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Thread: Aussie MotoGP Tour 2007 (The big one!)

  1. #1
    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Aussie MotoGP Tour 2007 (The big one!)

    Hi there Guy’s.

    Well I’ve just got back from my Annual GP tour to Philip Island via country Victoria and then back home to Adelaide via Sydney (yes the very long way) and I thought I’d share it with you (Warning lots of rambling narration about my journey, the places I went through and pictures of scenery with me and my RST will follow! If you want you can just check out the pictures).

    Ok, so if you’re still with me I’m guessing you’re interested about my trip so I’ll try to make it interesting. First of all I’ve been loosely planning this trip for the past year which is why a bought my pride and joy, an Aprilia RST1000 Futura. I will state right here that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. What a bike! All up my tour took in 3 states (that’s a lot in Australia) and we crossed 6500km of country side in relative comfort and all the power I needed which I just loved.

    All up I would say the bike performed beautifully and I was very happy with her. I really enjoyed having a “different bike” and she received complements everywhere I took her! (BTW if you where at Phillip Island in Saturday the 13th heading out from Cowes on the only other Flame Red Futura I’ve every seen; G’day and Nice Bike!). The best thing about this sports tourer was I had no problem keeping pace (and setting it) for my mates which joined me on their CBR600’s.

    The bike was serviced with band new rubber on (Michelin Pilot Road 2’s) and I started packing the night before I planned to leave. I found that I didn’t have anywhere near the capacity I thought I did as I only had a couple of canvas roll bags on the tail in addition to the standard panniers. I spent a considerable amount of time going through the good old… “OK, its not going to fit, something’s going to have to go…..Camp stove, do you really need it?....No; gone!”.

    I think this was a blessing as I ended up with a lot less gear than I was planning to take and hence a reduction in weight. Something I was grateful about when I hit the corners at pace.

    Day 1

    Well I started off early on Saturday morning the 6th of October and was soon enjoying the back roads out of Adelaide South Australia. My first part of my trip took me through the hills and Strathalbyn, down through Wellington and then along the Coorong. This part is long and relatively straight the strong winds made this leg a bit of a chore. So once I reached Kingston (Big Lobster) I headed inland to get away from the constant southerly wind and pasted through Penola finally stopping over the boarder in Victoria at a great little town called Casterton.

    I camped in the local council camp ground and after a shower, a nice meal of fish & chips, a few stiff scotches and I crashed for the night. It turned out to be a very cold night with clear skies and I needed to sleep with my cloths on as my -3C sleeping bag was at its limit. In the morning I found my bike and tent completely iced up and the ambient temp gauge read -2C!
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    I took the road less travelled, now where the hell am I?

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    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Day 2

    Day two started with me trying to get the bike started. This was the first time she hesitated to start which got me worried. A Couple of jabs on the button had her up and running. I guess the oldish battery and the cold was not a good combo.

    Anyhow, the road was calling and so I packed camp and was out of there by 7:30am. I cruised through small town Victoria enjoying the country and stopped at Hamilton for breakfast. After a great feed of eggs and bacon (my standard travelling starter) I was off and heading south passing through Mcarther on my way to the Great Ocean Road (GOR) starting at Warrnambool. I took the time to stop at some of the great sites along the GOR and really enjoyed visiting some of the famous landmarks such as the (Broken) London Bridge and the Apostles.

    The next part of the journey took me over the Otway Ranges where some of the larger trees grow. (I think they are called Mountain Ash). This road is good and the weather was fine so I had complete confidence about grip. I poured through the corners and kept the pace through the tighter twisty stuff. This part of the road ends in Apollo Bay where it returns back to the sea. I pushed on after a refuel and soon found myself in Lorne where I stopped for lunch. It turns out that they make great burgers there and I enjoyed mine by the beach while I watched people try to work out what my bike was.

    The final stretch of the GOR is a shear delight with perfect corners and fabulous sights making this the best part of the road. Just watch out for the slower tourists which are taking in the sights. After Torquay I ran a friend in Geelong and organised to catch up and then went on to check out Barwin Heads before heading in to Geelong. There I had the pleasure of spending a night with my good friend Sharyn and her husband Talis enjoying a great night of catching up.
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    Last edited by djump; 10-26-2007 at 09:50 PM.
    I took the road less travelled, now where the hell am I?

