Trans Australia Insanity

Skidoo

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The long awaited call occurred at on Friday, 8th February 2014 just before lunch. It was only a week before the Trans Australia Insanity ride was to be attempted.

I grabbed my boots, jacket and helmet and headed off to the CFMoto dealer in Dubbo where a shiny red CFMoto 650TK was parked, waiting for me. I savoured the moment, walked inside and was greeted by Bob, the NSW/ACT Manager. Craig and I were given the opportunity to attempt a ‘ Trans Australia Insanity ride' on new CFMoto 650TK's. The ride would commence in Byron Bay NSW, proceed to Denham WA and return to Byron Bay covering over 10,000 kilometres in under six days.

Bob discussed a few features and starting sequence of the bike, I listened intently however I just wanted to take it for a run. The bike had been specked up as requested except tyres; they were replaced with new OEM (this would later haunt us).

I filled the tank to the brim with premium fuel; I then headed off towards Burrendong Dam trying to determine an approximate fuel range as Craig and myself were uncertain of the bikes range and the actual plan still uncertain until we could accurately determine fuel range.

I farkled the bike without aesthetically damaging it, would have loved to transplant some HID’s however this was impossible without punching holes in the body work. Three RAM mounts were fitted allowing GPS, Spot and Etrex to be fitted allowing us to monitor our progress. One cigarette lighter was available, it is not located in an ideal position and an auxiliary fused power cable was fitted allowing 3.2 amps to power devices and an electronic kangaroo deterrent.

Transport Leg
The transport leg to Byron Bay would occur over two days, stage one was to depart Dubbo at 1700hrs after work and travel to Armidale. Next morning the final leg would occur to the starting point for check-in at the motel.



Five kilometres south Glen Innes

Lionel had previously volunteered to be the photographer on the trip and had already booked in; we planned to go out to tea that night when Craig arrived from Newcastle. In the meantime we headed off to the local supermarket and bought a few suppliers for the trip.

Disaster, 1300hrs I received a text from Craig, he broken down on the roadside. I get another text at 1737hrs, the bike at dealer being unloaded. Craig rings a little later saying a faulty accelerator sensor was replaced, eta 2230hrs. I leave the door unlocked, light on and a snack for him.

Lionel and I go out for Thai and relax for the pending ride, it is an early night and we are starting to get into the mindset of the ride.




Byron Bay Lighthouse


Day 1 (1,951Km)
The alarm goes off at 0310hrs, it doesn’t take much to wake me. I jump out of bed in anticipation for the start of this exciting and historical ride that had previously been ridden by 'Davo' Jones on his famous GTR in 2009.

Bikes loaded, the three of us head to the lighthouse where Clint, Crappy, Bart and Greg are waiting to assist with witnessing and sign the necessary documentation to validate the ride.

After the documentation was completed, we all head off for a depart receipt from an ATM terminal, I get one from Westpac at 0414hrs, we are about 15 minutes late as we got a bit excited talking to fellow riders at the lighthouse. Off we go, the bikes snaking along the roadway towards Casino then up the mountain towards Tenterfield. I take the lead as we approach the winding section, the TK takes the corners easily with ten litres of spare petrol and both panniers are full, the GTR’s pannier liners fit nicely inside the fixed TK panniers. I push the bike fairly hard into the corners, it behaves predictably and feels like a sports bike and we make up almost 15 minutes on the mountain section.



TK has excellent cornering capabilities

A quick jerry refill at Tenterfield, say goodbyes to our escorts, Clint, Crappy and Bart.

The run into Glen Innes is smooth with very little traffic; we approach Deepwater and are greeted on the side of the road by a Dalek. We continue towards Armidale when a bike approaches rapidly from behind and Tony tails us into the Airport service station.

We refuel, have quick chat, a bit slow but this is our first stop and we are still getting into the groove. We depart and proceed towards Coonabarabran and refuel in the town limits on the south side of town leading out. I have found jerry can refills save between four and five minutes over service station refills. If refueling is carried out in the 50 or 60 zones, more time can be saved if avoiding 100/110 kph zones for refueling.

