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Old 06-01-2009, 05:23 AM   #1
2volts OP
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Desert Raid - Carnegie Station, Western Australia, May 30 2009

Some time in 2008 the idea became reality, and so the Desert Raid was born. Not a race or a rally, just an excuse to ride somewhere remote enough to require some effort and planning, meet with a bunch of like minded riders, camp overnight, talk bikes etc etc etc.

The only criteria for a destination - there must be fuel and potable water available within 250km. For the first Desert Raid, to be held in 2009, we decided on Carnegie Station, about 1,300km from Perth (state capital) and near enough to the centre of Western Australia, at the western end of the Gunbarrel Highway, an iconic Australian outback road.

We didn't know how many people we might attract, we thought 20-30 riders would be good for a first try. We were blown away when 72 riders on a wide range of bikes and sidecar outfits had turned up by the Saturday evening cutoff.

Chris Grice and I took a long detour to make a round trip rather than do a there and back run. We left Perth at 7am Thursday and were back at lunchtime Monday with 2,955km on the odometer, of that about 2,100km on the dirt.

Chris emerges, ready to go.

We headed east from Perth to Hyden via Brookton and Corrigin. We fueled up and soon hit the dirt on the Hyden - Norseman Road. 200km east of Hyden was the turn off to Victoria Rock and Coolgardie.

Chris transferred his fuel from his jerrycan and we were off again.

About 5km up the road there is this is a flash roadsign dating from the original alignment of the Hyden Norseman road.

Veer left.

Rainbow over Victoria Rock.

308km from Hyden and about 20km south of Coolgardie I ran out of fuel. Not in the plan. Chris rode ahead and was back a bit later with some for me. A lesson here, reinforced over the weekend, the F800GS does not like 91 octane unleaded, but if that's all that's available, then you need to adjust the planned fuel to suit.

We pushed through to Kalgoorlie, fueled the bike and the fuel bladder with 98 octane ULP and headed out on the Yarri Road to find a camp for the night. It was dark and drizzly when we pulled up 31km later, to stop on a low gypsum ridge for the night. 770km for the day. Persistent drizzle saw us in our tents by about 7pm.

Setting up for the night.

Friday morning was overcast but dry and the roads were open.

We were heading for Laverton on the back road past Sunrise Dam Gold Mine, where I worked from mid 2000 - early 2008.

Causeway across the south end of Lake Carey.

Turn off to the mine site.

Laverton is the start of the Great Central Road. We were headed to Tjukayirla Roadhouse, to fuel up again, then to backtrack 15km and turn up the David Carnegie Road for 230km to join the Gunbarrel Highway.

Only 91 octane ULP here, you take what you can get. Filled the bikes and away we went.

At the turn off. The track to Empress Springs was OK.

Some local wildlife.

Close up.

Empress Spring is a rockhole, with water (sometimes). It was named by David Carnegie in honour of the Empress of the British Empire at the time of his expedition in 1896, Queen Victoria. Carnegie didn't find it, his party was running out of water so they captured a native and forced him to take them to water. A good summary about David Carnegie is available here.

You could never just stumble across a water supply in this sort of country.

After Empress Springs, the road is only two wheel tracks. About 10km up we came across a young bull camel on his own. He saw the bikes and started running up the track ahead of us. We followed him off and on for about 10km. There was no way we could pass him, we just had to follow, at 20kph. By then it was near dusk, so we pulled off at a claypan and camped for the night. Another 700kms done.

The view from the tent at 5.45am. First light.

On the road again.

The track was easy to follow, but watch out for the shrubs and bushes close to the edge.

Upright after snagging the RH handguard on the insignificant looking shrub about 20m behind on the lhs in the photo of the track and flipping Chris through the air. Lucky it was a sandy landing. Could have been a lot worse.

Finally we got to the Gunbarrel Highway. Turn left here and Carnegie Station is only 150km to go.

45km later we ran into Pejie and Dean, who had arrived at Carnegie the day before and were on a little excursion.

Another 40km and more day trippers. Lang and Brent, stopped for lunch. Lang had the billy boiling andf offered tea or coffee, so I had a nice cup of Earl Gray by the side of the Gunbarrel Highway.

An ex camel.

Someones holiday plans ruined.

Shortly after, we were there!

Carnegie Station.

more to come...

2volts screwed with this post 06-14-2009 at 04:26 AM
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Old 06-01-2009, 05:53 AM   #2
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Looking good Pete
Some men like the fish'n,
Some men like the foul'n,
Some men like to hear........
to hear the cannonball a roar'n!
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:27 AM   #3
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the next bit...

Plenty people were already set up.

Kenny doing some tyre repairs. Plenty of free advice available.

John Wightman, who won the door prize later on.

His mate Mark rode this nice GS PD.

Anthony (XR600) and Ken R100GS.