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    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Day 3

    Day three saw me heading north, bypassing Melbourne completely as I headed directly north. I passed through Ballan, Daylesford and Castlemaine and when I then went through Maldon I took the opportunity to take in the fantastic view from on top of a local hill. It was here that I met a interesting bloke called Brian. He was cruising for the day on his BMW K100 and he told me he was going to check out some old towns he had visited some thirty years ago as a school kid and as I was just looking around I asked if he’d mind if I’d came along. It wasn’t long before we where in the dust back roads tearing along until we came to a town forgotten by time.

    Tarnagulla is a typical Gold Rush town which had plenty of money in yesteryear. These days it remains as it was then with little to no development and just a local few residence.

    We checked out the old historic oval with its wooden hall/grandstand/pavilion and then went on to the town of Newbridge. We had a bite to eat and then said goodbye as we went our separate ways; Brian went back to Melbourne and I went north to Bridgewater before turning east to Bendigo. You can meet the nicest people on the road!

    At Bendigo I found a cheap caravan pack to camp for the night and was soon showered, feed and “watered” and crashed out for another good nights sleep.
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    I took the road less travelled, now where the hell am I?

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    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Day 4

    The forth day saw me zigzagging across Victoria. I started by heading south to Kyneton and then east towards Symour via places like Emu Flat and Puckapunyal. I then took the abandoned Old Hume Highway where I “stretched” the legs on the big twin. I mean tens of kilometres without anyone or thing in sight, what’s a guy going to do? Let me say she impressed!

    I passed through Euro and then headed south to Masfield and then back north towards Wangaratta to take advantage of some of the better roads on offer in this area. I pushed on from there into the mountain region passing through Myrtleford and stopped at Bright for the night by a very picturesque mountain river. I had a great feed at the pub and settled in for the night after contacting my mates and organising to meet them in a nearby town called Mt Beauty the following night.
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    Last edited by djump; 10-26-2007 at 09:55 PM.
    I took the road less travelled, now where the hell am I?

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    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Day 5

    As I had time to kill, the next morning I back tracked and took the opportunity to ride to the top of Mt Buffalo for the reasonable price of $2:70 park fee. A top ride with many excellent corners you climb quickly. I was constantly on guard for debris left on the road from snow drifts as the road has only just been opened and I was also made aware of the tourist busses which take both sides of the road on many corners. Always ride too your line of sight in these areas was the message that my brain was flashing.

    At the top of the road there as a barrier to prevent anyone going the last 3km of dirt. As I was told the view is incredible from there I thought I’d be a smartass and slip pass it but as I tried the manoeuvre I over balanced had to “slowly” place the bike down on the gravel! &*$^ I thought, you idiot! Anyway I picked her straight up and was relieved to find only a few small scratched on the pannier and the right mirror cracked its lens but thankfully it swivelled and only a few minor scratches as a result. Thanking my lucky stars and cursing my stupidity I reconsidered my plans and enjoyed the views that where on offer from the safety of the bitumen.

    I turned around and enjoyed the ride back down the mountain and was soon out of the park and on the road between Bright and the aptly named Mt Beauty. I know I said this a lot but once again this is a truly top road with corners just made of our bikes. I thoroughly enjoyed every 40, 45 and 50 kph corner at double pace but had to watch for gravel kicked on the road by trucks and busses. At Mt Beauty I found lots of other bikes heading south for the GP and it was great to take the time to talk to those guys and check out what everyone was riding.

    I quickly checked out the tourist info service and located a top little park which had cabins for hire. Leaving my gear there I blasted up the mountain road to the ski resort village of Falls Creek. I was warned to watch out for trucks and with that in the back of my mind I attacked the well sighted corners pleased to have dropped off the 45kg of gear at the cabin and was ripping chunks of the back tyre. It was about 4km from the top that I came across a bunch of riders which flagged me down.

    “What’s up?” I said. One of the guys told me that there was oil on the road and their mate had gone through on his R1 and high-sided badly. I pulled over to see if there was anything I could do and to recover from the shock that if it wasn’t him it may have been me. The guy had a broken wrist and ankle but was comfortable but the right side of his bike was hammered.

