 25. Shakedown!

Gav, Dean and Johan, ready to get started.

Damn! I started writing this last night, and it looks like all the Caperers logged on and checked it half-written. Serves them right for being impatient. Here goes…

It’s Sunday night and I’m just back from 500km or so with a great bunch of people.

The ride was the shakedown run for the Coffs KTM Cameron Corner Caper, and seven dedicated, hard-ridin’, dualsporters (plus me) spent a very pleasant day scientifically assessing some ideas and new techniques and so forth. NOT!

Nah. We should’ve done all that, but instead we roosted around some sensational scenery and had frickin’ GREAT time. Whether or not much was established remains to be seen.

The group kicked off with Caperers Dean on his brand new 690 KTM and Johan on his very new KLR650. Johan showed his commitment by arriving at Coffs KTM with the bike fully loaded, just as it would be for The Caper. He had all kinds of spiffy bags bolted on to luggage racks and crash bars, and the bike looked a million dollars. Deano’s KTM still had the shop shine on it, he’d fitted a gel seat and was carrying a fuel drum. These two guys were SERIOUS. They even stayed excited after they found Gav and I sprawled about in the Coffs KTM front garden, grumbling about the lack of coffee shops open on a Sunday morning.

As the 8.00am departure time approached, Coffs locals – and experienced adventure riders – Pottsy and Sando arrived to add some class and credibility to the leadership of the ride. Pottsy’s DR650 is an absolute work of art (see the “Show Me Yours” page), and Sando’s DR650 looked well set-up, as did Sando.

So off we all went for a day of scenery and taking notes.

Things got off to a bit of a non-start when Gav’s BMW began blowing fuses not far into the morning. It’d happened the day before, so Gav was prepared and was able to whack in new fuses to keep the group moving, but he resorted to roll-starting down hills whenever the option was available.

Gav's BMW is about to blow its first fuse in the gorgeous hill country behind Coffs Harbour.

Gav’s BMW is about to blow its first fuse in the gorgeous hill country behind Coffs Harbour.

Pottsy and Gav led us all through some of the most sensational backroad riding ever, up through the hills behind Coffs towards Nymboida and Coutts Crossing. Jonah was taken by surprise by some of the loose, sandy turns and came unstuck from the KLR a couple of times, unfortunately smashing his windscreen in the process. He dealt with it all in good humour and declared he was working on the Mad Max look for his bike as he picked up luggage bags and shards of lexan from the surrounding bush.

Jonah was going for the Mad Max look for the new KLR.

Jonah was going for the Mad Max look for the new KLR.

The Crossing provided much-needed coffee. Gav bought five dollars worth of fuel and $10.00 worth of fuses, the group grew by two BMWs as Dave and Karen joined the throng, and off we went again, heading for the incredibly beautiful surrounds of Dalmorton.

Everyone thrummed through the Ghost Town and tunnel, loving the perfect, warm, sunny weather, stopping to take in the sights and congratulating each other on how clever we all were.

The tunnel at Dalmorton. The day was full of scenery like this.

The tunnel at Dalmorton. The day was full of scenery like this.

Gav and Dave spotted a small bikkie and honey stall with an honesty box – how anyone ever bought anything from it out there in the middle of nowhere is a mystery, but obviously they do. And after all, we did – so a couple of the team stocked up.

Bikkies, honey and an honesty box in the middle of nowhere.

Bikkies, honey and an honesty box in the middle of nowhere. Gav pic.

Dave showed an unexpected selfish streak by grabbing the only bag of hundreds-and-thousands cookies before I even got to have a look. He was chuckling away as he tucked them in his panniers and I made do with some second-class nutty variety.

Forced to go the nut cookies 'cos Dave scored the hundreds-and-thousands. Gav pic.

Forced to go the nut cookies ‘cos Dave scored the hundreds-and-thousands. Gav pic.

The run into Glen Innes got a little rainy and that was good as well. It meant everyone was able to see how their provision for wet weather would stand up. From the look of all the wet, dripping faces, slopping socks and boots, and unimpressed expressions at the Glen Innes Maccas, it’s something that needs a little more attention.

By that stage the day had well and truly run away, and Pottsy and Sando headed us towards the coast via Wards Mistake, where a reasonably heavy shower turned some parts of the road into a frictionless slurry of devil-spawned mud. Dave and Karen seemed to enjoy the section – why else would they be riding in zig-zags all over the road and sticking their feet out both sides all the time? – but it didn’t last long. The sun was soon driving down in its happy mid-Autumn way and everyone pushed on to finish the day with no casualties at Ebor.

There were a couple of small medical matters resulting from the incredible level of rider commitment. Gav claimed he was stung under the nipple by a bee. He insisted on showing the resulting injury, gleefully baring his boob beside the road to reveal what looked suspiciously like a self-inflicted hickey. The other issue was with Dean, who found the gel seat on the KTM still way too hard. Apparently his bum was glowing like a furnace with an open door by the end of the day.

So there it is. All in all a truly fabulous day of dualsporting in great company, with a few bits and pieces for all riders to work on before The Caper in four weeks time.

