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Australia and Asia-Pacific AAP Regional forum; rides, get togethers, events

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Old 12-20-12, 01:25   #101
bluedaytona02
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On arriving back home I related my tale to my fiancée, who looked bewildered and a bit distracted – I suspect she was possibly having second thoughts about marrying this delusional lunatic. After a bit of a rest, I went out to the bike for the usual cleaning and maintenance session. I wheeled the Ducati in to the shed and there was that familiar ‘clank-clank-clank’ again. Another cush drive rubber gone. Sheesh.

I don’t know why, but the snake episode was the catalyst that started me thinking about selling the Ducati. Perhaps I took it as some sort of omen. And the cush drive letting go again cemented the idea in my head. I gave the bike a thorough clean, made the cush drive repair, and a week later it was up for sale.
The siren song of the Ducati is a wonderful thing when you’re selling one. The bike – admittedly in great condition – sold quickly, and for a good price. I spilled the beans about the cush drive problem, mentioned the clutch rebuild, the slave cylinder thing, even the bike’s need for Avgas – but the guy heard not a word of it. He just nodded, stared at all that red paint, and asked to hear the bike started up again. The Ducati bug had hit him hard. I could have sold him the bike had it been on fire, it simply wouldn’t have mattered to him. Mind you, I didn’t mention Harold the Huntsman.

With cash in my pocket and the prospect of staring at my CB400 again, I went shopping in earnest for a Japanese bike. Of course, playing in the back of my mind was the thought that maybe I’d miss the character, the noise, the whole Ducati thing. Nevertheless I was determined to try another bike from one of the Big Four.

In just days I’d stumbled on a blue Kawasaki ZX/9RC2. Not the big, porky early model, but the revised, slim and barking mad model. The seller had been part of a group of four litre bike fiends who regularly rode the hills at warp speed. One of the group had been killed outright in a high-speed crash, and all three of the other riders resolved to sell their bikes right away. The bike was in perfect condition with low kays. It looked good, but the test ride was a revelation. This bike made the 900SS feel like a bus.

Money changed hands and I rode the bike home, to my fiancée’s surprise – I hadn’t mentioned a word about the purchase to her. (She’d get used to this pattern after awhile…) The bike felt like a perfect fit, but I was still concerned that it might simply reveal itself as a bit banal compared to the Ducati. Would I miss that special Italian character?

Hmmm…would I miss paying income tax?

Hell no! My first decent rides left me grinning like an idiot. The Nine made a good forty horsepower more than the 900SS. It was lighter, it handled far better, it was more comfortable, the brakes were better, it had greater tank range…where do I stop? And as for ‘character’, there was enough snarl from the Ram Air induction to make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. The Nine was the first in a long line of Kawasakis for me – I became an avid fan of their rock-solid front ends and manic, howling engines. Avgas? The Nine would snap at the heels of early R1’s on a diet of plain old pump fuel. Within a week all I remembered of the 900SS was that it was a fussy, cantankerous old relic. Sorry Bologna.

The Nine propelled me through the hills and into a new stage of riding – I stepped up and briefly became one of those idiots who went too fast, everywhere. It also took me to Phillip Island and back, and on a couple other long trips, too. It had practical touches like a clock (rare back then…) and good fuel range, combined with the sort of lunatic power that meant you’d need a space as open as the Hay Plains to let the thing really stretch its legs. What went wrong? Honestly? Nothing, ever. I bonded with The Nine in a way I never had with the Ducati.

I’m no Ducati hater. In fact to this day I’m a fan of Ducatis, not so much for what they are but what they represent. They do things differently, they fly the performance flag, they are often beautiful. They are not afraid to try and fail. The world needs exotic, eccentric bikes. Ducatis are loaded with entertainingly illogical Italian touches like dry clutches and single sided swingarms. Performance bikes don’t need dry clutches – the fastest sports bikes in the world manage very nicely with wet ones. Single sided swingarms? They are heavier than standard designs, and less stiff. But they help sell bikes and add to the mystique, I suppose. It’s a strange quirk of human nature that despite the fact that I can do everything I need to do on a GSXR750 quicker and more efficiently than I can on a Ducati 848, the Ducati is still somehow an attractive prospect. (Another feather in its cap is that 848’s are one of the few Ducatis that have wet clutches!)


I will never say never – I may own a Ducati again some day. What keeps me away for the moment are the quirks and foibles of the brand, lingering doubts about reliability, and now more than ever, a concern that Ducati is rapidly becoming a poseur brand that attracts more coffee shop wankers than genuine enthusiasts and riders. I guess brand-centric bikers are still bikers, I just get the feeling that to these people, this year’s Ducati is next year’s sports car is the following year’s Range Rover. It’s all about trends and brands.

I have owned a Ducati (you may recall this unless you’ve been skipping forward…) as well as many examples of all four of the big Japanese brands, and a Triumph, too. While I possibly have a soft spot for Kawasakis, I think its safe to say that I don’t have a strong allegiance to any particular marque, I just buy what seems right at the time. But the more I talk with fellow bikers, the more it seems I’m in something of a minority. For all sorts of reasons, so many riders stick with one brand, bike after bike.

Are you a one-brand biker? And if so, why?

I reckon there must be some great stories out there (possibly involving snakes…) regarding why you stick with one brand, or what put you off another brand. My sweary friend Rob won’t touch Hondas. One of my racing friends wouldn’t have a Ducati if you gave it to him free. Another mate of mine is exclusively a Suzuki rider. There are always stories supporting strong emotional stands like these.

Join in the buzz on the MotoBuzz Facebook page and let us know the brand you’d be happy to tattoo on your arm, and why. And if not tattooed, maybe just that really thick black texta that takes ages to come off.

Yours in onboard spiders, flying snakes and an aversion to rattling clutches
Kym
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Old 12-25-12, 20:07   #102
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SA, Golden Grove, Wednesday 26th December 2012

Reflections on Boxing Day - by Kym Liebig Part 1
So it's the day after Christmas. I like Christmas. In fact as a Christian, it could even be said that I love Christmas. It's a petty special time of the year, and I try hard to see past the commercialisation, stress and madness, take some time to reflect and find some peace in amongst it all.

Of course Christmas often means friends and family staying over or just dropping in for lunch. So even when we're trying to keep things peaceful and low-key, Christmas Day itself is almost inevitably fairly busy. That's okay, I enjoy the cooking, the fun the kids have, and catching up with the rellies, too. But when the day is over I usually catch myself breathing a sigh of relief as quiet descends on my household again. I like quiet. Quiet is one of my favourite things.

Seeing as a good portion of the population tends to over-indulge in one way or another on Christmas Day, Boxing Day inevitably dawns pretty peacefully. Plenty of people are in bed nursing hangovers, others are lying low, worn out after a huge day coping with excited kids, catering and crowds of visitors. I'm usually in fairly good shape, having pretty much given up drinking this past year, and with no immediate plans to take it up again. So while all around is serene, I get some thinking done. This year I thought I'd plan ahead and do some pre-Boxing Day thinking...you know, thinking about what I might think about come Boxing Day. My wife reckons this is a sure sign of someone who thinks too much.

Maybe there's something to consider there right away. Think too much? Can you do that? Coming back from an injury late last year, I spent a lot of the early part of 2012 thinking...possibly because there wasn't a whole lot else I was capable of doing. So I thought. And it occurred to me that in years past prior to my (near fatal) injury, what I'd done most was work, and what I'd done very little of was think. I'd been too busy to really do much else other than work. Work and sleep. Not much thought went into where it was taking me, I just worked. There's no future in that. So I planned that as I recovered, I'd start getting back into work, but work smarter, work less, and not let it take over my life. Think more, plan carefully, live better and stress less.

That worked well for maybe three months.

But by the end of 2012 I've found myself already working hard, experiencing plenty of stress, and beginning to lapse into my old ways. Not the around the clock, seven-days-a-week routine of yore - not quite - but too close for comfort, nonetheless. How the hell had that happened?

I work for myself, so part of the problem came through simply feeling better, getting excited about being able to work again, and jumping in. The other factor was my clients realising that I was on my way back and quickly ramping up from a trickle of work to a flood. That wasn't their fault, of course...I should have set stricter boundaries and maybe turned down more jobs. But when you're sick and tired of being sick, who wants to be constantly raising the issue of health, and coming across as some sort of long-term invalid? Not me, so I took all I could get.

So now I'm thinking about that, and considering ways to change. I've been given a second chance, time to think, and a startling demonstration of just how quickly work can take over my life and leave me with plenty of stress and little else. In 2013, I'm going to do things differently. I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions - the kind of bullshit pledges built on a beery foundation and broken a few weeks later. This is serious. For my sake as well as that of my family, work isn't going to be the biggest thing in my life anymore. Not in 2013, not ever. That might mean working less and making do with less. It might mean working differently and doing just as well. It might mean changing entirely what I do to make a living. Whatever. From now on, work isn't going to be the boss of me.

If you can relate to any of this, perhaps today is a good day to stop and think about your life, too. Are you working for stuff you need, or stuff you want? Would your family be better off with less things and more of you? I'm not meaning to get heavy, I simply look around myself and see overwork as the norm today in so many households. It's simply not worth killing yourself with stress, stacking up huge working hours and ignoring your family just so you can live in a bigger house, take overseas holidays or buy a freakin' ski boat. We all need to stop, take time out and think about what's really important. Turn off the box and do some thinking each night instead of vegging out and submitting to what, surely, must be television's lowest point in history.

