Rusjel's 2017 Memorial run


Premier Member
The big ambition this year was to do a 50CC ( 50 hours coast to coast) from Melbourne to Darwin, then emulate Davo’s 24 hour run from Darwin to Port Augusta on the way back down. Bikes were prepared, plans made and painstaking human preps undertaken. Ed trained by working crazy hours all year and Glen practiced sleep deprivation in the weeks leading up. Not to be outdone, I decided to add to the degree of difficulty by falling off a Harley in the states, dislocating three bones in my right hand and causing various soft tissue damage.
None of which showed up in the pleasant run down to Melbourne on Sunday. If you don’t count 90km/h crosswinds and misserly rain that is.

Glen found us some cool digs in the Melbourne CBD and we did some further IBA preps by wolfing down a mountain of Malaysian food Sunday night. The others will make comment about my ‘light’ meal but I don’t recall anyone being forced to eat it.

Early start wondering where our start witnesses had gone. Around the corner from the freeway as it happens. Thanks for turning up everyone.

Unfortunately by the time we’d almost got to Horsham I knew my hand wasn’t going to hold up. The pain I could deal with, the losing strength and feeling, not so much. We’d already had numerous delays and stuff ups putting us behind schedule so I tried to make my explanations to the others and exit as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Riding home in the wind and rain feeling like I’d let myself and the others down was tough, even if it was the right thing. The late afternoon light getting closer to Canberra was a pick me up.

A couple of days off before attempt number two, a stockstandard 1600 Memorial ride.
Rolling out of Canberra at dark o’clock with the doubt demons gibbering I was worried, but as it turned out it was a perfect day for eating distance. Light rain for an hour or two, but little wind and good light all day. The MCcruise was taking enough pressure off my hand and mentally feeling much better.

Wagga Wagga, Hay, Euston, Mildura and Renmark all disappeared in the mirrors without much fuss. By early afternoon I was rolling across the South Australian plains towards the lower Flinders playing tag with a few isolated squalls.

Every now and I again I was 'it'

The one random element in the ride plan was the fuel stop in Gladstone. Surely there will be someplace that sells petrol in Gladstone? Famous last words, but on my second lap of the town I found a Mechanics with a very dodgy looking old school bowser. Just enough fuel to get to Peterborough but not too much to have to drop out of the tank and filter if things went pear shaped.

Then I met the bloke you seem to meet on every ride. Followed normal actions on procedure, but old mate at Peterborough was hovering, looked like he wanted to say something and undeterred by my aversion to eye contact .“Bit cold for riding today isn’t it mate?” Well apparently not seeing as I’m out here, but I managed a smile and replied “there’s no such thing as a bad day for riding mate”. A bemused shake of the head was his response. What constitutes fun for these old geezers? How do I avoid becoming one?

Over to the Wilmington pub to say gidday and get mine host to throw a meal in the warmer for me. Appropriate abuse from the assembled riders and dire warnings from Geezers 2 and 3 about the many thousands of roos waiting to mug me the moment I ventured onto the Horrocks Rd after dark.

What I wanted was to hit the top or Horrocks bang on sunset and see that glorious sweep of the Eyre Peninsula at last light.

The last time I saw it like this was heading back to Perth on the trusty FJ1200 after completing initial officer training at the Naval Academy 14 years ago.
Turn around receipt at Whyalla then back to the pub for more abuse from the now better lubricated riders, Kate the cook and another exchange with Geezers 2 and3.

“you were lucky mate”

“Didn’t see a single roo in either direction”

“Twenty shearers hit roos on their way over to Quorn last week mate”

“Ah, there’s the issue, they are targeting shearers this year, you let me know when they change over to bikes”

Geezers retire to righteous hurrumphing about crazy motorcyclists, I retire to dinner, beer and laughter with Gatey, Hagar, Skiddoo and various other ratbags. Ed and Glen roll in from their return run to Madura at about 2230, so there’s time for another Coopers Dark or two, then sleep.

1629ks, 17hrs:30mins, OA 93km/h. Not bad for a bloke with a semi functional paw.