As for me personally, the mighty Dominator carved through the morning session like the grand old girl she is. That kind of dualsporting is mother’s milk to that bike, and I was having a ball. But then Pottsy handed over his DR650 for a short blast through the forest.

For the rest of the day the Dominator felt like a loose-jointed, creaky, asthmatic, under-powered, under-suspended piece of crap. It’s just lucky that description suits the rider as well.

TF

The shakedown crew. Good work, everyone.

Gav - fearless leader and nipple throbber.

Gav – fearless leader and nipple throbber.

 

Sando. A quiet sort of bloke, and a reliable sweep.

Sando. A good bloke to have on any ride.

Dean. He's a lean, mean, KTM-riding machine...with a sore bum.

Dean. He’s a lean, mean, KTM-riding machine…with a sore bum.

Pottsy. A great guide with a sensational DR650. He doesn't like to go in straight lines.

Pottsy. A great guide with a sensational DR650. He doesn’t like to go in straight lines.

Karen and her 650GS made the day look fairly easy.

Karen and her 650GS made the day look fairly easy.

Dave and his 800GS seemed to enjoy the muddy sections in the rain.

Dave’s 800GS seemed to revel in the muddy sections in the rain.

Jonah loaded up the KLR and punched it hard through every section. He's a Caperer for sure!

Jonah loaded up the KLR and punched it hard through every section. He’s a Caperer for sure!

I guess it's this kind of behaviour that explains why I'm never asked to guide. Pottsy pic.

I guess it’s this kind of behaviour that explains why I’m never asked to guide. Pottsy pic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 comments

  • Gav Gill on March 24, 2013 at 8:53 am said:

    What a great days ride.We can look forward to 6 days of this when we head out to the corner.Thanks to Pottsy for his directions & making the new riders feel comfortable. Geez him & Sando make the DRs look like 125s the way they throw them around.I,m happy ,the BMtroubleU got home & i still had 4 fuses left. Thanks everyone. Gav

  • pottsy on March 25, 2013 at 12:59 am said:

    Well what a great little ride. What a great bunch of people to go riding with. Some of the best country to ride through. A big thank you must go out to Tom and Gav for getting us all organised together for the ride. It was fantastic to see so many other bikes out there besides us, they were everywhere.
    To the riders on the ride-

    #Dave and Karen, was great to meet you, a great couple on a pair of great bikes, BUT they are BMW riders as they seemed cleaner when they left than when they arrived, the rest of us were a dirty, untidy bunch of ruffians.

    # Jonah, far out, as this was the longest ride he had ever been on, look out when he a bit more experience under his belt. His classic one liners kept everyone laughing all day, he will be great on the big ride , he has the right attitude, he will be an asset on the ride.

    # Gav, our fearless leader, he didn’t seem to like the idea of using fencing wire as fuses in the BMW, it works on our DR’s. And the less said about his nipples the better, dibs on not sharing a room with him on the ride !

    # Dean, always there with a smile, well he has got a brand new 690 in his shed. Don’t know myself as I have not tried it but how does he know what it feels like to have your bum glowing like it had been next to a furnace all day, Suppose don’t knock it till you have tried it !

    # Sando , he is one of those blokes who has just as much fun sweeping the group helping anyone or out front making us all look so slow and stupid by comparison. The things I have seen him do on a motorcycle make me realise how much talent I have not got. A bloody good mate .

    # Tom, well I have worked out what you are doing in that photo – using your arms as stabilisers to keep the Dominatrix in line. Thanks for the ride on the Dom. I can why you smile so much riding it. Gav and Tom would stop by any little rock pile we passed. you could see them huddling together talking about their trials bikes, how they could ride up and down them all day.

    So to all who missed out you missed a great ride . Till next ride, Pottsy

  • David & Karen Ramsay on March 25, 2013 at 8:52 am said:

    Wacko, that was a great days ride, 680kls for us and the weather made things interesting. Followed that storm home from grafton so had wet blacktop and a tree down before Nymboida. Couldn’t see for vinegar flies riding up the Hwy in the dark.
    Thanks everyone for your imput, we had a ball, Karen’s dirt skills improved greatly and she loves her K60 Scouts now ! right tyre pressure helped.
    Jonah will be one to watch if we need to go bush, twice he tried to take me there! Glad Dean wasn’t as keen as Gav to share his troubles at Ebor!!
    Tom, Mrs Hibbo’s Honey Hundred an Thousand Biccies were worth chuckling over, may save you one for CCC. or not.
    Beemer riders always put their feet out in slippery muddy conditions to uphold the Stay Clean Code as Pottsy alluded to. Zig Zagging to find the best line for the Dominator .
    Looking forward to the big ride ahead and any other smaller ones you wish to share.
    cheers David & Karen.

  • Dean Anthony on March 27, 2013 at 9:21 am said:

    Thanks for the great days ride enjoyed every minute of it . My seat still feels like a lump of carved wood and hopefully my bum will get used to it . Can”t wait for the cameron corner ride and a big thankyou to Gav and Tom for wanting to take the time to take us under there wings,I’ll definitly have to buy you a beer or in your case Tom a coffee you might need to think about some caffiene tablets geez obsessed or what . cheers Dean

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