Okay, preachy stuff over, time to talk bikes. Whew. That was close.
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Old 12-25-12, 20:08   #103
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Part 2
If there's been a theme I've really noticed in 2012, living as I do in Sports Bike World, that theme would be 'electronics'. Seems like a few years ago all we had was ABS here and there along with Suzuki's useless Power Mode switch. Now electronics are fast taking over, to the point where very few litre bikes remain 'pure', as it were. It's interesting to see how riders feel about this. Let's take litre bikes for example. Honda's CBR1000RR FireBlade and Suzuki's GSXR1000 remain pretty basic. At the other end of the scale are BMW's S1000RR and Aprilia's RSV4. Thumb through a few tests and it’s easy to see the tone magazines are taking. It's the bikes with all the electro bells and whistles that are being hailed as the most advanced, the most desirable, the bikes with the edge. The bikes without so much as traction control are now seen as also-rans, falling behind in the development race as global financial woes see factories dropping out of biennial updates, pinching pennies and often opting for basic restyled where once we'd have seen new models.

I’m in two minds regarding electronic warfare in the bike world. On one hand, I see it in a similar light to any other technological advances. We used to ride bikes with two-valve heads and air cooling. Now the majority run four valve heads and liquid cooling. I'll take a four-valve water pumper every time, thanks...a more efficient engine running closer tolerances, making more power. Works for me! And so, to a point, do many electronic aids. Let's look at ABS. Have you ridden a bike with really good ABS lately? I love it. And I'll take it, thanks...as long as I can switch it off when I'm not in the mood for a helping hand. Do I think it's a good idea for new riders? Hell no. A rider learning his or her way around biking should get a feel for where the limits lie. It's frightening to imagine a rider having never learned control finesse, grabbing and stomping on the brakes like a ham-fisted numpty, relying on a black box to step in whenever a big grab threatens to lock a wheel. So there you have it...I think ABS can be a wonderful thing, say, when experimenting on a track or riding in the wet, but there are situations where it simply has no place at all. So don't ask me how happy I am to see it being rolled out on LAMS bikes, and taken up as a future mandatory fitment in Europe. Did someone say nanny state?

Traction control? Again, I love it as long as I can switch it off. Bank angle sensing and wheelie control? Likewise. Playing with all of these things, or making use of them in selected situations, is great fun. Many of them are also a great way of easing into top end bikes now making 180 horsepower or so. Turn on a few safety measures to begin with, switch them off as you get to know the beast. I'll always put my hand up to give these gizmos a go as long as I can switch them off again when I want to experience everything a bike has to offer in its raw form.

So I like choice. But not every manufacturer is giving us this choice nowadays - for instance, ABS is usually hardwired and not switchable. I don't like the sound of that at all, but of course it's packaged by marketing people as a safety feature that is for our own good. And that's really stinky. Riding bikes is risky; the last thing I want to see is bikes sold on safety features like today's cars are. Hell, if I wanted safety I'd walk. The thought of bikes pasteurised, homogenised, padded and tamed really makes my stomach turn. In fact the only thing that I'd like less is owning a bike I couldn't work on myself.

I rode the BMWS1000RR this year and I loved it. Before taking the ride I'd wondered just how relevant a monster like the S1000RR could possibly be on the road - too much of everything, surely? But I came away completely won over by the bike. It was alive, responsive, sharp and agile, a world away from the cold, isolated robot some claimed it was. Even at legal speeds it was an amazing bike. I'd own one.

Now the BMW HP4 is here, with everything the S1000RR has and much more. The HP4's ace card is DDC - Dynamic Damping Control. We're all familiar with ECU's, the Electronic Control Units or 'brains' that monitor and control engine functions as well as some ancillaries. The HP4 also has a dedicated suspension ECU that monitors front and rear suspension function, and makes adjustments many times a second based on parameters including speed, road surface, braking and acceleration forces. In essence, the suspension on the HP4 has moved on from the traditional model where damping settings are made manually, and based on one condition that represents a compromise everywhere else. The HP4 system optimises itself as you ride. And if ride reports are anything to go by, it's every bit as amazing to ride as it sounds.

But I'm not confident at all that I could work on it at home in my humble shed. In fact I'm not even sure I'd be allowed to.

I'm as capable as the next bloke when it comes to working on modern suspension, (okay...I can rebuild USD forks...) but the HP4 system includes the sort of advanced electronics that would very likely stump me. Even more likely is that the system will prove to be tamper proof, or require special diagnostic equipment. Goodbye home tinkering, hello dead end. So a breakthrough system that, on the surface, has plenty of appeal, instantly becomes about as attractive to me as pooh on my shoe. What a shame.

We're standing on the threshold of a really exciting time for bikes. I don't have a problem with electronic systems enhancing our enjoyment of what bikes have to offer, but I'm very concerned that 'safety' (I.E, paranoia regarding litigation) and big business profiteering aimed at virtually outlawing home maintenance is going to spoil the party. If that's where things are headed, I'd be happy to stop right here, at a time when I can still buy a current model super sports bike that I can enjoy riding and working on at home, without any blanket electronic systems or tamper proof fasteners getting in the way. I'll always do my best to step up and learn my way around whatever technology the factories serve up, but when deliberate moves are made to ensure that I'm locked out, I really don't see the funny side.

I guess if the fun police really are determined to create bikes that are sealed units we can't work on ourselves, at least there's a smorgasbord of pre-2013 models I can choose from. Cheap, amazing bikes that will soon be seen as charmingly dumb and old skool...a bit like me. Fact is, since about 1990 sports bikes have been serving up more performance than my meagre talent can possibly take advantage of, anyhow. 190 horsepower and active suspension? 100 horsepower and old-fashioned suspension will be enough for me. Hell, I don't even really need high and low speed damping!

I never saw myself as a retro bike guy, but maybe the powers that be are conspiring to turn me into one. Just browsing through the online classified ads in the past few days, I have to say I can think of worse ways to go. Just as long as I can swing a ride in the latest stuff every now and then.

By all means jump on the MotoBuzz Facebook page and have you say if you have nothing better to do, but if you’re kicking back and spending time with your family instead, of course I’ll understand.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sir Jesper The Good for having me on board MotoBuzz this year, and also to thank you, dear reader, for tolerating my blatherings on a weekly basis.

Here’s to more riding and more writing in 2013.

Cheers,
Kym
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Old 01-02-13, 21:23   #104
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A return to classic OB tales...

Help - by Kym Liebig
I grew up as a working kid on an orchard, where my Dad grew mostly avocados. Evenings after school myself and my two brothers worked on the orchard. Saturdays we worked. Sunday mornings we went to church, Sunday afternoons we did what we liked. Ah, those precious Sunday afternoon hours. We never wasted so much as a second.

Dirty riding was king when I was a teenager, and the king of dirt riding was crowned Australia's Mister Motocross each year. Supercross (is it any coincidence my iPad automatically corrects it to 'super toss?') was yet to be invented, with its indoor events, tight tracks and rock star riders. In my high school years motocross riders weren't the mega-sponsored poster boys that supercross riders are today. The best comparison I can make is to hold up 1980's Australian cricketers alongside today's players. Cricketers back then were beer-swilling he-men wearing open necked shirts that exposed plenty of chest hair and at least one gold chain. They were all at least six feet five inches tall, swore like troopers, sported moustaches big enough to shame a walrus, and women fainted at the very sight of them. And possibly at the smell, too. There was a hell of a lot of Brut 33 being sprayed around back then, after all.

Cricketers back then made today's funny little squad of guys look pretty tame, and motocross riders were no different. Well, possibly no different except that very few people knew who they were. Supercross isn't exactly a high profile sport in Australia even today, and way back in the Mister Motocross days, MX was well and truly under the radar of the average person on the street. But to the dirt riding faithful, motocrossers were ironclad heroes. Tracks were outdoors, rough as a brickie's handshake and utterly daunting to ride. And the bikes? None of these effeminate four bangers, thank you very much. Mister Motocross was 'open class' and by that I mean 500cc two strokes. Monster power that was put to use all the way up through the gears along 'straights' that would shake your teeth out. Big, big power wrapped up in a package devised at least ten years before handling or brakes had been invented. Double leading shoes? Isn't that some sort of tap dance troupe? And you could only get upside down forks by crashing in a truly spectacular manner.

Stephen Gall. Jeff Leisk. Anthony Gunter. Larger than life riders to me. I had posters of them in full flight plastered all over my bedroom walls, although locked as I was into my work/school/work routine, seeing any of these heroes in action up close and live seemed about as likely as bumping into Elle MacPherson filming the latest Tab Cola TV ad down at the river front near the ferry crossing. But a guy's gotta dream, right?

My sixteenth year rolled around and the South Australian Mister Motocross round was announced for the autumn of that year. The round was to be held just a couple of hours' drive from where I lived, but I wrote off the date as soon as it came up...it was a Saturday, and Saturdays were always work days. I knew I needn't even ask for the day off, so I didn't bother. I had a brand new Honda XR250, so life was pretty good anyhow. Maybe Mister Motocross wasn't such a big deal. I'd get there one day, perhaps after I'd left home.

Or perhaps sooner.

My Dad is a pilot, and when I was in my teens, any time Dad wasn't working, he was building aircraft. Yep, that's it, Dad is from the 'don't buy it, build it' school. The first aircraft he built (and a plane he's still flying today) was a Rutan Long Ez, a strangely named, weird-but-beautiful craft built from fibreglass. Fibreglass is a tough taskmaster. Once you start work on a major component, you can't stop until the component is complete. Any delays mean the part could cure before it is in final shape. So once the epoxy is mixed, the clock is ticking. Placing the glass cloth over a foam core, stippling in the epoxy and squeegeeing off the excess is known as 'laying up'. As it happened, on Mister Motocross Saturday, my Dad planned to lay up a full wing, and lay ups don't get much bigger than that.