Gilgandra is the start of our regular fuel stop sequence with the Coast to Coast rides; the temperature is about 37 degrees. We arrive, refuel and stock up with water and head off to Cobar through Warren for the next scheduled stop. The bike is responsive very easy to ride and has ample overtaking power and torque even when fully loaded.

A quick stop as we enter Cobar for a photo, my partner threatened me before I left not to take another photo of the Cobar factory; I laugh to myself as I park the TK and take a photo to add to the collection. 1613hrs is printed on the fuel docket as Craig pays for the fuel with a credit card and obtains two receipts, we settle into a proven refueling process. I wash visors, headlights and purchase water or anything else as required.

Lionel is riding the Honda ST1300 with greater fuel capacity, greater range and more horsepower and has more flexibility with refueling. Lionel decides to fill at the BP as we take up two pumps at the shell, we depart and see him relaxing on a bench enjoying some refreshments. We pull in and he suggests we continue as he will catch up.

We pass Wilcannia, it’s still very warm, I am continually sipping water and we refuel north of Wilcannia in a rest area. Craig gestures to fill in the shade behind a road train. We pull over in front of the semi, dump the fuel into the tanks and head off, another blistering refill and arrive at Broken Hill at 2000hrs. We are met by a welcoming committee, Kwaka and Liz, thanks guys that was real nice. We refuel; move our bikes from the bowsers and Lionel pulls into the servo for fuel. After a few minutes we say our goodbyes and head off to Yunta for a quick meal. During the trip I have in my tank bag muesli bars, dried fruit and barely sugar. This addresses hunger issues and from experience I tend to weaken and loose concentration between one and two hours after sunset. To overcome this I slowly eat something and I find this pushes me through the danger barrier ensuring my alertness and concentration is maintained. This is our first meal of the day, we order, enjoy the burger and refreshment, thank the console operator and head out the door as a truckie warns us of kangaroos south of Yunta, he said he ran over six, I thank him and head off.

Lionel pulls his Honda in front, the road looks like daylight for at least 500 metres with the light spilling over into the paddocks on each side, and we travel at the speed limit of 110kph. We ride a tight formation, and rotate positions maintaining formation maximising available light as we all ride on high beam. Craig passes a kangaroo on his right hand side, he disturbed it, it bounces almost instantly to my right, I attempt to ride around it however it changes its path again; I align the TK and run straight into it, from previous experience it is important not to brake but maintain smoothness ensuring stability. I didn't feel much as I launched over the animal landing heavily with a 'tank slap', I struggled to bring it under control with slight deceleration and rear brake feathering until the TK came to a halt. The bike pulls to a halt on the wrong side of the road, Craig has well and truly gone and his white light snakes into the distance. My first thought, ‘dam, I can’t finish the ride’. I know what damage kangaroos can do as I have hit several before. Lionel pulls his beast up on the edge of the roadway, I kick the side-stand down, grab my headlight from my pocket, do a quick recognisance, nothing obvious missing or broken, I ride it so it's facing Lionel's bike for more light. Lionel is as white as a sheet, I asked in an inquisitive manner, 'did I run over it' and he replied, you did the right thing, lined it up and just went through it. I carried out a more detailed check of the bike, shockies appear straight, some blood and bits hanging off the base of forks, good movement, and alignment seems OK, fur and dust on front guard but intact, fur and dust on plastics and rear pannier but all seems intact. Craig arrives and mumbles something as I have a habit when it comes to kangaroos; every time I go out I seem to hit one. A couple of months ago after returning from an IBA ride, I killed one whilst riding a 125cc Honda not far from this location, it hopped straight into me.

Bike seems good; I take the lead, Craig is a few metres behind projecting light on the left side of the roadway, Lionel at the rear spraying the whole area with light. The lights on the TK are far from adequate for long distance night riding. Add a second or a third bike and the area becomes more illuminated and suitable for night riding.

Lionel tells me later after we discuss the incident that he worries because if I had fallen off he would have run over me. We refuel at Port Augusta about thirty minutes inside our plan. The receptionist at the Motel opens security doors and we ride our bikes into a secure area. We unload and settle down for the night. I’m still feeling pumped and pretty happy with the bikes performance and front end strength.

