Sunday, September 27, 2009



They reckon living in the ACT means you always have to be prepared for four seasons in one day.

Dr Phil and I ventured south to the national capital over the weekend just gone to join Peter 'El Presidente' Daley and the boys from the Dual-Sport Motorcycle Rider's Association for the fourth annual DSMRA Canberra to Tumut trail ride. 

The route takes the pack up and over the Brindabella Ranges at the northern end of the Snowy Mountains and with fond memories of ripper rides in the Brindabellas in years gone by, the Doctor and I were toey as two Roman sandals to get back down there ... until we saw the weather forecast for the weekend!

A quick check of the web site the night before the ride showed Tumut as all set to have a temperature range of four to seven degrees, with high winds and snow flurries predicted at high altitudes. Hmmm.

Luckily I managed to convince Dr Phil to dig out his old Welsh ISDE Goretex wet weather gear and stash it in his Zacspeed SP3 -- just in case!

Well, you guessed it. It was pissing rain and blowing a gale as the 46 rider pack (for real!) congregated for the start of the ride at Cotter Dam just west of Canberra. And us we went uphill from there, the weather just kept going downhill.

It kept raining all the way, then it started hailing, then it started snowing ... and kept on snowing!

Now, snow riding is fun for about 30 minutes, but after that your fingers and toes start to freeze and it all gets as much fun as taking a snooze a Kelvinator freezer.

We were out in the snow for hours, including a lunch stop deep in the Brindabellas covered in the white stuff. 

While some of us were well decked out for the cold (I was wearing five layers of gear, no kidding!), plenty of other riders were doing it tough. 

Hypothermia was very much on the menu, so trail bosses PD and Royce Flanagan started cutting the guts out of the ride to get us back down below the snowline and on the road to Tumut, where the cosy confines of the Riverglades caravan park awaited us. 

Honestly, those cabins couldn't come fast enough!

That night as we thawed out and chowed down on a Chinese banquet at the local RSL in Tumut, it was clear some riders weren't keen at repeating the ride on Sunday -- and come the morning a local school bus was chartered to ferry a dozen or so riders back to Canberra to pick up their cars. 

The Gun and I have seen splinter groups form on trail rides before, but this was the first time we'd seen a school bus involved.

Anyway, the rest of us suited up and headed back out into the elements, on a much revised route home via Wee Jasper that would keep us down lower and out of the worst of the weather.

A lunch stop at the Wee Jasper Hotel was welcomed by one and all, and from there it was just another 60km back to Cotter Dam and a dry set of clothes at the cars.

It certainly was a memorable weekend -- the full story of which will be published in TRAIL ZONE issue #27, so make sure you check it out.

In the meantime there's a pic at the top of this post of Dr Phil piddling in the wind, but by this stage of the day, the last thing we were worried about was piddling on our trousers -- truth be told the piddle was warmer than the snowflakes!

-- Clubby,

Thursday, September 24, 2009



Last weekend's annual KTM Sunny Corner Trail Bike Rally held in the Sunny Corner State Forest near Bathurst, NSW, has maintained its status as the most popular non-competitive off-road event on the motorcycle calendar with over 600 riders participating in the event.


Now in its 23rd year the, KTM Sunny Corner Trail Bike Rally saw riders of all abilities enjoy two 75km loops of arrowed riding, with many braving the cool evening to camp out, and enjoy the event festivities including live music and a bon-fire to thaw out the cold bones.


KTM Australia continued to support the event by donating a new KTM 450 EXC and KTM 50 SX Mini as prize items for all entrants in the event.  

The lucky draw for the KTM 450 EXC went to Steven Vella from Ebenezer, NSW, while the KTM 50 SX went to Tony Roxby of Newcastle, who was over the moon to be bringing home a new mini for his son Daniel.


Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing’s Finke Desert Race heroes Ben (Grabbo) Grabham and Brad (Wonka) Williscroft also participated in the event, putting their competitive calendar aside to enjoy some trail riding with passionate off-road riders. 


Team manager and racer, Brad Williscroft said afterwards, “Grabbo and I had a lot of fun just mingling with riders and taking on the trails. It’s always good to get back to basics with riding and enjoy why we ride in the first place – for fun! We had a ball and it was a really well organised event.”

Stay tuned for full details on the 2010 KTM Sunny Corner Trail Bike Rally and be ready to get your entry in.

Or for more details on riding the pristine trails of the famed Sunny Corner district, check out the web site and get along on one of their guided trail tours ASAP.