You might think that a lay up day would mean all hands in deck, but no. As it happened, my younger brother had proved to be something of a fibreglass prodigy. Me? Let's just say I was pretty much useless. I timidly enquired at the dinner table one evening what my role might be on the day. My Dad replied gruffly;

"Dunno. Do whatever you want I s'pose."

A day off? I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. So I pushed my luck and asked if I could go to Mister Motocross that day.

"Mister bloody what? That race thing? Buggered if I know. Look, if you can pay for your own ticket and it's okay with your Mum, then yeah. Just don't do anything stupid or get into any strife, alright?"

This would be my first solo bike trip away from my hometown since I'd picked up my licence. My Mum was worried how I'd fare out on the highway, but always the softie, she reluctantly gave the nod. I almost had a nosebleed. For me this was Disneyland, space travel, several Christmases and possibly loss of virginity all rolled into one and sprinkled liberally with chilli sauce.

I planned the trip as though I was going around the world. Fuel range to empty and range on reserve. Which tools to take. Backpack or no backpack? Food. Weather. I possibly even considered the phases of the moon. One thing was for sure, the planets had aligned in my favour. This was going to be the adventure of a lifetime. Well, from my humble perspective, anyhow.

The big day dawned. I awoke, pinched myself and found I wasn't dreaming. A good start. The XR awaited, everything adjusted perfectly, the tank brimming with fuel. Geared up and with a decent country breakfast on board, I swung twice on the kickstart of the bike and it barked into life, the Super Trapp muffler burbling away nicely. I stared at the sky. Cool. Overcast. Very unusual...the forecast had said fine and warm. I rolled around to the garage where work on the plane was already underway, the roller doors wound open to keep the fibreglass fumes to a minimum. Mum waved and smiled. No-one else looked up. I rode down the dirt orchard driveway, turned onto the Sturt Highway and wound the XR up through the gears.

Scarcely fifteen minutes later and with my hometown already well behind me, a few stark facts that might impact on my progress had already made themselves apparent. It had seemed cool back at home, but out on the road it was plain old cold. A towering, lanky geek perched atop a tall dirt bike riding into a stiff headwind, I may as well have been a skinny spinnaker. The tiny speedo on the XR, needle waving wildly, indicated that we were barely able to maintain 90 kilometres an hour. I dared not cane the bike any harder, not just out of mechanical sympathy but also through fear that fuel economy would fall away dramatically enough to prevent me making my first stop. And I was already looking forward to that first stop, because my choice of riding gear had proven to be pretty dismal. I was outfitted in a t-shirt, vented MX helmet, goggles, jersey and gloves, jeans and MX boots. I'd only gone with jeans because I'd decided that I'd need the pockets my MX pants lacked. I was dressed for an average, warm day of dirt riding, not a slab of cold hours on the highway. I shivered. Light rain fell now and then, stinging my neck and piercing my jersey like handfuls of icy needles. I kept the throttle wound open - who'd have thought you could get a sore wrist from that? - and kept riding, wishing I'd packed a spray jacket in my backpack.

I made the first fuel stop, filled up, drank hot tea and wolfed lollies - fuel that I reckoned my skinny bod would need to help keep itself warm. Half way. Leaving the service station, I chose to ride the rest of the way on back roads and dirt tracks, anything to keep me moving around on the bike, and to get away from the semis that came up behind at 120 kays an hour, closing in fast and blasting past without missing a beat in a storm of diesel fumes, noise and gravel spray. I was tired of watching my mirrors for them and retreating to the verge at the sound of their air horns. So at the risk of taking a bit longer to get to the race, I chose the web of back roads over the highway. It immediately felt good to be back on the dirt.

It didn't feel so good to be lost, and I got lost twice, wasting precious time and fuel back tracking. In fact the XR ran onto reserve as I rolled into the parking area. I'd have to take the highway all the way home to be sure of my fuel stops, but for the time being I just congratulated myself in having made it, and having planned well enough to be carrying a little square of plywood to put under my side stand to stop it sinking into the damp soil of the parking area. It was time to see some racing.

I sought out some hot food, and felt pretty good again munching on a meat pie and slurping hot tea as the support races were run. The sun came out for long enough to dry my damp clothes and I stopped shivering. There was nowhere to sit, but for now that didn't seem to matter. I was up close to the colour, noise and smell of real racing.

Lunch time. Another pie seemed like a good idea, not because they were good pies (are there good pies?) but more because they were hot. The sun had gone away but left the biting wind, whipping across the open track, whistling in my ears as I turned my head to watch the holeshot crush crowd past. Thin plastic tape and star droppers we all that separated me from the action. Star droppers. How safe can that be?

Race after race rolled by. My ears rang with the noise. Time for the feature race. Deep, menacing sounds from the 500cc stickies. I stood frozen in place - a bit too frozen - staring up the hill as the contenders pushed at the gate, blue smoke rising, helmet peaks pointed at front mudguards. At the gun the sound of the bikes rattled through my chest. WARRP! WARRP! WARRP! A grin stretched the skin on my wind burned face. I automatically reached my arm towards the tape barrier as the pack roared past, and what seemed like several seconds after they'd flashed by, it rained clods of thick, heavy earth. They fell like big, soft golf balls. I remember picking one off my shoulder where it had stuck, holding it in my hand and marvelling at this little chunk of real estate, complete with clay on the bottom and grass on top. A chunk of earthy cake torn from the ground by a fresh, sharp knobby tyre and launched by one of the finest dirt bikes in the country at that time. It was a marvellous moment, but as I looked around, grinning, it almost surprised me that I had no one to share the moment with. I'd come here alone, and until this day, every significant biking moment I'd enjoyed I'd always shared with a brother or a mate. Going it alone seemed a bit hollow by comparison.

The race was tight and hard fought to the very end. By the last lap there were no colours anymore but brown. Every single bike and rider, even the leaders, were covered in mud. Mister Motocross was dirty work, and up so close it was petty obvious it was also hard work. These guys were athletes. I felt like I was witnessing something very important, and in the years following I'd come to realise that I'd been lucky enough to be there as real, outdoor motocross was played out on open class two strokes for one of the final times. It probably passed without many other people even noticing, but it meant a lot to me.

As though on cue, light but steady rain started falling as the final race ended. The crowd had already thinned out quite a bit, no doubt plenty of spectators failing to see the funny side of the constant chilling wind. I made my way to the XR, eager to start the trip home, but worried I might not make it to the first servo. There's something very grim about starting a journey unsure of the distance to your first stop, but already on reserve and realising there's nothing to spare if you've got it wrong. The way I saw it, I probably had about 30 kays of juice left, and I was banking on the first BP being no more than 20 kays down the road.

I made it. I fuelled up, wet and freezing, and walked in to the store to pay, forming my own personal puddle as I fished damp notes from my pockets with hands already numb and blue. The dear old lady behind the register looked genuinely worried.

"You got far to go, love?"

"I reckon a couple of hours, maybe a bit less."

"You got anything to wear on top of that?"

"Nup."

With that, she rummaged around in a drawer under the counter and dragged out a big, green plastic garbage bag. "Take off your jersey, cut a head hole and two arm holes in the sealed end of this, put it on, tuck it into your jeans and put your jersey back on. It'll help keep the wind from slicing through you so badly."
__________________
Current: '06 Daytona 675 ('08 BEARS winning bike - Chris Panayi) White with Pitty's Custom Vinyls TTC decals STM Slipper Clutch Braking wave rotors with folding/adjustable levers GB engine covers Valter Moto Rearsets Race kit detent wheel & idle adjuster 1050 throttle tube Captive Wheel Spacers MotoGems bling Vortex clip-ons, Stomp grip 520 conversion Puig screen Madaz slip-on Intake flapper & Ex-up removed Swing-arm pivot mod. Thinner head gasket Custom tune
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Old 01-02-13, 21:23   #105
bluedaytona02
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A return to classic OB tales...

Help - by Kym Liebig
I grew up as a working kid on an orchard, where my Dad grew mostly avocados. Evenings after school myself and my two brothers worked on the orchard. Saturdays we worked. Sunday mornings we went to church, Sunday afternoons we did what we liked. Ah, those precious Sunday afternoon hours. We never wasted so much as a second.

Dirty riding was king when I was a teenager, and the king of dirt riding was crowned Australia's Mister Motocross each year. Supercross (is it any coincidence my iPad automatically corrects it to 'super toss?') was yet to be invented, with its indoor events, tight tracks and rock star riders. In my high school years motocross riders weren't the mega-sponsored poster boys that supercross riders are today. The best comparison I can make is to hold up 1980's Australian cricketers alongside today's players. Cricketers back then were beer-swilling he-men wearing open necked shirts that exposed plenty of chest hair and at least one gold chain. They were all at least six feet five inches tall, swore like troopers, sported moustaches big enough to shame a walrus, and women fainted at the very sight of them. And possibly at the smell, too. There was a hell of a lot of Brut 33 being sprayed around back then, after all.