Craig and I share a room; we both had initial reservations about sharing facilities due to restrictive time frames and the need to be efficient. Without trying, we worked in synergy, no time was waited and everything was done and we were settled in our beds. Thirty minutes later I was plagued with leg cramps, I was adequately hydrated during the day, had ample electrolyte support but I had to walk the leg cramps out in the car park. It took close to thirty minutes to clear them and settle back into bed. I had to sleep on my back otherwise they would creep back. Craig said I snored during the night, I didn’t hear a thing and slept well.

Day 2 (1,856Km)
The alarm chimes, we are dressed, bikes packed within 30 minutes and we head towards Kimba at 0655hrs, a couple of stray kangaroos are spotted but pose no threat. I had been running an electronic animal repellent that arrived from America about two weeks previously. The device was designed to attract wildlife’s attention and make them look around; it has a range of approximately 250 metres. It is hard to determine if it actually works however when wildlife is on the run it certainly won't stop them. We arrive at Kimba and take a few photos, Kimba is halfway across Australia and both Craig and I don’t have fond memories from numerous rides through the town.

As we approach Wudinna, Craig pulls in for a quick photo of the granite sculpture as he usually passes through in the dark of the night. He has been after a photo for a while. The sculpture represents early settlers in the region; it is eight metres high and took about 17 years to create.

We pull into Ceduna, fresh and refuel both bike and jerry cans. Purchase more water and off again not looking forward to the 42 degrees expected during the day. Craig and I have previously travelled this area when it was close to 50 degrees, I can assure you it is not pleasant and appropriate hydration is so important.

The ride into Penong is relaxing and my mind starts to drift, in no time we are passing through Penong. The first thing that visitors notice is the dozens of windmills placed on your left side as you approach from the east. More windmills are peppered throughout the town. It should be noted that the Caltex is now open 24hrs a day; apparently it had been open for some time. I have previously passed by and seen lights on with occasional semitrailers parked out the front but presumed it was always closed. The restaurant/takeaway shop adjacent to the Caltex is not open 24hrs.

I find the run from Penong to the Nullarbor roadhouse a little boring, at night I have often seen dead wombats scattered about twenty kilometres out for a further thirty kilometres, no problems with visibility during the day. We pass Nullarbor roadhouse, I avoid stopping here, their premium fuel never gives me the range of premium fuel purchased elsewhere and time is wasted due to the need to surrender your driver’s license before the attendant turns the fuel pump on, we fuel a little further up on the side of the highway. There are several roads leading to the cliffs and are worthy of investigation as the scenery is absolutely wonderful.



The long, long road

As we approach Border Village we notice that the entrance is a badly worn dirt road peppered with pot holes and gravel, caution is needed otherwise it is easy to bottom out the suspension or possibly come to grief. Border Village is the gateway to Western Australia from the east. Lionel has already refueled, Craig and I refuel, the bikes tanks only take about 15.55 litres when empty, they are rated at 17 litres however the side stand has the bike leaning fairly well over making it impossible to fully fill the tank to capacity. The other issue with the bike leaning over so far is when fully loaded, it can be difficult to lift to the neutral position when in the saddle. We go inside for a bite to eat and we are about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. It is often suggested that refueling at Eucla is beneficial as fuel is about 10 cents a litre cheaper, unfortunately there is limited pump space, re-fuelling can be slow and they have no premium fuel, I also find driving off the highway I may loose my rhythm and this always takes time to get back.



South Australia and Western Australia border

We head off again, it has cooled down and riding is very enjoyable. We pass a few road trains and the TK has ample power to punch pass them safely; the wind shear has minimal impact except on fuel economy as we push the bikes past the long road trains. The rider is often subjected to contrasting air movement, often you are leaning towards the ocean counteracting the gusting winds, as you pass the semi-trailer the bike is dragged into a neutral or opposite direction and when you pass the semi the bike has to be quickly leaned into the wind again otherwise you find yourself on the edge of the road on the left hand side of the highway. This can be really hard work especially when it rains. I am riding a LAMS approved bike and find it has more than enough power and torque to satisfy the need of any long distance rider even though I have both panniers fully loaded and carrying ten litres of fuel on the rear rack. I find the posture on the TK excellent; slightly leaning forward, no back strain and the ergonomics of all controls suit me.