-- Clubby,

Saturday, September 19, 2009



Hi Clubby & the Crew at TRAIL ZONE,
Reading your recent story in Trail Mail  in TRAIL ZONE about the Honda XR75 brought back wonderful memories for me. My brother and I were lucky enough to get an XR75 each (my third bike) from the first shipment to arrive in Australia. I was allowed to keep my new bike in my bedroom for one week before it had to go out into the shed. 
I will never forget the excitement of taking the magnificent new weapon to our local track day and finally being able to give my arch-rival (the only other girl in the club -- big-time stuff back then!) a taste of payback. She had a Kawasaki, to which my previous Honda 50 Mini-Trail had been no match. Victory at last!
Many bikes have come and gone since then but none will ever come close to the wonderful fun and memories my indestructible XR75 gave me.
Now 35 years on and 'Little XR' still stands proudly in the bike shed next to the BMW 800 GS stablemate, ever ready to come out and do a few laps around the farm with the visiting nieces if needed. Although in need of a little restoration now, 'Little XR' still fires into life when asked. Priceless!
-- Kristen, via

Consider yourself lucky to still have your XR75, Kristen, because I for one am as jealous as anything. What I wouldn't give to still have my old XR75 today ... you're totally right: great memories! Thanks for your email, and hey, don't let the nieces have all the fun.
-- Clubby, 


Wow, it's Sunday afternoon and while everyone else is up and over the Blue Mountains hammering at the annual KTM Sunny Corner Trailbike Rally, I'm stuck here chained to the keyboard of the Imac trying to get TRAIL ZONE issue #26 finished and ready for the pre-press boys at Grafik Styles tomorrow. Right now it seems like I'm losing the deadline battle, but one more late-night push and I should be there.

That's the price I pay for spending last week living the good life on Cape York and riding to the Tip. 

Oh well, never mind.

Anyway, the boys at have just emailed in with the news the fast-approaching Yamaha Stroud Trail Ride is all set to click top gear real soon.

The date for the big event is Sunday, October 18 and this ride is just a two-hour drive from Sydney and will deliver a feast of awesome riding in the foothills of the Barrington Tops mountains.

Prepaid entries cost $60 while entries on the day will be $70. 

The ride is open to licensed riders on registered bikes and all entrants will go in the draw for a stack of great prizes on the day.

For more details and entries, get online and check out the web site or call R&C Promotions on (0427) 277 888.

Okay, that's it, I better get back to proofreading these stories for the mag ... catch ya!

-- Clubby,

Thursday, September 17, 2009



If dreams are free, then this little snippet of news represents the mother-lode of sweet dreams for any self-respecting Yamaha adventure bike rider or devoted Dakar Rally fan.
Get online right now and take a look at the web site and then check your bank balance because you might just want to give the piggy bank a hammering. 
Because a genuine Yamaha XTZ850R factory bike is up for sale -- and it's the very bike Eddie Orioli rode to victory in the 1996 Dakar Rally.
That's right, this beast in the whole enchilada!
It's one of two factory bikes built that year for Orioli and the legendary Stephane Peterhansel to race in the Dakar Rally.
It's been preserved by Yamaha Motor France ever since it crossed the finish line at Dakar, but now it's for sale and is in complete, original condition and comes loaded with a stack of factory spare parts and goodies.
And before you ask -- the price of the bike is only available on application ... and yes, we have applied! 
Expect to pay a pretty penny for this piece of Dakar history.
Like we said, dreams are free!
-- Clubby,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009



It doesn't matter how many times I ride the Cape York peninsula of far north Queensland, it still remains one of the ultimate trail riding destinations in all of Australia.
I've just returned from another trip to the Tip, this time making the journey with the renowned Roy Kunda from Cape York Motorcycle Adventures and his crew.
This was my eighth ride (I think -- I've just about lost count!) up or down the Cape over the years, and this one was an up ride, kicking off from Cairns and then finishing just over a week later at Seisia at the very tip of the Australian mainland.
The tour was a full one, with half the group made up of our good mate Reeksy and a handful of his buddies (who made the long trek north to celebrate a combination of 40-year-old birthdays), along with another handful of solo riders from almost every state of Australia, to give us a total pack of 14 when you include Roy and his long-serving sweep rider, Lincoln. And you can't forget the inimitable Bevan, who drives the support truck and cooks up an absolute storm at the overnight camps. 
I actually started the ride two days late after attending the 4x4 & Outdoor Show in Melbourne and missed all the fun and games of Black Mountain and the CREB track down near Cairns, and thus had to climb aboard my DR-Z400E hire bike and blast straight up to Cooktown in record time to catch the pack and then set-off north-west into the heart of Cape York proper with the tour group.
From there we camped out the next five nights, living off the provisions carried in Roy's V8-engined Landcrusier back-up truck and rinsing ourselves at each overnight stop in crystal clear creeks -- while keeping one eye out for crocs, of course!
We enjoyed some simply sensational riding as we sliced up the Cape, via side-tracks that criss-cross the main Development Road, and, of course, the infamous Telegraph Track in the final charge up to the Jardine River.
The Telegraph Track continues to be the stuff of legend, featuring a sinewy trail of deep sand twin-track mixed with bauxite rock outcrops, endless heath lands and eye-popping water-crossings that sure do get the blood pumping when your front wheel dives under and the water level starts lapping at your thighs. Right then the last thing you want to do is stall, that's for sure.
We eventually reached the Loyalty Beach campground at Seisia for our final two nights, and then made the last trek out to the very Tip of the Cape, where we grouped around the signpost and Roy popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate our achievement.
To a man we all enjoyed the week away, spent in good company enjoying some of the best trails you could ever hope to turn a wheel over. It was an absolute blast ... even if the barra weren't biting and our fishing rods failed to deliver the goods. Oh well, never mind.
But now, just a day after finishing the trip, it is fast becoming a distant memory. 
I'm back at TZ HQ and TRAIL ZONE issue #26 is in the final stages of deadline, so the keyboard is a due for a thorough pounding these next few days.
Catch ya later ... and if you're dreaming of a Cape York experience of your own, check out the web site and sign up for a ride -- and tell 'em TRAIL ZONE sent ya!
-- Clubby,

