Trans Australia Insanity


Well-Known Member
The Trans-Australia Insanity - April 2016
Day 1 - Depart Byron Bay
I was up at 3:30. The bike was already packed up, and I had my gear set out ready to go – I quick shower and, just to make it official, I headed up to the Lighthouse and got a photo before heading back into town to fill up and get a start docket. (I had the witness form signed at the hotel when I checked out).
There was slight drizzle on and off and I chugged out of town heading up to Tenterfield. The morning was cooler than I expected as I got up in the mountains so I had a very quick stop to throw on my electric liner – this was the first problem. I discovered that during the packing, I had grabbed Barbs’ liner rather than mine. I stood looking at it for a minute and just shaking my head . . . not a very good start to the ride. I had no choice but to try and get in on – unfortunately, it came down my arms and stopped not far below my elbows. I somehow made it fit and get the zip done up, but I am concerned now that I have stretched it completely out of shape – I did not dare look in a window or mirror at all, but I am pretty sure that I looked like an overweight bull fighter – I didn’t have the cape, or the bull, but I had the little jacket.

I rode on but it was slower going than I had anticipated and by the time I got to Armidale Airport for the first refuel, I was already running behind schedule. A quick refuel before the run to Tamworth and then start heading west. By now the weather had warmed up and whilst it was a bit overcast, any rain was behind me.

I was carrying two 12 litre fuel bladders that I would be using in WA, however, I decided that I would fill them up in Cobar just to make sure that I had enough fuel just in case I arrived late in Broken Hill and could not buy fuel.

I filled up at the Emmdale Roadhouse to take me through to Broken Hill. The servo was open and I filled up and bought a sausage roll with tomato sauce – I have often wondered what the average life of one of those service station sausage rolls or pies are – but I am too afraid to ask.

I headed out towards Port Augusta very concerned about roos. I also had to don my miniature heated vest as it was getting cooler again.
There were a few roos, but it was nothing like it was going to be in a few nights on the return journey. I arrived at the Gull servo at Port Augusta and took on a load of fuel ready for a quick get away. I went next door to the Highway One Motel where they had left a key in the door and the light on in the room where I flopped onto the bed for a solid 4 hours sleep.
The stats for the day:
1,948 km
21 hrs 38 mins (37 minutes behind schedule)

Day 2
I was on the bike and heading out of Port Augusta after 4 hours sleep and heading towards Coolgardie in WA for the next “long” break.
After the first day, with the minor setbacks like the jacket, and taking longer than planned, and feeling a bit tired, my confidence levels had taken a bit of a hit, and heading into the darkness towards Iron Knob, I began wondering how long I would last. Trying to visualise finishing in 6 days time was becoming increasingly difficult – best to visualise finishing the ride for the day.

Once the sun came up, I felt a bit better about things. The weather was pretty good and everything looks better in the daylight.
I stopped at Kimba for a quick photo “Half Way Across”. I am not sure how they figure this out, but its and interesting sign anyway.

I stopped at Wudinna to take on fuel. While I was digging around for my summer gloves, I put my wallet on the seat, saying to myself “remember to pick that up” . . . . well, I didn’t and I climbed aboard and headed west. About 100 metres down the road from the service station, something hit my left foot – I looked in the mirror and saw my wallet and a couple of $50 notes on the road. A quick U turn and gathered up my stuff, and headed on my way again – how very fortunate, because the whole ride could have been lost there and then.

I stopped at Ceduna for fuel and a quick call home to let my wife know that all was OK. A quick snack and I continued westward, stopping at the beginning of the Nullarbor Plain for a quick photo.
Another fuel load at the Nullarbor Roadhouse where I got speaking to a rider on a BMW G650 GS that was fairly loaded down. He was lamenting that he had just been booked leading about 15 minutes down the road. I was a bit surprised as I had not seen highway patrol for some time.

With a full tank, I continued heading into the setting sun, and before a quick fuel stop at Border Village – I was into Western Australia at last, 36 hours and 21 minutes after rolling out of Byron Bay – but there was still a lot of work to be done as I had another 885km to go before my next scheduled long break.
The next stop was Caiguna for another fuel load and a quick photo at the beginning of the 90 mile straight.

