Trail Bikes & Trail Rides
September 13th, 14th & 15th 2013
Friday night: Staying at Holbrook Hotel or Skye Motel
Saturday: 8:15am leave in cars from Holbrook Hotel to Ferndale Road, Woomargama. You will need a full tank of fuel, and 10 Litre fuel container or share a 20 Litre. Ride is approximately 160km. Lunch at Yenchs Road. Dinner is at Holbrook Hotel.
Sunday: Leave Holbrook Hotel in cars at 8:15am to Ferndale Road, Woomargama. Morning ride is approximately an 80km loop.
Cost: Pub accommodation is $140. Motel accommodation is $170. On a first in basis for bookings of preferred choice. Cost includes: breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, lunch on Saturday, tea on Saturday night, snacks at end of Sunday ride, and stubby holder.
Cost of ride with no accommodation or breakfasts is $60, includes tea Saturday night.
For bookings contact Paul Lacy 0457 542 677 - NSW. Serg 0415 562 548 - VIC. Murray 0400 966 889 - Holbrook.
Or leave details on AMTRA website.
Please do not contact Hotel or Motel for bookings.
Green Brown Lizard 2012 Cape Trip
written by Murray Jones, transcribed by Kim Jones
With over twelve months of planning it was finally here.
Sun 29 July saw the 20 footer container on the back of John’s semi, provided by Rowan with his KTM500 and Eric’s KTM690 already inside. In went the rest: John’s KTM450, Peter’s KTM530, Tony’s KTM 530, Ian’s KTM530, Lou’s KTM450, Simo’s WRF450, Lee’s WRF450, Andrew’s ever reliable XR400 and my WRR250, along with four tubs of groceries, stretcher beds, sleeping bags, and riding gear it was pretty much full. Our support crew, The Lonergan’s – Pete, Theresa, Ben and Zoe – set out to Cairns via Carnarvon Gorge.
Mon 30 July John and I headed off for the long drive up. We stopped in at Branxton and picked up Justin’s Ute, our second support vehicle.
Fri 3 August John and I got to Cairns. We got the container and Ute unloaded at NQ Container Services – thanks Ian – and with the truck stored we headed off to NPWS QLD to book camping sites. Only pre-booked camping is allowed in National Parks and when you camp at a popular campground it’s easy to see why. All campgrounds are full but well set out so you are not on top of the next campers.
Got to Rainbow Inn (if you are staying in Cairns this is a great motel and well-priced!) and met up with the Lonergan’s, who had also put the campervan in storage at Ian’s yard till Monday.
Sat 4 August The Lonergan’s go and do the Kuranda Scenic Train and the Gondola Ride. Andrew flew in and hired a car and went together with John to Hartley Creek Croc Farm. I stayed in bed with a wog. Cock and Bull Pub for tea.
Sun 5 August The wog was rather quite ugly and wouldn’t leave so I stayed in bed with it. The Lonergan’s went to the croc farm. John did some last minute shopping for him and me, and Andrew went window shopping down at the Esplanade. By 5pm everyone else had flown in and it was back to the Cock and Bull for tea. The meals have to be seen to be appreciated at this place – HUGE!!
Mon 6 August Bacon and eggs at Rainbow Inn and Theresa started to ferry everyone out to the container yard. Bikes unloaded. Simo’s bike had a wobbly rear wheel. “I put new bearings in not long ago” said Simo. A couple of days later when new bearing went in we discovered it was a worn hub. Luckily it was a Yamaha and not a KTM otherwise the whole wheel would have collapsed - a bit of liquid metal and good as new. With the bikes out and vehicles nearly packed, I headed for the Doctor and everyone else headed out with John in the lead towards Kuranda and Black Mountain Road track. I saw the Doc and he suggested hospital, I said I’d promise to take it easy and rest. Lee turned up and we rode off to catch up with the 4wd’s – thanks nurse Lee.
We caught up with the 4wd’s and headed for Mossman Gorge. When we got there the closest you can get is 2k and that’s through a building and then by bus – you pay accordingly. So with plans of a picnic lunch under shady trees next to the Gorge gone, we meet the bikes in Mossman and had lunch in the park in town.
Then it was up the black stuff to Daintree. I lead them out to the Daintree River and the start of the CREB Track (CREB stands for Cairns Regional Electricity Board) which follows the power line up to Bloomfield. Lou had already done the track and as he watched the bikes get pushed downstream by the force of the current he opted for the Ferry and Daintree Road. Lee and Simo opted out too so I didn’t take any convincing to lead them back to the Ferry and up the Daintree, which turned out to be a good move as Simo got a flat just as we got to the Ferry.
Now, the CREB Track is a rippa and we have only ever done it heading towards Cairns but going north it has a couple of great challenging climbs. The track itself is clay based and if it’s wet it becomes impassable in a 4wd and probably only doable on a bike heading South.
The ride up the Daintree Road is still a good ride; the speed bumps in the first 25km bitumen stretch are huge. About a foot high and six feet across the top to slow cars down but they didn’t slow down the bikes. We just powered on and leaned back.
By the time we got to Rossville it was dark Lee was in a hurry to get to the Lion’s Den Hotel and had a big off coming out of a wash away. Luckily she only ended up with a bruised arm and shredded pants and a broken knee guard – it pays to wear good gear. The others where in and we all ordered tea and met Graham and Sue, friends of Rowan, Eric and John, and they joined us on our adventure as tag along campers. Tonight was our first night under the stars on our camp stretches (I’m glad I practised putting mine up after a few beers on a Friday night). Everyone could have done it blindfolded by the end of the trip. Kilometre’s covered: 257km.
Tue 7 August Alarm went off 6:15am. We were packed up and gone by 8am, not a bad first morning pack up. We stopped at Black Mountain Lookout. We headed on into Cooktown and had bacon and egg breakfast opposite Cook Park then headed up to Radio Hill to look at great views. With bikes and trucks fuelled we headed out of town for Battle Camp Road. 34km out is the turnoff to Cape Melville, we topped the bikes up as this leg was approximately 240km. The trucks headed off for Kalpowar Crossing via Battle Camp Road, we were going round the top via Camp Melville National Park. The road into Starke River was a good graded track and quite a bit had been done up. We rode into the mouth of the Starke River and a lot of fishing camps. After a drink and break those carrying fuel tipped theirs in. Now, Eric’s fuel container, which he had tied to his rear guard, was no longer there. He swore he’d checked his knots ten times, so as everyone finished fuelling their bikes they saved a litre for Eric (he made it in at the end of the day running on fumes). Up until now the riding had been good but the next 73km could only be described as dirt-bike-heaven. It was a relentless mix of deep washouts, wheel ruts, sand, and bull dust holes. There were a few rather big rivers but they were all dry. We stopped for a break just in sight of Cone Peak Mountain in the old Wakooka Cattle Station and chomped down on the energy bars we’d packed. With the aid of Pete’s GPS we worked out we still had about 85km to go. Lou got out his fuel container and all of a sudden had a new best friend wanting his last litre. We pushed on and as we started to drop down off Dividing Range we got to Camp Melville turn off and we were back onto a graded semi gravel road. We stopped at Merrell River crossing for a regroup. A fisherman pulled up and told us that our camp was set up and the beer was cold but watch out there are quite a few nasty bull dust holes (we discovered later that he had confused us with a Roy Kunda bike tour who were actually coming from the other direction – I don’t think Ray looks much like me either). So with the thought of a cold beer we raced off towards Kalpowar Crossing 40km away. The crossing over the Bizant River is concrete with water about 200mm flowing over it is quite wide. There were a few fisherman casting lures at the causeway. The camp area was great, set up on top of the river bank. This was our first magnificent camp meal prepared by master camp cook Theresa. We all slept deeply that night. Total Kilometre’s: 330
