Wide of the Mark Destination 1
Adventure ride from Bellingham to Bridport
You can check out more BTS info at Wideofthemark.com.au
Arriving to a cool morning in Devonport Tasmania, our company of 5 riders are on our way to pick up our last rider Max from Akin Moto. Max is waiting in Launceston and his Triumph Bonneville desert sled is in our support vehicle waiting.
We sat the team down for breakfast and set up our Sena Bluetooth systems on each helmet and one in the camera car. These things are handy, but I’m not sure how we will keep them charged on the run. Once the mesh system was set up and we could all chat or listen to music we warmed up the bikes and peeled out.
We hit some highway to get some filming done quickly, but on the way, a few of us already encountered problems. The Harley Sportster and I had a little quarrel regarding the throttle cable. The adjuster had started to unwind from vibration and give me some un-wanted cruise control. Mine was a quick fix, Keeley’s trouble was a little more substantial.
On the highway, Keeleys 1973 Triumph Trophy threw a push rod and rendered the bike un-rideable. On day 1 that’s not a good sign. The bike was thrown in the van so we could carry on and once we met Max, he started repairs. Luckily he could rebuild that thing with his eyes closed and even luckier, we had the parts he needed.
A few hours around the back of a pub in Launceston and we had to move. Still unfixed we threw the bike in the van and headed for the beach. Our first off-road ride was Bellingham to Bridport. Some coastal forest trails, soft sand tracks, dunes, and a pristine stretch of white sand beach. Not bad for the first day off-road.
Keeley at this point was working on his bike in a carpark near the beach. The sun was out, and the location was amazing but he just needed to get the bike going to join us. The rest of the riders, unable to lend a hand jumped on the bikes and headed off the beaten track.
4WD tracks led us to a hillside off-road playpen, where we got a little excited racing around before we hit the beach. Slowly, we started winding our way down to the wide sandy beachfront at Bellingham.
Once we hit the beach, everyone exploded with excitement. All the bikes were wide open, sliding through the harder sand. The team really started getting pumped up!
Emma found a set of sand dunes and decided to start railing a big wide corner that ended in a spectacular crash, no doubt the biggest on the trip.
Hitting some nice headlands on our hunt for a camp spot for the night, we headed east up the beach as the day started to fade away. We found a nice protected spot and unloaded the bikes of our camping gear to prep for a sunset shoot with Alexandra Adoncello our Wide of the Mark Photographer. Then we got a call, Keeley had done all he could that night but still couldn’t get his bike running. So we sent a car up the beach to go grab him so we could all be together for a beer and dinner on our first night.
At this stage, everyone was still learning their bikes, and we threw the hardest lot of riding at them for our first destination. Most bikes will handle a gravel road or easy 4wd track, but soft sand and tight corners will soon show you who you are as a rider.
These bikes definitely weren’t made for it, personally I struggled a lot in the soft sand. The Sportster was fine if you kept moving, but one wrong weight shift, or corner approach and I was either off, or plowing trenches with the fresh knobby on the rear.
I think day 1 I had 2 stacks, day 2 I lost count by 11 am!
We woke up early, the energy was thick with excitement. Quick breakfast and everyone geared up to go shredding. We had enough fun getting out of the campsite, but to get to Bridport we needed to cut across a headland and onto some farming road that led us to town.
The ride up the beach was magic, the Sporty was on the money pushing through the dunes and soft sand. The riders started to get a little more comfortable on their bikes and Justin had a huge run-in with some deep water, disappearing in a wall of spray from one wrong turn.
Everyone was handling the terrain great until we headed off into the dunes to get into town.
Emma on the PBM build nemesis 400 was breezing through it on the nice light bike, and Matty Mac was going pretty well even though his bike decided to run on 2 cylinders that morning.
The Sporty and I were slogging it out for the most part unless it was uphill, it would just sink in if I couldn’t gather enough speed.
At one point I crashed out 3 times in 50 meters, I needed to take a breather, sit down and reset myself. I was exhausted and jumping straight back on wasn’t helping anything. At the end of that section, I gathered myself, jumped on the Sporty, and managed to get standing on the pegs, the rest the bike ate up. I found my flow again in the sand after a good number of years off.
Behind me was Max and Justin, whose low ground clearance was proving difficult, plowing through and throwing the bars all over the place the boys had to sit down and walk the bikes through the sand for most of the track.
Matty’s CB650 ended up running flat and couldn’t be bump started in the soft sand, the guys rigged up some bullshit contraption to the 4×4 and towed him out, it was hilarious.
Once out of the shit, we took a breather and headed for Bridport. We’d just completed the hardest riding we would do all trip. A true test, and a crash course for what to expect the rest of the trip for both bike and rider. At the end of the hard 2 days, I’d organised a great beachside stay at the Bridport Holiday rental house. A large beach shack in town great for larger groups.
Everyone welcomed the break, a shower, and an opportunity to work on the bikes, it was going to get harder from here so I had to make sure everyone was feeling ready for it.