Not a ride report: The Sapphire Rally

Discussion in 'Australia' started by lemmiwinks, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. lemmiwinks

    lemmiwinks sometime dirt squirter

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    So in the end, I decided to go to the Sapphire instead of Wintersun. It turned out to be quite enjoyable too, for the most part anyway...

    I did a quick reccy on Thursday (since I had the day off anyway as it was going to be a travel day for the trip to Wintersun) to see if the Freewind was up to the route I intended to take. It handled it no problems so after a lazy Saturday morning, I loaded up the bike under grey skies.

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    and off I go

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    Initially I was going to hit the dirt ASAP but once I got going with the luggage the bike felt really top heavy and I didnt have confidence that I'd get enough weight on the front wheel in the dirt. So I stuck to bitumen for a bit and gained confidence in the handling, then came decision time, did I go straight ahead and be a mouse?

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    Or turn right and be a man?
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    I took the turn as I was feeling good about the bike by now, and to be perfectly honest, its not that tough a road and I was able to cruise at 90-100kph comfortably

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    This wasnt the real aim of my detour though, I wanted to come into Inverell via the "pits" a hangout for riders of registered and unregistered trail bikes and an old stomping ground of mine when I lived there and had my DT200. I could still bail out and take the fast gravel, either way leads to bitumen.

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    Nah, this is the road for me! :wink:

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    From here on its into the scrub. This might be a fire trail or break, I don't know but I do know its not really well maintained (which was kinda the point of going this way). When trees fall, you gotta go around, no one seems to clear them.

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    Some parts are fast, but others are fairly washed out so you have to be a bit careful. I found that once I realised I wasn't on a trail bike, just a road bike with long travel suspension and I slowed down I didn't have any trouble. Actually the luggage really helped on the sandy parts :nod

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    There are even a couple of rocky sections, this track has a little bit of everything. The Freewind soaked it all up.

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    After the pits, I pretty much sat on the tar the rest of the way to the rally. I was going to take this creek crossing, but after my trial on Thursday (I did get through ok) I ended up with both legs wet to just under the knees. The second section of water (peeking out just above the first) is actually much longer and deeper than the first part. No way I was going to tackle that all loaded up.

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    I got to the rally, and as I was getting back on my bike after paying, another bike pulled in behind me. I was checking it out because I was going to meet Mick on his R100GSPD and that was what the bike which was pulling in behind me was. The guy gets off and says "Do you work at the Uni?" I'm thinking faark, Mick must be a detective or something, I didn't tell him where I work! It turns out it was Bruce from the stores department at work. What are the ods?! I didn't even know he rode but in future I shouldn't have much trouble finding someone to ride with, and Bruce knows heaps more backroads than me.

    Anyway since I didn't know anyone else and Bruce tells me he's meeting some folks from QLD I tag along with him and we set up camp with Blue and Jen from the Oz Adventure Rider list. It seems these guys are meeting Mick here too, so all in all I couldn't have planned it better.

    Fires are stoked :D

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    Lies are told, and a good time is had by all. :1drink

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    I'm not feeling so hot the next morning, I think I need to clean out the bladder in my water bag :puke2 A hot cuppa and a bacon and egg roll soon sort that out and its time to get on the road. I did have grand plans of meeting some guys for a ride but I would have had to leave waaaay to early so I decide to give it a miss. I head out of Warialda towards Moree and take the turnoff for Bingara. From there towards Bundarra and then home after a little bit more dirt and some nice tarmac.

    Just 30kms from home I'm exiting a slowish lefthander which leads straight into a similar righthander. On the change of direction I notice the front comes light due to all that luggage but I don't really think much of it when I feel the front start to slide. Before I can say "WTF?" I'm sliding along the road watching my pride and joy grind itself on the bitumen :2cry I'm absolutely gutted. Apart from a few minor spills on my trusty RX125 when I was on my L's and P's (and about a million dirt bike crashes, but they don't count) I've never binned any of my roadies, and this one has less than 4000kms on it. As far as second hand bikes go, it was virtually brand new (1999 model). :2cry:2cry:2cry:2cry:2cry:2cry

    I have to find out why I crashed so I fish the Freewind out of the tabledrain :cry and park it on the side of the road. As I walk back down the road I notice its slightly damp in the shade. WTF? :confused Its 11am fer crying out loud. But I suppose this has been in shade all morning and just never dried out. Its not all that wet, and I was only doing 70-80kph tops but I guess it was plenty wet enough in the circumstances (apologies about the lens flare).