Cricketers back then made today's funny little squad of guys look pretty tame, and motocross riders were no different. Well, possibly no different except that very few people knew who they were. Supercross isn't exactly a high profile sport in Australia even today, and way back in the Mister Motocross days, MX was well and truly under the radar of the average person on the street. But to the dirt riding faithful, motocrossers were ironclad heroes. Tracks were outdoors, rough as a brickie's handshake and utterly daunting to ride. And the bikes? None of these effeminate four bangers, thank you very much. Mister Motocross was 'open class' and by that I mean 500cc two strokes. Monster power that was put to use all the way up through the gears along 'straights' that would shake your teeth out. Big, big power wrapped up in a package devised at least ten years before handling or brakes had been invented. Double leading shoes? Isn't that some sort of tap dance troupe? And you could only get upside down forks by crashing in a truly spectacular manner.

Stephen Gall. Jeff Leisk. Anthony Gunter. Larger than life riders to me. I had posters of them in full flight plastered all over my bedroom walls, although locked as I was into my work/school/work routine, seeing any of these heroes in action up close and live seemed about as likely as bumping into Elle MacPherson filming the latest Tab Cola TV ad down at the river front near the ferry crossing. But a guy's gotta dream, right?

My sixteenth year rolled around and the South Australian Mister Motocross round was announced for the autumn of that year. The round was to be held just a couple of hours' drive from where I lived, but I wrote off the date as soon as it came up...it was a Saturday, and Saturdays were always work days. I knew I needn't even ask for the day off, so I didn't bother. I had a brand new Honda XR250, so life was pretty good anyhow. Maybe Mister Motocross wasn't such a big deal. I'd get there one day, perhaps after I'd left home.

Or perhaps sooner.

My Dad is a pilot, and when I was in my teens, any time Dad wasn't working, he was building aircraft. Yep, that's it, Dad is from the 'don't buy it, build it' school. The first aircraft he built (and a plane he's still flying today) was a Rutan Long Ez, a strangely named, weird-but-beautiful craft built from fibreglass. Fibreglass is a tough taskmaster. Once you start work on a major component, you can't stop until the component is complete. Any delays mean the part could cure before it is in final shape. So once the epoxy is mixed, the clock is ticking. Placing the glass cloth over a foam core, stippling in the epoxy and squeegeeing off the excess is known as 'laying up'. As it happened, on Mister Motocross Saturday, my Dad planned to lay up a full wing, and lay ups don't get much bigger than that.

You might think that a lay up day would mean all hands in deck, but no. As it happened, my younger brother had proved to be something of a fibreglass prodigy. Me? Let's just say I was pretty much useless. I timidly enquired at the dinner table one evening what my role might be on the day. My Dad replied gruffly;

"Dunno. Do whatever you want I s'pose."

A day off? I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. So I pushed my luck and asked if I could go to Mister Motocross that day.

"Mister bloody what? That race thing? Buggered if I know. Look, if you can pay for your own ticket and it's okay with your Mum, then yeah. Just don't do anything stupid or get into any strife, alright?"

This would be my first solo bike trip away from my hometown since I'd picked up my licence. My Mum was worried how I'd fare out on the highway, but always the softie, she reluctantly gave the nod. I almost had a nosebleed. For me this was Disneyland, space travel, several Christmases and possibly loss of virginity all rolled into one and sprinkled liberally with chilli sauce.

I planned the trip as though I was going around the world. Fuel range to empty and range on reserve. Which tools to take. Backpack or no backpack? Food. Weather. I possibly even considered the phases of the moon. One thing was for sure, the planets had aligned in my favour. This was going to be the adventure of a lifetime. Well, from my humble perspective, anyhow.

The big day dawned. I awoke, pinched myself and found I wasn't dreaming. A good start. The XR awaited, everything adjusted perfectly, the tank brimming with fuel. Geared up and with a decent country breakfast on board, I swung twice on the kickstart of the bike and it barked into life, the Super Trapp muffler burbling away nicely. I stared at the sky. Cool. Overcast. Very unusual...the forecast had said fine and warm. I rolled around to the garage where work on the plane was already underway, the roller doors wound open to keep the fibreglass fumes to a minimum. Mum waved and smiled. No-one else looked up. I rode down the dirt orchard driveway, turned onto the Sturt Highway and wound the XR up through the gears.

Scarcely fifteen minutes later and with my hometown already well behind me, a few stark facts that might impact on my progress had already made themselves apparent. It had seemed cool back at home, but out on the road it was plain old cold. A towering, lanky geek perched atop a tall dirt bike riding into a stiff headwind, I may as well have been a skinny spinnaker. The tiny speedo on the XR, needle waving wildly, indicated that we were barely able to maintain 90 kilometres an hour. I dared not cane the bike any harder, not just out of mechanical sympathy but also through fear that fuel economy would fall away dramatically enough to prevent me making my first stop. And I was already looking forward to that first stop, because my choice of riding gear had proven to be pretty dismal. I was outfitted in a t-shirt, vented MX helmet, goggles, jersey and gloves, jeans and MX boots. I'd only gone with jeans because I'd decided that I'd need the pockets my MX pants lacked. I was dressed for an average, warm day of dirt riding, not a slab of cold hours on the highway. I shivered. Light rain fell now and then, stinging my neck and piercing my jersey like handfuls of icy needles. I kept the throttle wound open - who'd have thought you could get a sore wrist from that? - and kept riding, wishing I'd packed a spray jacket in my backpack.

I made the first fuel stop, filled up, drank hot tea and wolfed lollies - fuel that I reckoned my skinny bod would need to help keep itself warm. Half way. Leaving the service station, I chose to ride the rest of the way on back roads and dirt tracks, anything to keep me moving around on the bike, and to get away from the semis that came up behind at 120 kays an hour, closing in fast and blasting past without missing a beat in a storm of diesel fumes, noise and gravel spray. I was tired of watching my mirrors for them and retreating to the verge at the sound of their air horns. So at the risk of taking a bit longer to get to the race, I chose the web of back roads over the highway. It immediately felt good to be back on the dirt.

It didn't feel so good to be lost, and I got lost twice, wasting precious time and fuel back tracking. In fact the XR ran onto reserve as I rolled into the parking area. I'd have to take the highway all the way home to be sure of my fuel stops, but for the time being I just congratulated myself in having made it, and having planned well enough to be carrying a little square of plywood to put under my side stand to stop it sinking into the damp soil of the parking area. It was time to see some racing.

I sought out some hot food, and felt pretty good again munching on a meat pie and slurping hot tea as the support races were run. The sun came out for long enough to dry my damp clothes and I stopped shivering. There was nowhere to sit, but for now that didn't seem to matter. I was up close to the colour, noise and smell of real racing.

Lunch time. Another pie seemed like a good idea, not because they were good pies (are there good pies?) but more because they were hot. The sun had gone away but left the biting wind, whipping across the open track, whistling in my ears as I turned my head to watch the holeshot crush crowd past. Thin plastic tape and star droppers we all that separated me from the action. Star droppers. How safe can that be?

Race after race rolled by. My ears rang with the noise. Time for the feature race. Deep, menacing sounds from the 500cc stickies. I stood frozen in place - a bit too frozen - staring up the hill as the contenders pushed at the gate, blue smoke rising, helmet peaks pointed at front mudguards. At the gun the sound of the bikes rattled through my chest. WARRP! WARRP! WARRP! A grin stretched the skin on my wind burned face. I automatically reached my arm towards the tape barrier as the pack roared past, and what seemed like several seconds after they'd flashed by, it rained clods of thick, heavy earth. They fell like big, soft golf balls. I remember picking one off my shoulder where it had stuck, holding it in my hand and marvelling at this little chunk of real estate, complete with clay on the bottom and grass on top. A chunk of earthy cake torn from the ground by a fresh, sharp knobby tyre and launched by one of the finest dirt bikes in the country at that time. It was a marvellous moment, but as I looked around, grinning, it almost surprised me that I had no one to share the moment with. I'd come here alone, and until this day, every significant biking moment I'd enjoyed I'd always shared with a brother or a mate. Going it alone seemed a bit hollow by comparison.

The race was tight and hard fought to the very end. By the last lap there were no colours anymore but brown. Every single bike and rider, even the leaders, were covered in mud. Mister Motocross was dirty work, and up so close it was petty obvious it was also hard work. These guys were athletes. I felt like I was witnessing something very important, and in the years following I'd come to realise that I'd been lucky enough to be there as real, outdoor motocross was played out on open class two strokes for one of the final times. It probably passed without many other people even noticing, but it meant a lot to me.

As though on cue, light but steady rain started falling as the final race ended. The crowd had already thinned out quite a bit, no doubt plenty of spectators failing to see the funny side of the constant chilling wind. I made my way to the XR, eager to start the trip home, but worried I might not make it to the first servo. There's something very grim about starting a journey unsure of the distance to your first stop, but already on reserve and realising there's nothing to spare if you've got it wrong. The way I saw it, I probably had about 30 kays of juice left, and I was banking on the first BP being no more than 20 kays down the road.

I made it. I fuelled up, wet and freezing, and walked in to the store to pay, forming my own personal puddle as I fished damp notes from my pockets with hands already numb and blue. The dear old lady behind the register looked genuinely worried.

"You got far to go, love?"

"I reckon a couple of hours, maybe a bit less."

"You got anything to wear on top of that?"

"Nup."

With that, she rummaged around in a drawer under the counter and dragged out a big, green plastic garbage bag. "Take off your jersey, cut a head hole and two arm holes in the sealed end of this, put it on, tuck it into your jeans and put your jersey back on. It'll help keep the wind from slicing through you so badly."
__________________
Current: '06 Daytona 675 ('08 BEARS winning bike - Chris Panayi) White with Pitty's Custom Vinyls TTC decals STM Slipper Clutch Braking wave rotors with folding/adjustable levers GB engine covers Valter Moto Rearsets Race kit detent wheel & idle adjuster 1050 throttle tube Captive Wheel Spacers MotoGems bling Vortex clip-ons, Stomp grip 520 conversion Puig screen Madaz slip-on Intake flapper & Ex-up removed Swing-arm pivot mod. Thinner head gasket Custom tune
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Old 01-02-13, 21:24   #106
bluedaytona02
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Default

A return to classic OB tales...

