I had decided to be so well organised that all I had to do was get on the bike and ride it on the Friday that we left. Everything was going perfectly . . . until I noticed on the way to the start that my spotlights were not working!
I arrived at the Caltex servo about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure to collect a start docket and see if I could get the lights working, but there were no obvious issues, so I decided to just get on with it and struggle on without them. Just before I rode out, I reset the CANBus controller for the lights, and everything came good – I have never had to do this before or since, so I don’t know what was going on this time.
We set off from Coogee in nice cool conditions, with a little bit of misty rain along the way as we headed down the Hume accompanied by a number of riders including Ox, Tiger Bill, Knave, Enterprise and John Negus to stop us from getting lonely.
I had settled on to a steady pace with my first fuel stop scheduled at Narrandera. Most of the crew took their first break at Gundagai South, so by the time I had a very quick refuel at Narrandera, I was out of touch with the other riders except for Vlad who was not too far behind.
Fatman and LTP had ridden out to intercept the group at Hay, however, as I had fuelled at Narrandera I cruised straight through Hay without noticing them at the servo. I found out a little later that Vlad had also cruised straight through Hay and it was evident that we were on a similar fuelling strategy.
I was using the 100CCC to test some revised strategies for a couple of future rides – my objective was to maintain a minimum 100 kph O/A each day.
A minimum 100kph O/A means riding pretty efficiently which was made more easy with the auxiliary fuel tank which gives me a fuel range in excess of 900km under normal conditions. This means that I only needed to stop 3 times each day which helps a lot if you can do a quick fuel stop.
My next stop after Narrandera was just out of Euston to take off a few layers – while I was off the bike I took the chance for a small can of salmon for lunch. While I was there, Vlad dropped in and took off his liner and kept going. I was back on the road in pretty quick time. Next stop was at Morgan. I filled both tanks and got moving again for the run across to Port Augusta. The afternoon was pretty warm and getting warmer as I went. By the time I got to Port Augusta it was in the high 30's and I needed to wet down my LD Comfort liner before heading off again. While refuelling, I noticed Vlad go by – a short time later he was back as he had gone down the road to refuel and came back for a quick chat. We left PA together and headed for Ceduna. My plan was to run through to Ceduna without another stop, however, I had to get off the bike in Kimba to remove the knee protection from my Klim pants as my knees were getting very sore from the pressure (never happened before . . not sure why this time was worse). With pressure of the knees, I chugged onwards to Ceduna. I caught back up with Vlad along the way and we arrived at Ceduna BP together.
afternoon on day one
The other guys had not arrived when I had a shower and headed off to bed. I fell asleep very quickly and slept soundly until the alarm went off. I woofed down my rolled oats (prepared when I arrived), got dressed and ready to go. Went to the servo and met up with Kiwi, Ollie and Vlad. I drank a bottle of milk, mounted up and off we went. My plan was to get to Border Village Roadhouse for my first stop, however, I had to stop briefly at the Nullabor Roadhouse for an ablutions stop. With that out of the way, I punched on to Border Village, arriving not long before Vlad who had pulled over for a quick nap somewhere along the way, and Kiwi pulled over to fuel from a jerry.
Ceduna at the end of day 1
Heading west from Border Village, I did have a dozy moment and pulled over to close my eyes for 5 minutes. Once rested I was on my way again, pulling out onto the road just as Kiwi and Ollie happened along. We rode together briefly before they to pulled over. I felt in the groove now and after a quick stop at Balladonia went on to Southern Cross for the next fuel break. I was standing and drinking an iced coffee having refuelled when Vlad arrived. I waited while he refuelled and we left Southern Cross together. We rode the remainder of the journey into Perth together, bumping into Gus at the bottom of Greenmount Hill. After a brief chat, we headed to Scarborough, refuelled and checked into the Rendezvous Hotel.
stopped for a little snooze just west of Border Village
Scarborough Beach - end of day 2 - Coogee to Scarborough in under 45 hours.
Although the sleep urge was strong Vlad and I decided that we had earned a beer so we sat in the lounge and chatted for a while. I was not sure how far behind Ollie, Kiwi and Dave were and I had decided to head off for a shower and a good sleep. I had budgeted on a good 6.5 hours minimum in Peth and awoke later having slept very well and feeling pretty good.
