The Bun Burner Gold 1500 miles has one outcome. Ride 1500 miles in 24 hours (2414kms), the metric version Bun Burner Gold 2500k is self explanatory. The Super Tenere was ready, and so was I.
With the half marathon done in a respectable time but leaving me limping with an ankle I could barely fit into a boot it was time to take in Uluru, the Olgas and the Central Australian Desert and start thinking about the ride home.
I dared to think that given I was in the NT with the 130 signs that I might have a shot at riding a BBG. Some things weren’t in my favour. Starting at Yulara wasn’t ideal, fuel at Erldunda wasn’t available until “about 7am or later by the time we get things opened up and turned on”. This was sorted by filling the two jerry cans that I left empty on the way in at $2.31 per litre! I could make it to Alice Springs.
The next issue was the route. I was heading home, my wife had a reasonable expectation that overall I would be riding in that direction. I ran lots and lots of numbers but there were a couple of severely limiting factors. I was left with three definites for an end point for the run where a docket could be obtained 24 x 7. – Port Augusta, Yunta and Broken Hill. There was nothing past Broken Hill until Gilgandra and no prospect of making that.
Further back Pimba and Glendambo were also not a good possibility for a docket. Coober Pedy was but it was too far from home to finish the ride and I knew I didn’t have the rubber rear Pilot Road 3 for that many k’s.
I wanted to get as much of the ride done in the NT as I could. With no auxiliary tank and a pretty ordinary fuel range, I needed a way to kick start my OA because I had a feeling would start to drop fairly quickly once I hit South Australia with the number of stops I’d need to do. I was only guessing though, I’m not experienced enough, or good enough at maths to know for sure what the impact would be.
I had discovered on the way to Uluru that refilling the bike from 2 x 10 litre jerrys was slower than two splash and dashes in the main tank assuming everything at the servo went OK. I looked for opportunities to stop and throw in 10 litres but only found one where the distances made sense to do that and decided not to complicate it.
This is the first time I’ve ridden by “Etrex”. My golden OA was 106kph, I was hoping to be at 112 by the time I left the Northern Territory. I had 10 fuel stops to make. The only route I could find that made sense was to head north to Ti Tree, turn and ride to Broken Hill. The only downside of the route was that it was only 2477kms. While I would have preferred something over 2500k’s I was happy enough with attempting a BBG1500M. To be completely honest I wasn’t confident I would make it and the route made PA 2078kms a good bailout point on an SS2000k. I was more certain that would be the ride I’d do.
So up at 3.15am with my wife helping me put everything on the bike, organizing witness forms with her and my daughter and a start docket from the hotel reception. The start docket was 4.14am, I didn’t get away until 4.30am. My first mistake.
Heading east to Erldunda in the pre dawn was nice, I saw cows near the road on the way in during daylight, fortunately none on the way out except for a huge bloated carcass on the side of the road. Erldunda was shut and I emptied most of both jerry cans into Super Tenere under the toilet block lights and was not soon enough on my way. The sun rose on the way to Alice Springs, more beautiful food for the eyes but I wasn’t stopping for photos today.
With the sun well up I looked ahead and saw a cow crossing the road from left to right. It saw me when it was in the lane on the other side, I’d slowed to give it plenty of room, having been spooked when one tried to kick me near Tennant Creek a while back. The cow startled and tried to spring forward, all fours slipped and the cow hit the tar with all knees (do they have knees?) and tipped on its side. The kept me laughing for at least an hour.
Fuel at the Caltex at Alice Springs and an uneventful run to Ti Tree, frankly not one of my favourite places. Fuel and a turn around docket obtained and I was out of there. More fuel at the BP at Alice Springs and by the time I was approaching Erldunda again my OA was actually sitting close to 120. I’d noticed that with each fuel stop it would drop 2kph. Time stopped on average was about 9 minutes., the first stop in Erldunda hurt the most.
I stopped again at Erldunda, the OA dropped to 117 and stayed there until Marla despite slowing to a safe SA speed when crossing the border. I “needed” to take a longer break at Marla but as I rode in a coach pulled up and there was a mass exodus so I sucked it up and with fuel only left for Coober Pedy.
I refilled the main tank and the jerry cans there, I was reasonably sure I could get fuel at Glendambo when I passed through but wasn’t prepared to take the risk of not being able to make it to Port Augusta. I took a moment to get ready for the dark and cold that was coming but abandoning my usual pre dark time out to reset. So with a full load of fuel and a very, very, very welcome empty load of not fuel I was back on the road.
Darkness fell before Glendambo, both servos were open so I filled the main tank. I was feeling pretty happy and healthy except for my right foot, the swelling inside the boot was creating significant pressure and pain. I chose not to suffer and I PM’d my friend in Broken Hill to let him know I was feeling like I was going to try to go all the way there, only 699kms to go. The OA had dropped to about 110.
One thing that really stood out in the rest of the ride was the lack of pesky wildlife. There were some fresh deaduns but not a single live one. I was still on high alert and rode safely but cognisant of the fact that if I didn’t keep to the speed limit I was still at risk of not making it in time.
At Port Augusta I needed food and my first coffee for the day. It was the second time for the day I had taken my helmet off. The OA dropped to 108. I started to get nervous. Once again I rode Horrocks pass in the dark. My slowest trip ever up there. Wilmington was in darkness, I saw a rabbit on the road near Peterborough and it scared the shit out me. The last fuel stop planned was Yunta. I intended to take a few minutes there but the OA had dropped to 107. Still on high alert through rooemu country to Cockburn I started to actually believe I was going to make it. I thought about you lot accusing me of not actually doing the ride because of the lack of photos, so here’s one you can plainly see is the NSW Border.
I arrived in Argent Street Broken Hill about 3.30am found an ATM and grabbed an ATM receipt at 3.36am. The bloody time stamp said 4.06am, seems that the Commonwealth Bank doesn’t know what time zone it’s in. The OA was 106, phew!
So the ride was done, I was ecstatic. I called my friend and he and his partner obliged with witness signatures and a bed for the rest of the night. Motorcyclists are wonderful people.
So there is was. 2477ks by the Etrex 10, 2580 ks by the Odometer in 23hrs and 15 minutes. I could have made the 2500k’s easily, but there was nowhere out there to get another docket.