Cruise control would help

We are mindful that night is nearing; we stop at Caiguna, refuel with liquid gold at $2.22 a litre, purchase more water and head off, darkness approached and encompasses us, we arrive at Coolgardie at 0200hrs, fifteen minutes outside our schedule. We settle into the motel, Craig and I share a room, a quick shower, focus on our tasks and settle down for five hours sleep. Lionel has the luxury of a room to himself.

Day 3 (1,319Km)
The bikes roar to life at 0705hrs, when the starter motor is engaged, it appears to be lacking ‘oomph’ however the bike starts easily. we still have a couple of hours of darkness to travel and it wouldn’t take much to modify the lights to make them adequate for night touring. Provision of driving light brackets maybe as an aftermarket accessory would certainly make this bike competitive with other long distance tourers. A few scattered kangaroos are seen but cause no concern as we churn up the miles for our destination. One of our major concerns during the trip is tyre wear, the front is wearing fairly evenly, obviously more wear on the inside edge due road camber. The rear is a concern; we stop for fuel at Merredin and re-access our rear tyre status. Both bikes are wearing identically and interestingly to note the bike I was riding has nitrogen filled tyres instead of atmospheric air like Craig’s.

We had no option, we decided to take a slightly shorter route and go inland to save a few kilometres. The road narrows slightly however the scenery is fantastic and the road undulates continually through the countryside providing excellent riding at 110kph. We take note as we pass road gangs preparing to seal several kilometres of roadway by posting road work signs of the pending delays. I make a mental note not to return and find an alternative route. Our next stop is Moora, as we pass through some little settlements, we are confronted by speed Signs Ø (Zero with a slash through it). This reminds me of the old prima facie limits that applied in NSW all those decades ago. Unfortunately I don’t think it means, ‘now go for it’.



Interesting speed limit sign

We arrive at Moora, I brake suddenly to avoid a semi pulling out and my front brakes are now useless. Not sure if disks are warped or pressure release valve is activating under braking, anyway they cannot be relied upon. We refuel, order a meal and strategise a tyre replacement. We estimate that we have only a thousand kilometres left on our rear tyres. I'm starting to worry; our trip is under threat due to tyre failure due to premature tyre wear. CFMoto prepared the bikes exactly to our specifications except for the tyres; they were replaced with new OEM much to our concern. We had travelled about 4,500 kilometres in total with these tyres under normal conditions, they are now worn out. That’s if you can call 20 plus hours riding a day normal. We order lunch, I ring Bob from CFMoto and ask if he can source some tyres at Geraldton, he said he would get back to me ASAP. Things are getting critical, I maintain my composure and internalise my concerns whilst I wait for a call from Bob. Our stay at Moora was longer but we needed to know what was happening with the tyres and I didn’t know what telecommunications was available outside the town area. Lionel speaks to some locals and sources the most direct route minimising tyre wear. Craig was processing our change of refuelling issues at Denham. We are working like a well oiled machine. The service station closes at 1900hrs, with a tyre change we will miss that timeframe, and we had planned arriving 30 minutes before closing time. Bob rings about fifteen minutes later, he comes good, made arrangements to have the tyres fitted at Sun City Motorcycles and has paid for them, the only issue is the correct size tyres were not available. He spoke to his technical department and they approved the fitment of the next size tyre. We head off chasing the clock; we spent too much time here and needed to ride smarter, less and shorter breaks. Lionel was a little slow getting away and he was going to catch-up.

