Monday, December 21, 2009



We've just got to love our TRAIL ZONE readers -- you guys and girls are the chain lube that keeps our sprockets turning!

With the Xmas/New Year season right upon us, we've been receiving plenty of Happy Holiday wishes from many of our readers, subscribers and supporters -- which is just awesome, thanks everyone! -- but every now and then a really special message turns up because it stands out from the crowd.

This one pictured here from 'Craig' is the perfect example: just look at the work that's gone into it. 

That's wicked, Craig, and the festive wishes go right back at ya, bro!

We're pulling down the roller door on the TZ HQ engine-room at midday today and taking off for a holiday break of our own -- we'll be back for business on Monday, January 4.

So until then, festive wishes to one and all and have a good one!

-- Clubby & Tania,

Thursday, December 17, 2009



To all our valued TRAIL ZONE readers, subscribers, advertisers, supporters, partners, family and friends, all of us here at TRAIL ZONE would like to wish you a happy holiday season and may 2010 be filled with endless trails stretching far into the sunset and rip-roaring roost sessions through the pine needles!

We'll be taking a break from midday December 22 and the TRAIL ZONE office will re-open on January 4 ... and before you ask, YEP, we're going riding!

Thanks to everyone for your support and enthusiasm over the past year and we look forward to doing it all again in 2010, only bigger, brighter and better -- ride on!

-- Clubby,


If there's one good thing about have a bung knee and an ankle swollen to the size of a grapefruit, it's the couch-time! 

Yep, there's much to be said for lying back on my fat shiny rump, vegetating in front of the big screen TV, watching endless re-runs of American Chopper, Nitro Circus and Girls of the Playboy Mansion on Foxtel ... as well as waiting for the Boss (SWMBO!) to get back from the mail-box each morning in the desperate hope that someone might have sent in a DVD they want reviewed in the pages of TRAIL ZONE.

Yee-haa! Yesterday delivered Aussie Post gold! 

There in the pile of subscription entries for our Choose Your Ride promotion was a dog-eared package that offered a curious waft of dairy cattle and stale milk ... yep, it was a package from Famous Fast Phil Hodgens ... it was his posse's latest Motorbikin' 3: Hit The Road DVD!

Faster than a sweet-running 950 SE Kato packing Akrapovic cans, I had that little round disc in the slot and punched the 'Play All' command and simply soaked it up.

Struth -- there's three hours of the stuff! 

The Flinders, the Lake Eye Hardcore Posties, the Vicco high country, a scooter marathon (what were they thinking!) and a ride with the Police trailbike squad are just the beginning of this Thanksgiving Day-size feast of on-screen action. 

And it's all presented in the typical style of the laid back Motorbikin' crew. Yeah, it's priceless!

I quite enjoyed the Sydney Weekender segment where the boys tackle The Zig Zag to Capertee ride across the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, and carry on out to Hill End and the Bridle Track. It's a ride we here at TRAIL ZONE know all too well, as does Adventure Moto honcho Steve Smith, judging by his close inspection of the sandstone outcrops at one stage ...

If you want to see some dead-set down-to-earth Aussie adventure bike riding, and you've just about worn out your new IN THE ZONE: EPISODE 3 DVD from TRAIL ZONE, then hit the web site and get yourself a Motorbikin' 3: Hit the Road DVD ... it's a ripper and punches six stars out of five on the adventure bike DVD scale. 

Top job, boys -- luv ya work!

-- Clubby,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



Hi Trailzone team: I just wanted to say thanks for putting together a great magazine and for the bloody (excuse me) brilliant DVD you put together in this latest instalment. I’ve been hanging out for this latest DVD for months and I’ve practically worn it out already as it’s an absolute riot and my boys and I have a jolly good chuckle watching it. It’s great to see you putting together a DVD with terrific shots and lots of funny sketches. I can’t wait till we see ‘Trailzone Adventures’ the movie – Clubby, Popgun and Russ circum-navigating Australia or the like (I might be waiting a while but it would be nice if it happened). I also wanted to say well done to Popgun for his article on ‘Tribal Warfare’ -- it’s great to read articles which open up debate amongst a fraternity. Keep up the brilliant work fellas. Now, I just remembered my subscription is about to expire so I better fill out the form and send it back to you. Anyway, here’s wishing you and your families the very merriest of Christmas’ and the happiest of New Years.