Toni after a long day.

JC's Laverda sidecar. A beast. He's cranky with me because I bought a Jota earlier this year that he had been after to transplant the motor into the outfit.

Urs admires his Super Tenere.

All sorts of bikes.

Adrian_V's KTM.

Paul came over from Tassie.

Orange stuff.

"Small" bikes.

My riding partner, Chris.

Robin. It was pretty much all his idea. Don't be fooled by his choice of reading matter.

Paul the long distance Tasmanian t-shirt salesman concludes a deal with Tom who rode his R1100R.

We got everyone to register in the official Desert Raid book.

Geoff from Victoria.

His riding partner Lloyd, also from Victoria. They were heading down the David Carnegie Road the next day.



More outfits.

Hill Billy.

Outback Adventure Motorcycle Tours were there that night too, after a trip across the Simpson Desert.

This 64yo gentleman from the US was one of the 3 remaining riders from the tour group, which had proved a bit harder than expected for some of the participants.

Ken (Smelly) and Kathy, who go everywhere two up on a 1150GS.

Sunday morning. 6.30am. Tardy Chris. Come on, I want to get going!

Hendo's HP2.

Kenny's 100GS.

We were gone at 6.45am and were fueling up at Wiluna at 10.30 after 335km of dirt.

Hendo arriving at Wiluna.

Next stop was Sandstone, 200km away on more dirt, where we stopped briefly to say hello to Isabel (Mike's other half) who was camped there.

Next stop then was Paynes Find, 235km away by dirt, if we got there quick enough we would head for Perth, but this storm shot that plan to bits.

After a few tricky floodway crossings, it was more or less dry again, and we were surpised to see two bikes coming from the other way.

Two young blokes on KLR650's on day 2 of a four week trip. Good on em, we need more like that.

The end of the dirt, 2km to Paynes Find roadhouse.

It was near dusk, we were cold and a bit wet, so we booked a couple of donga rooms for the night. Soon after, Anthony, Paves and Steve Bly arrived as well. Anthony had followed pushed through the storm behind us, the other two went the long way round via Mt Magnet.

All the comforts of home. Not.

The bike park. Beers and steaks for dinner.

We were gone at 6.45am, down the bitumen, 420km to go, heading for Perth. Breakfast at Wubin, then a final coffee at the Bindoon Bakery.

Me and him. A great (long) weekend away.

see you round like a rissole,


2volts screwed with this post 06-07-2009 at 05:53 AM
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:38 AM   #4
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I gotta get over there before it's built out.

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Old 06-01-2009, 07:06 AM   #5
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Top stuff Pete.
"(I could start another bandwidth wasting thread on getting there, but I think I have started enough pointless threads for the year already)"

Why do people think bike riders all like rock'n'roll??
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:13 AM   #6
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great writeup Pete .The rain on the Sandstone rd made for some fast riding today. Had coffee with Isabel and michael this morning as well with Bear and Dawn as my travelling companions for some of my return trip.
'02 GSX 1400 outfit........lot's of grin factor
'11 Husky TE 630.......tyre shredder
'06 HUSKY TE610 x 2............ for the boys
'92 R100GSPD ( modified)...........slow and easy
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:29 PM   #7
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Very Nice !!!
1990 RD04 Africa twin 750
350,000km and still going strong
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:30 PM   #8
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Great report and pics. Thanks for sharing that fantastic expedition.
As per usual I am deeply envious!!!!!!!!!
May we still be riding when the sun sets!
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:42 PM   #9
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Great report! Winuna is paradise isn't it! I worked out there for a year or so. Definantly will be keeping an eye out for your next jaunt....
our latest Goldfields trip
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:31 PM   #10
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awesome ride and gathering - very envious

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Old 06-01-2009, 08:56 PM   #11
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Awesome ride report and pics! Thanks!

PS- The guy who did it on an R1150R is my hero.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:21 PM   #12
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Thanks for the report Pete, great read and pics. Mark
Perth, Western Australia
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:42 AM   #13
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Great report and pics - thanks

I know, its not a KTM or a Beamer. . . . . . but aye, its got two wheels & Im gon

Out there somewhere!
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:58 AM   #14
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There were three road bikes that made the journey, the 1150r ,an r600 (one owner for 34 years) and an old suzuki 1000gs as well.

I rode with the last 2, as well as two suzuki gs outfits the old r600 set the pace on the gravel that had us averaging about 90kph, awsome bike and riding with road tyres on!
'02 GSX 1400 outfit........lot's of grin factor
'11 Husky TE 630.......tyre shredder
'06 HUSKY TE610 x 2............ for the boys
'92 R100GSPD ( modified)...........slow and easy
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:29 AM   #15
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Awesome desert raid!! Thanks for sharing your fantastic ride, report and pics
ADV decals, patches & flag? Here
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