Sunday, April 14, 2024

Emergency PLB

For years we have been riding our bikes into areas with no phone coverage, and luck has been on our side where very little has ever gone wrong. After our last ride through Nowendoc Steve showed me his emergency PLB. It sparked a few things in my head.

I've always thought that at least one person on a ride should have one of these devices incase the worst happens. The adventure ride into the hills near Cooma late last year could have had all the hallmarks for the need of a emergency PLB if it went pear shaped. It would have been difficult to get an ambulance in there. It would have had to been a chopper and I don't think anyone had a PLB.

I was thinking about getting a Garmin Inreach Mini for a while. The Zoleo was also another consideration. They both have ability to send text messages via satellite. The only thing I didn't like was the ongoing fee's associated with using the device which ultimately turned me off these devices something like $25 per month. I don't really think I will need sms messaging anyway

I ended up buying the GME MT610G. It's a PLB, it doesn't have functions like sending text messages but it also has no ongoing monthly fee's and was pretty cheap, Repco had them on sale at $349 including the carry case. So I snapped one up. Its fairly small which is good and can be worn on my jacket/camelback or easily fitted in with my clothes. Lets hope I never have to use it.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

When is an Adventure ride not an Adventure ride?

Easy, when you have over 150mm rain the night before the ride and all your mates bail on you. The pic below was at 7pm the night before the ride. 

Red line was original plan with 100kms dirt - Blue line actual ride

I'd organised a half road/half adventure ride with the lads down to Tumut the week before as the wife and kids were going to the Hunter Valley.

The excuses started flowing thick and fast from the lads during the week when rain was predicted on thursday & friday. I'd been watching the weather all week and Tumut had no rain up until 25mm on friday so was pretty confident it would be ok. "Oh my fork seal is leaking", "oh my chain is worn out", until finally "we are gonna pull out as we'd rather do it in more ideal conditions". The forecast for saturday and sunday was showers and 1-5mm. That's nothing, sometimes you just have to go all in, pussys.

I was greeted with thick fog at 6:30am which cleared once I got to Penrith. I'd decided to head up the Great Western Highway, good call as unbeknownst to me the Bells line of road was blocked with tree falls. It was clear blue sky's all the way across the Blue Mountains and 18°C.

I'd decide against going down via Oberon which also had 150mm rain over night and decided to head further west.

I came to a causeway on the Tarana rd which had a torrent of water running through it. It wasn't too deep but there are 2 more of these further on and those ones are deeper than this. I didn't want to take a risk being by myself so rode around via Great Western to Bathurst. I went through my first rain shower which lasted about 10 minutes and just wet my visor, road was still mostly dry. 

I then decided I would head south down the Abercrombie Rd to Crookwell. I went through another shower or 2 here that again was enough to wet your visor. Geoff called me and I answered, but the comms is pretty shit at 120kmh cause I couldn't hear him and it cutout after a bit. I could tell by his tone he had FOMO.

Abercrombie Caves park was closed today. Probably due to high predicted rainfall that hasn't actually eventuated. I noticed all the weather reports online this morning had comments turned off. Media scaremongering and climate alarmism bullshit to fit their narrative.

I continued on and had a kamikaze Kangaroo jump out in front of me. He was hopping so slowly and looked soaked haha.

Most of the ride was in sunshine with threatening looking sky's. The road was mostly dry with a few wet patches and was totally empty today and it was fantastic riding.

It's not the adventure ride I was hoping for but still a fantastic road ride in pretty damn near ideal conditions and I was loving it.

Next stop was for Fuel in Crookwell and then a feed. It's not a motorcycle tour without a bakery stop. A coffee and pie hit the spot. I was thinking the conditions would be ideal to continue the rest of the adventure ride. 

After checking the weather again and NSW Traffic app I found out that Wee Jasper road was closed at Brungle Creek. The sky's were starting to get darker and more threatening. Decision made on heading out further west through Boorowa and Harden.

More empty roads and awesome riding. The sky looked foreboding but it was much like that savage dog at the dodgy house down the street, behind that fence that's all it was threatening and nothing else.