    The oil line was about half a metre wide and about 25m long and the back wheel of the R1 was coated in it. After a few minutes I said my goodbye as his mates had it well in hand with ambulances, recovery vehicles and road cleanup crews on their way and I gingerly went the rest of the way taking care to avoid the reducing oil spills which continued to the top. I waved goodbye as I passed and was pleased to see the Ambulance on its way as I came down. I once again really enjoyed the lower part of the road as I had before as it is really a top ride to put on the list. Go there!

    I did a few more local rides that afternoon and was joined by my mates (Grant and Ben) in the early evening. We had a top night of food at the local pub and drinks around a fire in front of the cabin. It must have been great night because I don’t actually remember the end of the night!
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    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Day 6

    Ok, day six started a little slower due to some sore heads but after a good solid breakfast we were on our way. We did the Mt Beauty to Bright road again (love it!) and then headed up and over the mountains passed Mt Hotham and then down to Omeo.

    From Omeo to Bainsdale the road starts of fast and open but then narrows as you pass through a gorge. I ended up leading a group of about 30 through here and was happy to keep the pace at a solid 100kph (the state limit) through the twist and turns although a few wanted more and some rather risky over taking was conducted with one BMW almost having a head on with a car squeezing in front of me with about 0.5 seconds to spare. (BTW, if that was you you’re an idiot!). Anyway, once the half dozen speedsters were gone the rest of us cruised on and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

    After lunch at Bainsdale we pushed on to Traralgon, Churchill and then found a great back road to Leongatha with some good old curves. From here it was a quick trip down the Strzelecki Hwy to Wonthaggi and then we where over the bridge and on Phillip Island (Yay!). The last 22km went so slow at 80kph but in the 3500km I’d done to this point it was the first place I saw a Highway patrol car and guess what; 80kph on the clock.

    We made our way to the house we were renting for the next 4 nights and we settled in for our stay along with my cousin, her husband and a couple of other friends which had come up from Melbourne. This was one of the best days riding that I’d done to this point and we enjoyed and nigh of well earned R&R.
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    apriliaforum expert rdbandkab's Avatar
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    Good stuff!

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    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Days 7,8 & 9

    Race time! Well what can I say, it was wet and windy when I woke the next day and I was pleased to be inside a nice warm dry house. Still it wasn’t long before we where ready and on our way to the track. I won’t bore you all with the details other than the first two days were cold, windy with showers. Luckily this change to only windy come race day and we were blest to have a top “dry” race in which the new Aussie Champ “CASEY” ran away with the win! You ripper! Hope you watched it.

    As usual the bike park was well worth a stroll as the range of bikes and the people who ride them is always a great sight. There was a dyno in the bike park were you could check your beast for grunt and the Exhibition Pavilion was busy but worth having a look when you could make your way through it. Basically the track was fun, even if we almost froze on top of the correctly named Siberia grandstand!

    The nights in Cowes were fun as usual, although subdued slightly from the weather on Friday. Saturday was still a scream with plenty of bikes on the street and a top band playing away for the night’s entertainment. Sunday evening was just as much fun even if I did go home for an early night, but the Futura made an appearance on the street to help contribute to the visual candy.
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    Last edited by djump; 10-25-2007 at 08:00 AM.
    I took the road less travelled, now where the hell am I?

  9. #9
    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    just a few more!

    Sorry, only 10 per post ey?
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    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Day 10

    Well it was all over for another year and the three Harley’s idling for 15 minutes outside my window told me it was time to get up and head for the hills. We quick packed the bikes (love those panniers) and then it was time to over take the 22km long traffic jam of cars try to leave the Island; man I love being on a bike at times like those.

    The ride started of well with us leaving the traffic far behind as we headed west passing through Wonthaggi and Cape Patterson on our way to Wilsons Promontory. Note that there are a few tricky corners without advisory speed signs so be on you r toes when/if you do that one. After a nice break and many “Kodak” moments we back tracked and then turned east taking the back roads to Yarram and then on to Sale. This was a very boring straight run but we entertained ourselves with (ahem) some comparisons between the two bike types. Let’s say they can both get a move on if you want them to and the Futura did well considering its extra bulk (of both the bike and rider) and 45kg of luggage.

    The ride from Sale to Bainsdale through the back way was once again fun and went by fast. It was here that we decided to chill for the night and we soon hired a cabin and settled in for a night of good food, drinks and conversation.
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    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Day 11

    We where all up early, heading for the mountains and full of excitement. We passed through the forest where we stopped to try and take some shots of ourselves doing some cornering but we found it was not as easy as we thought and decided to head down the road and try again latter.