-- John M, via

Now that’s a wrap if ever we scored one, John! All the feedback to our latest IN THE ZONE: EPISODE 3 DVD has been good, which is precisely why we go through all the time, effort and expense of making our own DVD each year: truth be told, we love making them and you guys love watching them! It’s a win-win situation. As for the TRAIL ZONE team taking on a lap of Australia, well, you know Russ and I would be up for it at the drop of a hat, although our provisos would be that I get to ride my '83 Tenere, and Russ gets to start every day with a double-decaf mocha low-fat latte and a slice of toasted banana bread! As for getting Popgun along on such an epic adventure ride, well, we’ve only ever got him out on an adventure ride with us once before, and all he did the whole weekend was whinge and whine and want to know, “When’s the real dirt bike riding start and where are the arrows to follow?!” Enjoy the holidays ... and get that subscription renewed to get your chance to Choose Your Ride and win your choice of a brand new Husky TE450 or Kawasaki KLX450R or KTM 300EXC or Suzuki DR-Z400E or Yamaha WR450F!

-- Clubby,

Sunday, December 13, 2009



One thing we pride ourselves on here at TRAIL ZONE is making sure we deliver an absolute feast of reading on trail, enduro and adventure bike riding in every new issue of the magazine. We will proudly hang our hat on the fact that the word count in each issue of TRAIL ZONE (that's the total number of words in all the stories in the entire issue) smokes our trail bike magazine opposition.

Now, that's all well and good and helps you blokes spend endless hours locked away in the smallest room of the house thoroughly enjoying yourselves -- until we make an editorial gaffe.

Truth be told, we make them all too often: such as getting a price wrong or contact email address or phone number all twisted up.

But then there are the times when we simply cock it up and get the facts wrong, such as happened in our latest magazine, TRAIL ZONE issue #27.

In the report on the KTM 250 EXC in this issue, we wrote Team KTM rider Johnny Aubert won this year's Maxxis World Enduro Series E2 championship aboard a 250 EXC two-stroke ... as if! 

As many readers have already emailed and told us, the fast Frenchman laid waste to the E2 class aboard a KTM 450 EXC thumper!

Obviously we'd been breathing in way too many premix fumes when we sat down to write that story, so apologies to all the crew at KTM and all our readers for what has to rate as our mightiest editorial blunder of the year.

And thanks to all our readers who have written in to tell us and keep us on our toes.

We'll be delivering a test ride review of the KTM 450 EXC in TRAIL ZONE issue #28, so rest assured we'll give the orange thumper the due credit it deserves. And in the meantime, don’t let our blunder demean the impressive performance of the 250 EXC two-stroke, in an era when two-stroke enduro bikes are becoming fewer and farther between. Long live the two-stroke enduro bike, we say!

And while we're at it, we have to apologise to John Staines from West Coast Trailbike Safaris, for referring to him as Scott Staines in the same article. Sorry, Staino! 

If you're looking for a mighty ride in the south-west corner of WA, then check out the web site and hook up with Staino and his crew for some primo riding that will fast put a smile on your dial!

-- Clubby,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009



Dear TRAIL ZONE Team: I'm new to this interweb thingy and emailing so I hope I'm doing this right. Warren has given me some instructions and many years ago I used a typewriter to make a living as a secretary so it's not too foreign to me. My son Warren recieved your DVD yesterday in the post with your magazine, of which he speaks highly. As I was preparing the meat and three veg for tea he was watching it on the TV and I could see it through the servery hatch. I was just a little miffed at missing Deal Or No Deal but he was just SO keen to watch it, what can a mother do? I ask you. Imagine my surprise to see not only my first born in your DVD fillum but also my grandson! In my shock I knocked over my cup of hot Milo and put a chip in the last remaining teacup from the set given to me as a wedding present some 60 years ago. Tiddles was not very impressed either when the hot Milo dripped on him as he was standing at my feet waiting for his evening meal. Now whilst I do not approve of noisy motor bikes roaring around raising dust and disturbing the peace I can see from your DVD fillum that you do have the common courtesy to do so well away from people who may think likewise and applaud you for your obvious manners. Warren and Lachlan were both excited and pleased to see themselves on fillum, is it still called that on a DVD? I was a little flushed with excitement myself and can't wait until our next "bring a family fillum clip" night at our local bingo club. That annoying big-noter Elsie Elphinton and her constant fillum clips of her bratty little snot-nosed grandson playing table tennis is going to be upstaged finally. Her fillum clips don't get sent all around the country like your DVD will be, at least that is what Warren tells me. Will you be likely to use either of them again in another fillum? Warren tells me you do one each year. I think they should be used more as they are both such nice boys. I don't want to sound like a blow hard saying that, I leave that sort of thing to Elsie, but it's not just my motherly opinion, most of my friends have remarked upon it at some time. I have a question though, that fellow the Warren tells me is called Pop Gunn, is he really old enough to be a grandfather or is he called Pop for some other reason? He looks a little young...
-- Warren's Mum (and Lachlan's Grandmum), via