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    My poor, poor, bike. It's all scratched up now, though its hard to see in this photo (and check out the rear brake pedal, thats it over the top of the footpeg!) :cry

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    It looks like my chair took the brunt of the impact and actually probably saved my bike from a lot worse damage. The handlebar weight is badly scratched and only just hanging on there as the screw is badly bent. My dririder jacket did its job perfectly, my gloves lost one zipper, my 3 week old helmet got a scratched visor :cry, my new 60 stinkin' dollar jeans lasted about as long as you'd expect when you're sliding along the tarmac. All I ended up with is a little scratch on my knee which is probably why I'm so pissed off about the material damages. I guess I should be glad I wasn't hurt, but I'd be a damn sight happier if I hadn't crashed in the first place :pissed

    Ah well, apart from chucking my bike down the road I had a good time and IMO the Freewind earned itself adventure bike status :thumb

    Ash.
    #1
  2. jim

    jim n00b

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    Glad you enjoyed the rally ,but bad luck about the crash.
    I would blame that diminutive Bruce Reeves and Blue Blunda for leading you astray on the saturday night.You may have to change the tires for the OCR though.
    Jim
    #2
  3. Too Many Toys

    Too Many Toys Adventure Poseur

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    Tells us about the Freewind, what brand, looks like a modern Honda NX/Dominator.
    #3
  4. lemmiwinks

    lemmiwinks sometime dirt squirter

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    Hi Jim,

    Yeah, they had a hand in it, but it was mostly Mick Jaeger forcing Canadian Club down my throat :yum Seriously though, I drank more water than grog so last night I rinsed my water bladder out with really hot water and stuck it in the freezer. I heard that thats the go for storing Camelbak bladders to stop bacteria and other nasties growing, so hopefully that does the trick.

    I agree about the tyres, they're the original (5 year old) Pirelli MT-80s and apart from anything else I'm pretty sure they're hard as nails now which was probably a contributing factor in my crash. :(:

    Ash.
    #4
  5. lemmiwinks

    lemmiwinks sometime dirt squirter

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    Hi TMT,

    The Freewind, or to give it its full title, Suzuki XF650 Freewind is basically a poor mans F650. At least I'm fairly certain thats the market it was aimed at. It has the exact same motor as a DR650 but with a twin carb head, bigger tank (18 litre), comfy seat and a little screen. I think the suspension is similar to the DR, but shorter travel.

    For some reason they werent real popular out here, but from what I've found searching google, they were real popular in Europe, especially Germany right until they were replaced by the DL650. Well, thats as near as I can tell anyway.

    Ash.
    #5
  6. Burren Rider

    Burren Rider Aussie Adventurer

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    Shame about the crash, but a great report. :thumb That is an excellent road through there, I used to have a ball on it with my DR's. What sort of condition is the track in now (I am hoping to take the V-Strom thru there on Saturday)? There are also some tracks around Mt Topper (?) that are well worth a look. The view from the top is well worth it if you are feeling a bit adventurous.

    If you are looking for blokes to ride with out that way it might be worth tagging along on one of Super Moto's rides if you can. I haven't been on one but I have a mate in Armidale that reckons they are pretty good.
    #6
  7. lemmiwinks

    lemmiwinks sometime dirt squirter

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    Thanks mate. It is a fun little track isnt it, I used to meet up with two other blokes on DR200's and another bloke on a KLX250 and we'd head out to the pine forrest most weekends. It'd start out innocently enough, but me and one of the DR200's would always end up racing the last section into the pine forrest. Last time I was on top of Mt Topper was on my IT250, me and a mate on a CR250 snuck out there. The time before that was on my Yamaha RX125, I nearly toasted the clutch but I got it up there :D

    I reckon you'll be fine on the V Strom, like I said, I didnt have any troubles once I kept in mind what I was riding and stopped trying to ride it like a trail bike. About 30-40kph suited me pretty well for the rougher stuff.

    I think the Super Moto rides might be a bit much for the Freewind. Frosty took them down the Styx river a couple of weeks ago and I lent a mate from work my motocross boots, helmet and goggles as he didnt have any off road gear and he was telling me about it when he got back. There was a bloke on a near new DRZ400 who managed to turn it into a submarine on one of the creek crossings. Apparently all you could see was the whirlpool where the wheel was spinning under the water :eek1

    Look how much I sook when I bin the Freewind, imagine if I took it properly off road :lol3 I think the IT would be better suited to a Super Moto ride, its used to me crashing. :nod

    Ash.
    #7
  8. Burren Rider

    Burren Rider Aussie Adventurer

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    Thanks for the advice on the track. I thought Super Moto also ran a few laid back weekend rides for BM's and the like, maybe it was someone else in Armidale? I'll see if I can find out next time I am talking to Rod.
    #8
  9. lemmiwinks

    lemmiwinks sometime dirt squirter

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    No worries, have fun take some pics if you get the chance. If you dont mind getting your feet wet try that creek crossing. As you head towards Inverell after you come out of the pits, its the right hand turn after the sign pointing to the birdwatching hide. Its not obvious so you'll have to keep an eye out.

    I'll have to ask Frosty, though his idea of laid back is usually fairly different from everyone elses :wink:

    Ash.
    #9
  10. jim

    jim n00b

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    Ash
    In regard to the camelback bladder,put about a tablespoon of bicarb of soda in about 2litres of warm water slosh it around for a while, drain and dry.Makes the Mount Franlin a lot sweeter when you next fill it up.
    Jim
    #10
  11. lemmiwinks

    lemmiwinks sometime dirt squirter

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    Brilliant! Thanks for the tip, I will give it a try. :thumb

    Ash.
    #11
  12. Frank Warner

    Frank Warner Traveller

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    On the cleaning of the camelback -

    Try not to use anything other than water in it .. those sports drinks provide food for the bugs to grow.

