Sunday, November 8, 2009



Congrats to Steve 'Wolfman' Smith and Lance 'Russ' Turnley for getting together a mighty posse of adventure bike riders to head south last Friday from Moss Vale, NSW, to the annual Snowy Ride charity event at Thredbo.

Wolfman and Russ had teamed up with the event organisers to deliver a dedicated adventure bike route at the Snowy Ride on the Saturday, and thought why not go the whole hog and guide any intereted riders down to the event on the Friday, and back again on the Sunday. Why not, indeed!

So a pack of 18 of us gathered at Moss Vale last Friday morning, aboard all sorts of hardware ranging from a couple of classic Yamaha XTZ660 Teneres through BMW F 800 GSs and big-banger KTM 990s and Beemer 1200 GSs. I was mounted aboard our brand new TRAIL ZONE Yamaha XTZ660 Tenere Project Bike, while Russ fronted up aboard our current Husky TE610 Project Bike -- all of us would be chasing the Wolfman and his snarling Big Pig 1200 GS Adventure, which is decked out with more fruit than your local Grower's Market.

The ride started out innocently enough as we followed the tar back-roads through the southern highlands before hitting the dirt at Marulan. Not long after there the fun and games started ... 

Just 30km or so into the bush, Jim Wells managed to pile-drive his Kawasaki KLE500 into a bank after missing a turn in the dust, wrecking the bike's front end and cracking his collarbone in the process! The crazy thing was, he didn't find out it was broken until he made it to Cooma hospital that night. 

Luckily the Wolfman had laid on a support vehicle and trailer, so Jim's shortened KLE could be loaded up and dragged along with us the rest of the way to Thredbo and back again.

Reaching Braidwood we refuelled, then Wolfman took off in the direction of Araluen to find some sweet forest trails to give the boys on road-biased tyres plenty to think about, before climbing back up over the mountains and leading us on a meandering course to Numerella and Kybean before topping up on sausage rolls and lattes for a late afternoon tea at Nimmitabel.

With the sun setting quickly in the west (but of course), the final blast took us across to Berridale, where we bid our fond farewells and took off on the remaining stretch to Jindabyne and Thredbo, depending on relevant accommodation arrangements.

Myself, Russ, Wolfman and sweep riders Clive and Heath from were all bunking down in Thredbo, and as soon as we arrived we tubbed up (seperately, of course, although I did hear Russ asking Wolfman if he needed someone to wash his back ... while picking up the soap ...), before catching the Honda-sponsored dinner with former Aussie GP hero turned commentator, Daryl Beattie, and a pack of luminaries.

With thousands of riders in Thredbo for the event, the proceeds of which go to benefit the Steven Walter Foundation and childhood cancer research, there was definitely a happening vibe in the alpine haven, which saw proceedings kick off early on Saturday morning as the throngs headed out on the respective road bike and adventure ride loops.

Wolfman and Russ had mapped out the adventure bike loops for the event, so once again they took the point as a throng of keen dual-sporters chased their dust. After a quick commute back to Jindabyne, we hit the dirt south of Dalgety and racked up the miles along some of the best dirt back-roads you'll find anywhere in the country. 

By midday we had looped south then north into Cooma, and that was my call to have to bail-out and head back to Sydney to battle with a serious case of deadline-pressure for TRAIL ZONE issue #27, which is in the final stages of production right now.

So as I steered the sweet-running Tenere Project Bike back to Nimmitabel and then Braidwood via Kybeyan, the boys headed north toward Shannons Flat and Adaminaby on some little-used dirt roads that proved to be a hit with the adventure bike contingent.

From there they made a bee-line back to Thredbo for the Snowy Ride's final presentation in the town square, before hitting the sauce and washing the dust from their throats – while paying a collective vote of thanks to Steve and Lance for all their efforts in making the adventure ride component of the event a roaring success. Top job boys!

(Look out for the full story and pix of the Snowy Ride adventure ride in TRAIL ZONE issue #27).

-- Clubby

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