I was now riding straight into a spectacular sunset – one of the things I like best about being on the road is the sunrise and sunset that I get to see each day – some are better than others, but even the bad ones are awesome.

It was then a bit under a 4 hour run to Norseman where I stopped for more fuel and a toasted sandwich and an iced coffee. It was now only a relatively short run of about 170km to Coolgardie where I could get into bed.
Stats for the day:
1,839 km
19 hrs 5 mins (1 minute behind schedule)

Day 3
After 5 hours sleep I was on my way. I was hopeful that today was going to be an easier day as it was a “short” day with only 1,316 km to travel to get to Denham where I would turn around and start heading back.
I was approaching Burlong and the tiredness was catching up with me and it was necessary to pull over in a truck rest area for my first 15 minute power nap – fortunately this was sufficient to keep me going for the rest of the day.

I had let the GPS looking after the routing to head north up the WA coast, however, it was taking me closer into Perth to the point that I was able to see the high rise buildings in the city centre. The GPS kept me on the motorways, but the traffic was quite heavy and progress was slow and frustrating – I would have to make sure that this did not happen on the way back.
I headed north making good progress once I got away from Perth and headed up to Geraldton where I took on fuel until the tank was full to the brim, and checked that the fuel bladders were full – I did not want to run out of fuel on the next leg. I also took the chance to have a HC&T sandwich and an iced coffee. I had not had much to eat today and was needed a feed.

Heading north, the sun went down off to my left hand side, but my view was obscured by dense bush by the road-side – what I saw looked amazing though. There was a couple of roos on the side of the road, but not enough to make me overly concerned – this was all about to change.
I turned off the main road as I headed towards Shark Bay and Denham and was promptly set upon by hords of wallabies and rabbits. This run of approximately 100 km gave me a headache and caused a lot of tension. I eventually rolled into Denham 16 minutes behind schedule and checked into the hotel and got the reception staff to sign my witness form. At this point I wanted to go to bed, but I decided I wanted some hot food and headed to the pub for fish and chips and a beer – job is now half done.

The ride today was meant to be easier, but it felt as long as the ride the day before and I was not looking forward to the next leg of the ride which was to take me all the way to Caiguna.
Stats for the day:
1,385 km
15 hours 9 minutes

Day 4
After 5 hours sleep, I was up and re-fuelling the from the fuel bladders and getting my miniature heated jacket on as it was quite cool.
The wallabies and rabbits were still running everywhere and slowing down my progress. I had made it back onto the main highway heading south before the tiredness overcame me again and I was forced to pull over in a truck parking area and lie on the ground next to my trusty steed and snatch a 15 minute sleep. I got up feeling a bit groggy, but at least I could now keep my eyes open.

The GPS was still trying to send me back to Perth, but after a stop for a quick drink at Badgingarra and set the GPS for Wongan Hills where I stopped for fuel and turned the planned routing back on. The new route took me through beautiful WA farmlands – traffic was very scarce and it was an interesting and enjoyable part of the ride.

Before turning back on to the Great Eastern Highway at Merredin, I ran into a swarm of locusts – this lasted for some time and I had to stop in Southern Cross to clean the front of the bike off and scrape the carnage of the front of my suit and boots. I met a couple of women at the same place on a Harley and a Triumph Speed Triple – neither bike has any sort of fairing and both riders were just covered in minced locust – it was like they had just walked through a minced locust applicator.

Leaving Southern Cross, the next planned stop was at Norseman where I would take on fuel and food. The sun was setting as I past through Coolgardie and pretty soon it was completely dark. This section of road looks as though it should be a problem with kangaroos, however in my few trips along here, I have never had a problem.

I arrived in Norseman for more fuel and a toasted sandwich and a phone call home. I was feeling very tired at this stage and it was getting cold again. I slipped into the “mini” jacket and headed off on the last leg of the day to get to Caiguna. This seemed to take forever, and for the first time, I was starting to have genuine doubts about being able to finish the ride – I had a big day to do tomorrow to get to Broken Hill, but it was starting to feel out of reach – best to just keep thinking about finishing tonight and worry about tomorrow when I woke up.