Geraldton is getting closer, the temperature is close to 32 degrees and the clock is ticking down as we arrive at the bike shop in Geraldton. The bikes are wheeled to the rear and the mechanic commences working on changing tyres. I speak to the salesman, he says one of the mechanics is on lunch, dam this will now take twice as long. We burn over 90 minutes, here, Craig's has a new rear Michelin PR2 fitted and I have a rear PR3 as we head off. Some serious Strategising will now occur if we are able to complete the ride on schedule, or complete it at all. We head north, Craig is on reserve, my fuel gauge is inaccurate when it gets under quarter full and just shows one bar until the engine splutters and stops wherever it desires. A sign says there is fuel ahead, great, we follow the sign but can’t locate it, frustrated we backtrack about ten minutes to where we had previously seen a BP. Bikes are refueled and we head north towards the ‘Overlander Roadhouse’. The road undulates as we work our way along the roadway, occasionally we can see the ocean. As we enter Northampton we are stuck behind a slow moving semi trailer, he is travelling less than the speed limit, it seems to take forever to get through the town and finally we are presented with overtaking lanes and we take advantage of them. This was a great run up the West coast, I have never been here before and really enjoyed the countryside, weather fantastic, temperature great and I take a few pictures on the run. Lionel passes me and gives me some hand gestures, after a minute I realise what Lionel is saying and do a ‘U’ turn. I retrieve the glove that I dropped some kilometres before and continue to enjoy the ride, the TK requires very little effort to ride let alone maintain the posted speed limit, and speed creep is a real issue that I battled with throughout the ride. It is very hard to hold the TK back, it just wants to go. We pull into the Overlander, fill our tanks to the brim, Craig rings the owner of the motel and they agree to obtain 20 litres of petrol for us. Without this fuel it is doubtful we would be able to continue to Denham then return in the early hours of the morning to Geraldton on one load of fuel. The Overlander re-opens at 0700hrs (WA time). Another less favorable strategy was to fill Lionel’s fuel bladder in addition to our jerry cans and ride slowly hoping to make Geraldton, it would be touch and go, anyway things worked out for us.



Denham, the most Western point of Australia

We arrived Denham at 2050hrs, we just see the sunset, grab a few photos, go to the pub and get a couple of witnesses and a receipt from the till. No external ATM tellers are available to Denham; this may cause us some grief on our departure. We book into the motel, it’s windy, sand and salt appears to cover everything. We had planned to go to the pub for a meal however lost time obtaining witnesses, refueling. The owner had placed ten litres of fuel into two jerry cans facilitating refueling; this made things much easier with the refueling. The owner asked us several times to be careful on our departure in the morning because of the large numbers of kangaroos between Denham and the Overlander. We assure her we will be careful and head for our rooms. Because of the earlier tyre change, we had lost just over an hour and this would cut into our rest time. We opted for muesli bars and energy bars. Craig and I shared a room, what no towels, quick enquiry you need to hire them. Craig came back with three pool towels, no charge. Quick shower, pack and arrange my gear for a fast departure to save time in the morning and off to bed for a few hours’ sleep.

Day 4 (1,838Km)
We meet out the front of the motel at 0425hrs, no depart receipt was available, we each send a spot notification to indicate a depart time, I make a phone call to Craig for a second confirmation and for a third I Check-in on Facebook hoping that should provide enough evidence of our actual location and depart times. We head off in total darkness; Lionel initially leads travelling at the speed limit. The kangaroos have little respect for anything as very few vehicles travel this road a night. It reminded me of Tasmania where little wallabies just shoot across the road, the difference being these are grown kangaroos that stand higher than the bike rider. One or two bounds and they are gone, Lionel almost gets wiped out as two kangaroos head straight for his side but they miss and disappear into the scrub on the side of the roadway. Craig swerves and it tail just brushes his fairing as it side steps heading towards me, I lock the rear wheel and steer around the rear of the kangaroo and continue. Several more were spotted but we just focused on the goal. We pass the Overlander and continue refilling some kilometres later when my bike splutters and stops on the side of the highway in total darkness. It feels great to have a quick stretch and the re fuelling only takes a few minutes and we are on our way again heading Southward towards Geraldton.



