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Old 07-30-2014, 07:54 PM   #1
Tex_Aus OP
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Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Oddometer: 140
2014 Harrow Vinduro (Australia) report

Just thought I’d share my experiences after riding a 1977 Yamaha DT125 to a gold medal* at the 2014 Harrow 100 vinduro (vintage enduro) here in Victoria, Australia last weekend (26-27 July 2014).

Harrow is the premier vinduro event here in Australia. (I should point out that I am a committee member of the club that runs this event, so maybe I’m a bit biased).

A few late nights in the shed leading up to the event saw it finally ready and with Club Permit (this year saw introduction of new format meaning all bikes had to have appropriate highway registration).

Harrow can be a gruelling affair, and it’s usually a long course as well and I was a bit hesitant about relying on the DT alone, so I prepared another bike to bring along as well, a 1981 XT250.

I arrived at Harrow late on Friday night, where my brothers and a mate had set up camp already. The gentle ribbing about the DT125 began as soon as I sat down with a beer, as they would all be riding larger machines. My sibling team mates would be riding a Suzuki TS250X and PE250, my mate a TT600.

The course opened on Saturday at midday, and riders were released three per minute on a cold start format, as is standard procedure at Harrow. We’d only travelled a short distance beyond a water crossing at the start and I was immediately having trouble. The bike was coughing and spluttering and I assumed fouling the plug. It would die completely, but would restart a minute or two later. I waved my teammate on and shortly thereafter the bike seemed to sort itself out.
I soon caught up to another rider on a PE but couldn’t get past him. We came to a creek crossing, and he fell off right in the middle! I thought this was my chance, but as I reached the middle the bike died and I had to put both feet down. Soaking wet boots for the rest of the day!

The second half of the first section was super-tight single trail through thick bush and the little DT was a blast. Once I got to section two, there was a lot of water lying on the ground, and drains we had to cross, and I had to stop constantly. I realised that it was the water itself that was the issue, and so made up a temporary shroud for the plug cap, and wrapped some tape around the frame down tubes to deflect some of the splashing.

This did the trick and I was able to finish the entire loop without any major issues, aside from having to get some assistance pushing up a very steep, muddy slope on the other side of a creek crossing. The chain came off just as I was finishing the course too, but I just slipped it back on and cruised home. Total distance was around 40 – 50kms.

This was the best Harrow course in the six years we’ve been running the event in my opinion. It was challenging but really, really fun.

I was on a high, and decided to ride the DT125 in the morning the following day, and the XT in the afternoon.

After a night of festivities, during which I didn’t over-indulge like the previous year, I couldn’t wait to get on the DT again. There was definitely some sore heads on the starting line amongst my fellow riders though.

I’d fiddled about with my home made shroud before setting off and this was a mistake as I had the same problem with the bike every time it went near water. I also hit a rock early on and bent the brake pedal up into a weird position that made it hard to keep my foot on the peg. Then the pivot bolt came out of the clutch lever perch...

But, I readjusted the shroud, put up with the pedal and secured the lever with cable ties and again had a terrific time traversing the loop. As you could imagine, some of the creek crossings and swamps were becoming pretty chopped up, but I didn’t get stuck in any of them. I paused to help a couple of buddies on a PE175 and SWM 250 get safely across a tricky creek, and one of them helped me get the clutch working a bit better.

Back at the finish line I immediately decided to go for a third lap. I discovered the XT had a flat tyre and so jumped on the DT again. About half way around, some crud must’ve blocked the main jet and I was reduced to an even more humble top speed. I hooked up with a mate on a Honda CT125 and we coasted around the course, enjoying the spectacular scenery. I almost got a closer look than I wanted when I strayed off the track and hit a log, but managed to stay upright.

Overall it was a terrific weekend. There were so many other highlights and aspects to it that I could go on until next year.

Tex

* It’s a non-competitive event, but gold medals were awarded for riders who completed three or more laps of the course over the weekend, silver for two, and bronze for one.
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