Wed 8 August Today was our first camp breakfast. Theresa had a beaut four slice toaster that sat on top of a gas stove; it was quick at toasting and with a big pot of water on the gas ring it didn’t take long at all. As we rode out the Roy Kunda bike tour group was only just getting up, they were heading to Cooktown via Camp Melville Track. They were in for a long day as some of them would really struggle on that track. I had a talk with Roy about the Artemis Gold Fields Track and bikes in general, he is really laid back, nice Queenslander and if you were picking someone to do a tour with, I reckon he would be your pick. The Battle Camp Road out to Musgrove is a fairly good gravel corrugated outback road. The bikes turned off 7km along and we explored tracks to other camp sites on the river until we got to Bizant Station then back onto Battle Camp Road to Musgrove Roadhouse. (All the places we stopped at on the trip, the people were all very friendly and helpful. They loved our system of one person paying for everyone at each stop; it made all our stops so much quicker too). The owner ask if we were doing the Port Stewart Track (on my map it says Private Track); he assured me it was an open road through as it passes through a National Park. So after an early smoko come lunch stop we headed back down Battle Camp Road for Port Stewart Track. This leg would be about 180km so fuel was carried. While the trucks, Lee, Lou, and Simo were taking the Development Road and calling into see Lee’s friend Karren at Fairview Station, our plan was to meet the trucks on the Port Stewart Road. This track was a ripper. The road into Lily Vale Station was a graded station track till we got to Lama Lama National Park. The track became a nice two wheel bush track winding its way through trees with a few nice cool creek crossings. There was a 1km section at the start of Binyo Timber Reserve where the track dispersed and it was every man for himself through deep sand with ruts running in all directions. From the fishing camp at Running Creek a grader had been along and the rest of the way out to Port Steward Road was a blast. With a combination of sand and no throttle control we were starting to run low on fuel and this is when we discovered that one of the sat phones we had hired from RIV COM had a stuffed battery. So we headed out towards Coen meeting the trucks just as John ran out of fuel. After a late lunch we headed for Coen, fuelled up the bikes and headed out up Develop Road to Archer River Road House camp ground and a shower. We got there at about 4pm, and serviced the bikes (Oil Change: 984km). As we were going to camp at Wenlock River, Theresa already had tea so we had it there. Kilometres for the day: 397
Thurs 9 August Today we headed straight up Peninsula Developmental Road into Telegraph Track. We had a short stop at the Wenlock River and then it was onto Bramwell Junction. With bikes fuelled, Theresa asked where the lunch stop was. I said Dulhunty River would be nice, so Theresa headed off to get a start on us. Justin would be following the bikes in his Ute so I didn’t take note of which way Theresa went but it turns out she missed the Telegraph Track, which is not hard as it exits out the back of the roadhouse and is not sign posted, and went down the Bamaga Road. As it happens this was a good thing as when we got to Palm Creek a 4wd wagon towing a campa was bellied out going into the creek. On our side of the creek the 4 wheel drivers were getting logs under the camper. We put our bikes over a step drop off right at the crossing much to the delight of the huge crowd of onlookers. With the bikes all across I took off to get to Ducie Creek to direct everyone around the deep hole in the middle of the crossing. Unfortunately I was too late and a 690 had become a submarine and needed a dewatering! It is really essential on a trip like this to make sure you have a plug spanner that fits. After trying 10 different spanners we finally found one that fitted the big beast. Just as we got Eric going Justin pulled up, he’d gotten around the camper trailer once they’d gotten it through Palm Creek. There is not much sign left of the old telegraph line as it must be great fun to see if your winch can pull over a telegraph pole. Ian did see a pole that was still intact hidden amongst the trees. I hope it stays hidden from the 4 wheel drivers. This track was great fun on the bikes with its deep ruts and loose sandy corners. When I got to Dulhuntly River Theresa wasn’t there so we pulled up on the Gunshot Bypass Track and got her on the sat phone. She was on the way in so I rode out to meet her and made lunch at the other end of Bypass Track while everyone else and Justin went to Tackle Gunshot Creek. We all met up back on the Old Telegraph Track for lunch. As time was getting on we made a dash straight up Bamaga Road Bypass, with a stop at the access track, to the top end of the Northern section of the Telegraph Track. With shovel in hand, Lou dug a hole and all excess alcohol was dully buried as restrictions apply when you cross Jardine Ferry. With the dearest (and shortest) boat ride in Australia paid for, we were over and heading for Bamaga and 20km of the biggest corrugations of the trip. We rolled into Injinoo community and did a lap of the town and beach front, then onto Bamaga and to Loyalty Beach campground and a real bed for two nights. Kilometres for the day: 360
Fri 10 August Loyalty beach is an absolutely beautiful spot and you could spend four nights to leisurely see all there is to see at the top end. They now have a bar and restaurant there and meals that were lovely. Total cost: $3850/$256 per person, included in that was 15 continental breakfasts, 22 Entrée’s, 30 Main Meals, 1 Desert (death by chocolate). There are heaps of curlews and they are worse than roosters in the morning. We all got on the bus at 7:30am – except for Lee and Simo who had slept in and Lee did five loads of washing for everyone, thank you – and headed for the Ferry a trip to Thursday Island. We all did a bus tour of the Island (it’s not very big) and the old fort, which is a new museum. Half the group jumped back onto a ferry and went to check out Horn Island. John, Rowan, Eric, The Lonergans, Lou, and I stayed on Thursday Island. We had crab pies for smoko and lunch, and checked out the shops. Some people brought pearls for their loved ones at home. All up it was a top day and well worth the visit to Thursday Island to find out its history and present day job of providing pilots for all the shipping that passes through the Torres Strait. Back at Loyalty Beach it was tea and a visit from a thing that was a cross between a rat and a rabbit, turned out to be a bandicoot that doesn’t have a tail (probably bitten off by a croc).
Sat 11 August This was it, the purpose of the trip to Cape York. As you leave Loyalty Beach turn left. The last time I was at the Cape there was only one track, now there are tracks going off everywhere at the Croc Tent souvenir shop. We took the track to the left for Punsand Bay Safari and Fishing Lodge. After the Lodge turn off we had a nice two wheel sand track with creek crossings and wheel ruts. When we got to the car park there was two other 4wd’s there so we trudged out to the Point and took many snap shots. When we got back to the bikes there must have been twenty 4wd’s there. We had to be on the lookout while riding out as a steady stream of trucks was coming in. Now I had learnt on day two that it was a waste of time and dangerous to stop an oncoming 4wd because unlike in the High Country, where nearly all will stop and wait for the sweep rider, these flog wits take off and put the foot down trying to run the rest of the bikes down like some sort of 4wd wanker sport (the grey beard 4wd’s aren’t too bad, John reckons its gen y rip tear get out of my way wankers). We had a look at Jardine’s grave and Somerset ruins. We were going to follow the beach down but the sand was soft and bottomless. A 4wd had tried and only made it 200m and proceeded to bury itself like an echidna. So instead we went back the way we had come and brought souvenirs from The Croc Tent and headed back to Bamaga to fuel up where the servo was offline so we went to Seisia. Up there they have “Opal Fuel” which is crap in a bike, they all farted and popped and a couple of plugs had to be changed. It’s no good for the sniffers and it’s even worse for a dirt bike. We headed out to Bamaga airport where we had lunch at a WWII plane wreck. Theresa and Justin had a job and a half trying to swap and go gas cylinders; they had to visit three outlets to get the bottles changed over. We went in search of Kitty Hawk wreck; a local said it was nearly all gone. Pete managed to find a piece of plane. We headed out on a good track. All the same, we stopped at DC3 wreck site then headed down to our Free Return Ferry Trip. Once we headed the 24km down Bamaga NTH Bypass Road we dug up our buried bottle shop. Theresa and tag-a-long camper Graham and sue headed down main road to come back up Telegraph Track to Elliott, Dunn and Indian Falls campground.
