SS1600K on the DRZ400E

My Suzuki DRZ400E isn’t my first choice for an SS1600K but it’s been a while since I bumped one off on a single. Along similar lines I’ve done one on a TTR-250, a KLR650 so why not?

Up at 2.30am with a start docket at the local 7 Eleven at 3.26am. I went north because it got a little chilly on last week’s SS1600K down south and the DRZ doesn’t have heated grips nor much in the way of wind protection. It’s set up for adventure riding so it does have a screen and more importantly a 17 litre Safari Tank giving it a decent range.

My first stop was the Ampol Service Centre a Kempsey South. Getting there involved riding through patches of thick fog. The night riding on the highway was fine although the stock headlights weren’t much chop. I had a $6 Ali Express light bar installed on the bike a while back which made high beam barely passable.

The sun came up as I went further north, with more fog patches in low lying areas but it was pleasant. I took a little break at Coffs Harbour, hunger and a chai latte habit got the best of me. Today wasn’t to be all about efficiency. My next stop was the BP at Ballina on the junction of the Pacific Hwy and the Bruxner Hwy which was handy because I was heading west on the Bruxner next.

I don’t recall ever having ridden this part of the Bruxner Hwy, through Lismore to Casino in the daylight. I’ve done it a couple of times at night including on the Trans Australian Insanity. It was pleasant riding, a bit busy traffic wise and I was struck by the number of houses in Lismore still abandoned post the floods in 2022.

Still heading west I stopped for a quick photo at the Lunatic Hotel in Drake.

Drake marks the start of some fantastic corner riding through to my next stop at Tenterfield.There was hay bail art all through Tenterfield including a big Peter Allen (showing my age) but logistics facilitated I grab a quick pic of a lion across the road from the Vet. It was warming up so while refuelling there I undid some zips.

I went further west on the Bruxner Way which winds along the river/border with Queensland. I was heading towards Goondiwindi but my GPS track suggested I turn right to cross the border on a road that didn’t take my fancy at all. So I continued through Bonshaw and crossed the border into Queensland at Texas. Ironically the GPS Track appeared while stopping at the Stockman Hotel.

I decided to follow the GPS track from here and ride new roads finding myself at the Silo Art at Yelarbon.

From there it was a quick jaunt south to Goondiwindi where I stopped for fuel, a Powerade and then crossed back into NSW. It was sunny and warm in Queensland but the clouds were building. Riding south was taking me straight towards 180 degrees of heavy showers, the forecast suggested possible thunderstorms, oh well. It cooled a little when I reached the wet roads so I stopped to zip back up. A short time later I was in the rain which thankfully didn’t last long but did see me stopped for a little while on the side of the road waiting for a very wide load to pass.

Moree bypass saved some time but kilometres and kilometres of 80kph zones for roadworks between there and Narrabri were a little painful. Also painful was the seat concepts seat, my connection to it had given up so the one advantage of travelling at 80kph is that I spent quite a bit of that left standing on the footpads. At Narrabri some paracetamol and ibuprofen were require to settle the ache down and allow me to sit, semi-comfortably, for the rest of the trip. Oh, and I got some fuel there too. During these long rides you go through your ups and downs and often wonder WTF you are doing it for.

The sun was setting between Narrabri and Gunnedah, it was a beautiful sunset but I wasn’t really in the mood to stop, I wanted to get as far as possible while I still had some light. I stopped at Gunnedah for a burger and coffee with my next planned stop at Muswellbrook.

During this period the discomfort lost meaning and I was enjoying the ride as well as the challenge of riding the Breeza Plains, notorious for wildlife, with three candlepower of lights to show me the way.

After Quirindi I turned south on the New England Highway at Willow Tree and was essentially in light traffic for the rest of the ride. I was feeling good so I rode through Muswellbrook fuelling at Singleton instead which left only 70kms to go.

Back at Lambton the night attendant who served me when I left 19.5 hours before had just started work again. I didn’t need fuel so I bought a celebratory Cherry Ripe Twin Pack, got the receipt and the ride was over.

The DRZ didn’t miss a beat. I’ve finally done an Ironbutt Ride on it and it probably won’t happen again!

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