Dear Gandma Wazza: This is Nurse Gladys Crabtree from the Northern Beaches Aged Care Clinic replying on behalf of our latest geriatric patient, Mister Clubb, who has joined us here in our humble establishment offering cutting-edge grey hair care after returning from his latest assignment to the USA to ride the deserts of California and Nevada and carrying home with him fresh grown egg-plants attached to his right knee and right ankle after taking a tumble from his borrowed XR650R in the aforementioned deserts. Given his senior years, we really would have thought Mr Clubb knew better ... Nevertheless, your letter has given our star patient hours of entertainment as we carefully read it to him, word by word, sentence by sentence, as he lies in bed with his injured extremities elevated, and dribbling his sweet corn and chicken soup down his chin with every spoonful we serve him. The smirk on his face, the glint in his eye, even the lump in his crutch (under the sheets, thankfully!) all indicate the warm and fuzzy feeling he has gained to know that Wazza and Lachie are now confident of their multi-media star status. He has also scratched out an Invoice for both Wazza and Lachie (drawn with a pencil clenched between his teeth), to ensure he receives the rich rewards he is due for 'discovering' two such natural-born DVD dirt bike talents. We will forward this to you in due course. When Mr Clubb finally regains full fitness and is able to once again swing a leg over his beloved 83 Tenere (he has decorated his bedside tables with so many Tenere artefacts!), he will no doubt steer himself and his equally geriatric machine south to congratulate you all in person. Until then, believe in the power of Vicodin and full body bed washes daily! 
Yours in good health,
-- Nurse Gladys Crabtree, Director General & Chief Medical Officer, Old Age Care & Spoon Feeding Ward, Northern Beaches Specialist Geriatric Clinic.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009



Hi Guys: I was going through some old photos and came across one of my tricked up Honda XL350 from 1977. This bike is a 1974 model which cost a princely sum of $800 brand new and as petrol was about 13 cents a litre... happy days (24 cents / litre on the Nullabor). Happy hour at the pub you could get 5 schooners for $1. Bring back the 1970s ... but with the current hardware. Some of the modifications on this bike were:
* 410cc kit
* Koni rear shocks
* Power Pipe ( the standard one weighed about 20kg )
* Touring tank + 10 extra litres in a can.
I see from your articles on the best outback adventure bikes that are basically the same configuration, big air-cooled singles (DR650SE), lovely simple technology that hasn't changed in over 30 years, because it works. This bike did over 70,000 miles before I sold it, for not much money, and I know it may be hard to believe that I did the CREB trail with all that gear  / tools  / spares / extra fuel etc. Most of the travels were with friends who had XT500 Yamahas, similarly kitted out. Most of the roads outback then were dirt, the worst being between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek where both the Yamaha's cracked their frames. Now this road among many others are tarred (not that it's a bad thing).
I currently own a DRZ250 with all your modifications plus one -- a Barrett's Power Pipe (they work great) and a BMW R1200R (love the torque).
Finally, it's interesting, just like the shark, the adventure bike has reached the pinnacle of its evolution.
-- Steve, via
PS: Saw the letter from the guy on a 1983 Tenere in the latest issue ... another warrior from the past!

Hi Steve: Thanks for the trip down memory lane, mate. One of my first dirt bikes was a '74 Honda XL250 that was a hand-me-down from my old man, so I'm studying the pic of your bike with a glint in my eye. It came hot on the heels of a Honda SL125, which was the bike I used to get my licence as soon as I turned 16 years and nine months -- precisely! That bike certainly has a lot to answer for...
-- Clubby,


You just have to love it when you pull a mighty holeshot – and that’s exactly what we’ve done with TRAIL ZONE issue #27, which hits the newsagent’s shelves nationwide today, a full week ahead of schedule!

And not only will TRAIL ZONE fans be getting their new issue hot off the press, but it also comes bundled up with our latest epic DVD presentation, our new IN THE ZONE: EPISODE 3 DVD.