Monday, September 7, 2009



Thanks to all the TRAIL ZONE fans who dropped in to say g'day to myself, Tania, Popgun and Russ at last weekend's 4x4 Fishing Camping & Outdoor Show at the revamped Melbourne Showgrounds.
It was a huge weekend and we were rapt to sign-up another 300-plus subscribers to the mag, all of whom were stoked to get the chance to win their choice of a new Husky TE450 or Kawasaki KLX450R or KTM 300EXC or Suzuki DR-Z400E or Yamaha WR450F in our latest Choose Your Ride subscriber drive promotion.
The 4x4 Show covered a massive four pavilions plus a huge outdoor arena that dished up FMX shows, an endurocross, monster trucks and 4WD test drives. 
While new bike displays were thin on the ground -- hey, we supported Peto and the crew at ETF! -- if you were into fishing or boating or camping or 4WDs, there sure was a feast of gear to look at, and judging by the amount of cash being flung around, plenty of bargains to be had as well from the various sale stalls.
The next big show on our agenda is the annual Sydney Motorcycle Show at Olympic Park at Homebush on November 20/21/22 and once again TRAIL ZONE will be there with bells on.
So make sure you get out to Homebush and drop by the Show to come and say g'day at the TRAIL ZONE stand and get in for your chance to win a brand spanking new dirt bike in what just has to be the ultimate dirt bike magazine subscriber promotion ... See you there!
-- Clubby,


Hi Guys: Firstly, congrats to all of you at TRAILZONE, I have been a suscriber for a while now and you all do a great job in getting a great magazine out.
Okay, now what I want to talk about: I read with great interest in the latest issue (and various other back issues) regarding the fantastic TENERE. I was a very lucky and proud owner of a '83 TENERE which I purchased new in '84.
Myself and two other mates bought three of them new and a fourth mate bought a XT600 as he couldn't source a TENERE. We went on an epic journey of 9000 kays in four weeks to Broken Hill, Menindee, Flinders Ranges, Oodnadatta Track, Stuart Hwy (dirt in those years), Ayers Rock, Alice (Centre Rally and Henley on Todd), Three Ways to Birdsville (races yee-haa!), Towoomba and back home (Hunter Valley). Wow, what a ride for four green young guys! We camped and took all provisions to be self-sufficient, and as we all had similar bikes, we shared our spares around ourselves.
I noticed that "Project TENERE" came with a spare tank! You might be interested to know that all three of us owners gained a spare tank each, as the early TENEREs had a habit of the baffles coming loose and rattling. Yamaha Australia fixed this by supplying new tanks and we all got to keep the originals. 
I have sent a pic from that trip and hope that it may be of interest to you.
Cheers and keep up the good work.
-- Shultzy, via

That pic is the stuff of legend, Shultzy. You reckon you had enough gear lashed on the rear carry rack? And you even had stuff strapped on the headlight surround! Talk about being fully-loaded -- awesome! The return of the mighty Tenere sure is bringing a lot of fans of the classic Japanese adventure bike out of the woodwork. I've had readers offering me spare shocks and parts for my ol' banger, and heaps of guys like you writing in to tell us about their good ol' days on their Teneres. I've got another update on the '83 Tenere Project Bike coming up in TRAIL ZONE issue #26, so make sure you look out for it for another trip down memeory lane.
Ride on!
-- Clubby,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009



Hi Dr Phil,
Just bought the Sept/Oct '09 issue of TRAIL ZONE for some inspiration on mods for my '06 KLX250 since de-restricting it recently (I cannot emphasis how much of an improvement it makes for such little cost, and it's so easy too!) and was reading the free March/April 09 issue that came with it.  In one of the letter responses (titled "When this much power is just too much... or too little?") you made in regards to power figures, you said the Yamaha V-Max and R1 had 200kW and 180kW respectively.  I wouldn't be surprised if you have been corrected on this already, but I think you meant 200hp and 180hp.  It's a simple mistake, or a cheeky test of reader's compression skills, but 200kW is the same as 271hp ( And thanks TRAIL ZONE for providing subscribers with the chance to win a new bike, it's an awesome competition!  Expect my subscription shortly.
-- Carl Venville, via
PS.  I wish 
'my' KLX had kW instead of hp!

Hi Carl,
Now, what are you like in the kitchen? If you can whip-up a nice and tasty humble pie, then I'm more than happy to consume it! I've rechecked with Yamaha’s national Service Department staff and, yes, I should have published those power figures in HP not Kw. Well spotted and my sincere apologies for suggesting one of my all-time favourite road weapons, the new V-Max, had more grunt than it does.
-- Dr Phil,