I arrived at Caiguna and went to collect the keys for the donga and got the cook to rustle up a toasted sanga and a cup of tea to warm up, then off to bed and get ready for a big day tomorrow.
Stats for the day:
1,855 km
20 hrs 11 mins (1 hour 8 minutes behind overall schedule)

Day 5
After 4 hours sleep it was time to get moving again. I checked the map and looked at what I had to do today – it seemed like a lot.

One of the truck drivers at Caiguna warned me that the roos were pretty bad this morning as I headed east – especially around the basin. I headed out taking it easy, but I had spotted a number of large roos as I approached Madura. I decided to take an unscheduled break at Madura to let the sun get up a bit further before I hit the basin, hoping to lower the risk of roo strike. I took the opportunity to have have an egg and bacon roll and a cuppa.
Back out the on the road and conditions were pretty good. There were very few roos noticeable and the temperature had come up a bit so I could ditch my electric corset and let some blood flow back into my arms.

I got through to the SA border and stopped for a photo before grabbing fuel and making a quick call home. At last I was out of Western Australia – it seemed to take a long time to get here.

I had a shorter rest break at Caiguna in order to claw some time back, and I was now about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. I did have 4 hours contingency built into the overall plan, but I did not want to start using it yet – I may need to have some extra sleep, or there could be some other issue to that I needed to overcome.

I took the time as I was leaving Border Village to get some photos where the Eyre Highway is close to the Great Australian Bight – I must come back here at sunset some time to get some good photos – the Border Run in August sounds like the perfect opportunity.

A stiff southerly wind had picked up making the riding a bit more hard work. I stopped at the Nullarbor Roadhouse to top up fuel and have a drink. I was feeling very tired at this stage. My neck, knees and hips were now constantly aching and I was wondering how I would make it to Broken Hill tonight.
At this stage, the best I could do was to just focus on getting to Ceduna.

I arrived at Ceduna for fuel and another call home. I also received a call from Eloise Wellings who gave me a pep talk and told me to stop being such a girl about it and just get going hahahahaha – it was actually nothing like this. Eloise shared some thoughts and ideas that she has utilised in her Olympic training and competition that really helped me out.

The run from Ceduna to Port Augusta seemed interminable. The sun had gone down, but I felt like I was riding on a treadmill – I could feel the bike working but the horizon did not seem to move. I arrived in Port Augusta and pulled into the Gull servo for fuel and sausage roll (of indeterminate age). I was not looking forward to the next part of the trip.
The ride across to Broken Hill proved to be every bit as bad as I thought it would be – the roos were out in force and jumping out onto the road randomly, or sometimes just sitting on the road where I was forced to weave around them. This was slow and exhausting.

I had to stop half way and once again fit my wife’s electric vest (or the Boa Constrictor as I came to think of it).
I made my way straight to the motel, found the key under the mat – I laid on the bed and fell straight to sleep.
Daily stats:
1,709 km
19 hrs 12 mins
I was now 2 hours 30 minutes behind the original schedule.

Day 6
3 hours sleep and a quick load of fuel and another service station sausage roll (I wonder if they all come from the same factory?) and an iced coffee.
The road heading east out of Broken Hill is gently undulating and has a series of long sweeping bends. Its enjoyable to ride after the last few days, but it runs out soon enough as I head further east.

I stopped at the Emmdale Roadhouse for fuel and a quick snack and a drink. It felt like the finish was getting close and for the first time in days I felt like I was going to make it.
I was aware of the fatigue getting to me now as I was having trouble deciding which servo to stop in at Cobar. I didn’t need fuel but I just wanted to get off the bike and walk around a bit. I took time for a rest and a cold drink.

WomBattle had told me that he was going to come out and meet me and provide an escort back into Byron Bay – knowing that Wom would be there to guide me in from Gilgandra, I felt like it took a lot of pressure off me for the last part of the ride.
The route to Gilgandra took me through the town of Nevertire, where to my great surprise and delight if found Peter Navin riding the other way. Pete had ridden from Sydney to ride with me for a couple of hours. Pete has a habit of popping up at the beginning and end of long rides that I have done, but I have never been so glad to see him as I was that afternoon. We were able to chat over the UHF radio as we went which made the time pass very quickly and it was nice to chat to someone after nearly a week on the road alone.

