Brookester's first Tassie IBA SS1600

Brookester

Premier Member
#1
My first in Tassie on my beloved Vulcan 2.0ltr......


Well I had been thinking for some time that it would be nice to do an IBA ride here in Tassie. After earlier inquiries with some of the locals I decided that the summer months of Dec-Feb would best be suited. In particular, ZedPilot, who had earlier given me some advice in relation to hours of daylight, weather and routes etc, including his ride reports on the FarRider Forum….Thanks Matt .

So with approximately 15 hours of daylight at this time of year and some pretty good weather of late I started thinking late last week that one day this week would fit nicely. The Super Tenere was going to be off the road (preferred LD bike) and the cruiser was going in Wednesday for a service…..might as well make it worth while, and seeing how the cruiser was my first FarRiding weapon I thought it was time it became an IBA bike as well.

The planning revolved around starting at about 2am Tuesday morning with 3 route options dependent upon weather changes, and hoping to finish by around 10pm, just an hour after dark.
Route options were many and varied: Launceston-Smithton-Queenstown-Hobart-St Helens-George Town-Burnie-Brighton and then Launceston-Burnie-Queenstown-Brighton-Burnie x2 plus a little extra…….none of which actually eventuated.
Final route taken was Launceston-Smithton-Strahan(not via Hellyer due to weather)-Brighton-St Helens(via Lake Leake Rd & the bypass)-Perth (via St Marys Pass)-Smithton-Launceston……all up via Google Maps 1655kms in 20hours & 22minutes……my speedo reading was 1733kms in 22hours & 8minutes…I did take some photo detours along the way. You have to play with Google Maps to get your route correct (doh!!!).

Up at 1:15am and into the Decaf Coffee…save the real stuff for later. A look at the latest weather and I might just beat the forecasted wet over on the West Coast, but then again they say it only rains 6 days on the West Coast, on the 7th day it just falls out of the trees….so all good, weather is weather, and I got good wet weather gear.
Into Launceston, one of only a handful of places you can get after hours fuel in Tasmania, or at least that is staffed. Start docket and witness signatures taken care of at 02:17am. Out of town and along one of only 2 stretches of highway in the whole state that has some 110km/h speed zones, the Bass Hwy. I was heading for Smithton where another FarRider former local, Walton(who also has an excellent Ride Report on the FarRider Forum), had texted me back and advised there is a 24 hour swipe card BP just as you get into town, and that is where I headed for a turn docket. Lucky for me, the Shell 100mtrs down the road had just opened when I got there, premium fuel is better on the big cruiser.

Now to begin this trip I had some spotlights(small 70watt halogen) fitted, and just by chance had found a couple of spare RAM mounts floating around in the shed, so I mounted up the UHF, Sena Bluetooth Hub and GPS (which later failed, my connection not so good) and I was wearing one of the helmets equipped with a Sena Headset and I had power going to a saddlebag to keep the Phone (Mp3 player) charged for the trip. So this was starting to feel like a LD bike…..no heated grips and no LED/HID lighting though.

The stretch of road from Burnie to Smithton is notorious for wildlife, especially Wallabies, literally everywhere they were, and the ones not moving, the road kill, was just as bad….more than enough to dislodge a rider…and then add into that the wombats….oh well, I got there all is good. On the way back to Burnie a look southwards showed that the weather was closing in early down the West Coast so I decided on the safer route south, via Ridgely, rather than tackling the Hellyer Gorge road on a big cruiser in slippery conditions.

Also on the approach back into Burnie the opportunity for a sunrise photo back out across a very calm Bass Strait was available whilst I got some wet weather gear on…..

Going down the west coast the weather was just this annoying misty moisture, not enough to wash off the windscreen, but just enough to make it not see through anymore…..and just enough to put a nice slippery sheen on the road surface. So I decided it was going to be a tip-toeing trip for me, especially the part just before Cradle Mountain turn off and just south of Tullah…normally a great ride on the cruiser.

Got down into Roseberry and as the bakery was open I could not resist a nice Bacon and Egg sausage roll and the photo back up over the mountains with the mist still covering them was better in real life…..can’t do a FarRide/IBA in Tassie if you don’t do the West Coast they say, and they’re pretty much right. From here I went via Zeehan and down into Strahan.
A magical day across the river and all so calm, so a little detour around to Regatta Point for a photo or two and then back into town for some fuel and a corner docket.

The ride up from Strahan to Queenstown is not really for cruisers…..twisty heaven it is, but it made the ride “interesting” shall we say, especially when the semi-trailer coming down to Strahan was a bit hot going into a bend and came round it almost fully on my side of the road….the look on the drivers face was priceless….mine not so I would imagine…and then there is the sweet sweet hill climb up out of Queenstown….how many turns, switchbacks? Who cares, it’s fun and it wasn’t wet on this stretch…..might need some new floor boards after this effort.

