In early October, Rob Smith suggested that we ride to Melbourne to see Jason Doyle win the World Speedway Championships at Etihad Stadium (Docklands).
At the 11th hour, the doc ruined the trip for Rob, who had a tumour removed from his bladder. He recovered from the op pretty well (in fact, he was positively chirpy the day following the operation), but not enough to bike down. Rob bus and trained down and met us at Etihad Stadium.
It was worth the trip…Jason Doyle won both the night and the World Speedway Championships. And in convincing style. From an Australian perspective, it was great to see the Aussies who filled in as reserves who not only rode respectively, but also won several heats on the night, against fully-fledged World Speedway riders. Well done lads!
Photos of our bike trip can be viewed online.
- the twisties via Wyangala Dam on Days 1 and 5, with no kangaroos in sight, for once.
- for me, catching up with my daughters in Tumut and Melbourne.
- good old Reefton Spur — first time for Ken. My footpeg hit the ground on one corner, making the exit a close thing.
- note to self: next time, don’t book accommodation which necessitates an hour of riding through city traffic. Not fun!
- Ken had a name change at the Whitfield Café, and is now called Alfred (in deference to Batman?)
- Lunch at Marysville. It is such a pretty spot, and really hard to avoid on trips through this area. And we have the choice of Black Spur or Reefton Spur after a pie at the lovely bakery.
- for me, an afternoon with my daughter Marnie, and her boyfriend Luke at Le Bon Ton. She plied me with rum and cokes, and a cocktail!? I was feeling quite “comfortable” when approached by the bride-to-be at a nearby Hen’s table to write my phone number on her bare shoulder. I had to give her the obligatory kiss, to cheers from her table. Does that mean I’m now a ‘safe’ target, especially when she could have ‘picked on’ a young and good-looking Luke also at my table?
- of course, the Speedway Championships themselves. A fantastic night. A pity there was a small crowd to witness the magical moment; the air horns in our air-horn-free zone; the lack of publicity before and after the event (even the SGP website hadn’t finished a report on the night 24 hours later!); and Rob found the drums overbearing.
- the powerline road between Mansfield and Whitfield, which we did in both directions, with it’s tight corners. On the return trip, we ventured on a dirt road to the Powerline Lookout, only to find a view of some powerlines!? I guess that’s why it’s called such.
- a snake writhing on the road between Oxley and Whitfield, which we both managed to avoid (just).
- the number of petrol stations we pulled up at, which didn’t have 95 octane, for Ken’s bike. I was interested in why, with supposedly the same engines, we were running different octane rating fuels. I did some research on the V-Strom and my SV650S, and found that they both run happily on 91 octane fuel.
- The wonderful combination of Google Maps and bluetooth earphones, which made navigating through Melbourne, and between Tallangatta and Oxley, a breeze. [It did miss a turn — partly my fault — off the Hume Highway, to take us via Tumbarumba to Tumut, but we ended up taking some lovely backroads instead.]
- Granya Gap! — no more needs to be said.
Overall it was a great trip with wonderful company and a superb result at the World Speedway Championships.
- Day 1: Bathurst to Harden, for morning tea, via Wyangala Dam and Boorowa. Harden to Tumut, for lunch with Frances (my daughter). Tumut to Tallangatta Hotel via Tumbarumba, Jingellic, and Granya Gap.
- Day 2: Tallangatta to Whitfield via Myrtleford for morning tea. Whitfield to Marysville for lunch. Marysville to the Evancourt Motel in Malvern East (Melbourne) via Reefton Spur.
- Day 3: in Melbourne. We all did our own thing until the World Speedway Championships at 7 in the evening. I visited Marnie (my daughter), Ken went to a BSA parts shop, and Rob did the crossword on the bus and train from Bathurst to Southern Cross station.
- Day 4: Rob returned to Bathurst on the bus and train. Ken and I went to Albury via Healesville, Alexandra (for breakfast), and Beechworth (for lunch). A bottle of red wine watching Dovi win the Malaysian MotoGP at the Astor Motel was a fine way to finish the day.
- Day 5: Albury back to Bathurst via Tumut (for morning tea), Boorowa (for lunch at the Superb Bakery), and Wyangala Dam. It became quite cold on the way to Tumut, and no wonder — there was snow on the Victorian Alps.
In summary, I learnt a lot on the trip, having to take the unaccustomed role of leading for most of the way. Instead of letting others do it, I had to judge the speed of the corners, and set the itinerary, etc.