Lionel and Craig

We arrive at Gull 440 at 0400hrs about thirty minutes inside our schedule; things are running pretty well to plan. Both bikes average out using about the same amount of fuel at every stop. Craig and I have very similar riding styles. We stop for breakfast, I have two egg and bacon toasted sandwiches, coffee and a chocolate milk. The eftpos terminal freezes, time is wasted trying to fix it, I am moved to another terminal, time is ticking away, and Craig is waiting for his change while his attendant leaves him and tries fixing the eftpos terminal I was at. We chew up our credited time, as we depart a friendly guy warns us of police activity within Geraldton, we thank him and depart heading south. Forty five minutes later I am feeling a little tired and need to empty my bladder; I pull over and signal Lionel to continue and do a quick dance, not pretty but I now feel ‘brand new’ and continue. About fifteen kilometres later Craig has pulled over, Lionel thought I was out of petrol and Craig had waited, I slow down and we continued. It’s interesting to note that a four minute stop takes many, many kilometres to catch up; it’s all about the Overall Average (OA). I’m feeling completely refreshed ready for the next leg and we continue heading towards Northam. We take the scenic route, Craig’s GPS indicates a different route to mine, I gesture mine is different but we continue, many kilometres later we discover many roads leading off however signage does not show any roads to Northam. We go past another turnoff; I pull over and signal Craig this is the one and follow the GPS. The road undulates around the countryside, smooth long sweeping corners. This road seemed to go on forever and was one of the highlights of the trip. Exhilarating, fantastic fun, the bikes were exiting to ride, this was certainly a ride I would not forget, we finally enter Northam from some obscure side road. We pull in for fuel and chat about the ride, as I start filling the jerry can a squeal comes over the intercom, ‘place the fuel container on the ground before filling’. We obey ‘she who must be obeyed’ and continue refueling. I tried ringing Lionel and left a message, no doubt he was taking an adventurous route also. We later find out that he became geographically disorientated I believe he may have completely bypassed Northam. We grab a snack, some water; the temperature is about 30 degrees and continues on our way to Norseman. We arrive Norseman at 2050hrs, a few minutes outside our schedule. The main roadhouse at Norseman has changed trading practices. From 2200 to 0700hrs they only take cash. Would you believe it only cash. We opted on the initial leg to fill up at the Caltex just around the corner, they also have a fair range of hot food to select from. We continue on our way to Caiguna which is our next scheduled overnight stop.



Stay alert, don't miss the turn

This last stretch into Caiguna was a drag, we finally arrived at 0126hrs, and we refuel and unload our gear into the rooms. I purchase a burger with the lot and proceed back to the room. Wow, not a good idea, I was unable to eat the burger intact, I ate most of it in sections but couldn’t finish it. I have a shower and hit the sack and go to sleep within moments. I think Craig was a few minutes behind me.

Day 5 (1,709Km)
The alarm chimes, again. Craig and I are up and packed within thirty minutes. I fit wet weather gear as it is drizzling; heavy dark clouds cover the sky, we help Lionel with his gear and depart at 0630 right on the dot. The drizzle continues for a while and slowly subsides, the air is still and a few kangaroos are spotted but are no threat. The country side is starting to green after the rain. The air is still and crisp as we push through. I have been on quarter of a tank for over thirty minutes and decide to pull over and fill the main tank on a straight section of road; funny most of the road is straight. Craig also pulls over and starts refueling.