Heading across towards Derwent Bridge and the mist was back again especially across Mt Arrowsmith(?) and it was slippery as the tourists in the little hire cars were finding out as they tried to out run locals and motorbikes…….a small break at Derwent Bridge as having to trow the big cruiser around and keep it upright on the slippery bits was starting to take it’s toll on old injuries…..and some thinking…about 8 hours down and 500kms…..more twisty’s and slow moving traffic ahead…feeling pretty good….make a more decisive decision when I refuel at Brighton (Bridgewater).

The run across the Lyell Hwy was pretty good with only some parts being moist and by the time I got into Brighton BP it was just overcast, but with the wind was starting to pick up. So I decided it was time to go up the Midlands Hwy and turn along the Lake Leake Road, arguably the best cruiser road in Australia….have some fun, get some miles done in reasonable time and head into St Helens on the East Coast to make the final decision to continue or abort….can also get premium fuel.
Well the run along Lake Leake road did not disappoint, sensational as always. The run up towards Bicheno was a bit trying though, 10kms of road works, hot mix bitumen and loose just laid bluestone gravel……hot bit being flung up by the cars in front, slow going due to the 40km/h speed limit, and then once out of the road works, 10kms or so of slow moving tourists up front of the traffic jam through the remaining twisty section into Bicheno….oh well not too much time lost, and I was taking the straight line to St Helens rather than up Elephants Pass and down St Marys Pass.

Got into St Helens and refuelled and also replaced the batteries in the SPOT device, even though they were new batteries at the start of the trip…must have been on the shelf for a while. A quick check of the latest weather, and it was noticeably warmer and drier up here in the North and all was good….also a quick check of distances on the “SmartPhone” showed it was 291km to Burnie + 141 back to Launceston….not quite enough as I had just on 1100kms up so far….Smithton and back to Launceston would give me about 1700kms and see me home about midnight…all good, time to go for it and get it done.
I left St Helens and had a great run up St Marys Pass, unobstructed, great on a cruiser…..and the best set of twisty’s for any other style of bike anywhere in Australia….so this was turning out to not only be a great achievement of an IBA SS1600 in Tassie, and extreme ride compared to the mainland ones, but also turning out to be a great ride day.
Got into Perth where I needed a corner docket….the road house here are great supporters of bikers and the staff had a good laugh…whilst I was having a drink and something to eat, some foreign gentlemen walked up and asked how big was the engine in my “Scooter”….a couple of the ladies almost fell off their chairs…..how dare they call my 2053cc Kawasaki Vulcan a “Scooter”…but hey we all laughed.

It was then off up to Smithton, an easy run but as I was going to be there about 9-9:30pm it would have to be the swipe and go fuel this time…..and the run was pretty easy as the sun was setting in the South West and not directly in my eye line.

The run out of Smithton was adventurous to say the least. The aforementioned wallaby’s and other wildlife were everywhere tonight just after dark, and to make matters worse, must have hit bug city, trying to see through the screen was impossible, so it was a slow 80-90km/h trip back to Burnie where I managed to get the windscreen cleaned down for the run home.

Finally got into Launceston at the BP where I had started the morning before and got an End docket and witness signature at 00:25am……trip meter showing I had covered 1733kms, but allowing for percentage of correction in odometers, I was more than happy I had covered sufficient to meet the 1620km requirement.


To anyone who has ever done an IBA SS1600 on the mainland, come to Tassie and try it….more like doing an IBASS2000, and to Matt, John and anyone else who has ever done it……BIG BIG Thumbs Up, this has got to be one of the hardest SS1600 rides to ever do….as for doing an IBA SS2000 in Tasmania….that my friends would be classed as an Insane Ride Level, In My Humble Opinion.


And a small foot note to all of this……due to the recent tragedies of fatal motorcycle accidents and serious accidents in Tasmania, the local Police Radar has appeared to shifted focus to ANY motorcycle……stopped 3 times for random licence checks, twice by mobile radar vehicles that I was assured my speed was in acceptable range, but due to recent unfortunate circumstances they were just checking most bikes. The other one was for the flashing blue LED on the Sena Bluetooth Hub, flashing green lights on my sleeve from the SPOT device and just a general interest in all the farkles I had on the bike…..and now maybe, potentially a future LD Rider.

“Plan your Ride-Ride the Plan”……but remember to always be flexible enough to make adjustments, including aborting the ride, going home safe, and leaving it for another time and date……it was once said…..”It’s Just A Road” …Thanks Davo!
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#3
Enjoyed the ride report again Brookster. Tassie is certainly not an easy pace to knock out a SS1600 within 24hrs, well done especially on the first one mate!
 

jeffrey gebler

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#4
I just read your ride report and have to commend you on attempting one and succeeding on a 2 lt Vulcan. I have the same two bikes as you and could not imagine trying to do one in Tassie on such a heavy and long bike. I have done many miles on my Vulcun including a 15,000 km ride around the western U.S. but as of lately it only comes out for special occasions while my Tenere gets all the attention.Well done on a very hard ride.
 

Vlad

Premier Member
#5
I have fond memories of riding in Tassie, great place , still have the sticker from the Lake Leak pub on the back of my GSA:D. Great ride and report Brookster.