Saturday 9 August 2014. The Great Australian Ride Send-Off.

On Friday night I rode the old Rainmaker down to Byron Bay and yes, it did rain. Only a little. The occassion was the send-off for the Great Australian Ride; an annual event for dirt bikers to cross Australia from Byron Bay, New South Wales to Steep Point, Westeran Australia ... across the centre. Not only is the entire trip an adventure but it raises an incredible amount for the Sids and Kids charity. By Saturday morning the riders had raised over $60,000.00. As they pass through towns they also give talks on SIDS and this has helped opened opportunities for people who have lost children through Sudden Infant Death Syndrome to receive counselling and support.

This is the Byron Bay lighthouse on Saturday morning where the "Send-off" ride started from. I was there for the first leg only; from Byron Bat to Tenterfield. From there the team went to Texas. After that the main team of 16 riders and one support truck were off to on a real adventure and I hope to join the 2016 team but there is some work to do to make that happen.

The cafe at Byron Bay lighthouse served great coffeee.
 Bike and bikers, coffee and donuts, views and fumes. What a glorious start to the day.

 This is Scott, one of the energetic team behind the Horizons Unlimited event at Beaudesert this year.
Bikes, man, bikes.

Cape Byron lighthouse.

Love this custom paint job on the BMW GS1200. This bike was with a group from Brisbane who had a very diverse range of bikes and personalities, as it should be.
We left Byron Bay, clogging up the roads with too many bikes to count. The organisation was excellent, with the groups split into a number of smaller sub-groups with separate ride leaders and the cornerman system of navigation/group riding working well. A stop at Lismore whilst waiting for the Bruxner Highway between Lismore and Casino to clear gave us all plenty of time to compare notes on each other's bikes and the glorious bike riding weather. 

Once we were back on the road, up through Casino and then on to Tenterfield. Lunch at the pub. Here I had a great opportunity to meet some real characters. The first was Christophe Barriere-Varju, a genuine Dakar Rally racer. Christophe is the ambassador for the Great Australian Ride and has competed in the Dakar Rally four times and finished twice. His story is quite incredible as he largely self-funds his campaigns and he is a very genuine guy. Christophe and his friend Simon have created and released a film on his last campaign called Dreamracer. I bought a DVD copy and watched it later thatr night. Brilliant! I even watched it again on Sunday. You can find out more about Christophe, his campaign and the film on

After lunch I had an hour long chat with Tex O'Grady of "Tex and Bundy" fame. Tex is a full time charity fundraiser who devotes his life to helping his fellow man. Bundy is his faithful companion and together they ride to event after event, raising awareness, visiting hospitals and sharing joy. Tex's story is one with listening to and I'm looking forward to having him and Bundy at the next Horizons Unlimited meeting as well.

After Tenterfield its was off to my own little Titan shed/chalet for the night just outside of Stanthorpe. This is a property own by some friends of mine who generously let me stay there from time to time. Its in a beautiful setting and gave me a great chance to watch Christophe's DVD and do some study. A great way to finish the Day.

Sunday morning was the slow ride home. Again, riding weather to die for and the bike ran well. I can tell that it needs new plugs and oil but the Cunningham Highway is always full of caravans and so the slower speed suited the bike well. A great weekend and if you are wondering, next year's Great Australian Ride send off is 8 August 2014.