Justin followed us as we went to the Jardine River. Pete had crossed here in his Hilux years before at the wide east crossing, he nearly made it across. The current is quite strong and washed the sand from round the wheels, they had to winch the Hilux a third of the way. The Northern section of the Telegraph Track is a way better ride than the Southern section. When we got to Nolen’s Brook we opted for the log bridge as the water was about nipple depth on Justin. Justin drove the Nissan through the crossing with the winch at the ready but he didn’t need it – result wet carpets. About 1-3 4wd have to be recovered from here every week in peak 4wd season, you gotta know what you are doing to attempt a crossing like this. At Cannibal Creek we’d been told on the bikes kept left at all creek crossings, good advice. Justin did get to use his winch to get up the last pinch on exit. Disaster struck again for Eric, this time via a snapped chain which took out his clutch case cover about 7km from camp. He didn’t have the right chain joiner so Justin headed back out with Rowan and we got to use Tony’s bike rack for the first time. This was a beaut camp spot. Kilometres for the day: 260
Sun 12t August With Eric’s case patched up with need-it (he ended up with no clutch for the rest of the trip) everyone headed out to view the Falls. There was a bloke having a skinny dip in a nice clear pool and this was too much for everyone so most decided to join him. With bodies refreshed we headed off down the Telegraph track, the trucks took the Southern Bamaga Bypass Road with some of the bikes, and the rest of us went down the Southern End Telegraph Track. Cockatoo Creek was quite a challenging crossing with its slippery rock bottom and deep pools and uneven rock bottom. We turned left onto Gunshot Bypass and out past Rangers Station and met the trucks back on Bamaga Road for smoko. We stopped at Bramwell Junction and old mate with the servo promised that he had got his fuel from Cairns and it wasn’t opal. After lunch wraps we headed off for the long boring road section to Weipa, the only highlights for this section was me getting a flat rear tyre and how everyone talks about the way the 4wd’s shot pass us. There was one that looked a bit like the after birth of a hummer that passed Rowan who screwed the 500 Kato to 140 and didn’t even keep him in sight! A visit to the bottle shop in Weipa is a dear exercise with a slab of beer $75 and JD cans $10 each. Ouch! I brought a slab of beer, and 8 JD cans for Tony (thanks’ again for the second hand tyre). When we got to town we discovered the supermarket shuts at noon on a Sunday so we went to the golf club for tea expecting the prices to be through the roof. Instead we were pleasantly surprised to buy the cheapest meal of the trip and stubbies were only $4 over the bar. Kilometres for the day: 315 plus oil changes
Mon 13 August It certainly was the 13th for Rowan who was nursing a toothache. He went off in search of a dentist or a flight back to Cairns and ended up with some pain killers and came on the mine tour with the eleven Murray’s. Old mate doing the bus tour got quite a giggle out of the name on his tour sheet, the eleven Murray’s, as the local indigenous people like to be referred to as Murray’s – this got quite a giggle from the tour guide. While we did the mine tour the Lonergan’s went to get a tyre patched on their 4wd and do grocery shopping for the rest of the trip. Groceries are very expensive in Weipa. With bikes and trucks fuelled we headed out with lunch stop at “Batavia Downs” turn off. Then it was 125km of Peninsula Development Road to Archer River Road House, fuel bikes and cold refreshment. Today Tony was having a rest and Justin was on the 530. As you come into Archer River there is a couple of drifting corners, you then cross the river and as you climb up the road house is on the right. Justin’s right hand was locked on through here and he shot past us and didn’t stop until he got to the Coen Pub. When Tony pulled up we all watched him count the bikes twice but his wasn’t there. Lou took pity on him and said you will find him out of fuel before Coen (he made it with ½ a litre to spare). That night we camped at “The Bend” campground 4km out of Coen and cooled off in the river. Then Pete and Theresa pulled out the Barra fillets they’d brought in Weipa that morning, absolutely magnificent cooks!! Windaloo made in Cootamundra was the toilet on site. Total Kilometres: 270
Tue 14 August Before my talk with Roy I was going to do Artemis goldfields but Roy said you can’t see anything in there anymore as a lot of new mining is starting up and you can’t get access to the old diggings and the roads are wide gravel corrugate fests. The main drag is like that but shorter so as Simo hadn’t done the Port Stewart Track we did it backwards, this is a great ride. The track doesn’t have a sign so you have to take note of km travelled to find the track. We stopped at Running Creek for a regroup and break. Eric and I walked up to the fishing hut to see if anyone was there and four fishermen had just got in from their morning fish and I asked if we could use the track to beach. Yea that alright and they let us know what track to take past the old station air strip. We had a good ride along the beach, came out at the mouth of Running Creek and three other fishing camps set up. Then it was back out to Musgrave Road House and lunch. Then it was grit the fillings and back down the Development Road. Lee’s friend told her about a dam on a creek that her partner uses to get water for his water kart on the roads at Mary Creek. We found it and went in; we counted six freshwater crocs in the hole. Karen had said they’d seen up to 10. We stopped at Horn River Roadhouse for a cool ale. Andrew went past he was on a mission to Laura and didn’t even see the roadhouse. Justin didn’t today as he was riding Lou’s 450 while Lou had a break ready for Maytown. The next morning I was talking to Chris, the support driver for his son and 5 mates who had been to the O. C. Rally at “Bramwell Station”. They were about an hour in front of us and had got stopped and put on the RBT at North Kennedy River. Chris had just had a can and had to wait 20 minutes, luckily it was his first for the day. The Laura pub is a great place to stay with a nice camp ground out the back and good meals. Kilometre’s for the day: 357
Wed 15 August Disaster struck for Lee and Hubby. Now, Hubby hadn’t been performing how he should for a couple of days - bumping and farting (now most people, every time Lee mentioned Hubby they thought she was talking about Simo). Lee though it was the tucker she’d been feeding him so we weren’t sure if it was a carby problem or a valve issue, so Hubby was put on the back of the ute. Yes you guessed it; Hubby is not Simo but the WR450. So much to Theresa’s delight, Ben went with Justin, and Lee was up front in the cruiser. 33% of Yamaha’s broke down :-(.
We headed out of Laura to Split Rock to look at some native rock art, and then it was back to the Laura store to fuel the bikes and have a pie and drink. The truckers (minus Graham and Sue who went back to Cooktown) headed down to 17km past Palmer River Roadhouse and came into Maytown at Maitland Down. Laura to Maytown via the Old Coach Road takes about 10hrs in a 4wd to cover the 80km.For the Old Coach Road you ride just over the Mossmon River and take the “Jawallima” Track. 32km in on this nice station track is the turn off towards Maytown and the start of the hills, ruts, and rocks. This is a great ride on a dirt bike and is quite a technical track. One particularly nasty downhill carved into the rock has a 3 foot drop off at the end which sent Ian over the bars. To see this tack then the size of the mining equipment that was brought into the goldfields via this road by wagon gives you an appreciation of the lure that gold held for the early settlers. With no defined campground we set about exploring the area to find a good spot. We met up with the trucks at the second Palmer River crossing just below Maytown. It wasn’t a bad spot to camp but the river was pretty stagnant there so Justin and Theresa went off in search of a better spot at the first Palmer River crossing and we went to look at the abandoned mines and the heaps of mining equipment from a bygone age. The camp spot was a beauty and a swim in the river was nice. With a camp fire that night it was a great place to have our last campout. Total Kilometre’s for the day: 140
Thur 16 August Where we camped last night was a mine operation, nearly, and three blokes with pretty average gear were pulling an average of 9oz of gold a day – not bad dollars. When you ride around the gold field area lots of tracks have NO ACCESS on them. About a week before we got there 3 blokes were prospecting with metal detectors and had wondered onto one of these areas. The owner of the lease shot dead one of the prospectors and has gone into hiding. Also in hiding and fearing for his life is one of the prospectors who witnessed the shooting. Moral of the story, if the sign says keep out it might be a good idea.
My plan that day was for the bikes to head to “St George Outstation” from below Maytown. When we finally found the track it was not used at all because the GPS showed a maze of tracks. So without goods maps and limited fuel to take this track we headed back out after the 4wd’s towards “Maitland Downs”. This is still a good ride through so spectacular scenery. We had lunch at Mount Molly and split into two groups, with some following the trucks to Mossmon and riding down the coast road. The other seven of us rode down Black Mtn Road and it was a hoot as it had rained the day before and conditions were great. Now, just as we got into Cairns a light changed as I was half way across and I watched in my mirror as Ian thought about running the red light but stopped instead with legs out and Tony and Pete nearly crashing into the back of him and John and Simo stopping just in time. It was a hilarious Wild Hogs moment which Tony caught on helmet cam. The bikes were parked at the motel that night and we had tea at the restaurant at Rainbow Inn. Everyone was in fine form and the cook was overwhelmed with the orders, sending out mains before entrée’s and raw steaks (he got the sack).
Fri 12 August We were out at NQ Containers at about 8am and bikes and gear were packed in the container and as everyone got ferried back to the motel by Theresa. John and I chained down the container and loaded Justin’s ute. We got back to the motel at 12:30pm. Lee has a maxi taxi arranged and it was off to Hog’s Breath for lunch then a walk to Cairns beach.
