STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY CLIVE WARD
A recent invite to the DSMRA ride from Wisemans Ferry to Denman, overnight at the pub and return was the perfect excuse to take a weekend off and go riding. Tim “El Presidenti” Clarke sent all the details and a quick visit to the DSMRA website I was booked in.
Now for the best set of wheels to ride I gave the Geezer at Yamaha Motor Australia a cheeky call and requested he send me a new Tenere to ride in the event, fully expecting to be told, none available, no way, I’ll send you a WRF, but instead I get a very positive, “ Yeah all good mate, I have the prefect one here ready for you. I’ll get the paperwork emailed and have it delivered in a jiffy”. Well that was easy, but I’m sure I heard him laughing as he hung up the phone. Anyway, long story short the above pictured Safari Tank equipped WR250R turns up with Tenere 250R stickers on it. Good one Geez, not what I expected, but as his said, the perfect bike for this 220kms a day 2 day ride.
It was a chilly, foggy morning to start. 16 bikes, the usually mix of EXC’s and WRF’s, a DRZ, a push start only CRF, the lead rider on a CRF250X, mine and one other WR250R and a 690 Safari tanked super tanker with more features than a tricked up Cruise liner, which will reveal themselves as the weekend progresses.
One of the attractions to this ride is the club had applied for and secured permission from NPWS to ride trails normally closed. The first of which was the Womerah trail. A fabulous 40km long trail starting only a few kms from where we parked and climbing up onto the ridge line taking us all the way West to the Putty road. Just before reaching the Putty road, we turned right and headed North following the power lines into a fully whooped out single sand track, challenging and great fun all at once. We came out onto the blacktop, just a few kms before Grey Gums cafe. 20kms up the road at the start of the Commission Trail the sweep crew were waiting with the BBQ going.
Stuffed full of sausage sangers it was time to turn left and head West up the Commission trail and through Howes valley.
Stopped at an intersection late in the day and another left turn, we are now committed to the Martindale trail. This trail is rarely used as permission from the land owners at the other end is required to get through to Denman. We venture down knowing there isn’t enough light left in the day to come back out and take the long way around should the trail be blocked. You can always tell when you travel a trail which hasn’t seen much traffic, lots of leaf litter covers the entire trail and that tell-tale dark preferred line just isn’t visible. Martindale trail is just like that, but what also comes with that is downed trees blocking your path, the first were not really an issue, a quick new path around one side or the other needed. However half way through we came across the first of 2 big trees entirely blocking the path. The first few of us dismounted and started trying to break and drag branches out of the way, it was hopeless, simply not possible. This group are serious though, Bushy just pulled the chainsaw off the KTM 690 super tanker and swift work was made of those trees.
The last obstacle for the day is “Parachute Hill” a steep, loose gravel switchback trail that drops off the ridge line down into valley below and the private property track through to Denman. We arrive with little light left, fuel up and head across the road for a night of bench racing, beers and good food.
Sunday morning is a clear cracker of a day. Perfect riding weather. The first half of the day is a reverse of the previous day, so first up is the run up Parachute Hill which a few dusty heads needed a couple of cracks at to clear.
At the Bakers road intersection re-group we discover Fiona’s bike has a flat back tyre. This repair stop takes some time as the first tube is pinched, the next 2 tubes are old and perished and the 4th tube does in fact inflate just in time to repair the now strained relationship between the lead and sweep rider. We now back track down the trail the sweep suspects he lost all the items from his back pack and within 10Kms we find the tube, pump, first aid kit and finally the PLB, no luck on the Sat Phone though. These delays now make the lunch meeting with the sweep truck late. It’s a quick feed and back onto the Putty Rd South, although with the lost time we now have to do 50kms of tarmac to get back to the start of the Womerah trail so we can clear the end of it before dark.
Bushy’s supertanker now comes into play and saves 2 bikes who have run out of fuel. A young guy on a Monkey bike and his mate a few kms up the road on a sports 600 bike who have both run out of fuel.
Karma hadn’t finished with us though as 2kms back into the dirt the lead rider is pulled over and looking for another tube. This time the repair was quickly completed and the final 50km leg went trouble free
16 riders started, 15 finished after Mark couldn’t start Sunday due to a very badly bruised toe,
2 sweep vehicles (not counting HMAS Bushmaster 690)
455kms over 2 days, 22 litres of fuel used in the WR250R mini Tenere
5kgs of sausages, 5 loaves of bread, 2 cartons of soft drink, 2 bags of onions. 6 scotch fillets, 11 loaded Parmy’s, 1 fish and chips, 400 beers and rums. Many, many laughs and jokes. 6 tubes and a Sat Phone.