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ISSUE 208 - OCT 2016

ANDO RIPS ON A CR500

TO BOURKE & BACK 2017 SUZUKI RM-Z450

2017 YAMAHA

YZ250F FACTORY FROM THE BOX

KAWI’S KLR650

THE UNSUNG HERO

AUS $9.95* NZ $12.20

(Both incl. GST)

OZ SUPERCROSS SERIES ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW


COOP

ER

WEBB YAMAL UBE/S TAR RA CING Y AMAHA

Find out more at:

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SINTERED PADS

BATFLY ® ALUMINIUM OFFROAD OVERSIZE KIT

BRACKETS

S3 BATFLY ® OVERSIZE KIT


UNTOUC C @RideDunlopAU Dunlop tyres are distributed throughout Australia by: VIC, NSW, ACT, WA - Monza Imports (03) 8327 8888 QLD, SA, NT - Ficeda Accessories (07) 3906 7034 and (08) 8359 0176 TAS - Fulton Enterprises (03) 6326 9199


CHABLE


PAS S I O N I N V E ST E D, CHAMPION TESTED.

From the three-quarter collar to the rapid flex knee, no detail was spared in the development of this kit. Step into the future of motocross racewear with the all new FUSE.™


JEREMY MARTIN


EDITOR Damien Ashenhurst EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Hayden Gregory MOTOCROSS EDITOR Scott Bishop ONLINE EDITOR Shane Booth DESIGN Jarrad McCallum REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Greg Masters, Chris Urquhart, Alan Hardy, Frank Hoppen, Max Sullivan, Russell Colvin, Andrew Kenny, Adam Riemann

CONTENTS I S S U E 2 0 8 / O C T O B E R 2 01 6 S U B S C R I P T I O N S & M A I L O R D E R S 1 3 0 0 3 0 3 4 1 4

FEATURES 32

COPY EDITOR Chris Stafford NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER Kizziah Fieldes kfieldes@universalmagazines.com.au ADVERTISING PRODUCTION Ian Cassel HOLESHOT ADVERTISING Ian Cassel icassel@universalmagazines.com.au

42 50 58

CEO/ PUBLISHER Prema Perera PUBLISHER Janice Williams CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Vicky Mahadeva ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Emma Perera ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Karen Day FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION MANAGER James Perera CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Mark Darton CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kate Podger EDITORIAL & PRODUCTION MANAGER Anastasia Casey MARKETING & ACQUISITIONS MANAGER Chelsea Peters

Circulation enquiries to our Sydney head office (02) 9805 0399. DIRT ACTION #208 is published by Australian Publishing Pty Ltd, Unit 5, 6-8 Byfield Street, North Ryde NSW 2113. Phone: (02) 9805 0399, Fax: (02) 9805 0714. Melbourne office, Level 1, 150 Albert Road, South Melbourne Vic 3205. Phone: (03) 9694 6444. Printed by KHL Printing Co Ltd, Singapore, and distributed by Gordon and Gotch. This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publishers. The publishers believe all the information supplied in this book to be correct at the time of printing. They are not, however, in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. Prices, addresses and phone numbers were, after investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, up to date at the time of printing, but the shifting sands of time may change them in some cases. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements which appear in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility must therefore be on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisements for publication. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. *Recommended retail price ISSN 1329-511X Copyright © Australian Publishing Pty Ltd MMXVI ACN 003 609 103

66 72 78 84 90

1984 HONDA CR500

Craig Anderson throws down a few laps on this moto monster

066 YZ250F

2017 SUPERCROSS SEASON

Scott Bishop breaks down everything you need to know

THE GREAT ALL-ROUNDER

Tested: Kawasaki KLR650

BOURKE ’N’ BACK

Damo packs up and heads towards Lightning Ridge

NEW BLUE

The 2017 YZ250F is a game changer

2017 SUZUKI RM-Z450

Withstanding the test of time

VINTAGE KAWASAKI KX80

John Hafey takes on a green rebuild mission

ALL-AUSSIE ADVENTURE

Passion can take you to some amazing places

1995 HONDA OF TROY

Still remembered all these years later

050

072

RMZ450

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/dirtactionmag

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DIRT ACTION DIGITAL - zinio.com


ON THE COVER RIDER: CRAIG ANDERSON PHOTO: DAMIEN ASHENHURST

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MOTO MANUAL

ADVENTURE

100 DIRTSHOP

99

FIVETHINGSWELOVE

Professing adoration for whatever takes our fancy

Stuff that will make you drool while you’re off the bike

102 JUNIORSECTION

All things for the MX grom

104 FREESPIRIT

Information galore for the adventure rider

106 ADVENTURERIDINGTIP

Stay upright and explore the planet

108 TRAILTIP

Bush bashing the right way

110 MOTOCROSSTIP

Ruts, jumps & whoops made easier

078

042

032

058

CR500

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/dirtactionmag

dirtaction.com.au

DIRT ACTION DIGITAL - zinio.com

DIRT ACTION

13


THE POWER SHOT

BEAST MODE PHOTO ASHENHURST

There has never been a bike built that carries the aura of Honda’s CR500. There are few riders with the résumé that Craig Anderson carries. Put the two together and we couldn’t resist shooting what the two can do to a berm.