Rolling into Jugiong I came upon this fantastic little pub, the Sir George. It's an old pub that's a little bit up market in the middle of nowhere. So I thought it's time for a beer. I even got valet parking right out the front. I can't believe we rode through here for years and never once stopped here at the pub, what a waste. That Crankshaft ale went down nicely.

Just out of town I saw a lookout by the roadside with views over the valley and hills beyond. Beautiful country out here.

It was a short stint along the highway to Coolac where I turned off again down towards Tumut all on back roads through Brungle.

I could see the clouds following me south, building blacker. The road along here has been re-tarred from the Murrimbidgee Bridge to the turn off at the farm and was in top condition also been widened.

A quick stop on the Brungle Road Bridge over the Tumut river. The water was flowing steadily but was quite clear. So quiet out here with no one around.

Getting to the Wee Jasper Road turn offit was only 4pm, so I turned to have a look what condition the road was in. The dirt looked like it had just been resurfaced and was in good condition, slightly damp so no dust and plenty grippy. I turned around after about 5km and thought it was time for a beer at the pub in Tumut.

The lookout over Tumut on the Wee Jasper Road. Awesome views. I was soon in town so filled up cleaned the visor and was ready to go in the morning. The Royal Hotel in Tumut was great. $90 for a motel style room where you could park your bike right at the front door.

Time for a beer or three, whilst I watched out the front window the rain coming down. It lasted for about an hour. Just beat it then.

A glass of red went well and this steak was one of the best I've had in years. Cooked to perfection.

I retired to the room with a bottle of red where I could lazy in comfort and watch some TV.

Sunday morning and I open the door to look outside and I'm greeted with this.......

I shower an pack and look at the weather radar. The rain appears to be heading south. I'm not going to Ride the Brindabellas today after this rain, it was the 2nd part of the adv ride I had planned and I'm not going further into the Snowy mtns either as I'm sure to be cold and wet up there. I get some breakfast at Maccas and decide on my route.

The weather today doesn't look as good as yesterday, but I head off in the dry back up to Coolac and onto the highway. I encounter a few more showers along the highway but don't get wet.

I take the Gunning turn off to Crookwell which has superb twisting flowing hilly curves where I'll get fuel at Crookwell and decide my next move. I thought I'll get lunch at the Taralga pub. Solid plan. Dodging rain along the way.

On arrival at 11:50am its closed. I gear up to leave just as they unlock the doors. I think fuck it they are not going to be doing lunch's right now if they only just opened at 12 so head off.

I keep avoiding rain showers along the road, the road is wet with occasional dry patches and vice versa.

Coming down Abercrombie Gorge I notice the debris on the bridge. Lucky I didn't try and come this way yesterday, it would have had water over the road and probably would have had to turn back.

I decide to avoid Oberon and head for the blue mountains. I'll get lunch at Mountain Pies bakery. I continue down Shooters Hill Road.

I take the Cox River road and join the Great Western Highway and cross to the Bells Line. Looks like there goes my lunch stop, I forgot about the pie shop, disaster. I have one final detour upon reaching Windsor the plains are flooded and I have to double back and adds an extra half hour. Finally reach home about 3pm for lunch and a couple of well earned beers.

Another fantastic ride, lads you missed out on a top ride. Wasn't an Adv ride but I'll take what I can, when I can these days.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Motul Summer Series 2023/2024 by St George Motorcycle Club

The Motul Summer Series by St George Motorcycle club just finished last month, the series ran from Dec 23 through to Feb 10, consisting of 5 rounds. This is Australia's premier club racing series run under lights at Sydney Motorsport park. The racing is always close with some of our best club racers, also with some of our best Australian Superbike(ASBK) riders lining up and a few international stars also present before heading back to Europe for official FIM racing duties. Yes that's how good this class of racing has become. Everyone wants a piece of the summer night series and it's a cracking event. Best thing is, it's free entry. 

