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Old 10-27-2013, 07:34 PM   #1
Sundowner OP
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A Week At The Races - 2013 Australasian Safari Adventure Tour

Where do you begin when describing what is the ultimate riding event you've ever been part of? Something that you've dreamt of doing for a decade but never quite gotten around to committing to due to work and finances never being in balance correctly. To start at the beginning of the actual journey would be wrong, as so much goes into getting to the start of any big undertaking. Lets begin at what was the commitment point for me.
It's a bright sunny winter's day, Tuesday 4th of June, 2013, as I'm headed west, homeward the 800 kilometres from Melbourne to Adelaide. I'm sitting on 90 kilometres an hour in my new Ebay purchase, an old white Daihatsu 2 tonne van, windows down and foot close to the floor as the leaky exhaust from the rusted tail-pipe somewhere near the rear axle tries to constantly choke me in swirling diesel fumes. The van's ladden down with a complete set of every spare the previous owner could ever collect, except a working radio, so I'm listening to the clatter and rattles of the bits when suddenly my phone rings. It's Jaye from the Australasian Safari office. And she's offering me a position on the 2013 event's already fully booked Adventure Tour. I can't say "Yes, absolutely" quick enough. Fill out entry Part A and have the $1000 deposit lodged by Friday? - "No worries, I reckon I can do that." And after a short while of hanging up on Jaye, the cogs are spinning as I try to work out if I can extend myself financially to take on the offer. To get a place on the sold out Safari Adventure tour, where you get to ride the same tracks as the racers, eat at the same tables and experience every part of an event known as "Dakar Down-under", is just too good to pass up. Especially on my sexy old 1990 Yamaha Super Tenere. I had just under 3 months to get sorted, before the September 18th Oz Safari kick off.
Now, just to get things moving quickly and in the right direction. I had to turn my faithful old steed from a proven Adventure bike into a fast, reliable racing machine.
The before shot....


A regular style action shot...


And one of my favourite Adventure moments...


(photo credit -1WD)
There's a pattern forming here that would be repeated often, a bit later in the Ride Report.

Stay tuned.
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"Surround yourself with the best people you can, and make them your friends" - Justin Hunt, Oz Safari Director.
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Say 3 Hail KLRs and recite the old Honda "skid demon" warning 3 times." - CA Stu.

Sundowner screwed with this post 10-27-2013 at 07:46 PM
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:38 PM   #2
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I'm in.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:12 PM   #3
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The first step towards getting myself and the bike ready was to form a plan of what needed to be done. The bike needed to have a full rebuild with a focus on decent suspension and chassis tuning and I needed to become less of a fat fucker. Working four part-time jobs meant I could boost the bank balance to what would probably be needed, if I was happy to give up valueable build time. So I put my head down and made an action plan. This basically involved making money, buying parts, giving up certain luxuries to also help fund those parts, modifying my diet (including giving up beer ) and try to get alternative transport arranged to allow me to take the Super Tenere off the road as my daily commuter. I had a broken down KTM, thanks to leaving it forlorn and forgotten for sale in a local bike shop until the ignition stator failed with corrosion (most likely from actually washing it to get it ready to sell, without riding it again once it was detailed and tidy.) I gave up on trying to get this running after it became apparent I was chasing a ghost in the electrical system that kept eating money. I thought I'd have time to get the new van sorted as a race transporter as well but as the event drew closer, I realised I wouldn't make it if I focussed on anything but the bike itself. With a bit over a month and a half to go, I finally wheeled my mountain bike into full time daily commuting duties after no longer taking any work for my mobile motorbike servicing gig. With one less job to worry about, I could dedicate time to stripping the bike down and rebuilding it again. The pile of parts I'd accumulated from various areas of the globe was considerable. It took just two days to strip the bike down to a bare frame. It took every moment of the remaining 40 or so days to rebuild it. I'd come home from my regular day job and hit the tools until mentally exhausted around midnight or later, night after night, week after week. The only time I had a rest was if the rain didn't allow me to continue to work outdoors under floodlights in front of my tiny storage space.
Some photo's of the job...
The frame, ready for modifying.


