Group SS1600K on little bikes

OK, as the pilot of the mother ship (KLR-650) I’ll have a crack at a ride report.  The ride originally came about because JP and I did an SS1600k on the TTR and KLR last year. I rode the TTR and became an IBA Not Right Rider and JP reckoned it was his turn.  The ride was so much fun we decided to share it around and invite FarRiders who might share our passion for something a little different.  Frans, who needed to show Maximus who was boss and Peter decided to join in the fun on a pair of YZF-R15’s we certainly weren’t expecting that! 4 men, 4 machines, 1200cc’s and me on the mother ship, a whopping 650cc monster KLR that even had a luggage rack.

A small digression, the revered Michael Kneebone showed some interest in this ride.  His comments were “That is so, so, so sick”, “Oh my God, I just spit Diet Coke all over my computer..”

We met at the local servo a little after 4am, TigerBill was there to see us off and help with the paperwork.  I had a route planned, OX provided the laminated Options List. We couldn’t plan fuel because we weren’t sure when we’d need it. JP’s call re spare fuel, “Not On”, no jerry.  I couldn’t even find the siphon, so some old fashion planning on the run and risk taking were the order of the day. JP knew the punishment for getting it wrong… he’d be left on the side of the road. Here we are at the start.

At Buledelah we stopped for a minute to bring the group back together and OX suggested we take the bends.  I had no idea what he meant so agreed. It was the old Pacific Hwy route through Wootton, I remembered the bends, they were much more challenging with a dodgy surface, leaves and bark all over the road, trees overhanging it and going hard at it in the dark. OX led the way and set a cracking pace, that 150cc Yamaha could really go!  We stopped for the first of many times to get some fuel for the TTR at Coolongolook just in the pre dawn.  Here’s a pic

For the first time that day, Frans just rode past us.

The next stop was the BP donut at Thrumster where we all got fuel and psyched for an east west run at the Oxley.  I can’t describe how much fun that was.  I took the lead up to Gingers Creek, taking a while to get into the groove rip some rubber off the sides of a brand new rear K60.  JP was behind me cranking into the corners pretending he was on gravel and sticking his leg out speedway style!!! And on his 10 was OX setting up for the corners and dropping the knee down and I swear I saw the outside leg lift off the peg a couple of times Casey Stoner style (or maybe not). Both of them were on the edge, bikes skipping about on the road, it was hilarious.  We stopped at Gingers Creek and Frans rode past again.  OX decided to chase him JP needed fuel for the third time and then we met a fellow FarRider, Fatman OZ… the people you meet on the road, here he is!

Sadly Colin couldn’t join us, to many cylinders, but he did take a nice pic for us

It was JP’s time to take the lead and he set a blistering pace on the TTR, foot down, double plus 10 through the top bends.  At one point he turned a double eagle into a bogey sending both of the massive birdies straight at me.  Fortunately this time I managed to duck  :facepalm.

We rode through Walcha up to Uralla where OX and Frans had fueled up and at this point the ride rhythm was set. Frans the cagy tortoise steady and constant, always with his ADHD mate OX nipping at his heels and just being everywhere all at once. JP the young hare taking a flying run at them and zipping past but running out of juice and being easily rounded up. And me the old wolf, hunting, circling able to pounce whenever I felt like it but in this case mainly just hanging around to make sure everyone else was going OK. The original plan was to get fuel again at Tamworth, OX suggested a risky strategy, save a fuel stop, split the distance from here to Coonabarabran and fuel at Carroll.  It would be the second farthest the TTR had ever gone on one tank of fuel. JP has always liked a challenge and OX agreed if it didn’t pay off that because he suggested it, he would have to get the jerry.

So Frans left us there, OX followed a short time later, JP after that ready to catch them and I took some time. Catching up to them soon after Moonbi.  Through Tamworth and we made it to Carroll without JP needing to touch reserve.  Frans stopped with us, we spoke briefly and off he went, but I managed to get a snap with him in it!

OX left a short time later and JP and I caught them before Coonabarrabran.  I went around them, forged ahead deciding I’d pull over have a crack at taking a photo as they went past.  Here’s my first go trying to snap OX

Then I had a crack at Frans and JP

Timing isn’t clearly a skill I have  :lol  The next part of the day was about munching as many k’s as we could before dark. Some things got in the way, JP even got random breath tested at Gunnedah.  Coonabarabran to Dubbo, not through Mendooran, was the longest leg for the TTR without a fuel stop. JP switched to reserve 20k’s out of town and pulled into the first servo on fumes, the fill way too close to the capacity of the tank. At Dubbo I spent a moment in the servo and rushed out to get a photo of the crew, and of course, Frans had left for Molong.

