As I write this I am relieved, Dean and I just finished up our East Coast Australia Flats movie premier tour, with just one more stop in NZ before the film is set free to the entire world to view on the 25th.
A few months ago Dean and I were chatting and planning this tour, it was on, then it was off, then it was on again, then it was off, then I bit the bullet and just made it happen, between other garage jobs I managed to make things work.
Its not that easy planning something like this, in the film world a movie will have a pretty hefty marketing budget, in my world that does not exist so I found and booked all the cinemas on my credit card and Dean and I set about making it a success, but how can we make it really fun?
For us it was the chance to head off on another adventure, meet likeminded people, spend some time on the road, catch up with friends and family and enjoy this amazing country we live in, Australia.
It all started with a simple plan that I pitched to the marketing department at Triumph Australia, they had just successfully launched their Triumph 900 Street Twin and Dean and I wanted to get our hands on a couple to borrow.
Once we were given the go ahead the excitement climbed as this trip was set to be an amazing adventure on a couple of amazing brand new motorcycles.
Its not an ETS adventure if the bikes remain stock though, so I got to work making them suit the adventure we had planned.
First things first we needed rubber for all conditions, on and off road, I scoured all the tyre brands and ended up finding the right tyres at the right price.
Next I wanted to address the handle bar, headlight and dash issue. I wanted the dash partially hidden, the headlights to be effective but low profile, the handlebars to give me that dirt bike feel.
What I came up with took a little bit of work, a bolt on bar system that incorporated the dash unit into the bars.
That way I could have everything mounted like stock but have room for the new headlights.
The headlights are two 100mmx100mm 27w LED half flood half spot lights, I mounted and wired them so that the bottom lights always on and the highbeam operates the top light, both have adjustable angle and work brilliantly, the LEDs give you this crisp white light that makes nearly everything look better.
With the new tyres fitted up, the bars on, the headlights all wired in it was time to move to the rear end.
Just a simple rear plate, tail light and LED indicator setup was made to keep it all clean and functional.
If I had more time I would have made a slimmer and taller seat and also a entirely new exhaust, the stock one was almost silent, we removed the mufflers and the sound was perfect, thats because this bike has some pretty hefty dual catalytic converters that do just enough muffling in themselves to negate the need for any rear mufflers. Easy done!
So with a 2 day build complete it was time to head off on our adventure, 7 days in the saddle, we couldn’t wait.
We just took the bare essentials, for me that was a few clothes in a backpack, for Dean that was camera gear and a spare pair of socks.
Our friend Liam decided to join us the night before we left.
We had two days to get to Brisbane from Geelong, we took every excuse to take a break, the bikes were great on the highway but 12 hours in the saddle is better broken up into 8 smaller trips.
I always love what you see on the road, half way to Sydney and it was hot, probably 35+ degrees on the highway, I loved it, the heat is my thing! Dean took off his Drizabone and strapped it to the seat, an hour later I looked back to see him wrestling his Drizabone out of the rear wheel while putting the fire out that it had created, this guy is always a barrel of laughs!
We planned to get to Bondi and have a swim, by the time we got there it was falling on dark so we set the phones GPS for our first night away from home at Jim and Jo’s place (thanks for having us guys)
I got stung by a bee in the face, it’s pretty much a regular thing now, it hurts, it really really hurts!
North of Sydney is a little town called Nabiac, it plays host to the National Motorcycle Museum, I always go straight past as I am usually towing my race car but this time I stopped.
It was worth it, any chance to see a HD XR750 in the flesh is always worth it.
Vintage speedway bikes were everywhere, I just love these things, speedway in NSW was huge in the 70’s and 80’s
Never pass the big banana without a photo!
That night we made it to Byron Bay.
We stayed with Tim, waking up in the hills above the Byron township with the promise of a swim and some decent breakfast made life good, thanks Tim!
The road out of Byron to the Gold Coast can be as exciting or as boring as you chose, Tim worded us up on the Coolamon Scenic Drive, it was truly amazing.
I got a little excited at this spot.
But there was so much to see, I had to pick up Celia who flew in with a helmet so we had some time to kill before the Brisbane premier.
Dean and I are always looking for somewhere to have a little fun.
These bikes eat up the dirt!
But we had to make tracks into QLD.
But the things you see along the way!
Are truly amazing.
We rolled into QLD and headed straight for Snapper Rocks as the Quicksilver Pro had just started, it was good to see the start of the heats.
And get a quick feed at the same time.