    We took off from our parking spot and were soon behind a BMW K1200, I thought about passing him but I noticed we were doing about 130 and decided against it. We cruised on for a while entering the gorge I so enjoyed so much on the way to the Island and suitably dropped the speed but was still having fun when I noticed two bikes behind me. I moved over and in a flash they where passed me and the Beemer.

    At about this point I thought things where a bit “full on” as everyone was pushing hard and I pulled over to talk to Grant and Ben and perhaps have a other photo op. Ben had had a bit of a scare with a logging truck behind me, and was glad to stop. We all took a few minutes and let things settle and as we left we notice the name of the creek we had stopped at was called “Haunted Creek”, spooky.

    The next thing that happened I was not expecting. We travelled another few corners and we were flagged down by another biker. “What’s up I asked?”

    “A guys just gone over the cliff” he said, “I’m warning people to slow down so that no one gets hit as they help”. Wholly shit!

    It’s at this point that I need to pass on my condolences to that guy’s family. We stopped at the corner too see if we could help but it was obvious that we could not do anything as soon as we saw the very sad sight. I don’t know what happened but the poor fella had hit a tree and it looked very much like it was all over. It was the lead bike from the two that had just passed me minutes before.

    There were others that were in the thick of it and they were in contact with the emergency services and had the situation in hand. All I could do to help was turn of their ignitions so their batteries didn’t go flat. Needless to say we all rode away from Hells Gap sad and subdued.

    For the next hour we road through some of the best riding country and roads in Australia with perfect sunny and warm conditions at 95kph; each of us deep within our own thoughts.……Goodbye Mate…….God Bless

    About 15k’s out of Omeo I took over the lead and went back into proper cruise mode. As sad as that was I wasn’t going to let it destroy my trip. This was about the road, the bike and the moment. Riding has its risks, I accept that.

    After a good long stop at Omeo and a good discussion about what had happened between ourselves we remounted and head over the mountain again. We where cautious due the icy road signs (and what we had just seen) at the start but I noticed it was 12C on my ambient temp gauge and the thought soon passed as I found the grip was there and we could cruise at normal pace, however this time we stopped at a couple of palaces for some great shots.

    We passed over Hotham was soon in the very twist stuff where I had to work hard to stay with the nimble 600’s. After a short stop at Harrietville we went on the road to Bright, Mt Beauty and then the back road to Tallangatta.

    From here we headed towards Corryong before we changed out minds and headed north through a great little side road that took us to the Murray River. We then passed over the Hume Bridge and through Albury before we ended up at the Ettamogah Pub” loacted at Table Top. It was here that we met up with a mate of Ben’s who manages the place.

    Needless to say we had a great night of laughs, food and drinks and stayed at the cabins there and I’d like to give a big thanks to Mark who made us feel very welcome. If you get the chance it’s a great place to stop in for a beer, feed and now a place to stay for the night in the brand new cabins.
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    Last edited by djump; 10-25-2007 at 08:59 AM.
    I took the road less travelled, now where the hell am I?

  12. #12
    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Day 12

    Ben was needed back at work so he headed of down the freeway to pick up his car and trailer from Canberra allowing him to make it back to north NSW in time for work. Grant and I headed off to explore the Murray roads with plans of heading east to the mountain roads via Klandra.

    We were short on fuel and so we headed to Woomargama for a top up. After Grant’s CBR was on a flashing fuel light for some time he pulled over and asked me to go ahead and see how far we had to go. I was back in less than a minute as it was literally over the hill around the corner. That gave me a good laugh.

    We topped up and Grant told me it felt like he was right out of juice as the bike started to cut out. We headed off and soon found it wasn’t the fuel that was the problem. The dam intermittent fault that had troubled his bike last year was back and she kept on cutting out and then turning back on. We tried to fix it but to now avail. He had lost confidence with it and didn’t like the idea of it dying in the mountains or on back roads so we contacted Ben and made a beeline to intercept him at Yass.

    With Grant and Ben in the car I headed north away from the freeway on my way to Sydney were I would catch up with them. They had offered to take some of my bags so I dropped the roll bags in the back of the wagon. It was 4pm and I had about 500k’s to go so I took of in a rush to get on my way. It was only about a hour latter that I thought…. You know what it’s going to get cold and all your warm gear is in the back of that dam car! Shit! Oh well.