Trip Summary As with all big trips they don’t just happen, so a HUGE THANKYOU to the following people for our trip: Rowan for the use of his container; John for carting out bikes up and back, and helping me book things and get there alive; Tony for his big spares kit and organising oils and bike rack; Lee for booking great accommodation at Loyalty Beach; Justin for the use of his 4wd; and an especially huge thankyou to Theresa, Pete, and kids for the use of your 4wd and camp trailer – that’s one camp kitchen that did a great job, thanks Theresa for feeding us – and thanks to everyone on the trip who jumped in and did the washing up and helped packed up, you all made this a great trip.
Things I’d change if we did this again Don’t waste time going to Weipa, spend these nights instead at Loyalty Beach. Have lunch at Elliot Falls so you could spend all afternoon exploring the Fall’s and swimming. Lastly, after Maytown go back to Lion’s Den and do CREB Track or Daintree Road as the last day.
Cost per person $2, 500 this included all meals, accommodation, fuel for bikes and trucks up and back, and air fares. Not bad for a two week trip.
AMTRA trail ride 22 / 23rd September 2012
The AMTRA trail ride based out of Holbrook is on again for 2012. September 22 & 23.
Two days trail riding (details are roughly the same as those in the post below for last years ride)
For enquiries, to confirm this years prices, and to book, contact
Murray Jones on H: 02 60 362462 M: 0400966899 or firstname.lastname@example.org
AMTRA NSW/VIC and HMCSC trail ride 3rd / 4th September at Holbrook
3rd / 4th September 2011 at Holbrook, NSW
Staying at Byer Fountain Motor Inn
$140 includes accommodation Fri-Sat
Sat breakfast, lunch and bbq tea (BYO drinks)
Sun breakfast (byo 10lt fuel)
Sat ride Woomargama forest
Sun ride "The Pines" a few laps of
Leaping Log enduro track.
Saturday only ride lunch and tea
byo 10lt fuel $40
bookings ph Murray 60362462-0400966889
be quick limited spots
Tumut Valley Riders Club and DSMRA Lee's South Care Helicopter Charity Ride
Lee's South Care Helicopter charity ride
16-17th July Tumut-Tumbarumba-Tumut
Sat-lunch and dinner
Sun-breakfast and lunch
Accommodation Sat night
BYO fuel (10lt container)
Bookings ph Lee 0404182717 or
Murray ph0260362462 or 0400966889
RSVP numbers by 1st July
Trail Ride March 12 - 13th, 2011
March 12 - 13th, 2011
Corryong to McKillop's Bridge. Staying at "Karoonda Park", Gelantipy.
Back to Corryong Sunday.
B.Y.O. fuel and lunch Saturday.
Each rider will need a 20 Lt drum of fuel - the first leg of the the
approx. 130km, so you will need to carry fuel with you if your bike
can't make that distance.
Cost is $100 - includes dinner, bed and breakfast at "Karoonda Park",
lunch Sunday and support vehicle. NO GEAR BAGS.
More info? Give Murray Jones a call on 0400966889
November 2010 Trail Ride
give him a ring on 0260362462 for more details on destination and costs.
** An update from Muzza in regards to this ride:
Christmas in July Trail Ride
A new annual trail ride was born over a beer on the HMCSC end of year trail ride at the Benambra Hotel. Lee Halpin of Tumut was on the way to organizing her first trail ride.
So was born the Christmas in July, Snowy Hydro South Care Flight Charity Ride.
Now it would require a few late nights, but a start point destination and finish were settled on. Four weekends of route checking and fast forward to 23rd July. Lee and I are pushing a shopping trolley around the supermarket getting food for lunch and breakfast on the ride.
Saturday 24th July.
The weather was perfect and with the bags packed in the
trailer. Jezza's ute loaded with fuel drums and
We headed out and into the
Sunday morning. Who stole the sun? The fog was in. Everyone
at the pub was ready to go but where were the riders from the Upper Murray
Resort? Make a note: no 5 star accommodations on trail riders allowed, unless
everyone stays there. Finally we were on our way but to make up a bit of time
we had another 20km tar run into the pine
Morning tea was a
Mick and Karen Clifford's oil farm at Rosewood. Full of slice, cakes and coffee,
Mick led us out to Green Hills pines and
onto Batlow Pub. For lunch another monumental roast. Bikes fuelled, we headed
for Blowering Dam along the Snubba. Some of the
All up we covered just on 400km.We had a front sprocket change, 1 flat rear, 1 leaking side cover, a broken gear shift lever, gravel rash belly button, a riper hip bruise, and a Banana with a sore wrist. It was a big ride to go from Tumut to Jingellic and back in two days, but we did it and I thinks that's what you need to start an annual event that everyone on will talk about for years to come.
Next years Christmas
in July will be Tumut to Tumbarumba. See you all there,
Tumut Valley Trail Ride - July 2010
Contact Muzza Jones for details
May 9 Tumba trail ride CANCELLED
High Country Trail Ride Anyone?
This will be two full days of Riding about 850km.
Dartmouth to Benambra - Nov. 2009
With temperatures in the 40s this years annual Holbrook bike club end of year trip looked like a tour of high country swimming holes on bikes. But as if on cue, in the week leading up, 40mL of rain was dumped on the high country and temps plunged into the low 20s. Everyone meet up at the Dart pub on Friday night for tea. Five riders from Griffith Pete, his son Jason, Andrew, Michael and Nicholas; Paul from Batlow; Lee, Tracy and Andrew from Tumut; Tony and Ian from Tumba; Brian, John, Murray and Kim from Holbrook; Pete, Theresa, Callum, Ben and Sophie (support) from Woomargama; Red and Julie May (support) from Walwa; and Euwen (support) from Myrtleford.
After last years sub Antarctic weather, we left in the cool fine conditions out of the caravan park, across the Mitta River and straight into an overgrown track - Humpys TK - which came out just before Six Mile, then onto Lightning Creek. We met the support vehicles at the corner of Dunstans and Omeo Hwy for smoko. The tracks were perfect. This year we got to do Sugar Loaf Hill (last year it was fogged and snowed in), then down Snowy Log Rd into Kangaroo Ck TK and lunch at Glen Wills Cemetery. For lunch (Theresa and Julie May did a great job of setting out my poor attempt at food buying and making our meals look five stars). After lunch it was down Knocker TK and into Burnside TK. There were lots of trees down but they were all passable over, around, up and under. I got to an intersection and waited for the next rider. Michael pulled up and said you better come back dad, Kims hurt her foot. Shed hit a forked branch which went in her back wheel, pulling her bike around and jamming her foot. With a bit of chainsaw work we soon had Tonys Ute to Kim. We loaded her in and I drove her out to meet the ambulance with Euwen on my Gasser. The 000 people really stuffed up and sent a helicopter which got lost because 000 did not give them Theresas map reference. When they finally found us the ambulance from Tallangatta pulled up 5 minutes later. Kim was put in the road ambulance and went to the Omeo hospital, one very pissed off helicopter headed back to the La Trobe Valley nearly out of fuel. 000 will get a bum bruising over this one as the police got lost as well trying to find Kims accident site. The Benambra pub was great with top service. We had a wow of a time while President Kim was stuck in the Omeo hospital.
With bellies full of bacon and eggs and in a light drizzle of rain we went to the store to fill up (the light rain had started at 9.30 the night before). Detour Trail Tours were pulled up across the street trying to warm up after having ridden from Omeo up the black stuff in the rain. They were then going along Limestone. After checking with Lyndon we headed for Bowen Mountains, the drizzle stopped just as we turned into McKenzies Rd. We did a loop around then down Scrubby Ck (very steep), up Spring Hill TK (steep), onto Lees, then followed Range Rd and Splitters back to McKenzies (these tracks were perfect and some of the best ever riding), down to Benambra and out to Taylors Crossing for lunch. As we arrived Theresa left to get Kim from the Omeo hospital (they beat us back to Dart by 5 minutes). The crossing was nipple deep, so we put the bikes over via the foot bridge (see photos).
We headed up Four Mile TK but I saw this freshly groomed trail with the best shaped spoonys. So I took it. We ended up at the Knocker Link TK, so we hung a right onto Toms Link TK. It wasnt freshly groomed but a challenging over grown, single track with downed trees and logs with an treacherous red clay downhill at the end: no one made it down without an off.