Bracing complete and ready for sand-blasting, along with many other parts. I used a couple hundred kilograms of grit, collected, cleaned and reused several times. Days were spent just on blasting.


And reworks to make things fit were common. Here the frame bracing needed notching and repainting to clear a gearbox web near one of the engine mount bolts. The repainted frame is cooking in front of a heater late at night, to speed up the drying to keep assembly happening before fatigue catches me yet again.



I tried to keep exhaustion at bay, however the jobs never seemed to end, one after the next after the next, slowly chipping away at the restoration and modifications list. On top of going on a serious fruit and veggie diet (at one point I was had a three banana a day habit happening), riding up to 20 kilometres on the bicycle daily to get to and from my regular job and grinding away at the bike build every night until I was mentally tired, this rebuild was consuming me.
There were dozens of new parts to be made by hand, such as this new steering lock stop tab.


Of the whole task, only three jobs went to a local machinist - pressing the old steering stem into the new lower triple clamps, turning a new axle spacer and making the tube for the steering dampener pin to sit in on my weld-on frame bracket. Oh, plus the rear wheel rebuild with new spokes and a new rim.
Finally I had a rolling frame again and after another week or more was onto the bodywork, which is a really stressful but satisfying task when done outdoors successfully. I wanted the paint to have sufficient time to harden before reassembly. The painted parts were put inside the back of the new van at dusk as they were finished, to bake in the following daytime heat, like a spraybooth oven.

Until finally the day before departure, the job was basically done and I could give her the very first tentative test ride to the local Yamaha Dealer to pick up last minute spare parts.


On the morning of the day I needed to set off on the 2700 kilometres journey to Western Australia, Friday September 13th, I finally put the last weld onto the extended sidestand, filled the radiator with proper coolant and strapped my roll of tools, bike spares, riding jerseys and swag onto the back of the bike. I did a final pack and discarded the new race tyres I'd planned to take, a spare race helmet, anything resembling a luxury item or unneccesary duplicate, even down to critical tools and excess spare goggle lenses. Then it was hit the road, to see if my engineering skills had been good enough. I spent the first 300 kilomtres of the ride constantly looking down, searching for oil leaks or grinding noises. Every fuel stop involved a thorough check of every part of the bike. I'd lifted the suspension a good few inches over stock with new USD Yamaha forks, a rear Ohlins shock modified off a Yamaha Thundercat 600, changed to an 18inch rear wheel from the stock 17, gone from a 520 pitch to a 530 pitch chain system, from dual front discs to a single motard sized EBC unit, new brake systems front and rear, reinforced the frame to prevent twisting and fracturing in known weak spots by using a cross-over brace above the gearbox area, added a steering dampener and handlebars, rally navigation gear and all new fibreglass bodywork. The only original unmolested parts were the engine, cdi box, original factory alloy sump guard, rear brake caliper, the clutch lever and the clutch lever perch. Everything else had been replaced, tweaked, modified or discarded. I was riding an engineering experiment for the next 4 days and several thousand kilometres, at a steady 110km/hr west across fairly uninhabited desert plains county, towards the mystery place the sun had always set. And towards the greatest off-road race we have in Australia, the Oz Safari.
To be continued..
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Team ADV member - 2014 Australasian Safari, on an XR600R.
"Surround yourself with the best people you can, and make them your friends" - Justin Hunt, Oz Safari Director.
"
Say 3 Hail KLRs and recite the old Honda "skid demon" warning 3 times." - CA Stu.

Sundowner screwed with this post 10-27-2013 at 10:20 PM
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post


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Old 10-27-2013, 11:29 PM   #5
barneyrubble
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Old 11-09-2013, 03:08 PM   #6
ozbikedude
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so far so good,ya not gunna do a greg are ya???
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:19 PM   #7
ozbikedude
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Pissed

Hmmmmh ,dick when is this to be continued?
the way you are going i will start calling you greg.
come on mate get ya shit together ,i be up in the lands for a coupla stints or more now and still nothing,had a few 4xxxxs with peter at curtain springs the other night,they have culled around 8000 camels from there lately.......................come on man!!
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:20 PM   #8
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looks like i will have to wait for the condo r/r??
ps we are nearly out of popcorn dude.
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