Help - by Kym Liebig
I grew up as a working kid on an orchard, where my Dad grew mostly avocados. Evenings after school myself and my two brothers worked on the orchard. Saturdays we worked. Sunday mornings we went to church, Sunday afternoons we did what we liked. Ah, those precious Sunday afternoon hours. We never wasted so much as a second.

Dirty riding was king when I was a teenager, and the king of dirt riding was crowned Australia's Mister Motocross each year. Supercross (is it any coincidence my iPad automatically corrects it to 'super toss?') was yet to be invented, with its indoor events, tight tracks and rock star riders. In my high school years motocross riders weren't the mega-sponsored poster boys that supercross riders are today. The best comparison I can make is to hold up 1980's Australian cricketers alongside today's players. Cricketers back then were beer-swilling he-men wearing open necked shirts that exposed plenty of chest hair and at least one gold chain. They were all at least six feet five inches tall, swore like troopers, sported moustaches big enough to shame a walrus, and women fainted at the very sight of them. And possibly at the smell, too. There was a hell of a lot of Brut 33 being sprayed around back then, after all.

Cricketers back then made today's funny little squad of guys look pretty tame, and motocross riders were no different. Well, possibly no different except that very few people knew who they were. Supercross isn't exactly a high profile sport in Australia even today, and way back in the Mister Motocross days, MX was well and truly under the radar of the average person on the street. But to the dirt riding faithful, motocrossers were ironclad heroes. Tracks were outdoors, rough as a brickie's handshake and utterly daunting to ride. And the bikes? None of these effeminate four bangers, thank you very much. Mister Motocross was 'open class' and by that I mean 500cc two strokes. Monster power that was put to use all the way up through the gears along 'straights' that would shake your teeth out. Big, big power wrapped up in a package devised at least ten years before handling or brakes had been invented. Double leading shoes? Isn't that some sort of tap dance troupe? And you could only get upside down forks by crashing in a truly spectacular manner.

Stephen Gall. Jeff Leisk. Anthony Gunter. Larger than life riders to me. I had posters of them in full flight plastered all over my bedroom walls, although locked as I was into my work/school/work routine, seeing any of these heroes in action up close and live seemed about as likely as bumping into Elle MacPherson filming the latest Tab Cola TV ad down at the river front near the ferry crossing. But a guy's gotta dream, right?

My sixteenth year rolled around and the South Australian Mister Motocross round was announced for the autumn of that year. The round was to be held just a couple of hours' drive from where I lived, but I wrote off the date as soon as it came up...it was a Saturday, and Saturdays were always work days. I knew I needn't even ask for the day off, so I didn't bother. I had a brand new Honda XR250, so life was pretty good anyhow. Maybe Mister Motocross wasn't such a big deal. I'd get there one day, perhaps after I'd left home.

Or perhaps sooner.

My Dad is a pilot, and when I was in my teens, any time Dad wasn't working, he was building aircraft. Yep, that's it, Dad is from the 'don't buy it, build it' school. The first aircraft he built (and a plane he's still flying today) was a Rutan Long Ez, a strangely named, weird-but-beautiful craft built from fibreglass. Fibreglass is a tough taskmaster. Once you start work on a major component, you can't stop until the component is complete. Any delays mean the part could cure before it is in final shape. So once the epoxy is mixed, the clock is ticking. Placing the glass cloth over a foam core, stippling in the epoxy and squeegeeing off the excess is known as 'laying up'. As it happened, on Mister Motocross Saturday, my Dad planned to lay up a full wing, and lay ups don't get much bigger than that.

You might think that a lay up day would mean all hands in deck, but no. As it happened, my younger brother had proved to be something of a fibreglass prodigy. Me? Let's just say I was pretty much useless. I timidly enquired at the dinner table one evening what my role might be on the day. My Dad replied gruffly;

"Dunno. Do whatever you want I s'pose."

A day off? I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. So I pushed my luck and asked if I could go to Mister Motocross that day.

"Mister bloody what? That race thing? Buggered if I know. Look, if you can pay for your own ticket and it's okay with your Mum, then yeah. Just don't do anything stupid or get into any strife, alright?"

This would be my first solo bike trip away from my hometown since I'd picked up my licence. My Mum was worried how I'd fare out on the highway, but always the softie, she reluctantly gave the nod. I almost had a nosebleed. For me this was Disneyland, space travel, several Christmases and possibly loss of virginity all rolled into one and sprinkled liberally with chilli sauce.

I planned the trip as though I was going around the world. Fuel range to empty and range on reserve. Which tools to take. Backpack or no backpack? Food. Weather. I possibly even considered the phases of the moon. One thing was for sure, the planets had aligned in my favour. This was going to be the adventure of a lifetime. Well, from my humble perspective, anyhow.

The big day dawned. I awoke, pinched myself and found I wasn't dreaming. A good start. The XR awaited, everything adjusted perfectly, the tank brimming with fuel. Geared up and with a decent country breakfast on board, I swung twice on the kickstart of the bike and it barked into life, the Super Trapp muffler burbling away nicely. I stared at the sky. Cool. Overcast. Very unusual...the forecast had said fine and warm. I rolled around to the garage where work on the plane was already underway, the roller doors wound open to keep the fibreglass fumes to a minimum. Mum waved and smiled. No-one else looked up. I rode down the dirt orchard driveway, turned onto the Sturt Highway and wound the XR up through the gears.

Scarcely fifteen minutes later and with my hometown already well behind me, a few stark facts that might impact on my progress had already made themselves apparent. It had seemed cool back at home, but out on the road it was plain old cold. A towering, lanky geek perched atop a tall dirt bike riding into a stiff headwind, I may as well have been a skinny spinnaker. The tiny speedo on the XR, needle waving wildly, indicated that we were barely able to maintain 90 kilometres an hour. I dared not cane the bike any harder, not just out of mechanical sympathy but also through fear that fuel economy would fall away dramatically enough to prevent me making my first stop. And I was already looking forward to that first stop, because my choice of riding gear had proven to be pretty dismal. I was outfitted in a t-shirt, vented MX helmet, goggles, jersey and gloves, jeans and MX boots. I'd only gone with jeans because I'd decided that I'd need the pockets my MX pants lacked. I was dressed for an average, warm day of dirt riding, not a slab of cold hours on the highway. I shivered. Light rain fell now and then, stinging my neck and piercing my jersey like handfuls of icy needles. I kept the throttle wound open - who'd have thought you could get a sore wrist from that? - and kept riding, wishing I'd packed a spray jacket in my backpack.

I made the first fuel stop, filled up, drank hot tea and wolfed lollies - fuel that I reckoned my skinny bod would need to help keep itself warm. Half way. Leaving the service station, I chose to ride the rest of the way on back roads and dirt tracks, anything to keep me moving around on the bike, and to get away from the semis that came up behind at 120 kays an hour, closing in fast and blasting past without missing a beat in a storm of diesel fumes, noise and gravel spray. I was tired of watching my mirrors for them and retreating to the verge at the sound of their air horns. So at the risk of taking a bit longer to get to the race, I chose the web of back roads over the highway. It immediately felt good to be back on the dirt.

It didn't feel so good to be lost, and I got lost twice, wasting precious time and fuel back tracking. In fact the XR ran onto reserve as I rolled into the parking area. I'd have to take the highway all the way home to be sure of my fuel stops, but for the time being I just congratulated myself in having made it, and having planned well enough to be carrying a little square of plywood to put under my side stand to stop it sinking into the damp soil of the parking area. It was time to see some racing.

I sought out some hot food, and felt pretty good again munching on a meat pie and slurping hot tea as the support races were run. The sun came out for long enough to dry my damp clothes and I stopped shivering. There was nowhere to sit, but for now that didn't seem to matter. I was up close to the colour, noise and smell of real racing.

Lunch time. Another pie seemed like a good idea, not because they were good pies (are there good pies?) but more because they were hot. The sun had gone away but left the biting wind, whipping across the open track, whistling in my ears as I turned my head to watch the holeshot crush crowd past. Thin plastic tape and star droppers we all that separated me from the action. Star droppers. How safe can that be?

Race after race rolled by. My ears rang with the noise. Time for the feature race. Deep, menacing sounds from the 500cc stickies. I stood frozen in place - a bit too frozen - staring up the hill as the contenders pushed at the gate, blue smoke rising, helmet peaks pointed at front mudguards. At the gun the sound of the bikes rattled through my chest. WARRP! WARRP! WARRP! A grin stretched the skin on my wind burned face. I automatically reached my arm towards the tape barrier as the pack roared past, and what seemed like several seconds after they'd flashed by, it rained clods of thick, heavy earth. They fell like big, soft golf balls. I remember picking one off my shoulder where it had stuck, holding it in my hand and marvelling at this little chunk of real estate, complete with clay on the bottom and grass on top. A chunk of earthy cake torn from the ground by a fresh, sharp knobby tyre and launched by one of the finest dirt bikes in the country at that time. It was a marvellous moment, but as I looked around, grinning, it almost surprised me that I had no one to share the moment with. I'd come here alone, and until this day, every significant biking moment I'd enjoyed I'd always shared with a brother or a mate. Going it alone seemed a bit hollow by comparison.