We had a gather at the Wombat Post Office, and then it was up the big climb of Wombat TK, along Razorback to Six Mile, and more lovely red clay. Red reported a few off road excursion marks when they came through behind us in 4wds. With bikes loaded and Kim in the back of the wagon, goodbyes said, it was off to Albury Base. Outpatients were pretty quick for a Sunday and with no major breaks, Kim was on her way home (her foot was black by Monday). Weather was perfect for bike riding and a top weekend was had by all. Next year, the end of year Holbrook Bike Club trip is from Corryong over Pinibar Washington Winch and stay at Benambra, and Sunday return via wheelers hut.
Thanks Muzz for the report - Photos to come.
S.O.F.T trail ride's W.A. Adventure
The adventurers: Lou Lewington KTM 450, John Pyers KTM 450, Neil Harmer KTM 450, Phill Taber KTM 400, Ray Hartley CRF 450 and Murray Jones TTR 250. Bringing up the rear in the very important job of support was Doug Lewington and Reg Payne (Reg supporting till Esperance). Yes I took the little 250 and I had the best seat for the trip. In total we covered 3250 km with only a battery at Kalgoorlie for the CRF (you have to do more rides Ray); a water pump for Lous KTM (still in the box); and 2L of extra oil for a KTM 400 after a complete submersion by Phill and the bike. Plus my little TTR ride cover developed a major crack by Esperance and lost nearly all its oil (thanks Stewarts Precision Welding), it was welded and with a bit of kneed it later was back on the tail in a couple of hours.
The trip started on Saturday 3 October with the bikes being loaded onto Johns semi. The next day John headed off for the long drive to Perth to unload his freight on Wednesday. The rest of us drove down to Melbourne on Friday 9 October and flew out at 6am arriving in Perth at 7.30am. What a confusing day! We ate breakfast 3 times, missed lunch and had tea at what felt like midnight. After unloading the bikes Saturday afternoon and storing Johns truck at Narrogin Piggery, We were ready for Sunday.
Day 1: Phill did not officially finish work until 9.30am, so we left about 10.30am. Today was a cruise along country back roads and lanes, seeing crop upon crop and only one mob of sheep. Lunch was at Kondinin then onto Pingaring through Dragon Rocks nature reserve, and a few drinks at Hyden Pub. Tonight we stayed at Wave Rock Resort; it is set in the middle of a salt lake five stars. They certainly use trick photography on Wave Rock as it is a quarter of the size when you get to it.
Day 2: Back lanes through more crops, past Lake Carmody, for 30km till we get to the start of Holland Track. This was an awesome ride of 200km of sand track cut through low scrub country with more ups and downs than a Collingwood season and more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie novel. The last 40km into Coolgardie was on a mine haul road. We were at the Coolgardie Pub by 5pm. This was a big day and not many 4 wheel drives would attempt this track in one day, well done Doug and Reg. That night we met Taffy the barman who told us he could drive from Zanthus to Balladonia in an hour and a half!! One day our paths will cross again Taffy.
Day 3: We left Coolgardie Pub and Taffy still asleep on the upstairs lounge early following mine haul road too Kunanalling Mine ruins for breakfast following haul road through Corluie Station Credo National Park, Bardoc Mine, we stopped at Siberia Mine, when gold was discovered more miners died getting there than made it due to lack of water and food. We stopped at Orabanda pub for lunch and the worse beer of the trip, the bikies should have shot the publican instead of the publican shooting the bikie. The pub has been rebuilt after the bikies fire bombed it and the stone walls still carry fire scars. Onto Broad Arrow Pub, where the walls have been taken over by signatures, from there we followed the gas pipeline and railway into Kalgoorlie, 40km of challenging track. A week before we started everywhere we rode had received a good soaking so all drains and bog holes were still quite damp and the roads and tracks only had minimal dust, resulting in only needing to change the air cleaners twice on the whole trip (TTR once and three filter skins, when I got home the filter was still fine after removing the skin).
Day 4: After a night on the town and skimpys in our dreams we had a sleep in, did the bike maintenance thing, then headed out to The Big Pit. Peter who has sold out for the big dollar Garretts song nothing as precious as a hole in the ground really does sum it up; this is mining on a huge scale.
Day 5: We left Kalgoorlie and headed east along transcontinental railway line for 40km. We stopped for breakfast at Randell. We then jumped across to the North side of the line to follow the service track for the next 150km. This track had everything from bog holes and deep sand to leaf covered trail through bush just before Zanthus. We crossed back onto the South side of the line for lunch at 1pm. With 200km still to go we set off (safe in the knowledge that Taffy drove it in less than 2hrs) the first 100km was a hoot with nice flowing sandy track. John had a close encounter with a camel and rode beside it while the camel snorted and spat at him. At this point Taffys claim was looking shaky as it took our 4wd just over 2hrs to do the first 100km. John took off from the regroup with me in pursuit but after 5km the nice flowing sandy track had turned into a series of 8 wide, knee deep bull dust ruts. This really was challenging riding for the next 90km. John had another close encounter, firstly with a kangaroo and then with about 100m of high tensile wire that wrapped itself around his back wheel about 20km before Balladonia. It took us that long to cut it off that the 4wd caught up. We got to Balladonia Road house just on dark, by the time we had showered and locked up the bikes we nearly missed tea (Taffy we will find you one day). Accommodation rated one star.
Day 6: We kept heading south on Narrambinia Stock Route passing
through gates covered in bras and panties (backpackers leave their mark
everywhere). This was a fairly rough track with the biggest council
signs we have ever seen warning us of the dangers all the time. After
200km we emerged into farming land, wheat paddock after wheat paddock
(paddocks about 1000ac each). Phills 4wd solar panel on top broke
a bracket, but with a strap and a stick off a mallee tree, Reg had it
secured. (Reg flew out of Esperance the next day to meet his lady friend
in Broome but the stick stayed in place for the rest of the trip). At
Beaumont we stopped for lunch and so did the TTR with a cracked side
cover. Luck was with is as the Esperance show was on sp we did not have
to wait long and a local farmer picked up the TTR and myself and took
us to Esperance. The rest of the group headed for Gibson Soak pub. The
4wd and I got there at 5pm, with the TTR fixed. Gibson Soak puv accommodation
scored 4 stars.
Day 7: We followed the railway line 20km back into Esperance. John, Doug, Lou and Neil did a 2hr tour of Esperance, as Phill and Ray watched the bikes in front of the Bakery, while I went in search of some kneed-it. Now Phill had told us what W.A. stands for Wait A while and it will get done. I finally found some kneed-it as all businesses in W.A. run 9-5 five days a week (I bet the heart attack rate in W.A. is far lower than here). Leaving Esperance we followed from roads to lunch near Munglinup (this was the start of up country) through States National Park Jerdacuttup Lakes National Park to Hopetoun. The town was built up to accommodate a BHP mine but it never opened so 300 houses are slowly being sold out to Grey Beards. The town has a new school hospital and sporting grounds that make Wagga Waggas look like the back of Bourke. The pub in Hopetoun sits opposite a 90 mile beach and break water to the right the view makes Naroomas million dollar view pub look like a $5 view: 5 stars.
Day 8: heading out of Hopetoun through Jerramungup Amelup and through the Stirling National Park. Phill stopped to talk to a lady looking at plants on the side of the track and she told Phill had enjoyed the day so much more if he slowed down a bit and took the time to smell the flowers. Luckily he did not follow her advice and we made good time into Albany. John took a wrong turn and ended up 10km away at the beach, a few phone calls later he made his way to us. That night John and I found out that it is not a good idea to drink a stubby while walking down the street in W.A. Thanks good cop, bad cop
Day 9: After a tour of the whaling station last one to close in
Australia, we headed off towards Denmark and the start of forest country
and great fire roads through Mt Frankland National Park Shannon National
Park. The trees are huge and water in running everywhere with some pretty
deep river crossing and sign up telling 4wdrivers to put on head lights.
We finished through the Gloucester National Park and Gloucester Tree
Fire Tower. We had the intention of climbing but when you get there
it is huge so we though it wasnt safe to climb it in bike boots [Kim:
they are all big chickens]. We stayed at Pemberton Pub 5 stars.