TRAIL ZONE issue #27 is jam-packed with an absolute feast of awesome reading about trail, enduro and adventure bike riding, highlights of which include the 2010 range of Husky enduro bikes, Cape York and Snowy Ride travel stories and a mountain of awesome tech tips and Project Bike bike set-up stories. 

As for our new IN THE ZONE: EPISODE 3 DVD, it delivers 80 minutes of edge-of-the-seat viewing and plenty of carnage!

This issue also offers the final chance to get in on our annual CHOOSE YOUR RIDE subscription promotion. We’ve given away no less than eight new dirt bikes over the past five years and it’s time for us to do it again in our massive CHOOSE YOUR RIDE promotion.

One lucky subscriber to TRAIL ZONE will be plucked from the barrel to take their choice of a five bike prize line-up of red-hot trail/enduro machines that include the Husqvarna TE450, Kawasaki KLX450R, KTM 300 EXC-E, Suzuki DR-Z400E and Yamaha WR450F. 

It’s the ultimate magazine subscriber deal and the lucky winner gets to choose their ride! For full details check out TRAIL ZONE issue #27 on-sale at newsagents nationwide now and/or get online and view the web site.

-- Clubby,

Sunday, December 6, 2009



TRAIL ZONE issue #27 hits the streets later this week and being the January/February 2010 issue, that means it comes bundled up with our annual IN THE ZONE new-release DVD just in time for the Xmas/New Year holidays.

IN THE ZONE: EPISODE 3 is yet another award winning piece of work from master cinematographer Lance 'Russ' Turnley and once again delivers a whopping 80 minutes of TRAIL ZONE on TV that we guarantee will provide edge-of-the-seat viewing for all the family.

The TRAIL ZONE team has travelled far and wide to bring you segments on the Yamaha SA 24 Hour Trial, the Condo 750 Nav Rally, the DSMRA’s Kowen Forest Ride at Canberra, the Yamaha ADBA Woodenbong Trail Ride in Queensland and an unforgettable segment of true CARNAGE from the BMW GS Safari in Tasmania.

Add into the mix a handful of Dr Phil's famous trail tips and a couple of test bike reviews and you've got an Academy Award winning masterpiece that will have you reaching for the Rewind button time and time again.

So make sure you get your bonus IN THE ZONE: EPISODE 3 DVD when TRAIL ZONE issue #27 goes on-sale in newsagents nationwide later this week.

Or if you can't find a copy at the shops, call the TRAIL ZONE office direct on (02) 9905 ZONE and we'll process your order over the phone.

-- Clubby,


It has been a whirlwind seven days here in the TRAIL ZONE, which has included a memorable quick trip to the USA to take part in the epic LA B 2 V dual-sport ride in California and Nevada.

To give the annual ride its full name, the Los Angeles Barstow to Vegas ride is held on the Thanksgiving weekend each year and is a spin-off event from the famed Barstow to Vegas desert race of the 1970s which would regularly see fields of up to 3,000 riders hammering through the deserts east of LA in one of the biggest races on the American calendar.

In the 1980s the event struck troubles with conservationists and government agencies that tried to get the race shut down in an effort to protect the desert tortoises that inhabit the high desert regions between LA and Vegas. 

This is the era when the Phantom Duck of the Desert protest ride was born and riders rallied together to keep the desert areas open to dirt bikes. The LA Barstow to Vegas ride was created and in the two decades since it has grown to be 'the' dual-sport ride of the year on the west coast of the USA.

I've always wanted to ride the LA B 2 V and this year the planets aligned for me to be able to do it. Qantas had cheap seats on offer, the ride slotted in the week after the annual Sydney Motorcycle Show at Homebush and TRAIL ZONE issue #27 had just been shipped off to the printers -- so I was outta here!

Landing at LAX Thursday week ago, my good mate Big Rich Gold collected me from the airport and we headed straight off to a Thanksgiving dinner complete with roast turkeys and pumpkin pies ... buurrrppp!

The next morning before dawn we were up and out and off to Palmdale for the start of the two-day LA B 2 V event. 

At the staging area at Palmdale Super Cycles, I got some idea of the scope of the event, as 375-plus entries lined up, aboard everything from KTM EXCs and Honda CRF-Xs right through to BMW HP2s and Kato 990s. We'd all be following a route chart (or GPS download) of the almost 500 mile course for the two days.

Our little posse included Big Rich, Big Steve, Mike, Mark, JD, Tony and myself and we were up and into it and on the road just after 6.30am.

And the fun and games started almost immediately.

At the turn-off to the first dirt section just 5.5 miles into the ride, Big Rich  noticed his speedo cable had busted -- doh!