The race was tight and hard fought to the very end. By the last lap there were no colours anymore but brown. Every single bike and rider, even the leaders, were covered in mud. Mister Motocross was dirty work, and up so close it was petty obvious it was also hard work. These guys were athletes. I felt like I was witnessing something very important, and in the years following I'd come to realise that I'd been lucky enough to be there as real, outdoor motocross was played out on open class two strokes for one of the final times. It probably passed without many other people even noticing, but it meant a lot to me.

As though on cue, light but steady rain started falling as the final race ended. The crowd had already thinned out quite a bit, no doubt plenty of spectators failing to see the funny side of the constant chilling wind. I made my way to the XR, eager to start the trip home, but worried I might not make it to the first servo. There's something very grim about starting a journey unsure of the distance to your first stop, but already on reserve and realising there's nothing to spare if you've got it wrong. The way I saw it, I probably had about 30 kays of juice left, and I was banking on the first BP being no more than 20 kays down the road.

I made it. I fuelled up, wet and freezing, and walked in to the store to pay, forming my own personal puddle as I fished damp notes from my pockets with hands already numb and blue. The dear old lady behind the register looked genuinely worried.

"You got far to go, love?"

"I reckon a couple of hours, maybe a bit less."

"You got anything to wear on top of that?"

"Nup."

With that, she rummaged around in a drawer under the counter and dragged out a big, green plastic garbage bag. "Take off your jersey, cut a head hole and two arm holes in the sealed end of this, put it on, tuck it into your jeans and put your jersey back on. It'll help keep the wind from slicing through you so badly."
__________________
Current: '06 Daytona 675 ('08 BEARS winning bike - Chris Panayi) White with Pitty's Custom Vinyls TTC decals STM Slipper Clutch Braking wave rotors with folding/adjustable levers GB engine covers Valter Moto Rearsets Race kit detent wheel & idle adjuster 1050 throttle tube Captive Wheel Spacers MotoGems bling Vortex clip-ons, Stomp grip 520 conversion Puig screen Madaz slip-on Intake flapper & Ex-up removed Swing-arm pivot mod. Thinner head gasket Custom tune
Status: Offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-13, 21:25   #107
bluedaytona02
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,716
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Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

A return to classic OB tales...

Help - by Kym Liebig
I grew up as a working kid on an orchard, where my Dad grew mostly avocados. Evenings after school myself and my two brothers worked on the orchard. Saturdays we worked. Sunday mornings we went to church, Sunday afternoons we did what we liked. Ah, those precious Sunday afternoon hours. We never wasted so much as a second.

Dirty riding was king when I was a teenager, and the king of dirt riding was crowned Australia's Mister Motocross each year. Supercross (is it any coincidence my iPad automatically corrects it to 'super toss?') was yet to be invented, with its indoor events, tight tracks and rock star riders. In my high school years motocross riders weren't the mega-sponsored poster boys that supercross riders are today. The best comparison I can make is to hold up 1980's Australian cricketers alongside today's players. Cricketers back then were beer-swilling he-men wearing open necked shirts that exposed plenty of chest hair and at least one gold chain. They were all at least six feet five inches tall, swore like troopers, sported moustaches big enough to shame a walrus, and women fainted at the very sight of them. And possibly at the smell, too. There was a hell of a lot of Brut 33 being sprayed around back then, after all.

Cricketers back then made today's funny little squad of guys look pretty tame, and motocross riders were no different. Well, possibly no different except that very few people knew who they were. Supercross isn't exactly a high profile sport in Australia even today, and way back in the Mister Motocross days, MX was well and truly under the radar of the average person on the street. But to the dirt riding faithful, motocrossers were ironclad heroes. Tracks were outdoors, rough as a brickie's handshake and utterly daunting to ride. And the bikes? None of these effeminate four bangers, thank you very much. Mister Motocross was 'open class' and by that I mean 500cc two strokes. Monster power that was put to use all the way up through the gears along 'straights' that would shake your teeth out. Big, big power wrapped up in a package devised at least ten years before handling or brakes had been invented. Double leading shoes? Isn't that some sort of tap dance troupe? And you could only get upside down forks by crashing in a truly spectacular manner.

Stephen Gall. Jeff Leisk. Anthony Gunter. Larger than life riders to me. I had posters of them in full flight plastered all over my bedroom walls, although locked as I was into my work/school/work routine, seeing any of these heroes in action up close and live seemed about as likely as bumping into Elle MacPherson filming the latest Tab Cola TV ad down at the river front near the ferry crossing. But a guy's gotta dream, right?

My sixteenth year rolled around and the South Australian Mister Motocross round was announced for the autumn of that year. The round was to be held just a couple of hours' drive from where I lived, but I wrote off the date as soon as it came up...it was a Saturday, and Saturdays were always work days. I knew I needn't even ask for the day off, so I didn't bother. I had a brand new Honda XR250, so life was pretty good anyhow. Maybe Mister Motocross wasn't such a big deal. I'd get there one day, perhaps after I'd left home.

Or perhaps sooner.

My Dad is a pilot, and when I was in my teens, any time Dad wasn't working, he was building aircraft. Yep, that's it, Dad is from the 'don't buy it, build it' school. The first aircraft he built (and a plane he's still flying today) was a Rutan Long Ez, a strangely named, weird-but-beautiful craft built from fibreglass. Fibreglass is a tough taskmaster. Once you start work on a major component, you can't stop until the component is complete. Any delays mean the part could cure before it is in final shape. So once the epoxy is mixed, the clock is ticking. Placing the glass cloth over a foam core, stippling in the epoxy and squeegeeing off the excess is known as 'laying up'. As it happened, on Mister Motocross Saturday, my Dad planned to lay up a full wing, and lay ups don't get much bigger than that.

You might think that a lay up day would mean all hands in deck, but no. As it happened, my younger brother had proved to be something of a fibreglass prodigy. Me? Let's just say I was pretty much useless. I timidly enquired at the dinner table one evening what my role might be on the day. My Dad replied gruffly;

"Dunno. Do whatever you want I s'pose."

A day off? I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. So I pushed my luck and asked if I could go to Mister Motocross that day.

"Mister bloody what? That race thing? Buggered if I know. Look, if you can pay for your own ticket and it's okay with your Mum, then yeah. Just don't do anything stupid or get into any strife, alright?"

This would be my first solo bike trip away from my hometown since I'd picked up my licence. My Mum was worried how I'd fare out on the highway, but always the softie, she reluctantly gave the nod. I almost had a nosebleed. For me this was Disneyland, space travel, several Christmases and possibly loss of virginity all rolled into one and sprinkled liberally with chilli sauce.

I planned the trip as though I was going around the world. Fuel range to empty and range on reserve. Which tools to take. Backpack or no backpack? Food. Weather. I possibly even considered the phases of the moon. One thing was for sure, the planets had aligned in my favour. This was going to be the adventure of a lifetime. Well, from my humble perspective, anyhow.

The big day dawned. I awoke, pinched myself and found I wasn't dreaming. A good start. The XR awaited, everything adjusted perfectly, the tank brimming with fuel. Geared up and with a decent country breakfast on board, I swung twice on the kickstart of the bike and it barked into life, the Super Trapp muffler burbling away nicely. I stared at the sky. Cool. Overcast. Very unusual...the forecast had said fine and warm. I rolled around to the garage where work on the plane was already underway, the roller doors wound open to keep the fibreglass fumes to a minimum. Mum waved and smiled. No-one else looked up. I rode down the dirt orchard driveway, turned onto the Sturt Highway and wound the XR up through the gears.

Scarcely fifteen minutes later and with my hometown already well behind me, a few stark facts that might impact on my progress had already made themselves apparent. It had seemed cool back at home, but out on the road it was plain old cold. A towering, lanky geek perched atop a tall dirt bike riding into a stiff headwind, I may as well have been a skinny spinnaker. The tiny speedo on the XR, needle waving wildly, indicated that we were barely able to maintain 90 kilometres an hour. I dared not cane the bike any harder, not just out of mechanical sympathy but also through fear that fuel economy would fall away dramatically enough to prevent me making my first stop. And I was already looking forward to that first stop, because my choice of riding gear had proven to be pretty dismal. I was outfitted in a t-shirt, vented MX helmet, goggles, jersey and gloves, jeans and MX boots. I'd only gone with jeans because I'd decided that I'd need the pockets my MX pants lacked. I was dressed for an average, warm day of dirt riding, not a slab of cold hours on the highway. I shivered. Light rain fell now and then, stinging my neck and piercing my jersey like handfuls of icy needles. I kept the throttle wound open - who'd have thought you could get a sore wrist from that? - and kept riding, wishing I'd packed a spray jacket in my backpack.

I made the first fuel stop, filled up, drank hot tea and wolfed lollies - fuel that I reckoned my skinny bod would need to help keep itself warm. Half way. Leaving the service station, I chose to ride the rest of the way on back roads and dirt tracks, anything to keep me moving around on the bike, and to get away from the semis that came up behind at 120 kays an hour, closing in fast and blasting past without missing a beat in a storm of diesel fumes, noise and gravel spray. I was tired of watching my mirrors for them and retreating to the verge at the sound of their air horns. So at the risk of taking a bit longer to get to the race, I chose the web of back roads over the highway. It immediately felt good to be back on the dirt.

It didn't feel so good to be lost, and I got lost twice, wasting precious time and fuel back tracking. In fact the XR ran onto reserve as I rolled into the parking area. I'd have to take the highway all the way home to be sure of my fuel stops, but for the time being I just congratulated myself in having made it, and having planned well enough to be carrying a little square of plywood to put under my side stand to stop it sinking into the damp soil of the parking area. It was time to see some racing.

