Monday 22nd of July – Day 77
At 8am sharp we arrived at the Tyres for Bikes workshop to find Rob and Eric armoured up and ready to roll. Excitement and a little trepidation coursing through me, I focused myself, drew a deep breath and thought of my motto, “Ride to ride again” .
Moments later the two KTM 950’s burst into life and the race veterans disappeared down the dirt driveway before my eyes. I saw a big splash as Eric blasted his way through a puddle at the end of the drive and they were gone!
We took off after them. Sticking to the speed limit on the bitumen road, I could just see them about 1km ahead. A minute or so later we turned off the tar. Rob was waiting for us at the corner. As soon as he saw us he was off again down the dirt road. Soon we turned off the dirt road onto a small track that led into the forest. Under the canopy of the trees the ground had not dried out at all. The track was buttery with puddles everywhere. Within 100m we came to a large tree fallen across the track. I do not have many photos from the ride as I was full time keeping the bike upright so I will explain a little.
I wasn’t at all sure how I was going to get over the log. It was sloped side ways and cut in a way that I though I would very quickly end up sliding side ways and getting the bike knocked over on top of me under the cut log which was about 1m off the ground. Rob had got his bike over the log…but it was laying on its side 15m further on in a pile of mud. Rob picked the machine up and came back to help me across the log. I approached the log slowly and with an quick and solid twist of the throttle popped the requisite mono, less than a second later the hard part came, getting the back wheel over the sloping log without slipping side ways and getting knocked off the bike by the log in the air. I don’t really know exactly what happened next. Maybe Rob helped me, maybe my tyres did what was needed but I got over it.
Next Eric did the same although he got stuck on the bash plate and required significant elbow grease from Rob to free him. This was a really tricky one! Raman did the same and got stuck too. More elbow grease and we were all on the far side. Both Raman and I had thoughts wondering if we would really be able to follow these two guys on their “day ride”. I was a little relieved to see they had difficulty with the log and I felt much better when Rob indicated the log wasn’t there last time he came through and that he had not planned that little hurdle.
So, where are we. Its now about 8:05am. Rob led on, track after track, only occasionally taking us on short tar legs to get to the next track, and I mean track. Up hill and down dale we rode on experiencing slippery mud, rutted paddock tracks, wet logs, sand, sticks, creeks, rocks, cut off drains and all manner of other interesting and challenging obstacles and terrain types.
Raman and I rode like never before! We marvelled at the dexterity and balance these two veteran racers exhibited on the big bikes in some amazingly tough terrain.
This ride was like nothing we have ever done!
I could tell my focus was fading, my energy noticeably less than at the beginning of the trip and what time is it, oh its only 10:40am.
I took the above picture while eating a banana, hoping a little food might help.
Rob showed us around the old mill. Fascinating amount of history laying around.
The rest stop wasn’t long though.
I knew I had to regulate my self to get though this day. I was already fatigued! And no wonder, I had been riding for two hours and forty minutes already on very challenging terrain.
Taken at about 11:30am.
Looking back I marvel, 9 hours and over 400km! We got thoroughly Rob‘ed!
By the end of the day both Raman and I had improved our riding significantly although we were both totally stuffed. There were little tips scattered along the way from Rob that we had plenty of opportunities to practice.
I am proud to say I rode just the way I aimed to. I did not drop the bike once all day and yet I learnt a great deal and pushed my self time and time again in ways that had limited risk. As a matter of fact I was the only one who didn’t come off. I rode within my limits which had me fall behind at times and keep right up there at others.
I hope to be able to get the little bit of video footage I have of the day up in the next few days.
Rob Turton runs motorcycle adventure tours (Overlanders Motorcycle Tours) so for anyone wanting a really good guided tour of some amazing country in QLD, I can recommend Rob as the first person I would go to of anyone I have met in Australia! Our day was fantastic, challenging to just the right degree, Rob waited for us, gave us great advice, he knows the country like the back of his hand and he is really personable…what a day.