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Old 05-03-2011, 04:09 AM   #1
El Ponkin OP
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Mals Dorrigo Long Weekender

The ride was arranged by Mal McConnell who owns Gold Coast Suzuki and is well known in enduro circles having led the Northern Territory Team to titles in the 80's. Our ride leader and navigator was John the Postie who knows every square metre of the area and every single track gnarly section you can imagine. The ride was to be the first time our team of 4 KTM 990 Adventures had rode together in preparation for the APC Rally in July and we were specifically testing our various UHF comms set ups.
As we were to later find out Mal had obviously put the ride together to specifically demonstrate the advantages of the DR650 over the overweight cumbersome KTMs.
The first group met at Tallebudgerra

On the way to the next meeting point Wazza (990) took a tumble on a slippery timber bridge whilst chasing Mark (990) who had missed a turn and took an unexpected deviation. Wazzas ABS kicked in unexpectedly and a front brake dab saw him hitting the floor and sliding the rest of the way across the bridge. Bent crash bars but no other damage and no photos so it didn’t happen.
We picked up some more at Murwillinbah and finally the last competitor at Kyogle which was Ross on another 990. There was a fair bit of tarmac before we hit the first bit of dirt although it was twisty and very interesting in the wet. Not long after we hit the dirt we had another tumble courtesy of a timber bridge with the lead rider/navigator John hitting the floor unexpectedly. The rain and subsequent algae/mossy growth making the timber bridge an ice rink.

The next section had received a great deal of overnight rain and the red clay soils had become a slush pit in places. A fallen tree claimed several of us as we tried to bounce over it but instead the tyres just slid along it causing me to fall heavily and break my clutch lever. We soon recovered and navigated the obstacle but then the carnage began.
Katos went over one after the other in the red slop downhill sections I only stayed upright as my lack of riding ability is compensated for by long legs. At one point the first one went down and I helped him back up then walked / slid away only to turn round and see the second fall, helped him up and pleaded with Wazza on the third to stay upright as my back couldn’t take a third lift.

The carnage continued with everyone taking several falls and the mighty DRs started to show their advantage. Couple of long open sections let the Katos recover some cudos but the DRs were never far behind.

Later we even did some track making of our own when we had to bypass a locked gate.
Nightstop was at Dorrigo a beautiful spot and very bike friendly town with its own local motorcycle mini museum cafe, well worth a look with this strange hand built V twin drag bike.


Accommodation was a mix of hotel and motel rooms and all were great standard, meals were good too although some slimy dogs scored the last few apple pie and ice creams must to the disgust of the rest of us.


The following day was a late start and John again excelled by taking us were no man had been before, you could barely tell there was a track at all in some sections, but the scenery was superb. The ground was still very wet and some of the tracks were very greasy and tough going for the Katos. We had some fast sections too which ended up with DRs being hunted down by the big Katos and it resembled trying to chase piglets, great fun and quite a few near misses with trees and fallen branches. Waterfall Way lived up to its name with some beautiful waterfalls and we walked out on the skywalk in the national park with the best view I have seen over here, on our return John showed us the weird collection of steam trains preserved in tar and carriages galore, very odd.





Another night of fun and food and early to bed.
Early start on the third day and we took in the Dangar falls on the way out of Dorrigo.


The forests were still greasy and it wasn’t long until we had our first incident. Catman had thrown his chain when a joiner broke but luckily it was a clean separation and all we had to do was find the chain. With a search party of three the chain was found a 100 metres or so back. Then we found that Catmans spare joiner was the right pitch but the pins weren’t long enough but luckily I had a spare with me.
Then followed the longest section of woops I have ever seen, literally K’s and k’s of erosion mounds that had the katos bottoming and the DRs launching. After a while we were all screaming for flat ground and a break as the sun had come out and things were definitely warming up. The whoops continued and then just to finish us off we had a couple of rocky hill climbs when all I heard on the radio was “hit the gas and don’t lose momentum” needless to say when a DR fell off in front of me I shouted “sorry” and kept on going.
Refuel at Grafton and a few gasps of fresh air and a calm down.
Next followed a section to Whiporie which ended up in a track that was a tyre width at the most and a few mudpits saw my legs flayling and Catman hitting the floor when he ran out of legs. Again John added in a sharp muddy downhill into a stream and a sharp muddy uphill the other side and the advice over the radio was “hit the water and gun it”. Job done but a couple almost collided over the ridge at the top.
Lunch at Whiporie was a smorgasboard of burgers and powerade before a road trip to Lismore where we said our thanks for a great ride and parted company.
Brilliant and diverse ride set up by John, who knows the area like the back of his hand and thanks to Mal who played sweep for the whole event trying to dodge the plooms of mud from the back of my Kato.
The whole ride showed the best of each type of machine with the DR winning out as the all rounder. Sorry Mal but I am still not swapping out my Kato just yet but I am sure Mal will be more than willing to help anyone decide otherwise down at Gold Coast Suzuki and you will get to tag along on his rides as well as anyone else who wants, if you are interested, give him a call.
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:52 AM   #2
Dusty Rhodes
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Neat
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:23 AM   #3
ADVJake
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Nice ride
Who was the bloke on the WR250R? Bet he had an interesting time keeping up with the 990s
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:29 AM   #4
Chop Chop
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Great pics.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:10 AM   #5
Cruz
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Good ride report El Ponkin. Looks like no arse clowning occurred at all on this ride.

How did the WRR go?
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Old 05-04-2011, 04:02 AM   #6
tksmith
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Big girls totally out of their element (the Kato's I mean ) Love it. Well done guys.
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