Hell to Heaven, Fatman & LTP


Well-Known Member
LTP and I had a burning desire to have another crack at the Hell to Heaven IBA ride from the lowest point in Australia, Lake Eyre South at 12m below sea level to the highest point at Charlottes Pass up in the Snowy Mountains sitting at 1835m above sea level with a 24 hour time limit . We tried this ride last year around the same time of the year only to get a rock through the road tyre 20km north of Lyndhurst SA. We were able to plug it at the time to get home but we aborted that attempt for another time.

My early Xmas present arrived with special Xmas wrapping and all… What could it be?

A set of Metzeler Tourance Next tyres

So attempt again we did. Originally we were going to do the second attempt start on the 28th Dec but the temperatures for the route were going to be in mid to high 40C, so we decided to start to ride earlier on the 24th with mid to high 30C predicted. We arrived at the Marree Pub on Sunday 23rd December 2018 where we had a cabin booked for the night. Joe, the pub Manager is a great guy and is really interested in the rides we all do, he also mentioned other riders he has met as they came to Marree that we all know, Vlad, Russell, Skidoo, Wombattle, Joe didn’t know all the names but I think he meant Ed and Thommo who have all done a Dusty Butt IBA ride. He was very helpful to assist us in any way he could. I had already let the Metzeler Tourance Next tyres down some 10psi front and rear the day before at Lyndhurst, and tested it between there and Marree on the 2 dirt sections totaling some 50km. I didn’t have time to test what was the best pressures to run so just went with that.

As with any big ride, checking and rechecking the ride details is paramount to having a successful ride, here is Lynne the pillion doing just that at the Marree Pub.

Monday 24th, we are both ready and eager to ride out the 90km of dirt to Lake Eyre South for the start of the ride. We rode slowly along the Oodnadatta Track taking time to check the road for bad sections, some bulldust and stony sections made it interesting and kept us on our toes but I found the track to be in great condition. We arrived at the lake at 9.06am (AEDT), no ATM’s out here for a start receipt so this gave us time to take the necessary pics of the grid reference, bike, us and Lake Eyre Sth sign, pressed Spot OK, leaving the actual start time till last as we were ready to jump aboard and leave, our start time of 10am (AEDT) would come around quickly. There was no one else around, just us, the lake, the Oodnadatta Track and the tranquility of the outback, got to love that.

A view across the Oodnadatta Track towards lake Eyre South

Words fail me!

The sun was starting to warm up to around 26C and with high 30C ahead of us we decided to start slightly earlier.

Start time 9.53am (AEDT), Start Odo 187720km. Pressed Spot OK again

I was starting to get use to the RT dancing around the track with all its load and Pillion and was starting to relax, gaining more confidence with each km and enjoyed the ride back to Marree, I think we averaged 80kmh or so which felt very controllable and smooth. Bulldust patches and the stony sections which on the transport north to the lake had seen the steering being vague, but coming south with a bit more speed, standing on the pegs and my weight back we was able to power through the worse bits with ease. LTP got a receipt at Marree but the time was miles out, so rather than pencil in the change and explaining to the German backpacker behind the counter and get it signed we rode to the pub to obtain the receipt from their ATM which can be accessed at all hours, Joe and one of his staff signed our start witness form. Time 11.02am (AEDT), Odo 187811km, Km travelled 91km

Just as I was really having fun in the dirt, we arrived at the end of it at Lyndhurst, we knew by our trip north that there was no air compressor available here only card operated fuel, so we planned to keep going the 40km to Leigh Creek for fuel and to pump up the tyres back to normal pressures, quicker doing it this way than setting up our own little tyre compressor. Time 12.35pm (AEDT).Odo 187928km, Km travelled 208km

The run back through Parachilna and Hawker was uneventful but the scenery is stunning through here with the Flinders ranges to our left. From our ride north the day before we knew when we turn left onto the RM Williams Way towards Peterborough (our next fuel stop) that there was plenty of road kill with big wedge tail eagles taking an interest in the fast food, luckily all the Roos had taken shelter under trees as the temp was now around 36C but had some cloud cover which was nice. South of Orroroo I noticed Daisy and Reg from Jamestown coming at us, with a flash of our lights and wave they followed us to Peterborough for a chat. Thanks for taking the time to catch us it was great to see both of you. Time 3.41pm (AEDT}, Odo 188223km, Km travelled 503km

Daisy and Reg followed LTP and I south through Terowie, Burra to Morgan where we gave them a wave as they went back home. Our next stop was going to be Yamba but this was a servo that couldn’t confirm if they were going to open on Xmas eve so we pulled up short at Renmark for fuel and a salad sandwich. I had a brief chat with Hackle and Philmor who were interested in our progress, it’s always good to talk with like minded riders, thanks guys. Time 6.39pm (AEDT), Odo 188499km, Km travelled 779km

The run across to Mildura saw quite a few trucks coming at us but in no time we were sitting at red traffic lights in Mildura, I forgot about the short cut Benetook Ave. The sun was now setting behind us as we left the Mildura so I was very aware that we were approaching “Roo Highway” and true to form Roo’s were bouncing around everywhere, hundreds, thousands of the buggers. So with our RooTED turned on we sat between 80 – 90kmh for the next 500km and they all turned away from our bike and bounced off into the scrub. I find this speed allows for them to decide which way to go and allows me a little margin of safety if one does decide to turn in our direction, but it does take some discipline to ride this slow in a 110kmh zone for 500km, I have slow averages for the night stages in our schedule of around 90kmh, but I found I was still losing time, but we were both happy to lose some and keep the chance of a strike to a minimum.