I picked up Celia and we took the road into Brisbane, the phone mount on the tank made navigating the city a breeze. The guys at Ellaspede were kind enough to hold a pre premier gathering at their shop, I haven’t seen a motorcycle store like this in a long time, good people and great workmanship!
The Brisbane Premier went off without a hitch, we were so happy to see the film on the big screen and to listen to the reactions, we had some drinks afterwards and hung out with a great bunch of people, we rode back to to Strath’s place and called it a night.
Strath cooked us a mean breaky and I threw him the keys to get his knees in the breeze, he was shocked at the amount of torque the Triumph had, he was looking at his DR Suzuki with different eyes from that point onwards, sorry Strath!
We dropped Celia back off to fly home and we made a path south on the scenic route, it was to be one of the best days I had ever spent riding. We went inland from the Gold Coast over to Mt Tamborine and then snaked our way south along some of the most amazing roads, I took a wrong turn and we ended up going past a MX track, we stopped for a bit, spoke to some locals and they gave us the hot tip on some of the best roads in Australia, we mapped it out and kept riding.
Taking a lot of little tracks to find stuff like this.
We ended up at Grafton, the speedway was on and we rode straight in before the finals got underway.
It was right in the middle of town, I love country Australia, people are just more laid back, happy to live with how things have been.
It was a good time, such a good way to end the perfect day.
We had somewhere to be though, the Sydney Premier was looming and we had to keep moving, Stockton Beach is a shortcut right?
We entered at Anna bay and took these Triumphs on the ride of their life, I was working hard behind the bars to keep the bike in the 4×4 wheel tracks up on the soft sand, we had people amazed as we blasted the 22km beach. Its some of the softest sand in Australia and for these bikes to eat it up is a testement to their ability, there were guys on dirt bikes that wouldn’t even tackle what we did. I felt like Toby Price at the Dakar rally at one point, it was so much fun.
We made it to the Sydney Premier just in time and the cinema was buzzing, we saw and met so many people that night, we had so many fun memories of the Flats Adventure to tell people, that night we rode through the city on the way back to Jim and Jo’s the lights of the city and no one on the road made it a blast.
The next morning we had a few really exciting meetings and spoke about our future plans, we headed south and with the relief of the two big interstate premiers over we took the scenic route out of Sydney.
We rode through the Royal National Park.
On our way to the Sea Cliff Bridge.
You can see it in the distance.
Its an amazing piece of road.
Dean was excited to shoot it, I was excited to ride it, we were both blown away by it and spent an hour just checking it out.
But we had to move on.
We stopped at all the iconic surf spots and luckily for Deans mental well being the surf wasn’t the greatest, I didn’t fit board racks to his bike and with all the lane splitting we did it would have sucked if I had of!
We had planned to head the entire way down the coast back home, a quick look at the weather report had us high tailing it inland and over the great dividing range.
Some tracks we had to make.
And others we just enjoyed.
It is the beauty of a scrambler, go wherever you want to go.
The Kosciuszko National Park ride was one we will never forget.
We enjoyed some of the best riding we had ever done and saw some amazing scenery.
Then just enjoyed our machines.
On the way out we were ripping through the turns, I was leading and hooked into this long left hander, I spotted the apex and something caught my eye, it was a 6 foot tiger snake, right on the apex, I was too committed to change my line and I whipped past it, it got angry and started to coil up, I looked back and Dean was taking the same line, he didnt see the danger and I watched this snake have a go at him, it hit him in the foot and he was still none the wiser, we turned around to see if the snake was still there, it was and it was angry, we kept going and just a few minutes down the road Dean started to have a feeling that it may have got him. We couldn’t find any marks so we continued on after a good laugh.
That night we stayed in Bright Victoria and planned the next days adventure.
After a good breakfast we headed into the hills.
There’s something about these trails through the Pine forest.
It’s the climb up to the peak and then the decent down, its always an adventure.
And its always fun.
I take my dirtbike in these forests and I was amazed that this Triumph was just as much fun!
After that we had a swim in the fresh mountain river, set the GPS for home and reminisced about the last 5,500km of good times.
I have to extend a huge thank you to those that put us up, those that showed us the way, those smiling faces that filled the cinemas, it has been a dream to just get out and live our lives, life on the road is pretty special, Australia is an amazing place, take the time to really enjoy it, get out and get lost you will be amazed at what you will find!
New Zealanders here is your chance to meet Dean and I at the Earnest Co garage where we will be screening the Flats movie for everyone to see, come along, ask as many questions as you want and have a good night with us!