I sought out some hot food, and felt pretty good again munching on a meat pie and slurping hot tea as the support races were run. The sun came out for long enough to dry my damp clothes and I stopped shivering. There was nowhere to sit, but for now that didn't seem to matter. I was up close to the colour, noise and smell of real racing.

Lunch time. Another pie seemed like a good idea, not because they were good pies (are there good pies?) but more because they were hot. The sun had gone away but left the biting wind, whipping across the open track, whistling in my ears as I turned my head to watch the holeshot crush crowd past. Thin plastic tape and star droppers we all that separated me from the action. Star droppers. How safe can that be?

Race after race rolled by. My ears rang with the noise. Time for the feature race. Deep, menacing sounds from the 500cc stickies. I stood frozen in place - a bit too frozen - staring up the hill as the contenders pushed at the gate, blue smoke rising, helmet peaks pointed at front mudguards. At the gun the sound of the bikes rattled through my chest. WARRP! WARRP! WARRP! A grin stretched the skin on my wind burned face. I automatically reached my arm towards the tape barrier as the pack roared past, and what seemed like several seconds after they'd flashed by, it rained clods of thick, heavy earth. They fell like big, soft golf balls. I remember picking one off my shoulder where it had stuck, holding it in my hand and marvelling at this little chunk of real estate, complete with clay on the bottom and grass on top. A chunk of earthy cake torn from the ground by a fresh, sharp knobby tyre and launched by one of the finest dirt bikes in the country at that time. It was a marvellous moment, but as I looked around, grinning, it almost surprised me that I had no one to share the moment with. I'd come here alone, and until this day, every significant biking moment I'd enjoyed I'd always shared with a brother or a mate. Going it alone seemed a bit hollow by comparison.

The race was tight and hard fought to the very end. By the last lap there were no colours anymore but brown. Every single bike and rider, even the leaders, were covered in mud. Mister Motocross was dirty work, and up so close it was petty obvious it was also hard work. These guys were athletes. I felt like I was witnessing something very important, and in the years following I'd come to realise that I'd been lucky enough to be there as real, outdoor motocross was played out on open class two strokes for one of the final times. It probably passed without many other people even noticing, but it meant a lot to me.

As though on cue, light but steady rain started falling as the final race ended. The crowd had already thinned out quite a bit, no doubt plenty of spectators failing to see the funny side of the constant chilling wind. I made my way to the XR, eager to start the trip home, but worried I might not make it to the first servo. There's something very grim about starting a journey unsure of the distance to your first stop, but already on reserve and realising there's nothing to spare if you've got it wrong. The way I saw it, I probably had about 30 kays of juice left, and I was banking on the first BP being no more than 20 kays down the road.
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Old 01-02-13, 21:25   #108
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continued...


I made it. I fuelled up, wet and freezing, and walked in to the store to pay, forming my own personal puddle as I fished damp notes from my pockets with hands already numb and blue. The dear old lady behind the register looked genuinely worried.

"You got far to go, love?"

"I reckon a couple of hours, maybe a bit less."

"You got anything to wear on top of that?"

"Nup."

With that, she rummaged around in a drawer under the counter and dragged out a big, green plastic garbage bag. "Take off your jersey, cut a head hole and two arm holes in the sealed end of this, put it on, tuck it into your jeans and put your jersey back on. It'll help keep the wind from slicing through you so badly."

She was right. Out on the road the garbage bag undershirt made a real difference. In fact, from that day forward when I rode dirt bikes, I always packed a garbage bag in my tool roll or my back pack, just in case.

The remaining distance to home was pure misery. The rain set in. The skies grew increasingly dark. I lost all feeling in my face, hands and knees, but just rode relentlessly onwards, hunched down as low as I could get, trying to get out of the wind, watching my mirrors for those bloody homicidal interstate freight trucks.

Arriving home felt amazing...sheer relief. Dad and my brothers laughed and shook their heads as I walked into the warm house, soaked and shivering. Mum sent me straight off to a hot shower - like I needed any coaxing. Pins and needles signalled feeling slowly coming back to my extremities. Dinner, a huge plate brimming with beef casserole and mashed potato, was heavenly. Warmth, relief, satisfaction and fatigue washed over me. Sleep came very easily that night.

In a lot of ways, the whole adventure was pretty miserable. Sure, there were high points, but overall my day had been tough, cold, tiring and uncomfortable, even lonely at times. I laugh at some of the stupid mistakes I made when I look back now. I also think about the advice given to me by a friend a few years ago when I confessed to her that I was having second thoughts about an interstate bike trip I had been planning, as it looked like the weather would be bad, I'd be pressed for time, and I had no option other than to sleep in a two-man tent for three days.

"For goodness sake, Kym, don't let things like that put you off," she said. "What you must keep in mind is that the journeys you take that involve hardship are the ones you'll remember best, and they'll teach you things about yourself, too. People value comfort too much nowadays. Too often we look at adventure and see only hardship."

So here's to dumb decisions, memories of Mister Motocross, and the wise advice of my friend and mentor Ginny.
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Old 01-12-13, 02:43   #109
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Ed - by Kym Liebig
I had recovered from my one and only catastrophic bike crash pretty well. I guess you bounce back quickly when you’re young, with elastic bones and muscles that seemingly heal as fast as Wolverine from the X-Men. Although the crash had written off my awful little Kawasaki dirt bike and torn all the ligaments off my right knee, the incident had put me off biking for, oh, about three seconds. Possibly less.

I got around on crutches for awhile, with a lightweight cast from my hip to my ankle. If you’re considering a lightweight leg cast any time in the future, let me mention right up front the biggest drawback – going to the loo. Perhaps short people cope better, but when you’re tall and lanky and you sit down for number twosies and one of your legs can’t bend so must point straight ahead, closing the door becomes impossible unless you have a loo the size of the Queen Elizabeth Royal Dunny. So there you have it. Lightweight casts lead to open door loo sessions, and let me assure you that this is no fun for anyone in the house, and downright catastrophic should nature call when you’re in a public pace. But I digress.

Soon enough I was out of the cast, and I went from hopping to hobbling to my trademark biker’s limp very quickly. The demise of the Kawasaki also opened the door for the purchase of a decent bike, too, and I bought a brand new XR250, my pride and joy, with money I’d earned working on Dad’s orchard. There were a few ginger moments learning to kickstart the bike with my tender knee, but again, pretty soon I had that sussed.

To this day I’ve no idea precisely what happened during the crash, but somehow I’d picked up a couple of decent scalp wounds, and these, along with a good old smack in the face from the chin guard (You wear an open face helmet? Good luck with that!) meant that I’d done plenty of bleeding inside the AGV motocross helmet I’d been wearing at the time. I’d replaced it with a Bell Moto 3, but I kept the old AGV out on the back verandah as a kind of gory souvenir. I’d have kept it in my room, but my Mum was less enthusiastic about gory souvenirs than I was. Seeing as she’d okayed the purchase of the XR, I was happy enough with the compromise.

It’s pretty likely the gear I’d been wearing when I crashed had saved my life, so from that day forward I really ramped up the standard. MX boots, gloves, armour, I wore the whole ensemble every time I rode. I’ve never crashed on the road, but the gear I wear has saved my skin more than a few times in dirt crashes.

Of course, Ed felt differently about protection.

I think everyone knows an Ed, or at least knew an Ed when growing up. Ed was that sweet-natured, naturally happy kid with very questionable personal hygiene. Ed was a bit on the nose, frankly, but blissfully unaware of the fact. He’d show up at your house on a Sunday afternoon wearing his school uniform, and on Monday he’d show up still wearing it, all stains, marks and spillages intact. If Ed borrowed your BMX bike, when he handed it back the grips would be somewhere between sticky and greasy, so no-one really loaned their bikes to Ed very much. Often, people like Ed transform themselves when they hit their middle teens and girls become important, but not our Ed. He stuck to his guns, remaining as whiffy and carefree as ever. All this said, he was the nicest guy you’d ever care to meet, and it was impossible not to like the guy. You just had to remember to stand upwind.

One lazy Sunday afternoon I was down at the riverfront on the XR when Ed waved me down. No school uniform this time, just shorts, flip-flops and a white/grey t-shirt.

“Hey, you wanna go for a ride?”

“I’m going for a ride right now. What do you mean?”

“I got a bike. A KDX. It’s great! It’s back at my place.”

“Why aren’t you on it right now?”

“It’s a long story…”

And it really was a long story. As it happened, Ed’s Dad had been owed money by a guy who’d given him the KDX as part payment. The reasons Ed wasn’t victoriously cruising around on the KDX were many, but the short version goes something like this – the KDX was ratty, had no lights or blinkers, no rego, and Ed had neither bike gear nor a bike licence. But being Ed, he wasn’t about to let any of this stand in his way.

“You got a lid? If I can just borrow a lid, we could sneak down to the track by the railway and blast around!”

“I’ve got the AGV I crashed in, but you don’t want to wear that. It’s pretty nasty.”

“Bullshit! That was a really flash helmet!”

“It stinks.”

“Dink us up to your place and let’s have a look.”

We waited until the police van was seen driving onto the river ferry and departing for the other side – a standard approach before attempting any illegal shenanigans in my home town – then Ed jumped on the back of the XR and we took off to my place. The AGV sat on top of the hot water system on the back verandah, surrounded by a halo of flies. It was the first time I’d really looked at it since the crash. It reeked like roadkill, and if you pushed a finger into the once soft foam padding inside – originally blue but now rust brown – it made a crunching sound, like squashing a Cheezel in your hand.