I don't know a better way to spend a friday or saturday night than watching some of our best motorcycle talent banging fairings for 4 hours and it's all free entry. Racing starts at 6:30pm and runs till 10:30pm with sundown at about 8pm. I've been shooting this event as media since its inception four years ago, and it's been a fantastic experience to be able to do this and I can't wait till the end of the year for the next event.

With the Australian Superbikes round 2 set for March 22 at Sydney Motorsport Park with  night races,  most of the ASBK riders turned up to use this as practise sessions for the ASBK  night round. This brings much credibility to the St George Motorcycle club and helps to raise their profile as Australia's premier road racing club. It's a credit to Mick O'Brien club president and the army of volunteers that make the event so special.

St George Motorcycle club are very smart in how they operate the Unlimited F1 Superbike class. Splitting the International & National ASBK riders into the "Superfast Dudes" category(I'm not making that up) but they did change it this year to National & International racers, and the club racers into the F2 category within the same race. First Finisher in each class gets the 25 points, which is great as the ASBK boys don't show up steal all the valuable championship points from the club regulars. Brilliant!!

The ASBK guys don't usually turn up for every race, more likely if it fits their schedule. Here's a few photos' of some of the Superfast dudes.

Josh Brookes - 1 x ASBK Champion, 2 x BSB Champion

This image is my new desktop background.

Troy Herfoss - 3 x ASBK Champion

Mike Jones - 3 x ASBK Champion

Cru Halliday - ASBK

Broc Pearson - ASBK

Max Stauffer - ASBK

Lachlan Epis - ASBK

Glenn Allerton - 3 x ASBK Champion

Glenn was injured in the first round so didn't participate in the remaining rounds so these photo's are from 2022

Anthony West - MotoGP, ASBK, 1 x NZSBK Champion

Jake Farnsworth - ASBK

Bryan Starring - ASBK

Harrison Voight - European FIM Moto2, ASBK

Jacob Roulstone - Moto3, Red Bull Rookies Cup

Carter Thompson - Red Bull Rookies Cup

Carter has both wheels off the ground in this photo. Amazing 😍

Round 1 was held back on 23rd December, with round 2&3 held over consecutive nights on January 26th & 27th and finally rounds 4&5 held in Feb consecutively on friday saturday 9th & 10th. I missed the first round due to an adventure bike ride we had organised on the same weekend.
But I managed to get to each of the other rounds, with racing consisting of 600cc supersport F1 & F2, 400cc during round 2&3 and F1, F2 and F3 superbike classes. The level of racing within the club racers is really high, with low 1:32's. Leanne Nelson is the fastest woman around SMSP breaking into the 1:34's on her R1.

The last hour of the final round and the heavens opened up with drizzling rain. The ASBK & International guys didn't risk riding in it, but the club racers were racing for points and championships so the racing was even more intense. It made for some interesting shots.

Veteran Dominic DeLeon fearless in the rain

Not everyone's night went as planned. Glenn Columbine's R1 decided it would rather launch into orbit than go around in circles. There wasn't much left of it, I got the whole sequence of this crash, all up about 48 shots. Glad to see he walked away uninjured.

Harrison Voight taking it to Josh Brookes

Paris Hardwick - ASBK lighting up the track

Andrew Burley and his Ducati was another contender for lunar orbit. These bikes just keep on cartwheeling on T1, the fastest corner on the track. Also good to see Big Burls walk away from this crash.

Timothy Griffith

Leanne Nelson - Fastest woman at SMSP

Cassie Tofler & Sarah batten

Corey Snowsill

Troy Corser#11 - 2 x WSBK Champion put in some laps

Josh Soderland - ASBK lighting it up in the rain.

If you haven't been out to this event yet, you just have to do it. It's free entry with some of Australian road racings best, up and coming talent. Some motorcycle celebrity talent was also pit side with Remy Gardner, Matt Mladdin, Troy Corser, Troy Bayliss, Wayne Maxwell present at different rounds. I've really enjoyed my time shooting this event. One night I'd like to just head out with the lads with a big esky with beers and Krakens and just enjoy the racing. It's awesome just get out there and do it.