    If it is really bad and the bicarb does not work .. there is some stuff beer brewers (umm Chlorine Dioxide?) use to clean their kit, you put some of it in - slosh it around and drain .. then let the fumes kill the bugs - the stuff stinks - oh it also eats metals ..
    #12
  13. lemmiwinks

    lemmiwinks sometime dirt squirter

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    Hi Frank,

    Yeah, this one has never had anything other than water in it, but the trouble is I bought it years ago and just let it sit after using it. I have some of that stuff that I got with my home brew kit, pink powdery stuff it is. I'll give it a whirl if the bicarb doesnt fix it.

    Ash.
    #13
  14. atgreg

    atgreg Africatwinarama

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    Frank,

    I think you mean potassium metabisulphite which is what home brewers use to sterilise bottles.

    This is up my alley as Im a microbioligist, best thing to clean the bladder is about a cup of Vinegar (acetic acid) in a full bladder of water, let it sit for a few hours and clean it out really well with clean water.

    If that doesnt work we have some really good stuff here in the lab but Im not sure you'd want to drink from it again afterwards.
    Greg
    #14
  15. Burren Rider

    Burren Rider Aussie Adventurer

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    Being a lazy bugger when it comes to hygiene, I opted for a camelback tube that fits onto ordinary 1.5Ltr water bottles (I think the brand is a Platypus or Cascade or something like that). That way I can just screw it onto a new bottle each ride. Another advantage in doing this is that water is carried in seperate containers (2 x 1.5Ltr) so the consequences of one leaking aren't as bad.
    #15
  16. lemmiwinks

    lemmiwinks sometime dirt squirter

    Joined:
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    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the tips. It already has a very very slight weep where you mention which I find a little bit annoying (I like my motors to be 100% oil tight), but I can live with it, you have to look hard to find it.

    So far my fuel gauge has been excellent but its nice to know its fixable if it does go belly up. As for the wheel bearings I never even considered them. I'll check them out and keep a close eye on them. About how many kms did you have on yours when they collapsed?

    I find the headlight is actually pretty good, though mine is aimed a bit low at the moment.

    I actually found that page when I was searching for a Freewind to buy! I could only find two for sale but neither was convienently located and when I found that page I considered emailing you to see if you still had yours and if you wanted to sell it :lol3 Here's the really crazy part though, a bit further down that list is a guy located in Sydney. Since it was closer to me, I did fire him off an email asking if he had it still and would he consider selling it. He did, and he did :thumb

    Ash.
    #16
  17. lemmiwinks

    lemmiwinks sometime dirt squirter

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    Yep, had that happen once already but it fixed itself after a short time and hasnt done it again.

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    Yikes, I'll watch out for that one :eek1

    Oh yeah, it on the shopping list but at $270 it will have to wait a while I'm afraid. Its running a close second behind a touring screen, but the decision could go either way as to which gets bought first.

    Ash.
    #17
  18. ozadvntr

    ozadvntr Planning that trip, again

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    MAAATE,

    What happened, I was a bit doughy on leaving the rally as well, must have been something we ate!!!!

    Enjoyed the Rally, had a ball and I love the photo :freaky I thought I was better looking than that. The Bell beanie takes the focus of the face though.

    Pity about your step off, the little bike recovered? much damage ini the way of dollars?

    Look forward to seeing you again. As I conjure a route for the OCR I will inform you.

    MCJ
    #18
  19. lemmiwinks

    lemmiwinks sometime dirt squirter

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    G'day Mick,

    Yep, the rally was a good'un, reckon I'll be back next year.

    The bike is nearly all better, you just reminded me to order a new screw to hold the handle bar weight on (I can't believe I had to buy a screw from Suzuki, but I couldnt find one anywhere else, the joys of living in the country I guess). I didnt even bother pricing the scratched bodywork, I'll just have to live with it till I have some spare $$$ for a respray. The brake pedal was $77 and after getting a few "WTF is a Freewind?" from wreckers I went to work with the propane burner. $4 worth of gas later and I just need to give it a little clean up and a coat of paint and I'm back in business.

    Keep me posted about your OCR route, I'm still undecided. The way Greg and co are heading has the most appeal, and I'm busting to do Cameron Corner/bore track but I tallied it up the other day and its over a week by the time I get over to meet them, get to the rally and then get back. I've never spent that much on the road and I dont know if I can handle/afford it. I'll see which way Bruce goes too, but either way I'll see you there :beer

    Ash.
    #19
  20. Frank Warner

    Frank Warner Traveller

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    I've taken 2 months to do an OCR... and another was 10 days. The 10 day one was all travelling .. no fun at all. I will not do that again.

    1) the more time you spend the more fun you will have.
    2) If you have enought for 1 week you have enough gear for a few months.

    I think I'm taking 3 weeks for this one. Together with another 3 weeks for Tassie in November.. :wink:
    #20