As we approached Euston we both remembered John Ainsworth (JRA) at the spot where he tragically passed away some years back while returning from the Border Run.

Approaching the Meilman Rest Area we decided to have a break and had a power nap for 15 minutes to regenerate. Everyone on the Highway seemed to be driving slow due to the Roo numbers I assume and there were many times with our high beams dipped with an oncoming vehicle you could see dozens of Roo heads around handlebar height standing upright like meerkats looking over their territory, you could punch them in the nose they are that close at times. Shortly after we were at Hay South for fuel with a brief exchange of Merry Xmas to each other before we devoured some nice Dim Sims, what a way to start Xmas Day. Time 12.41am (AEDT), Odo 188925km, travelled 1205km

The insects in the air were thicker than heavy rain splattering on every surface could.

I only had to brake heavily for 1 Roo for the entire ride and it was when we were leaving Darlington Point and I had turned off the RooTED to avoid waking anyone, then a Roo came from our right side and looked like he was lining us up, I braked very heavily to avoid hitting him. I looked at my RooTED switch and I had forgotten to turn RooTED back on as we had exited the small town. Around 30km west of Wagga Wagga the Roos had packed up and gone home it was the first time I got up to 100kmh since leaving Mildura. Wagga Wagga was our next scheduled stop. Time 4.07am (AEDT), Odo 189187km, Km travelled 1467km

We knew the sun would be rising soon as we rode up the Hume Hwy before turning right onto the Snowy Mountain Hwy, there were some Roos in this section, one spun out in front of us as he lost traction on the bitumen, he slid on his side for a bit but soon got himself sorted. No wonder they use Kangaroo hide for motorbike leathers I thought to myself. When we got to Tumut I needed to have another power nap, I was starting to get tired now with the dirt, the heat and time all taking its toll on me, but after a brief rest I felt good again. Up along the Blowering Dam more Roos were spotted but didn’t cause us any harm. The Talbingo Hill was climbed and then had to slow for some Brumbies walking along the road, but it was an easy run across to Adaminaby where a quick loo stop was needed. We now had only approx. 2hours of time left but we felt as long as we didn’t have a problem we should be right to make the deadline of 9.53am (AEDT). Middlebank Road is always a nice run and today was no exception and that lead us to turning right towards Jindabyne for a receipt at the BP servo. Time 8.47am (AEDT), Odo 189501km, Travelled 1781km

40km to go now to the summit so we made sure we made no errors and kept the riding smooth, it was nice to get some fresher air in our faces as the whole ride up till Wagga had been quite hot with 39C tops in the day and even the night was mainly 26C. As we approached Charlotte Pass lots of bush walkers were powering up the hill, I assume they walk to Mount Kosciuszko for a Xmas drink perhaps? We powered up the hill too, BM power. We got there with 28 minutes to spare both elated we had done it, one tough mother of a ride. Time 9.25am, Odo 189542km, travelled 1822km. GPS indicated 1846km. Total Time 23hr 32min. We completed the ride 32 minutes behind our schedule, both happy with that.


Thanks to everyone for your comments, phone calls, SMS’s and good wishes, they are much appreciated.

Thanks to LTP also, she adapted to the dirt sections like a trooper she is and just went with the flow of the bike making steering the beast easier.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Thanks for your comment guys, this ride certainly dishes up a variety of conditions for you to overcome, from the dirt to the flat areas across the plains through to the tight twisties of the Snowy Mountain Hwy at the end just to keep you on your toes.

And another one bites the dust. Congratulations once again.
I meant to thank Hackle in the story, he offered us a 24 hour tow back to home if we needed it anywhere on this ride,he is an action man for sure, I appreciated the offer Hackle, glad I didn't have to see you though.... If you know what I mean... ;)


Well-Known Member
Terrific ride by an awesome team! Thanks for the great narrative and pics.
Thanks for taking the time to have a read Scott, glad you enjoyed the report from up there..

I was finally able to get the time to read both of your reports. After last years disappointing start it was so good to see the two of being able to tick this one off. i thoroughly enjoyed both reports and have taken notes for when the time permits me to have a crack at it.
I know this is one on your to do list Jeff, can't wait for you to have a crack, you'll love it. :)