Peter and I met Wom at the roadhouse at Gilgandra – I stopped for another rest and a sandwich and a drink as well as fuel. While I was ordering a sandwich Wom was cleaning my lights and the front of the bike – what a champ. We sat around for a chat before heading off – Peter turned right to head back to Sydney, while Wom and I headed towards Gunnedah and Tamworth and eventually stopped at Armidale Airport for a final load of fuel. It was cooling down as we headed to the higher altitudes at Guyra and it was necessary to once again, and thankfully for the final time, submit myself to the Boa Constrictor.

A final stop at Glenn Innes where Wombattle shouted me cup of coffee before the run down the hill from Tenterfield to Byron Bay. Wom was leading the way, but ran out of sight with ease on the big KTM as we headed down the mountain, but he kept slowing down to let me catch up. The last two hours of the ride were very difficult for me and I was so glad to have a tail light to follow and for Wom's reassurance and encouragement when I felt like I was starting to lose the plot - providing or being on the receiving end of an escort on a long ride (I have done both) is definitely one of life's little pleasures and Pete and Wom put the icing on the cake for me for this ride.

We rolled into the 24 hour servo at Byron Bay at 01:15 to be met by my wife.

I had travelled a total of 10,233 km in 142 hours and 7 minutes. This was 2 hours and 58 minutes longer than I had planned (most of which I gave up in the last two days), but still within the 144 hour window to complete the ride.

I felt kind of numb when it was finished – by Wom’s reckoning, the 4th person to have completed the Trans Australia Insanity. Of all the things I experienced on the ride, the most memorable were bumping into Peter at Nevertire and riding with Wom to the finish and my wife being there to meet me. We had also managed to raise over $37,500 for the Love Mercy Foundation.

I am also very grateful for the encouragement, support and sponsorship of fellow riders - it makes me very proud to be associated with such people.

I spent a day resting in Byron with Barbara on the Tuesday and rode back home to Sydney on Wednesday. I arrived about 8:00 PM to find that my wife had arranged for my kids and grandkids and best friend, as well as Eloise Wellings from Love Mercy to share some pizza and beer and cakes to welcome me back home – this seemed like a good way to break with my strict dietary regime that I had maintained during the ride.

The Boa Constrictor has been returned to its rightful place on the bike gear rack – I am going to write Barb’s name on it in a prominent place.

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Premier Member
Yep an interesting read, there is very good reason that it is a small group that have ever done it.


Premier Member
Sorry I could not make it to Byron for Rob I had to be in a wedding, great work by Knave and Wom.
Well done on an inspiring ride.


Well-Known Member
This is a BIG ride to be proud of Rob, following you as it unfolded was full of surprises for me. At first I thought you were doing a 50CC from Byron Bay, then you headed north on the west coast, what's he up to I thought to myself? Then I thought a lap of Australia in quick time. No then it clicked Denham from Byron for a Trans Aust, wow!!

Then you started coming back, then you really had my attention and overcoming the problems as they raised their ugly heads is a testament to your LD riding ability. A Trans Aust Insanity certificate is very well deserved mate.

Knave, Wombattle top job appearing at the right time it seems, top marks guys..

The money raised for your charity is the cream on the top.

A huge congrats Rob.


Premier Member
I'm just down in Wollongong today getting the kato serviced. Wandering around and dropped into the Trumpy/BM dealer here. There was a 1200RT that could only have been a LD riders so I asked the salesman about it, He said "strangely, it was the bloke's that I just got an email from" and turnedthe monitor to show me the above certificate.

I don't think me just saying "oh yeah, that's cool" was the response he was expecting/looking for.


Well-known Member. Moderator
Congratulations Rob - epic ride!
Thanks for your candidness along the way. Good insight into fatigue and its challenges.
Getting into that multi-day territory, at IBA pace, is a place that I have not been, so thanks for the insight.
Very well done. Great photos too!