    I passed through the open and flowing roads to Boorowa, Cowra, Blayney and headed up the hills to Bathurst. The sun was going down and soon I was cold, very dam cold…… I followed a car down over the hills and into the shadows and was very glad to reach the city of Bathurst. It was there I did what every self respecting Biker would do in my situation. Went into a local department store and bought some stockings to keep my legs warm.

    With my new hosiery in place under my jeans, I donned my silk balaclava and glove liners which I keep in my jacket and was back on my way. I was soon passed Lithgow and then turned off to do Bells Line Road to Windsor. Word of advice…… Don’t do that one at night! Very dark, twisty and challenging for someone who had been on the road for over 12 hours! Next time I’ll stick to the freeway for that bit.

    It wasn’t to long and I arrived at Grants place in Sydney where I was greeted, feed and “watered” before crawling into a warm bed for the night, thankful for the great days ride but grateful to be warm and comfortable.
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    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Days 13, 14 & 15

    The next few days I took the time to relax, spend time with my Godson and his brother and just enjoy my time there with Grant and Deb. We fixed Grants bike (loose plug on the kick stand), washed the bugs off the bikes and went for some local rides. It was good.
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    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Day 16

    My time in Sydney was up as I had to head back to Adelaide for work Wednesday. It was sad to say goodbye, to Little Joel, Jesse and Deb, but Grant made it easier by giving me and escort out of Sydney early Sunday morning.

    We road out the same way I came in and this time it was much more fun. Grant and I said our goodbye’s in Lithgow and I headed back west. This time I did the compulsory laps of the Mt Panorama race track in Bathurst and then pushed on to Corowa, Young, Harden, Jugiong, Gundagai and into the Mountain region to Tumut, Batlow, Tumbarumba and then through a really cool back road to Jinellic before I cruised along the river to Albury where I stopped for the night. It had been hot and I was quite buggered getting there after dark, so I treated myself to a Motel room with the bike parked out the front and had a feed, a few beers, shower and passed out for the night.
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    Last edited by djump; 10-26-2007 at 09:59 PM.
    I took the road less travelled, now where the hell am I?

  15. #15
    apriliaforum Junkie djump's Avatar
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    Day 17, the last one :-)

    The next day I was well rested at felt great as I left despite the heat (soon 34C). I headed towards Corowa but soon turned off the freeway preferring to zigzag my way to Wangaratta, Shepparton, Heathcote, Castlemaine, Maryborough and Avoca. It was about then that I had notice a steady drop in temperature and the horizon was dark; by the time I reached Ararat I could smell the rain in the air. I thought to myself that I had been blessed up to this time with good riding weather when I needed it, so I bit of rain for the draught ridden Victorian country side could be tolerated. The rain started shortly afterwards and I put my full wet weather gear on when I stopped at Horsham for early dinner.

    About an hour after that my hands started to get wet and I started to get cold because of that. I stopped in Bordertown somewhat desperate and decided to try putting my glove liners on with plastic bags over them and them putting my “wet” wet weather gear gloves on over the top. That took me about 15 minutes! I then realised I couldn’t do up my helmet and so I had to ask some kind stranger to do the honours….Thanks Mate.

    With my newly found warm hands I decided it was time to go for home or broke. I was 270k’s away and that would get me home after dark for a days ride that was well over 1000k’s, but I didn’t want to have to stop and then put all the wet gear back on again.

    I took the Dukes Hwy in a beeline for home. That ride was quite and experience. Riding at 120kph along the road at night with B-Doubles rolling past and throwing a wall of white spray into the air eliminating your vision for a few seconds was interesting. I’ve never ridding in solid rain for hours on end like that, I was just glad it was on the way home.

    So anyway I cruised in to my place a very damp and tried fella but was happy. I’d just completed the ride I’d been dreaming of for the last year and I had seen, experienced and learnt a lot while spending some time with the people that I love.

    I was also very impressed with my bike and the way it allowed me to do that journey as I don’t think my other bike would have. Go the Futura!

    All up 16 days of riding with an Odometer reading of 22485 on leaving and 28997 on return. What I trip…..Next year Tasmania!

    Ride safe
    Cheers
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