Tassie SS1600

#1
When it was announced that FarRide TAS#21 was going to be held on the Saturday before the Ulysses 2016 AGM in Launceston I began to research how to get 1000km in 24 hrs in such a confined place. With a little help from reading Brookster’s reports on his SS1600 around the island I found I would be able to not only complete a FarRide but if the weather gods smiled upon me I could also achieve the elusive Tasmanian SS1600Km ride.

After checking the weather maps and radar on Tuesday 1/3/16 it appeared that Wednesday 2/3/16 would be that perfect day weatherwise to attempt this ride. Witness form was signed and odometer reading verified before I attended the Tuesday night AGM dinner in the FBT (Fn Big Tent)

I left the AGM dinner early and set the alarm on my phone for very dark o’clock the next morning. I woke before the alarm and dressed quickly, I could not believe how warm and humid it was at this time of the night in Tasmania. I almost did not put on my long sleeve riding shirt under my jacket. I started my bike and rode quietly through the sleeping campsite to the gate where I find the gate locked and the security guard asleep in his car. I eventually woke him and he mumbled something about being crazy as he opened the gate. I then rode the 2km from the Ulysses Club campground to the Shell servo where I obtained my start docket time stamped 02:25.

My GPS led me from the servo through the suburbs of Launceston then on to the Bass Hwy toward my first turn around point in Burnie. No sooner had I hit the 110kph zone when I encountered thick fog. The fog was so thick I could barely see the front of the bike making progress any faster than 60-70kph impossible. This fog was to envelop me for the next 100km almost to Devonport before it lifted. I arrived at the United servo in Burnie about 15min behind schedule refuelled and was back on the road in 7min heading back the way I had come down the Midland Hwy toward Brighton. Once again I rode back into the fog and this again slowed me considerably until it began to break into patches south of Perth. The fog had seeped into my jacket and riding pants making things quite damp and cold and the concentration required to keep on the road was beginning to make me feel quite fatigued. I made an unscheduled stop at the Epping Forrest roadhouse for a hot coffee and a 15min power nap. I was feeling very refreshed when I left the roadhouse as the day is dawning and I did not feel tired for the rest of the ride. There were several more smaller patches of fog along the way however the sun soon burnt them away by the time I arrived at my second turnaround point in Brighton a full 40min behind the plan. A quick fuel stop then back along the Midland Hwy to Burnie again. The fog had cleared, the sun was shining, there was very little traffic and I was able to claw back nearly 10min of my schedule by the time I arrived at the United in Burnie.

Second time to Burnie
When Don and I rode on the FarRide on the previous Friday from here we rode through Hellyer Gorge which was very narrow, wet and slippery. Not a good road when you are on a schedule. This time I chose to ride down the Ridgley Hwy to connect to the Murchison Hwy that will take me to Queenstown. This is a great piece of road with wide sweeping corners through rolling hill country before getting to the dense forests that line the road through the small mining towns of Tullah and Rosebery

Welcome to Rosebery
I arrive in Queenstown at lunchtime and get a corner docket from an ATM in the main street. Although the sun is shining I can see dark clouds on the hills surrounding the town and waste no time in getting back on the road.

Queenstown

When I travelled on the road from Queenstown to Derwent Bridge last Friday it was raining, getting dark and a challenge to stay on the road, however today with the road dry and the sun shining brightly it was an absolute blast, even the grey nomads in their caravans were moving over and signalling me past.

Hydro Power near Tarraleah
A quick unscheduled old man’s rest stop near the Tarraleah Hydro station before the twisties give way to the sweeping bends through the sheep country around Hamilton. I am surprised at how dry the countryside is with very little feed for the scattered flocks. Many paddocks are barren, often resembling parts of outback Queensland only hilly. I have a fuel stop in New Norfolk along with an iced coffee and note I have ridden nearly 1200Km to this point. I am now on the home stretch with only 400km to go. When I leave the Shell at New Norfolk I have a choice to ride either the North or the South bank of the Derwent River. As I had ridden the south bank on Friday I decided to ride the North side. This was a mistake as the entire 17 Km to Bridgewater is restricted to 80kph. From Bridgewater I cut cross country through Tea Tree to the Tasman Hwy for my run up the East coast to Swansea.

Welcome to Swansea
I arrive in Swansea at 6:15pm to find both service stations closed but I get a corner docket from the IGA and continue on to the Lake Leake Rd that will take me back to the Midland Hwy near Campbell Town. This is one of Tasmania’s great roads on a motorcycle however this afternoon I am riding directly into the sun, being blinded as I round many of the sweeping corners through the forest. Before too long I turn right onto the Midland Hwy and head back to Burnie again. It becomes dark near Perth and I arrive at the United servo in Burnie for the third time today a little after 9:00pm, refuel, have another iced coffee and message my buddy Don (FR#293) at the AGM campground in Launceston that I will be back there around 11pm. As I ride back toward Launceston the fog is once again starting to form however it was not thick enough to slow my progress this time. I arrived back at the Shell in Launceston with the stop docket showing 23:02 and the same console operator that had seen me off this morning was back on duty. She asked me where I was off to again so late at night and when I said to her where I had been today she told me I must be completely mad!

A short run back to the Ulysses club AGM campground where I again had to wake the security guard to let me in. When I arrived back at my tent Don was waiting with a bottle of Port. He signed off my “End Witness” form and we then enjoyed that bottle



Cheers

HarryR
 
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#2
After several attempts I still haven't worked out how to post photos:(

I think I have cracked it, photos now appear but seen overly large. ;)
 
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#4
Well done Harry, the fog has been a bit bad this year with the warmer day time temps we have had. Glad to see you made it safe and no major dramas.
 

Marls

Well-Known Member
#6
Nice read HarryR, sounds like you found some nice stretches of highway there. Love the pic's, felt close to being with you as you road. Thanks.
 

Skidoo

Administrator
Premier Member
#10
Nice certificate HarryR, well earned at a difficult location to punch out the miles. That fog is a real buggar and the weather changes so fast.

Well done and enjoyed the read and pics.