Day 10: Today for breakfast we had Marron at a friend of Phills, ES who is partner in Narrogin Hay. On the way out to his place we went through Warren National Park and past the Bicentennial Tree Fire Tower. ES weekender used to be a fish farmer. The dam covers 30 acres and 60 feet deep and also happen to be crawling with Marrow which is a sort of a cross between our Yabby and a Murray River Cray and are a dam nice eating thanks ES. After we could eat no more, we headed for Beedelup National Park. Once through we found a parking bay for some oil and bike maintenance, and then headed along the power line track on the edge of Gingilup Swamp National Park. It lived up to its name. Ive never ridin such a wet track, but the depth of the water never got over the foot pegs. That was until 300m before the end. John and I pulled up we where a fair bit ahead of the next and looked at the last 200m swamp. It was covered in a green slim looking weed. So in I went and it kept getting deeper and the green slime was like trying to push through Bickleys tea tree at The Pines with the water up to the seat of the TTR at full throttle just got through coughing of spluttering. I looked around and John KTM emerged out of the green slime coughing and stopped just on the edge. The bikes where encased in green slime weed and looked like something out of a Hitchcock film. A few minutes later the others pulled up. John and I yelled and waved our arms at them to stop but they thought we were playing silly buggers. Lou came in first but managed to get out of the wheel rut on the side and in a roost of mud and slim made it over. Neil followed our route and got across coming out covered in green slime with a bit of help from John who waded in for rescue. Phil wasnt so lucky and took the other side wheel rut, got crossed up and both Phill and the 400 disappeared under the green slim. Ray was the luckiest and the CRF stalled at foot peg depth. I pushed a track around the edge and got the CRF over. Then John went in search of the 400, rescuing Phill and the bike. We got it started, rode out onto the road and there was Doug with lunch, and another oil change for the 400. Every time we went near Doug through he would move back a step, green slime sticks too everything. With lunch eaten we set off to explore Scott National Park with John on the lead, he does not notice the change of name for the trail and he went on and ended up in Kurdardup. We spent the next couple of hours looking for him until a message came in on the phone from the little boy lost. So with a few directions from Lou he found his way to us near Margret River.
Day 11: A whole day off the bikes so we all got in Phills cruiser
wagon and headed for Karridale bakery for breakfast, then down too Cape
Leeumin Light House. We followed the Tourist Drive back up the coast
and our day of 3 wineries, 5 boutique breweries, a cheese factory and
chocolate factory started. We finished the day at Cowaramup and thats
about the condition we were all in.
Day 12: Or was it still day 11, I do not know. I went close to a swim through but cheated and had an hours sleep. The backpackers I lead astray there were still asleep in the park where Id left them a couple of hours before with them telling me how they had to go to work and serve at shops, clean pubs, pick fruit and work at wineries yeah right! We left town and rode through Whicher Range state forests lots of logging going on. Stopping at Kirup pie shop through more state forest onto a road just out of Boyup Brook and headed towards Duranillin leaving Up country, forests and cattle behind and back into cropping and Narrogin to load up the bikes before tea.
Day 13: All trips come to an
end. So after a tour of Narrogin Hay exporters by Des, we said our goodbyes
with John and I off to Perth to load freight for Melbourne on Monday.
The rest were off to Fremantle for lunch before flying out for Melbourne
at 10.30pm. The trip home: well thats another story.
Trail Ride - Sept. 2009
27th, September 2009
A First Trail Ride-
My friend James Tibbet rang me up to see if I had any rides coming up? Yes I said. So James, Kim and I organised a ride at Walwa a couple of weeks ago. Jamess daughter Laura would have her bike Ls and would like to go on a trail ride, nothing to hard though.
With Derek leading out in the morning, we headed out of Walwa. There were twenty bikes with Kim and myself, two Ferguson brothers, fourteen riders from Rods trail riding group and Laura.
The morning was foggy. We turned off Shelly road onto Bluff road, then onto Wermaton track looping back onto Bluff Fall road. The riding was excellent. We also met Rod and Burt in the support vehicle at Bluff Falls. The water falls were excellent, with a great show of cascading water. After the falls we headed around Burrowa Pine Mountain and my reassurance to James that it would be an easy ride for Laura went west with greasy branches and logs over the trails. The mountain had a good 100mm cover of snow and the nice red clay was treacherous but we all managed to make it to lunch at the lookout above Berringama at the end of Shelly road. Many thanks to the Ferguson brothers; I had planned lunch at Shelly dam, but after riding through the snow while it was snowing, we were glad to find a great picnic shelter with two open fire places. A fire was quickly lit and Rod and Bert had plenty of rissoles, sausages and onion cooked: thirty rissoles, fifty sausages, one kilogram of onion, six loafs of bread, one packet of family assorted biscuits and 22 cans of soft drink later we filled the bikes and headed for the trails of Shelly forest.
The bush tracks were in excellent condition. We met the support viechle at Guys Forest road. Everyone was fine so Rod and Burt Left we to go home and we headed up the road to Belmay. If you thought it was wet for the Six Hour Enduro, then we were lucky it wasnt this weekend, as we have seen it so wet, with water just running out of the ground like a sponge with a hose under it. We headed out Henrys place and down Snake Gully track.
We pulled into
the pub, loaded our bikes, got changed and headed inside the Walwa pub.
Chris had been busy in the kitchen and had plates full of pizzas,
greeted us with Allan making sure everyone had a refreshing ale. Thanks
to the Walwa pub hosts.
All up it was a great ride with every bit of skill needed to stay up right on that lovely red Pine Mountain clay. Thank to Derek for leading in the morning.
had a challenging ride for ride for her first trail ride but to her
credit she only had a couple of half Gregs and one full Harris at the
end of the day on a particularly wet greasy hill, she didnt want the
easy way home at the end of the day and told myself that she cant wait
until the next ride (love to have you come along). It is good to see
little WR250s passing the big boys on there orange toys.
Written by Murray Jones
Co-Written by Mark Jones
Next ride on the 28th-29th of November
Dartmouth to Benambra overnight at Benambra pub and return to Dartmouth on Sunday.
Bookings phone Murray or Kim at: (02) 60362462
Trailride. Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th May
Murray Jones Walwa Trailride.
Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th May.
Contact Murray to reserve your spot
on this Ride.
Two Days of Riding in the forest around Walwa, Victoria.
Staying the Night at Walwa Pub.
Motorcycle Registration and Roadworthy Motorcycles Essential.
The Jones Family Christmas Trip to Inverell
The Jones family are to trail riding, what Bill and Barb Sullivan are to road bikes ... the ultimate in adventurers. Here's Muzza's take on Christmas riding in Far Northern NSW. Thanks Muzz. Sound's like you had a ball.
With all the rain and floods in Northern
NSW and Southern QLD this year was looking to be perfect for taking
our bikes on our Christmas trip to Debbies mums and we werent
disappointed. So with Debbie having to be back for work and Ben for
a job interview, we travelled up taking Bens Ute and the wagon with
Kims WR 250F, Bens WR 250 Husky and my GasGas 300 EC in tow.
We arrive on Christmas Eve at 1pm to
get ready for Christmas day, which is a family event at Debbies mums
under the massive willow tree in the back yard. Christmas night the
evening thunderstorm ritual deposited 30 points of rain in readiness
for a ride on Boxing Day.
A nice overcast morning with mercury on 18° we rode out of Inverell taking Rifle Range Road into an old gravel quarry. Straight away we headed off road onto a ripper single line Enduro track. After many turns and a bit of off track, we picked up the main trail just before Stannifer. We turned towards Old Mill up the bitumen and into Mt Topper State Forrest where it was a mixer of Pine Forrest and Bush, with tracks going in all directions into Old Mine sites. There were Enduro Arrows up as the Inverell Club holds Enduros there as well. On the Northern side just at Middle Creek we came onto an old Quarry where a ripping m/x track has been laid out with a deep sand surface. Ben had a ball tearing around it. We headed back the same way, this time taking single line on the other side of Old Guyra Track finishing into Rifle Range Road, arriving back at 12:30 with 130km of awesome trails on the clock. We are sure to go back and explore some more out that way.
The sound of rain on the roof woke me at 2am and again at about 4am. When the alarm went off at 5:30am the rain had stopped and the sky was starting to clear. We had the wagon packed and bikes loaded the night before, so by 6am we were on the road heading for Glenn Inness. We pulled into the Shell servo at Glen Inness to get some extra fuel as Inverell was out of Premium and nearly Unleaded, plenty of E10 but the bikes dont seem to like it much. We took the Gwydir Highway then onto the Old Grafton Highway, which on an adventure bike would be a hoot (we saw plenty later in the day). Making our way to Dalmorton we passed Mann River National Park Barrool National Park and Guy Fawkes National park. We saw no trails; this is truly extreme mountain country. After 83km, just before the Convict Tunnel (a 50m long tunnel cut by hand through a cliff on the edge of the Boyd River by convicts), the valley had opened up and the landscape had changed from sheer cliffs to rock free mountains, very similar too the riding near Dartmouth. We pulled over on the side of the road in cattle grazing land next too the river.