How good are lazy Saturday mornings in Wilmington? Shamble over the road for brekky and shoot the breeze for an hour or two before shambling back to the pub for a bit of tire kicking, talking about set up and greeting the arrivals.

We are such a diverse and experienced group. I was inspired by the chat at breakfast and decided to make the ceremony about resilience. The tool that Davo set up that has helped a number of riders and how we still build resilience into ourselves and others today. Davo has always been an inspiration and always will, but I find so many resources and friendships in the group he established and that’s what it’s about now.

The gathering

The aftermarth and dinner is an affirmation of what this group or ratbags brings to my life and I into theirs.
Among the pearls of wisdom dispensed that evening was headlight adjustment: fit a smaller front wheel ( thanks Gatey) and a new attendance roll for Desert Dome (come to Wilmington if you want to know). I also got some insights of the deeper journeys of a few of my mates. Those are treasured people, thank you. We also decided as a group that the time is right to start shifting the emphasis of this weekend to include all the riders we’ve lost. Others have a right to a say in this, but that’s where the conversation headed.

Sunday morning down the road to Melrose for brekky, then the semi-serious business of reducing the distance between ourselves and home. I watched Ed and Glen ride away for the second time in a week at Mildura, more pleasant circumstances this time, catching up with a mate.

Monday is the backroads across the Hay plain, the little towns the big roads have forgotten and the death of the paddlesteamers has forsaken. Toolleybuc and Lockhart were commerce hubs an age ago, do we have to be sad they are no longer in the limelight? The Communities struggle on in their own way, mixing innovative industry and farming with attracting slickers from the city to a river change, not to mention a grey nomad or two and the occasional drifting biker.

Just rollin’ with the ghosts of my past, my mates and the possibilities for the future in my head.

A few bikes crossing the continent is just a blip in the grand scheme of things, but as David Suzuki says “think globally, act locally”. My Aboriginal mates talk about the value of people, family and of tribe. Here in the 21st century we belong to many tribes. The distance riding one is good for me. Cheers.

Edited for gumby spelling
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jeffrey gebler

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
Thanks for sharing your ride and your thoughts. Once again your talk at the gathering was an inspiration. It was good to be a part of this year's memorial and already looking forward to next years.


Bit of bit of bad luck with the fall off the bike overseas Rus, nice to hear from others of the words of wisdom passed around at Wilmington. Thanks for sharing :)


Well-known Member. Moderator
Great to read your report Russ. Loved the photos too.
I too have had some feedback from attendees, so many thanks for a great job coordinating and administering the ceremony.
It's a shame about your hand and I hope it is healing well.
Your reflections on being part of this LD tribe ring true. It is a good one.


IBAUK's new Shop Keeper
IBA Member
Great read and love those photo's.
Well done Russ. Would love to do a LD ride over there one day,
One of my mates over here (Ziggy) who some off you may know has told me about the rides, including the wildlife at night and the extra care you have to take in making sure you hydrate properly in your very high temperatures.
Well over here in England there are no Roos and when its not raining its cold. So we have a differnt set of problems to you guys but the LD community is still going strong.
Hope to meet some of you guys one day.


Well-Known Member
A very honest report on why sometimes "the best laid plans of man, or beast, go out the window". Russ, you definitely had it stacked against you. As I said, great read with very good photos of you travels.


Premier Member
The others have summed up the quality of your report so well Russ. A truly enjoyable and inspiring read in all repects. As one who missed Wilmington, I felt the "loss" of not being there. In fact, I didn't even get to do a Memorial Ride this year due to some (as yet) unfathomed health issues. You captured the spirit of the event so well. I am pleased you made Wilmington after your injury curtailed your previous ride with the lads. :)


Premier Member
Finally found time to give this the attention your fantastic RR deserves. +1 to what's already been posted and in addition...

Kudos for your most profound ceremony, you really summed up Davo's legacy and the awakening of our own potential. I know this is why we pay you the "big bucks" but I truly relish the way you can assimilate and convey such depth of meaning and insight within your words. We are truly blessed to have you you officiate. Thank you mate.