“See what I mean? That’s just rank.”

To my horror, Ed put the helmet on his head. It was about two sizes too big for him, but he beamed from inside it.

“It’s great! Fits pretty good, too. Can I borrow it?”

“You can have it.”

The arrangement sealed to mutual satisfaction, we hightailed it to Ed’s place, feeling completely legal and bulletproof now that Ed was actually wearing a helmet.

Arriving at Ed’s, we walked into a dark, lean-to shed full of tractors and drums of orchard pesticide chemicals. Forlornly leaning against the back wall was a Kawasaki KDX175 that had seen a very hard life indeed. Ed was fizzing with enthusiasm as he wheeled it out into the light. It looked like it was held together by cable ties, grime, and that stubborn Japanese character that just doesn’t know when to say die.

“It starts first kick every time.”

Through instant reflex one of my eyebrows shot up underneath my hairline and stayed there. It only slid grudgingly back down when Ed jumped on the green horror, gave one half-hearted kick, and the bike burst into smokey, rattling life. Ed always had a smile at the ready, but at this point you couldn’t have scrubbed the grin off his face with a wire brush.

“She’s a bit smokey I know, but only ‘cause I pinched lawnmower juice to top her up. It clears up soon enough. So let’s ride, eh?”

“You gonna get some gear on?”

Ed looked taken aback, but when I didn’t just walk over to the XR right away, he hit the kill switch on the KDX, dropped it on its side like a kid might drop a pushbike on a lawn, (the bike had no side stand) trotted behind the shed and appeared a moment later, having replaced his flip flops with elastic sided boots, worn without socks.

“That’s it?”

“That’s all I’ve got. We gonna ride or arse about until it gets dark?”

I shook my head and strapped my helmet on. By the time I got the XR fired up, Ed was cutting noisy, smokey donuts in the sand outside the old shed, causing his Mum to walk out onto the verandah and shout angrily at us in Italian. I don’t speak any Italian, but it seemed like a good idea to get going. She was even louder than Ed’s bike.

Now kitted out in a helmet and boots, I think Ed was as close to road legal as I’d ever seen him, despite his lack of a licence or rego on his bike, so he led straight down the highway to the old railway track without bothering to take back roads. We cut off the highway, over the railway tracks and we were there. This was the dirt track everyone chose first when they had to test something out or just ride in the dirt without going far out of town. It was narrow, rough as guts and littered with rocks the size of potatoes. It followed close along the railway line for awhile, then cut off into mallee bushland, cut through an old quarry (which featured several mullock heaps that had become jumps) and back to the railway line. Passing opportunities were few, and if you came off, chances were you’d be dealing with trees or rocks, as there was bugger all runoff anywhere.

Ed took off like a rocket. I’m not sure when the smoke from his bike was supposed to clear up…perhaps when he ran out of fuel? It was like following a diesel crop duster. Between the dust and the smoke I could barely see a thing, although I spotted Ed bouncing around up front now and then, hanging off the bike like a flag. The KDX had once been an excellent bike – certainly closer to a real racer than my XR ever was – but the damping no longer damped, the forks just bounced around, and the handling overall had obviously gone away long ago. I’d ridden a near new KDX once and it had been sublime. Ed’s example by comparison looked like a suicide machine.

Although I wasn’t enjoying the dust and smoke, there was no way I was going to try for a pass on the narrow parts of the track only to have Ed’s bouncing bike take both of us out. I waited two or three laps and made my move as we rode through the quarry section. My XR was barely run in and still had plush suspension that could handle a little bit of jumping. So I stayed close to Ed, got hard on the gas over one of the big mullock heaps and simply held more speed for longer, getting some air and also sneaking ahead.

Ed, like his bike, wasn’t about to give up easily, and I could hear the KDX snapping at my heels for a full two laps before I started to open up a bit of a gap. On the third lap he started to fall back, then as I entered the quarry on the fourth lap, I couldn’t hear him at all anymore, so I took a long look behind.

No Ed.

I hit the kill switch on the XR and listened hard. No KDX noise. So it had finally conked out. But to be on the safe side and avoid a potential head-on meeting, I fired up the XR and kept moving in he direction I was headed instead of doubling back.

It didn’t take long to find Ed. He’d run out of luck at the entry to the left-hander at the end of the straight paralleling the railway line, a corner strewn with rough blue metal and punctuated with exposed tree roots. Ed’s bike wasn’t making any noise, but Ed sure was, and he was moving plenty, too. If you can imagine a break dancer nailed down by one leg, you’d be on the money. Ed was awkwardly pinned down by the bike with his upper body hanging over a washout…there was no way he could get up. With the XR quickly stopped and on its side stand I hauled the KDX off Ed…and couldn’t help but notice the smell of barbecue. Ed was wearing shorts, his calf had been trapped under the exhaust of the bike, and now there was a patch of his skin almost the size of my palm stuck to the pipe, actually sizzling at the edges. I felt a bit pukey.

Ed clutched his leg up to his chest and just repeated over and over “ow ow ow ow ow OW!”, stamping his foot hard on the ground. Eventually he stopped stamping long enough for us to do a quick battle damage check. Apart from the very nasty burn, Ed had gravel rash on both hands, lots of rash on his back, and apparently an enormously sore arse, although I stopped short of asking to see it. We’d both had enough trauma for one day.
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Old 01-12-13, 02:44   #110
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Continued....



In the teen scale of things, Ed’s injuries were critical – not from a health standpoint but from a parental point of view. Ed’s Mum didn’t like bikes one little bit, and Ed feared that if he showed up at home hurt from a crash, the bike would be sold. The problem was that Ed’s injuries weren’t something that could easily be hidden. We needed a plan.

“Hey, if I can just borrow a pair of your jeans, Mum’ll never see the leg and maybe I can get away with it?”

“Firstly, your Mum will wonder how the hell you went riding in shorts and came back in jeans. Secondly, you’re probably gonna have to see a doctor with your leg anyhow.”

“Shit. What a mess.”

Things became messier still when Ed tried to stand and found that he’d also knackered his ankle. There was no way he could start his bike, and I wasn’t about to start it for him and risk him limping home. He was simply too badly hurt to ride, never mind the fact that his bike wasn’t registered and he had no licence. But as always, Ed’s optimism soon bubbled to the surface. As we sat there weighing up our options, he suddenly smiled and patted the stinking old AGV lying beside him in the dust.

“Coulda been a lot worse though, eh? At least I was wearing a helmet!”

Eventually we got Ed, hobbling, hopping and swearing, onto the back of my XR. Feeling like a soldier returning a wounded enemy across no man’s land to the front line, I burbled the XR along the smoothest possible route to Ed’s place, up the long dirt driveway and to the front of his house. His Mum strode out immediately. When she saw two guys on one bike she knew something was up. When Ed needed my help just to get off the XR, she went off completely, first at Ed then at me, then, like some high-pitched lawn sprinkler of verbal abuse, she ripped into both of us. Somewhere along the line she changed gears from English into Italian, and I kinda couldn’t see the point in hanging around any longer. Cowering and apologising, I took off with my tail between my legs, leaving Ed to face the music.

Ed was off school for about a week, and showed up cleaner than I’d ever seen him before, having had the full attention of the district hospital for some time. He had a huge white dressing on his leg, various other bandages here and there, and patches of yellow iodine disinfectant on the minor scrapes. He told me that the KDX had been recovered on the same day by his Dad, but had never even made it back off the ute before being sold to a distant relative for $250. For the time being, Ed’s biking days were over. But he still wore his trademark smile.

“Oh, and hey, don’t worry about my oldies. I told them that if you hadn’t given me that helmet it would have been a lot worse, so they’re actually really thankful now that they know about how you looked after me.”

I don’t know about that. When I occasionally saw Ed’s little Mum out shopping she’d look daggers at me, the sort of scowl that would peel paint. If that was her look of appreciation, Ed had obviously inherited his sunny disposition from someone else in the family line.

Ed healed up fast and we drifted in and out of each other’s lives a bit until I finished school and left town. I don’t know where he is now, but last I heard he’d managed to get himself in some sort of trouble on an unregistered XT500 late one night, so maybe he’s always remained an outlaw dirt biker. I hope he’s doing okay, regardless.

I’m not really sure what this story is about. I certainly didn’t mean it to come off as a sermon about wearing the right gear. Maybe it’s more to do with how bikes insert exclamation marks into the pages of our lives. I didn’t hang around Ed a whole lot, really, but the few times we got together it was always over bikes, and the days we shared were never ordinary…there was usually adventure, there was often trouble, but there were always lots of laughs and fun. We had some great times, and bikes were the catalyst, no doubt about it.

I’m sure you’ve had some days when bikes brought everything together – or tore it all apart – in ways you’ll never forget. If you have, join in the buzz on the MotoBuzz Facebook page and share your story, we’d love to hear from you. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d had a character like Ed in my life.

Or maybe I am?
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Current: '06 Daytona 675 ('08 BEARS winning bike - Chris Panayi) White with Pitty's Custom Vinyls TTC decals STM Slipper Clutch Braking wave rotors with folding/adjustable levers GB engine covers Valter Moto Rearsets Race kit detent wheel & idle adjuster 1050 throttle tube Captive Wheel Spacers MotoGems bling Vortex clip-ons, Stomp grip 520 conversion Puig screen Madaz slip-on Intake flapper & Ex-up removed Swing-arm pivot mod. Thinner head gasket Custom tune
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