Then just after the first gas station some 50 miles into the ride, Mike was leading our pack when he fumbled at slow speed while checking his route sheet and fell down and promptly busted his right wrist -- double-doh!

It took us a while but we got things sorted and doubled Mike back to the gas station and got his bike back there as well, where he was able to salvage a lift in a pick-up for him and his bike across to the overnight stop in Barstow.

While all this was going on, Rich and Mark had wandered off the course just a little and at that exact same time one of the mount bolts on the right footpeg of Rich's XR650R let go and left him with nothing to stand on -- triple-doh!

Rich and Mark snuck out of the desert and onto a nearby highway to leap-frog the course to the lunch stop at Ridgecrest, while myself, Tony and JD played catch-up.

By the time we got to the lunch stop on day one, Rich had already bolted off down the highway to Barstow to try and find a workshop to attend to his busted peg mount, while Mark, Tony, JD and I got back on track and settled into the afternoon course.

Of course we were running way late after our morning faux pas moments, so by the time the sun began to set (4.30pm!), we still had 30 miles of trail to go. 

Now, trying to read a roll chart holder in the dark, while navigating a gnarly sandy wash lined by joshua trees and pucker bushes in the middle of the desert is no fun at all, so we instantly started looking for short-cuts -- and luckily found one that steered us out of the boonies and onto a highway into Barstow.

By the time we rolled into the Days Inn motel car park, Mike was being loaded into his wife's mini van for the trip back to LA and an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon.

The rest of us wiped the dust off and then headed to a local Italian restaurant for dinner before hitting the hay and stacking the ZZZs in preparation for another early start on day two.

Woken early by the dulcet tones of Big Rich's intestinal alarm clock (!), we were up and out and on the road by 6.05am the next morning, with a massive 275 miles on the agenda for the day.

Everything was going swimmingly and there was even a breeze in the air to help blow the dust off the trail as the hordes of riders headed for Vegas.

We were punching along comfortably and I was out in front getting set to stop for photos and following a KTM rider along a cruisy jeep track when he hit a patch of rocks and threw one out from his rear wheel and straight under my front wheel. I saw it coming but faster than you could say 'Danny Green's right hook' I was down on the deck and slamming into the ground on my right side.

It hurt right away, with my right ankle taking the brunt of the hit, but I could get up quick, dust myself off and fire up the big XR650R and get mobile again. The ankle and my right knee were tender, but I plugged on to the next reset point, where I found Rich and Tony and we waited for the rest of the boys to catch up.

It was another 30 or 40 miles out of the desert to the first gas stop of the day, where I called on the well stocked pharmacies carried by Big Steve and JD to get a few painkillers into me as I planned to ride out the next 35 mile section to reach the I-15 freeway near Baker, where our truck driver Tom would be waiting for us on his way to Vegas.

I set off ahead of the rest of the boys, and just kept going all the way to the truck. Strangely though, only Mark went past me, which was somewhat odd. I had backed off the pace to rest my ankle and knee and thought they would all catch me soon enough. But they didn't.

It turns out our pack got split and as Mark blazed on ahead, the rest of the boys stopped and waited for him at the next reset, thinking Mark was coming behind them. That's a quadruple-doh!

Big Rich even started to panic a little, and double-backed along the course looking for Mark, to no avail, of course. 

In the meantime JD copped a flat front on his KTM 525EXC, so that chewed up more time getting repaired.

Eventually Tony got a signal on his cell phone and managed to call Tom, who told him that Mark was at the truck with me ... so they could all keep going knowing Mark was OK.

By the time they all emerged out to the I-15 to meet us, it was lunchtime and we were running way late for the lunch stop at Sandy Valley, which was still a good 60 miles or more away. 

With my knee and ankle fast swelling up to the size of balloons, I was out and loaded my bike on the trailer, and as it turns out the boys did the same in an effort to high-tail it via the road to the afternoon section leading into Las Vegas.

Alas, the dirt bike gods were against us and a freak sleet storm, traffic and fading light combined to bring the ride to a very premature end -- doh!

That night, while the rest of our crew joined the massive throng of finishers at the post-ride banquet award downstairs at the Orleans Hotel Casino in Vegas, I was confined to bed-rest upstairs in my room with my knee and ankle wrapped in ice packs and chewing on some Vicodin pills (that stuff is good!).

It wasn't quite the finish I had hoped for in my first taste of the LA B 2 V, but hey, there's always next year!

-- Clubby,