Craig filling up on the plain

The sun is rising and everything is still, this is unusual and then the winds starts building up, this has an obvious impact on our fuel consumption. The winds are continually changing direction however not as bad as other trips, the wind is manageable and does not affect the enjoyment of the ride. We pass a couple of vehicles as we arrive at Border Village feeling great and to my surprise there were huge puddles of water over much of the ground. I weave around them and pull up at the bowser and fill my tanks. This is a short stop and a guy wants to talk about his Beemer dressed in only jeans and lightweight top. He is off to Adelaide and obviously not appropriately attired if it starts raining again. Another guy says he has ridden a naked 650 and was really impressed. He asks where have we come from and where are we heading, I tell him, he and his mate looks off astonishment makes me smile. I’m polite, keep the conversations short and we head off towards Penong winding the TK up to cruising speed. It is warming up, we continue and the country side is as green as I have seen it. We pull into Penong with almost empty tanks. We had pushed the bikes maintaining the speed limit, only adjusting for wind and hills as we were running for economy and efficiency endeavoring to make headway on time as much as possible. Lionel is waiting for us and orders coffee's for us. We refuel, wash visors and go inside for a quick coffee as we have a few minutes spare. We end up talking a little longer than planned. As we depart I notice the windmills are spinning flat out and we continue towards Ceduna. Our original plan was to stop at Ceduna for fuel, I have learned there are many advantages of changing plans on the fly as long as they are calculated, thoroughly thought through and not ad hoc, it is very easy to make poor decisions when things are going wrong and you are not thinking clearly. Our changes were to improve efficiency and challenge ourselves. We stop at the inspection station, have nothing to declaim and continue towards Wudinna. It was estimated that 37 degrees would be reached in the area however it hadn't felt that hot. I have to stop about 25 kilometres East of Ceduna for a nature break. I noted the time, leave the bike running as I place the TK on the side stand, do what I have to and efficiently pull away right on four minutes. I sit the GPS on 115 kph only backing off slightly on the hills to conserve fuel. It took me over 60 kilometres to catch up with Craig. I had to run efficiently as this was a long leg especially with the wind and I had no spare fuel. Craig later said he had slightly backed off allowing me to catch up. We bypass Minnipa, we are now committed to make it to Wudinna. Total efficiency was the goal and we arrive in Wudinna at 1715 hrs on fumes, people look as we high five each other, this was a fantastic leg, we were both pumped, not only had we saved refueling, we made up substantial time by running efficiently. After the usual processes we headed off, I always find the last 30 or so kilometres leading into Kimba slow and find I loose focus and concentration. I eat a muesli bar to bring me back on-line and focus on what needs to be done. We pass through Kimba and our next scheduled stop is Port Augusta.



Kimba, half way across Australia

Another fast stop, next stop is Davo's plaque, I had to pull up about 5 kilometres from the servo, and my spot indicated low battery status. Once I replaced the batteries I met the others for a 'banner shot'. Funny how things work out, we were concerned that we would run out of light however lighting was perfect for a banner shot. The hills were lit by soft diffused sunlight showing all their contours and character. Unless it is dark, I always stop here and pay my respects. We spend a few minutes here and head off through Horricks. The road is still wet, we exercise some caution but this was a stretch of road Davo loved, we all know why.



Banner shot

Darkness sets in as we pass Orooroo and head towards Yunta for our next scheduled stop. I hate this section with a passion at night, eyes peeled; Lionel's lights illuminate the area like day however the kangaroos on the hop stop for no-one. We stop at Yunta for a rest and hamburger. We are ahead of time and spend about 40 minutes here. A couple of guys caution us regarding the wildlife; we thank them, refuel and attack our last leg before we spend the night in Broken Hill. It was an uneventful ride through the plains and into Broken Hill. Keys for our rooms are under the door mats, we unload and decide to extend our depart time by half an hour to 0900hrs EST.

Day 6 (1,531Km)
We pack and are ready to go, Lionel decides he would like to catch up and meet us in Cobar. We refuel at the Shell service station and head off in darkness, my mind is wandering, I'm feeling a little down as I realise the pilgrimage is coming to an end. I really don't want it to stop, the bike is an absolute pleasure to ride, I only have slight tenderness to my butt and my wrist is painful possible due to the tank slap earlier and by holding the throttle for extended periods. I start eating another muesli bar, drifting off is dangerous. A few kangaroos are seen, I was riding in front of Craig, I'd spot the wildlife and it was stationary, but when I passed it I spooked it and it moved. I saw a small emu on the edge of the road, no real threat however after I passed an adult emu emerged causing some concern to Craig. We had a great run, weather fantastic and great company. Craig and I had shared accommodation on all but one night, even with long days, tight schedules and un- planned issues, we got along extremely well. I don't recall any harsh words or raised voices at all. To be honest, I feel the ride was enhanced riding with someone with an almost identical pattern and style, it enhanced our efficiency and promoted safety.

