Friday, March 16, 2018

World Superbikes and Tassie Trip 2018 - Day 1 and 2

Last November plans were hatched to go to the World Superbike opening round at Phillip Island and then after that we would take the ferry across Bass Strait to Tasmania. It has been about 15 years since I'd visited either by motorcycle so I was excited to be heading back.

With my recent knee injury I was a little concerned about being able to ride for long stints. An MRI turned out that I had a knee fracture but the only thing for it was Physio, so I got hooking in to get as well as possible in anticipation for the ride. It has been so long since I'd been on my motorcycle I'd almost forgotten what it was like to ride it, I hadn't been on the bike since November last year.


We left early from my place with Stu and Bushpig just after 7am headed towards Goulburn via the dreaded Hume Highway. I packed my sheepskin just for this section. Two hours later we had arrived and refueled the bikes and met the others(Dave and Bruce) at the bakery for a spot of breakfast.

With the hunger wolves now at bay it was more dreaded highway down to Yass where we picked up a couple more people, Doug and Craig with now seven of us all told. We continued down to Coolac where we finally turned off the highway (yay) and took the back way into Tumut. Headed out of Tumut we took the Rosewood road up through the pine forests, this is a great bit of road in the middle of nowhere, thank you logging industry for providing some motorcycle heaven. We then stopped in Tumbarumba at the bakery for a spot of lunch.

Leaving Tumbarumba behind we headed down to the NSW/VIC border via Jingellic and onto the Murray River road and up over the Granya gap. I struggled riding through the Gap a bit as I couldn't put weight through my knee to weight the pegs and hang off into the bends so I had to counter steer every corner without hanging off, which became a bit slow and tiresome but still a lot of fun being back on the bike.

Dederang Hotel

We were soon pulling into the pub at Dederang which was to be our destination for tonight. The accommodation is quite reasonable at $40 a night with continental breakfast. Dave and I stayed in one of the cabins out the back which cost a little extra but we were in total luxury.

The local constabulary turned up to the pub and was checking out our bikes, he said a quick hello and then went off to see the publican. Putting the bikes around the back we settled in for a few well earned ales.

Inside our cabin

Dederang pub can be contacted on 02 6028 9325 the rooms are quite good and the cabins are fairly new and very comfortable so its a good spot to stay also putting you in reaching distance of the Victorian high country with many loop rides nearby.

Day 1 Map Reference

 DAY 2

Today's trip would include some great motorcycling roads unlike day 1 which was half highway half twisties. I'd skipped the free toast for breakfast as Doug had said we'd stop at the whitty cafe for breakfast about an hour away. We refueled in Myrtleford on the way to Whitfield. Sitting at the cafe eating breakfast we watched probably over 100+ bikes go through. They do a great breakfast here too and are very bike friendly. 

I hadn't been down the Whitfield road for about 20 years so it was almost like a new experience for me although I did remember the big views over the valleys. It's a great bit of road with a bit of everything, sweepers, tight bends and elevation changes with views and vistas.

Bushpig nick-named Doug's bike the Stukka, because;
A: Its German and
B: It comes in from behind and dive bombs you before shooting off into the distance.

Here's a short video of the Stukka in action on the Whitfield road.

We refueled in Mansfield for the trip across the Jamieson to Eildon Road. This is a road I've never ridden on before but had read a lot about it so this was a first for me. The road didn't disappoint it was an absolute cracker. There were so many bends by the end of it I think I was just about all 'bended' out and was hoping for a few straights. SHIT did I just say that?

Goulburn River

Jamieson - Eildon Road

Lake Eildon

The lookout is at the Jamieson end not far into the twisties but with superb views below of the lake. From here the road twists its way around mountains with 55km corners which slowly turn down in speed until you doing 35km and 25km corners. I was quite exhausted by the end of 60kms of just bends. With counter steering the whole way it wasn't making it easy, I couldn't ride my normal ride by not being able to hang off and attack the bends but boy was it still a hell of a lot of fun.

Lake Eildon Lookout

Here is a short 2 minute video of what the first section of the Jamieson Road is like from the lookout above. The road tightens up after this.

We had a brief reprieve from the twisty goodness that was the Jamieson road as we pressed on down to Marysville. Then we turned off here and instead of doing the black spur, Doug took us down the Reefton Spur yet another first for me as this is another famous bike road that I'd read about but never done. Two first's in the same day with brand new twisty motorcycle roads. I'm loving it, bring it on.


Reefton Spur

R1 on the Reefton Spur

The first section of the spur was a little more open and flowing as the road ascended into the forested hills. There were so many dead trees, probably from bush fires in recent years that have swept through the hills killing all the trees. It was quite erie to behold.

After this the road seemed to descend for miles and miles and the road became narrow and very twisty, plenty of 25 and 35km corners and all this after the work out earlier on the Jamieson road. The constant downhill bends were giving my wrists a workout. I bet this road would flow much better in the other direction as it would be mostly uphill. I didn't put my gopro on here as it was almost flat from the jamieson road but it would have been nice to get some footage.

After what seemed like ages of corner after corner action we finally came through Reefton (not much there) and into Warburton. Refueling the bikes it was time for some lunch so we found, you guessed it another bakery. With coffee and pies dispatched we then turned towards the Island which was not too far away, only about 2 hours. I was thankful as I was beginning to get tired by this point.

Map of the 2 Spurs

After some more great little back roads out through to Drouin we reached the Island and our rental house where we unloaded our gear and got ready for diner and beers at San Remo's pub(s), I also found out that there is more than 1 pub in San Remo. Who would have known as I never made it past the first one.

