IBA SS1600K - The Singles Tour
Category: IBA Rides
The goal of this ride was simple... Ride an IBA SS1600K on a small single cylinder bike to claim the coveted IBA title of "Not Right Rider".
The ride was originally organised by Wom and he thought it would also be great to open the ride up to the FarRiders forum and see if we had any takers. OX-34 was on board — no surprises there. We also had one other starter, Frans. This totalled four riders for the day with a combined total of 1200 cubic centimetres, still only three quarters of my Road King...
Wom was already a "Not Right Rider" from a previous stint on his Yamaha TT-R 250, so he opted to be the tour guide this time, riding his slightly larger bike, the Kawasaki KLR 650. Frans and OX were both on Yamaha 150's that they purchased especially for this ride, and I was on Wom's Yamaha TT-R 250.
We met up at the Lambton 7-Eleven at 4:30am for a quick chat and grab our starting dockets. Pulling into 7-Eleven, I was a little surprised to see OX and Frans had farkled up their little Yamaha's with some long range LED lights — looked bloody funny, although they would prove quite useful later on.
The time had come to depart, so we each grabbed our starting dockets and made our way to our first stop, Coolongolook. Once we were out on the freeway heading north, the sun was just starting to rise and it made for an incredible skyline. After passing through Bulahdelah, OX swung a left onto Wootton Way — a road I had never been on. Turns out, this road was full of awesome bends and plenty of fun on the little bikes. After a few quick bends we were back on the Freeway again, with a quick stop for fuel at Coolongolook.
From Coolongolook, we were able to make the remaining distance to the BP at Port Macquarie. Filling up at Port Macquarie, you could tell everyone was buzzing about the prospect of throwing these bikes around on the Oxley Highway bends. This was one part of the day I honestly couldn't wait to get stuck into.
It wasn't too far along the Oxley Highway before we saw the glorious "45km of bends" sign, and for the next 45km's it was definitely game on! Wom was leading the charge on the KLR, with me following up on the TT-R. Right behind me was OX on the Yamaha 150 giving it everything it had. It didn't take too long for me to settle back into throwing a dirt bike around on the road and it appeared OX wasn't having any trouble adapting to the little 150. During the tightest bends, I was able to glance back in my mirror, only to see OX backing in the 150 like Casey Stoner on Phillip Island. We had to stop halfway due to road works and we were all in hysterics from watching each other push these little bikes to their limit. It wasn't too much further until we pulled in at Gingers Creek for another fuel stop. The poor TT-R was only capable of 150km's between drinks.
For the amount of times I've ridden past Gingers Creek roadhouse, I never realised how nice it was as a place to stop. It's quite a rustic place, with the most important thing... A petrol pump. While I was filling up we bumped into Fatman, another HOG rider we know. When he enquired about the ride we were undertaking, he just laughed and gave us his best wishes.
OX and Frans had already saddled up and left by the time I finished fuelling up the TT-R. After saying goodbye to Fatman, Wom and I were back on the road, pressing on to Uralla. On the next leg of the Oxley Highway, the road opened up and the wind really started getting a hold of me making it really difficult to maintain any speed faster than 90km per / hour. I had to tuck in as close as possible to mitigate the 'sail' effect my torso was making in the wind.
Uralla came and went, as did Tamworth, Gunnedah and Dubbo. We were now starting to make pretty reasonable time. I absolutely love riding through the country side this time of year as the trees are all changing colour and starting to lose their leaves — it's absolutely stunning.
Pushing on to Molong, the sun started to drop and along with it the temperature. We had lucked out all day weather wise and it looked like we were in for a clear night. After a quick stop for fuel and a thorough helmet visor clean (bugs, bugs and more bugs) we were on our way again, heading down the southern highlands via Cowra to Yass.
Winding our way down the highlands, the sun gave way to a stunning moon and an even more stunning night sky. The kind of sky you can only view in these parts, way, way out of the city. Wom had taken off into the distance and I was happily cruising behind Frans and OX. Now that the sun was down, Frans' and Ox's farkles definitely lit up the path.
Arriving at Yass, it was definitely coffee time — a well earned coffee at that. Wom in his typical style, ordered a triple shot flat white with half milk; while I on the other hand, stuck with the double. Sitting around enjoying our coffee, we had a good laugh about how the day had gone and discussing the logistics of what was left to go.
Leaving Yass, we only had a few stops to go before we were home and hosed. OX and Frans set out pretty quickly and Wom gave me the wave to head off too. Back on the Hume, it wasn't long before Wom caught up and cruised behind me to Marulan. Much to my surprise, the TT-R had an amazing sweet spot around 115-120km per / hour, where it would just pull happily along without riding it too hard.
As Wom and I pulled into Marulan for fuel, OX and Frans pressed on to Pheasants Nest. Filling the bikes up, we both laughed at how well the little TT-R was going.
Back on the Hume again only this time Wom was in the lead on the right hand side of the lane with me on the left. As before we were holding a really good pace, passing cars, and keeping together. Wom was about 6 bike lengths in front of me, when all of the sudden, old man wombat decided he would wobble out into the middle of the left lane...
Wom saw it at the last minute and made an evasive swerve to the right. Seeing Wom swerve like that made it obvious what lied in front of me. With little time to think, I committed to a left hand swerve as it gave me the best opportunity to avoid a head-on collision — at this point, swerving right wasn't an option. Immediately after Wom passed the wombat, it turned around and started taking steps toward the bush it came from. As I'd already committed to swerving left, this made things quite interesting. My only prayer was for the wombat to stop dead still and that's exactly what it did. As I passed it on the left I swear its head clipped my boot, that's how close it was...
In those moments it's amazing how fast your mind works and how decisively you react. It was only a matter of seconds, but the decisions made by the wombat and me, saved, well, only me really. The bloody wombat would have been fine... Every shadow for the rest of the ride was now a bathtub sized wombat — no surprises there.
Arriving at Pheasants Nest, OX and Frans were already filling up. Wom and I stopped at the bowsers, took our helmets off, and looked at each other with that look that only two people who narrowly missed the same wombat can know. Both OX and Frans thought it was quite amusing we lived to tell the tale.
We were now only two stops from home and things were looking good. It wasn't long before we reached the beginning of the M7 and we were now well out of wombat territory. Coming up to the M2 exit, there was a mass of road works going on, which as a result, the exit was closed. 15kms down the M2 we took a wrong turn into the Uni car park — just what you need with 100kms to go! Soon enough, we wound our way back up into North Ryde and pulled into the 7-Eleven for our last fuel stop.
With only 130kms to go, the taste of victory was in the air. Cruising up the F3, provided a great opportunity to reflect over the day and laugh at how fun it had been — minus the bathtub sized wombat.
We arrived at our final destination, the Lambton 7-Eleven (the same place we started) at 1:02am, absolutely all smiles. Tiger Bill was there again, waiting for our arrival to have a chat and sign our finishing forms, just as he was there to sign out starting forms — really good guy and a huge thank you to him. We all had a really good laugh about the day. It was no surprise to hear OX was doing the numbers in his head to stretch the ride from a SS1600k to a SS200k, but unfortunately we just didn't have the time.
All things said and done, it was a bloody good day, enjoyed by one and all. I for one won't soon be forgetting what the little TT-R 250 did and how well it performed throughout the entire day. Both OX and Frans were amazed at how well their little Yamaha 150's performed.
After a few congratulatory handshakes, it was off home to bed with the "Not Right Rider" trophy secured (pending IBA approval).