We arrived at Cobar 15 minutes outside our schedule; Lionel should be right behind us as I re-fuel I thought. A young guy speaks to me as he is refueling, he has a trailer and says he is going to Wilcannia to pick up a broken down bike. My heart stops; I ask is it a red Honda, he says the guy was going to Byron Bay. He pulls out a piece of paper with contact details of his job and it was Lionel. I gesture to Craig and pass on the bad news and push my bike away from the bowser. I ring Lionel and it goes to message bank. I wait a minute and ring again, he said he had to get a load of fuel at Wilcannia and when he tried to start the bike it just wouldn't go. He was sure that it was an electrical problem and not fuel. We spoke for a few minutes, I suggested that he get a few witness forms signed for the ride. Craig and I discussed the problem, we were devastated, and had lost our drive. We had a coffee and toasted egg and bacon roll and continued, we realise that we needed to refocus on the ride. We knuckled down focusing on maintaining legal speed and tidiness in all procedures. It was starting to warm up, 39 degrees was expected today and we continued traversing the undulating and flat roads toward Gilgandra. This was a fast stop, we had made up substantial time and continued, and traffic was thickening and slowed our pace slightly. I took the lead as we approached Tamworth and punched through peak hour traffic refueling on the northern side out of jerry cans.



Deepwater Dalek


A lightning fast refuel at Armidale airport puts us even further ahead with our plan. We continue on the New England Hwy through to Tenterfield and empty as much fuel as possible into the fuel tank taking the weight from the rack hopefully improving handling through the mountains.



Tenterfield on the Casino road

I know the road fairly well however lighting of the TK around corners is poor to say the least, on sharp right-hand corners there is complete darkness leading around the corner, left had corners are not much better. Our progress is much slower than expected and I am getting a little depressed at loosing so much time. Approximately half way down the mountain a bike flies past us with a thumbs up, first thing I thought of was here's a knight in black to save the day as it was really hard going with the standard lighting. I found out later this was Michael (Crappy), he looked like a machine on his bike, fast efficient and knew what we needed. Wow, he took the lead and things were looking good, we were starting making time up again, he illuminated the whole road and guided us through to Casino and Byron Bay. What an exhilarating fantastic ride, it was mind blowing, having travelled thousands of kilometres on isolated roads then suddenly heavily travelled roads was initially very daunting. Michael led us through to the Westpac terminal where we obtained a sign in receipt at 2016hrs.

We congratulated each other; get the witness forms signed and headed to the lighthouse car park to officially complete the ride.

What a bike; the CFMoto 650TK is responsive, reliable and comfortable that would suit anyone requiring a long distance tourer. It is capable of easily chewing up over 10,200 kilometres in less than six days.

This was the most enjoyable and memorable ride I had done!

 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#3
It is by far the most memorable ride for me Martin, I have never ridden in 'synergy' with someone before. I feel everything we did complemented each other. It was not a particularly physically demanding ride however we had several technical issues that needed to be addressed on the run. I was again used as the kangaroo decoy. Craig did an awesome job with the pre-ride planning.

I would highly recommend this ride to anyone with reasonable riding experience.
 

Martin Little

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#4
Karl,

The 50CC is on the radar for later this year and as part of the planning I have considered this ride that you and Craig did. As this would be my first CC I'm cautious of biting off too much.
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#5
Karl,

The 50CC is on the radar for later this year and as part of the planning I have considered this ride that you and Craig did. As this would be my first CC I'm cautious of biting off too much.
Martin, I feel you have the discipline and experience to crack a 50CC! There are heaps of Ozzie ride reports on 50CC crossings. Feel free to contact me or any of the riders close to you who are a little, 'hard core' ;)

One thing I love about crossing our country, the landscape continually changes; that's why I enjoy the 'slightly extended' rides as every crossing is completely different.
 

Martin Little

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#7
TJ & Karl,

Thank you for your support, I will be seeking out advice on a Transcontinental Crossing later in 2016 so except to be badgered by me in the coming months
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#8
TJ & Karl,

Thank you for your support, I will be seeking out advice on a Transcontinental Crossing later in 2016 so except to be badgered by me in the coming months
Anytime Martin, I hear on the grapevine that there may be a group of riders attempting the venture later in the year also.