The view from our house over Cape Woolamai

Cheers Boys
All up a great days riding down to the Island, I think I prefer this way to come because most of the riding is very twisty and often at or below legal speeds as opposed to the Great Alpine Road which is very open and conducive to higher speeds and then after that there is 4 hours of boring flat straights to ride along to actually get to the Island. The way we came today only had about 30 minutes of boring bits to get to the Island so that's a big win in my books. Bring on the SUPERBIKES!!!!!!!

Map Reference

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Slap on the wrist for nearly killing two motorcyclists

I'm hopping mad and downright disgusted and outraged.

Why? Because the traffic and court system is broken here in our country.

I've been following a story for 18 months now where a women crashed into two motorcyclists hospitalizing both of them. See the dash cam video below to see what happened.

So she has finally been to court and what happened? Sweet F*ck all is what happened.
She received a $1000 fine, a one month driving suspension and no driving conviction recorded.


This is basically the equivalent of a slap on the wrist. The female driver was clearly in the wrong failing to give way to traffic. With the recent blow up in the media about the amount of deaths on the roads in 2017 and we see this and the driver basically gets nothing. She almost killed two innocent riders and got away with it.

Riders Steve Caruana, 43, suffered a broken pelvis and lost his left testicle(OMG) while riding partner Marc Logan, 38, a broken right leg, left foot and right hand.

Steve has lost his job and cannot work in the construction industry due to his injuries and says the fine is “absolute bullshit”. “I’ve copped more from speeding fines and didn’t endanger anyone’s life,” he says.

Following on from from my recent articles about licensing, speed limits and speeding fines in this country you can read about here and here. He is absolutely right too, Vicpol are more interested in hiding in the bushes trying to nab drivers doing less than 10km over the limit than actually doing something about people that drive like this women and put people in hospitals. You lose your license here for one month and a huge fine for just doing 25kmh over the speed limit on a remote country road with no one around, and I might add without hurting anyone, which makes the fine in this case an absolute joke.

Our court system really is broken if this is all you get for nearly killing two other motorists.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Revisiting the Past

This Christmas/New Year hasn't really gone to plan so far. Whilst I was hoping to get back into some sort of fitness after winter and get some riding done I've not done anything. Well why not you might ask and that would be a very good question.

Two days before christmas I managed to injure my left knee and I haven't been able to do anything since. The worst part is I don't know how I injured it. Stairs = nope, walking more than 100m = nope. After two x-rays, an Ultra sound and a CT scan and all coming back showing nothing wrong I've kind of giving up on modern medicine being anything reliable. Sitting around drinking beers and surfing the interweb for motorcycle content and cameras to add to my collection have been the order of the day. This certainly hasn't improved my fitness levels but my knee doesn't hurt after 6 beers and I have learned alot about DSLR cameras and how stupid some people on motorcycles can be, thanks youtube.

This has also meant no new content for the blog, oh well I have a ride coming up in February just hope my knee is sorted by then. So I delved into the past to look for something to do motorcycle related. One of the best ever rides was our 2014 New Zealand South Island trip and I thought I'd put together a time lapse video of the trip up of the Mount Cook road. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Backroads to the West

I was travelling to my parents for Christmas this year and to meet up with the family who had travelled a day ahead of me. Because I was on my own I decided that I would rather travel on some back roads than the most direct route through Bathurst and Orange. So I devised a route via google maps and loaded up the ute and headed off. I've ridden some of the roads from Lithgow to Tarana and to O'Connell but beyond that to Blayney I'd not been before.

This route makes for a good bike road but some of it can be a bit rough even in the ute so you need to ride with caution.

Taking the Bells Line of road across the blue mountains is a good start to some great motorcycling roads out of Sydney, crossing at Mt Victoria or continuing into Lithgow. Take Magpie Hollow road out past Lake Lyell from Lithgow. The road continues to Tarana but be careful as the road is narrow with many bends and elevation changes, perfect biking country with rolling hills as far as the eye can see, but the road surface can be rough in places.

Through Tarana follow Mutton Falls Road on to O'Connell. There's a nice little pub at O'Connell that I've heard does good counter lunches, but I've not stopped there before so can't comment. Turn right at O'Connell and then after about 1 km take the next left turn onto Young St which become Ryan road. This will bring you out onto Rockley Rd turn right and head into Perthville then left again towards Newbridge and Blayney. From Blayney turn off at Mandurama onto the Belubula Way. From here the road will take you into Canowindra(pronounced Can-noun-dra)

Belubula Way to Canowindra is quite a nice bike ride through farming land but it is also very hilly countryside so you are constantly going over crests of hills with a blind curves. Be careful at dusk and dawn as this is Kangaroo country, with tree's lining right up to the sides of the road in places.

Canowindra is your typical small outback country town. I decided I'd stop for some lunch. There's about 5 pubs to choose from and an small RSL club. Typical pub food with most prices being under $20 is a bargin, washed down with a refreshing beer.

Following the Nangar Road out of town you head towards another small Town of Eugowra(U-Gow-Ra). Not much in Eugowra and you won't get any fuel after midday on Saturday so be careful. This little town shows its civic pride with a lot of the buildings being painted in Murals, If you've ever been to Sheffield in Tasmania you'll know what I mean. The road from Canowindra to Eugowra slowly straightens out and becomes less hilly and is not quite as good as the Belubula Way but still a good ride.

From Eugowra its' only a short trip to Parkes, Forbes or Cowra from here. These 3 towns are much larger around 8-10,000 population so accommodation and fuel options are much better. See map below for the route from Lithgow to Eugowra. The riding further west becomes flatter and much straighter. Best option here would be to head towards Cowra and out towards Wyangla Dam.