Although my O/A had been over 104kph for the last 2 days, I knew that I had not ridden as efficiently as I could have. When I woke up for day 3, I was feeling very determined to ride as efficiently as I possibly could.
I went to check out and noticed that Vlad had already departed. I asked the person at the front desk when he had departed and she informed me that the others had left at least an hour and half before me!
Across the road to the servo a carton of milk and I was on my way. The morning was cool and there was no traffic. I pressed on to my schedule stop at Coolgardie I was feeling in very good shape and making good progress. I had a quick phone call from Philmor who give me the road position of Kiwi and Ollie who were not far in front at all. I had a very quick stop and I was heading for Balladonia where I bumped into Frog who informed me that Kiwi was only just in front of me. A quick stop again and it was off to Border Village. I arrived to find Vlad refuelling. I filled up both tanks and had a tin of salmon. Just as we were leaving, Ollie and Kiwi rolled in.
Vlad and I headed into the late afternoon on our way to Ceduna. We swapped the lead periodically which made it a little easier. We had one near miss with a wombat, but that was the only issue. We arrived at Ceduna together ready for a sleep.
After a nice hot shower, I jumped into bed and had a great sleep. I awoke and once again woofed down the rolled oats that I had prepared when I went to bed. Vlad and I went to the servo to find that Kiwi and Ollie had beaten us to it again – how do these guys do it?? They were at least half an hour ahead – we headed off together making good time in perfect conditions. I had a couple of phone calls with Philmor, Fatman and my wife, and was able to determine that Ollie and Kiwi were only just in front of us as we approached Port Augusta.
We took on a load of fuel at PA and Vlad and I decided that we would take the longer but funner route over Horrock’s Pass. We eventually caught up with Ollie and Kiwi at Morgan. I was planning a stop at Mildura, but I just needed 10 minutes off the bike. I stopped with Kiwi and Ollie at Renmark and got fuel and had a quick snack. Vlad pressed on for his scheduled fuel break at Mildura – I cruised on through, and adjusted my fuelling strategy to stop at Narrandera which would be my last stop. I eventually caught up with Vlad just east of Balranald and left him go when I stopped at Narrandera. Vlad stopped for fuel at Gumly Gumly and we linked up again for the run back to Sydney.
The rain had set in with periodic very heavy downfalls. The rain persisted all the way to Sydney giving my Klim suit a good work out (it passed with flying colours by the way).
I had switched over to the auxiliary tank around Mittagong, but I noticed that the fuel level was not rising much . . . hmmmmm.
When I arrived the airport servo, my range was reading “0” – I should have had heaps of fuel, but something had gone wrong. I decided to stop and fill up as I did not want to conk out before I got to Coogee (I later found that the fuel filter between the aux. tank and the main tank was blocked – must have picked up some dodgy fuel somewhere).
I arrived at the Caltex Coogee with Vlad at 02:33, 96 hours and 2 minutes after departing.
We were met at the servo by the usual stalwarts, Knave, Enterprise and Frans (who sat in the rain at Pheasants Nest waiting for us to guide us in).
Thanks heaps to these guys and Gus who was waiting for us in Perth. For the folk who called and chatted along the way and helped me out with road position of the other riders and just encouraged me generally – thanks heaps – I really appreciated it.
This was an epic ride – I was so pleased with how it all turned out. I felt in very good shape when I arrived back in Coogee and felt like I could have kept going after another sleep. I had met the objective of doing over 100kph O/A each day in a way that I felt was sustainable and was glad to have successfully completed this iconic ride – I can highly recommend it to anyone who fancies a great adventure.
It was also interesting to riding this as a loose group – it is interesting to see how everyone has their own rhythm and strategies for completing these multi-day rides. In the end, I think that Kiwi and Ollie were only about 1½ hours behind us at Coogee – not much difference at all over 4 days and 8000km.
Sorry about the lack of photos – I know the other guys were taking theirs, but it was not my focus this trip.
Home again - 96 hrs 2 minutes - O/A 82kmh