The plan was to ride around Dalmorton Forest in a loop track back to the car. We only made it 15km. We headed left but were confronted with a plethora of tracks of old snig trails and cattle tracks; the only trail we rode twice was the climb up from the Boyd River. When we got back to the car for lunch and fuel we had covered 125km of leafy single tracks in cool, dust free (according to the lead rider) riding. After a break we crossed the Boyd River at Dalmorton (a loose collection of hippie squats and weekenders) for the Black Slate Forest, which my map said was State Forest. Unfortunately it is now National Park with its locked gates and unmaintained fire trails. After an hour and only a couple of good trails we headed back to Dalmorton. Over the river we turned right and headed 12km down the Old Grafton Highway towards Nymboida looking for an entrance track back up into the Dalmorton State Forrest area. After a couple of dead ends we pulled up at a promising looking overgrown trail going up a ridge that would make a Billy goat puff. I got out the G.P.S to see if it was near our turn off and, while we were checking our position, we saw 14 big adventure bikes go past. Up the goat track we went and after a few ks we hit our main trail. We went up it till we turned of onto Blacksmiths and, followed it till we hit our trail that came up from the car, being tempted by even more tracks turning off to the left or right.
We got the bikes loaded and just as
we started the 2 ½ hour drive home it started to rain. We all agreed
we were coming back here to ride again. 189km of riding for the day.
When we got to Glenn Inness we went to 3 servos before we got fuel
for the car (fuel light was on) to get back to Inverell at 6:30pm.
It had rained nearly all night. Luckily Inverell has a Caltex Depot, so we got fuel as we headed out of town at 9am, as the sky began to clear. Today we headed for Kings Plain National Park, a leisurely 40km out of town. The drive out there turned out to be nearly better than the ride, the smell of wet carpet is nearly gone from inside the car as some of the causeways the water was up the doors of the car.
Kings Park National Park turned out
to only have 30km of fire trails. If it had been dry it would have been
pretty disappointing riding, but with the little creeks running like
rivers and most of the trails running like creeks we had a pretty good
slip sliding time. Bens WR 250 was not a very good submarine, but
with no boot on the bottom of the air box, it was a full dewatering
exercise. We made it home by lunch time.
Ben and Debbie headed off for Holbrook, Granny, Mark, Darcy, Linton (a cousin) and I went to Copeton Dam for an afternoon on the big water slide.
Kim and I headed out of town to Rifle Range Road to explore some more tracks. This time we followed a single line track down Middle Creek till we could go no further. So we had to turn back and we werent looking forward to having to go up some of the drop offs. We went back, then about 200m up I saw a walking track sign on the other side of the creek and, after a look, we found a place to cross over. Some 10km of walking track later we were back on the Old Guyra Road. We went into Mt Topper, off the Tingha, Guyra Road, took different tracks through the middle then back home on the Old Guyra Road, another 123km for the morning.
Mark and Darcy played golf in the morning, while I went in the car to check out some more riding. Looks like Kim and I are going to Gilgai tomorrow.
Theres nothing like a good ride to clear the head after a late night. Kim and I headed out the Old Bundarra Road. Where at the end before it hits the Gilgai Road there is a nice little piece of bush with cattle, 4wd tracks running in all directions. The area is only about 100ac but we spent over an hour criss crossing the trails. We then headed into Gilgai and into the Goonoowigal Conservation area with the aim of getting over to the Old Guyra Road. This area is a range of tracks and I lost Kim. She was about 100m behind me but didnt see me go onto a single line track. I went about 5km and a black snake was across the track. I slowed to get around him and he reared up to strike, so I stopped just past him and waited for Kim but there was no Kim. So back around the angry snake and I headed back to find her. When I got to where Id turned, no Kim. I rode up the main trail, no Kim. So I headed back towards Gilgai, no Kim. I rode back to the start of the single track and there was a very relived to see me Kim. So we headed of on the main trail and came out at Stannifer. Several attempts to get across to the Old Guyra Track in which we kept hitting hobby blocks with locked gates. I was starting to run low on fuel. We went through Stannifer onto the Old Guyra track and straight back to Inverell, coming in on the Rifle range Road. All up I covered 93km for the morning and Kim 81km. it hasnt rained now for 2 days and its starting to get dusty so we might have a day off tomorrow unless it rains tonight.
No rain but a lovely cool morning. We headed out to Rifle Range Road and spent the morning exploring all the lovely walking tracks the NPWS have adopted as theirs (they would have started life as Enduro tracks). This morning we started the tracks with ½ a dozen mountain bike riders, these are great trails with lots of sharp little drop offs down boulders and into creeks, quite technical riding.
For lunch Kim, Mark, Darcy, Linton, Granny Heady and I drove up to Ashford. We had hamburgers at the bakery store then drove out to Pindarie Dam to check out the new wall, as theyve raised the dam height so now the old Dam full would be 13% of the new dam height.
Today Kim and I were on a mission to find a way across the Goonoowigal from the Old Guyra Road too the Gilgai, Stannifer Track and this time we where successful. Along the way we rode some excellent tracks that looped out from the back of a bush block at the back of Stannifer.
Our last morning ride, so with a bit extra fuel in the back pack, Kim and I headed out to Rifle Range Road to start a loop using the trails of the last week to link up Goonoowigal and Mt Topper. We covered 100km of 90% single trail and rode about 20km of a 40km Enduro loop the Inverell club had marked out at the back of Mt Topper State Forrest and some more new trails we hadnt ridden before. One being up there as the knarliest rocky downhill you could imagine. At the start of the week Kim would have frozen at the top and most of the people we usually ride with would have turned back to go another way, but we made the nearly 1km trail, turned rocky creek, too the bottom without crashing once (well done Kim!). when we pulled up back at Grannys at 1pm the only bit of riding were wed used the same route was the last 3km back into town on the Rifle Range Road. Its now time to pack up for the long drive home tomorrow.
Wodonga KTM Ride Day
I was lucky enough to get an
invite to the Wodonga KTM ride day. Dealer principal John Hill had access
to the Albury Wodonga Motorcycle Clubs Causeway Race Tracks. About 40mm
of rain had fallen in the previous 24hours and the tracks were quite
slippery. The course included some parts of the freshly groomed motocross
track and some sections of the enduro loop used by the National Off
First off I rode the 2008
250EXC-F. This bike was exactly what I expected from a 250 four
stroke. The power comes gently from the bottom end and builds to a healthy
top end. On the tighter switch back sections of the single-track, the
bike feels a little slow, with a lot of clutch needed to launch out
of corners. On the more open flowing single-track its top end delivers
a rewarding turn of speed. Combined with the light weight and good stable
handling, this bike is very easy to ride and a lot of fun.
Next ride 2009 250 SX-F. A rare chance to ride an MX 250 four stroke.
The handlebars are lower and
the seated position much further forward for a more aggressive ride.
The power delivery is a fair bit snappier than 250 EXC-F. The fork is
just a bit firmer and would tire a rider on long single-track sections.
The 250 SX-F handled the acceleration and braking bumps a little better
and could be made into a good woods bike with some minor adjustment
to raise the Handlebars. Power comes on strong from the Bottom End and
gets straight into the Top End. A bit more wheel spin here on the slippery
track probably reduces the advantage of the extra power.
2009 250 EXC-E electric
start two stroke Hallelujah. This feature alone will convince
more riders to purchase the 250 two stroke. The engine starts the instant
you hit the button and settles quickly into a nice rounded idle. This
bike was fresh out of the crate, barley run in. It will benefit from
a needle adjustment on the carby to brighten up the Bottom End. I found
the power quite gentle in the Bottom End and even into the midrange.
No hit of power yet. Top End comes on smoothly, no hit here either.
This bike is deceptively quick, as I found out three turns into the
single track. I had slightly over-shot the corner. The next lap around
same corner same overshoot. You really could ride this bike all day
and not tire of the smooth power. Handling is typical 2 stroke Enduro,
Light, with sharp Steering. You get a lively ride, you really have to be on your game to ride
a 250 2 stroke fast, There is a lot more deflection from single track
Ruts. So extra concentration is required to keep the bike tracking
Time for the bigger bikes.