So here he’s not

OX left soon after and JP and I followed later, as we had done before.  This time though something happened.   We found OX stopped at Wellington.. “I didn’t catch up to Frans, I wonder if he’s gone the wrong way?”  I said “I thought we’d gone the wrong way because we didn’t catch up to you!” OX must have been cracking the whip on the little Yammy.  Nothing to do but push on and we finally caught him turning into the BP at Molong. Frans’ bike clicked over the 2000k mark he was rewarded with some additional speed as his motor started to run in. Have you ever seen Frans bubbling over with enthusiasm?  Well we have!

Next fuel Cowra just after dark, the last fuel we needed before Yass and we were on the Hume in the land of the Service Centre.  We took some time at Yass to prepare properly for the dark and the cool of the evening over the Southern Highlands. I also took the opportunity to rebalance my caffeine levels for the first time since I left home, a triple shot flat white. You know when you are with FarRiders when after riding over 1200kms you say “How far is it to home” and a completely matter of fact reply pops out “Only about 450” and everyone just nods because that’s just fine.  Here we qre getting ready to leave Yass

The plan now was simple… Fuel for JP at Marulan, Pheasant’s Nest and Thornleigh.  Fuel for OX and Frans at Pheasant’s Nest.  JP wasn’t stretched for distance between stops so wringing the TTR’s neck was the order of the night.  Frans and OX left Yass first, JP second.  I spent a moment on Facebook to send the kids a photo and say goodnight to the family.  Off I went.  I passed Frans.  I expected to pass JP next, but it was OX, neck wrung I guess.  Then I caught JP  and we stopped for fuel. OX pulled in to say g’day, Frans rode past 🙂

After JP and I left Marulan, guess what!  You did, we passed Frans and we passed OX.  Then out of nowhere I saw the last living Diprotodon (FarRally participants will know this straight away) walking across the freeway right in front of me. JP and I were riding in formation, as we do, I pushed on the bars and veered off waving an am and pointing with my leg at the freeway coloured beast.  I have no idea how I missed it, well I didn’t know at that stage.  At Pheasant’s Nest JP filled me in.  It saw me, thought…na, they don’t think… and turned to step in front of him.  He pushed the other way, avoided it and we commented on the melee of arms, legs and headlights going everywhere. I hope it got of the road before something hit it.

At Pheasant’s Nest OX suggested we ditch the F3 and ride the Old Pacific Hwy.  He’d run the numbers, as had JP and I and knew that despite the fact that we were all feeling quite good there wasn’t enough time to squeeze in an extra 350k’s or so to crack 2000/24. Tempting though it was the decision was taken to take the relaxed route.

M7, M2, uninspiring and soon we’d be on Pennant Hills Road, or so we thought.  Roadworks and the exit was shut and we were heading straight into Sydney.  A great way to fund the roadworks to force you further into the M2, collect a toll or two more than you’d normally pay and then not tell you how to get home.  Anyhow, we had a little look through the carpark of Macquarie University, then found Lane Cove Road and backed around through Pymble for JP’s last fuel stop until the end, this time though Frans stopped! And here’s proof

Then we got onto the F3 and the tortoise got a smell of the end.  Tucked in and opened up Frans took the lead and set a cracking pace to the Newcastle Exit, except for up hill  :hide

I took the lead for the final bit back to where we started and TigerBill was there waiting for us. A smiling face at the end of a sensational day’s ride.  Time to get a docket.  Three of us lined up at the bowsers and waited, and waited and waited.  Someone had hit the alarm button at the servo and all the pumps were disabled. It took the attendant some time to sort that out. Finish dockets obtained and with Bill’s assistance the paperwork was signed off.

OX and I congratulated the two new Not Right Riders, well done Frans and JP. We chatted for a while about the merits of the bikes and how well they all performed on the trip and Frans announced he was heading straight home to Wollongong but would drop in to the servos at the F3 for a coffee.  He wasn’t in a hurry now  :lol

Truly hardcore but amazing fun with a great bunch of FarRiders.  I hope it happens again, but next time I’m not riding the mother ship!  Here’s some happy chaps at the end.