2009 450 EXC. I wasnt
too confident taking the 450 out in these conditions. There were exposed
roots, slippery logs and light rain falling. But to my amazement the
450 was very easy to ride. On the switch back section of this single-track
the extra power is on tap straight away, I love this type of power delivery.
When you turn the throttle by quarter turn mid corner, a burst if strong
smooth power propels you to a clean exit, no excessive sliding just
hooked up and ready for the ruts and breaking bumps ahead. Great bike
stock standard, you fair dinkum could ride this as is, engine is crisp,
suspension very smooth, the front end is stable and does not push or
dive under braking.
2009 450 EXC (Modified)
this is John Hills own personal bike, some mods here exhaust, handlebars,
suspension settings, sticker kit etc. The exhaust note on this bike
is awesome. Power is stronger in the bottom end and stronger all the
way thru. In these wet conditions the extra power did not necessarily
mean quicker lap times. Suspension was noticeably plusher over small
trail obstacles, and the bike remained well settled on rough straights.
It was worth riding Johns 450 just for the sound alone.
After riding the two 450s
I felt confident I could handle an open class enduro bike.
Enter the 2009 530 EXC.
I was straight away amazed at how well this bike handled the slippery
track. The power of the 530 is fantastic, very smooth, loads of traction
and bucket loads of torque. I was surprised to find the front wheel
lofting skyward despite the lack of traction on the slippery surface.
Handling is outstanding, the bike turned and stopped easily and handled
slippery trail roots and logs without deflection or excessive sliding.
Back on the 2008 250EXC-F just
to confirm what I already knew. I love the 450s and even the 530.
The good thing about KTMs
is you really can take them straight to a racetrack and they are set
up for it. You know Ready to Race
The 250 EXC four stroke really suits Juniors and riders with less experience. They have great handling and smooth power, but the great thing is the Top End here will reward a hard charging rider and you can compete against bigger bikes.
The 250 EXC two stroke is easy to ride, much more mellow than I expected, dont relax here though as its very fast, you just dont notice it.
I loved the 450 EXC, despite my initial reluctance. You really can race these bikes at any level, Club, Interclub or Open Enduro. The power delivery is amazing. It just hooks up and drives hard even on slippery surfaces.
The 530 EXC surprised
me the most. It is a lot more manageable than I believed it would be.
Check out a 530 EXC outstanding.
From these bikes here today
I would choose the 450 EXC in stock trim, I just loved the surge of
power you get on the corner exits, very rewarding
What a great day
Thanks to the team at Wodonga KTM - Dealer Principle John Hill
- Workshop ace Glen Fairweather
- Sales Kristy Gillespie
Check out our sponsor page
for contact details.
John Hill also manages a fleet
of Hire KTMs, you can hire one for a day, a weekend, even a week.
So if you want a taste of off-road action, ask John about his hire bikes.
Dartmouth - Benambra
This year i found myself in a new position for our annual end of year two day ride...support vehicle driver, as i still had a bit of mending to do.
This year we had 15 riders start, coming from Griffith, Tumut, Tumbarumba, Albury and Holbrook. Ken Hamilton rode shotgun in the 4WD.
After a month of no rain and temps up to 30 degrees, it was shaping up to be a hot and dusty weekend, that was until right on cue, a cold front moved in with a nice drop of rain on the Friday night to lower the temperature and the dust.
With the gear packed the bikes headed for the dam wall and the Six Mile track, Razorback Spur and into Lightening Creek and its many weaves back and forth. Through the creek Pete Cambrel got some good video footage of one of the harder crossings, with quite a few of the riders getting out of shape on a well placed, submerged rock. Hoota got his boots well washed as his bike stalled after hitting the rock (gee them buttons are handy) The bikes crossed over the Omeo Hwy after fuel and smoko, heading south for lunch at Glen Wills next to the old cemetery. Glen Wills was a gold rush area. After lunch the bikes headed down The Knocker Trk for Benambra, while Ken and i headed for the Blue Duck Inn as the weather started to close in.
Ben was leading the bikes, and they rode into a snow blizzard for a few Km's, but as they came down it turned to drizzle and they headed for the Benambra Hotel. That's where Ken and i found them, they'd beat us there by 40 mins. The accommodation and meals at the Benambra Pub were top notch. That night the heavens opened and dumped 60mm. Dams that were empty the day before, were overflowing on Sunday.
Ken and i left early on Sunday to get back up onto the Omeo Hwy, to meet the bikes on the top of the Knocker Trk. The riders left Benambra in drizzle and howling wind. Just out of Benambra on top of Mt. Blowhard (well named!) Kim Jones got blown over on her bike, landing in a table drain. By the top of the Knocker Tk, Ken and I found the bikes and riders. We had smoko, the weather improved and the riders showed off photos of the snow they had just ridden through. The snow was nothing compared to the fallen trees we were about to encounter. Pete had to get his saw out and cut a log 400mm thick so i could pull it out of the way with the 4WD. Leaving the riders with lots of trees to ride over and around, Ken and i beat the bikes back to the caravan park, where we cooked up lunch. We'd just finished as the bikes got back with lots of stories of red clay and greasy logs, the day had turned out to be a good ride, and all agreed we would came back to Dartmouth next year, to explore the tracks we missed, and stay at the Benambra Pub again.
***please feel free to submit any photos you have of this or any of the other rides to email@example.com and we'll post them here and in the photo gallery***
Benambra Trail Ride
Lake Manus - Cabramurra (Take 2)
With an earlier start planned this time, we were confident we could complete the ride this time. Bill Sullivan was the exception, as he had sent his already soft seat (well, softer than the Gas Gas) to Melbourne to be made into a lounge chair, and you guessed it, it wasn't back in time. This time John, Mick, Ben and Murray headed off from Lake Manus. We followed the same route. It was a bit hotter this day, and being John's birthday we stopped in at the Tooma Pub for a cool drink. At the top of Mt. Blackjack we added fuel we'd been carrying and headed for Cabramurra, over the wall via Tumut Ponds for lunch, and fuel at Cabramurra store. After lunch Murray was to lead, but Mick and Ben knew that way...and took a wrong turn, ending up at the power station at the bottom of the mountain. John and Murray waited at the top until Ben and Mick returned sheepishly. Back on track we headed down the Ravine track for Lob's Hole and up onto the Snowy Mtns Hwy. for the trip into Talbingo. Unfortunately the servo that always used to be open on a Sunday, wasn't. Luckily Tony Smith at the caravan park usually has a couple of jerry cans for desperate trail riders like us. Thanks Tony!
We crossed over the wall of Junama Pond and headed for Laurel Hill on the main route to make up a bit of time. When we got to Laurel Hill, we decided to head for Rosewood and Mick's place on some lush new tracks. It was a combination of overgrown trail, long shadows and a 300km day that had me miss the little spoon drain on the road that took out the front wheel, and saw me landing on the ground at 70km/hr. After a wee rest and time to get half the road out of my helmet, i got back on my new bike (well it was new) and limp back to Mick's. Ben & John took the bitumen back to the Lake.
X-Rays a couple of days later revealed broken ribs, a cracked arm and a collapsed lung. The bike wasn't too bad, only needing a new footpeg and a couple of levers.
This was a good ride, but next time we would probably leave vehicles at The Maragle Rd. on the Elliott Way.
Lake Manus - Cabramurra
Dark skies and light drizzle greeted Bill Sullivan, Mick Clifford and Ben & Murray Jones at the headwaters of Lake Manus. By the time we'd geared up, patches of blue sky where starting to appear and at least there was no dust. Following the dam, we headed off along the ridge and came out at "Ardenside" on the Walleragang Rd., through Tooma and "China Walls". Just before the climb Mt. Blackjack, Mick got a flat tyre. When we finally got the axle out and the tube changed it was getting on and dark clouds were forming on the mountains. We decided to head back to Tumbarumba for lunch. It turned out to be a wise move as halfway back it rained, hailed and sleeted on us. It was freezing!. Murray's new Gas Gas guzzler ran out of fuel 500m before the servo in Tumba. We sat in the cafe eating hamburgers and drinking coffee watching the rain, we knew it was wise not to have gone to Cabramurra so we decided to try again soon.