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POWERED BY

REED & WEBB TO SPEARHEAD FACTORY YAMAHA IN 2017 A FORMIDABLE DUO SHAPES UP IN THE 450 CLASS WORDS HAYDEN GREGORY Australian legend Chad Reed has signed a Supercrossonly contract for 2017 which will see him build on the strengths of last year’s Factory Yamaha program. “I’m excited to get back to work with the Yamaha guys,” Reed said. “Twenty sixteen was a great learning and rebuilding phase for me and for Yamaha going racing as a factory team again. We learned the bike and found our strengths and weaknesses.” Reed will be joined by Cooper Webb in the premier class, a move which will no doubt add a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the team. “It’s a huge positive that we are able to use this time wisely to prepare for 2017,” said Reed, “and the team and I are motivated to continue building. I think Cooper brings a new level of energy to the team. Youth has that natural way of upping the enthusiasm! I like that energy, and I’m looking forward to having him as my teammate.”

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Webb is a two-time 250SX West Regional Champion and most recently won his maiden 250 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Next year will see the youngster graduate to the 450 Factory team, a move he describes as a dream come true.

“I’m really excited to be joining the Yamaha Factory Racing team,” Webb said. “It’s a dream come true for me, especially to be able to stay with the brand where I started my professional career. “Also, it’s going to be great to team up with Chad. I met him a long time ago and, growing up, he was always my favourite rider. So to be teammates with a legend is awesome. “It’s going to help me tremendously to learn from him and I can’t think of a better teammate to have as I move up to 450s fulltime.” The announcement allows both riders ample time to prepare for the 2017 season, something that eluded Reed this year given his last-minute deal.


DIRTY

MONEY

2016 MX » UPTO DIRTYMONEY 2016 MINI » UPTO $500 DIRTYMONEY

Let the dirt fly with KTM’s DIRTY MONEY offers, currently available on 2016 KTM MX and Mini models. It pays to be DIRTY. WWW.KTM.COM

SX & SX-F // 125 SX » 250 SX » 250SX-F » 350 SX-F » 450 SX-F SPORTMINICYCLES // 50 SX MINI » 50 SX » 65 SX » 85 SX Offer applies to new MY16 KTM 50 SX Mini, 50 SX, 65 SX, 85 SX, 125 SX, 250 SX, 250 SX-F, 350 SX-F and 450 SX-F, not in conjunction with any other offers. For a limited time only, while stocks last from participating dealers. For more information contact your local authorised Australian KTM dealership.

KTM Group Partner


MOTOR MOUTH

POWERED BY

HERLINGS EXTENDS WITH KTM

THE RED BULL KTM RIDER HAS AGREED TO A NEW TWO-YEAR DEAL DESPITE NOT COMING OFF CONTRACT UNTIL THE END OF NEXT YEAR WORDS HAYDEN GREGORY PICTURES RED BULL CONTENT POOL At 21, Jeffrey Herlings is a two-time MX2 World Champion and in the box seat to secure a third title this year. He’s been part of the KTM team since 2009 and has been one of the most successful riders on the world stage. This opportunity has allowed him to extend with the team so they can chase more titles together as he looks to step up into the MXGP class next year. “I’m really happy to be with the KTM family,” Herlings said. “I’ve already been there since 2009 and I’m very happy to extend my contract. Hopefully we will have a lot of championship titles and a lot of wins together. “I will try to win as much as possible and I’m thankful to have this chance. It’s an opportunity and we’ll try to make the best of it. This will be my last year in MX2 and I’ll try to win the title.” KTM’s Pit Beirer expressed a strong desire to keep working with Herlings for years to come. “We are very pleased to sign Jeffrey through to 2020,” Beirer said. “He came to us at a very young age and we have seen him develop into a highly skilled rider on all terrains. He is an outstanding competitor and to have 59 GP wins at such a young age is exceptional. “Jeffrey is an integral part of our KTM family and we view our relationship with him as one for a lifetime.” At the time of writing, Herlings looked set to secure his third World MX2 Championship title with an 87-point lead over his closest opponent.

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MOTOR MOUTH

GEAR BAG

1

2

4 3 1. 2017 FLY EVOLUTION 2.0 RACEWEAR • Race tested and upgraded for over 10 years • Provides improved movement & function • Zipper Lock System prevents closure failure • Exclusive MX pant with integrated Boa® closure system provides a dialled-in fit • Market leader in technical racewear

2. SCOTT PROSPECT GOGGLES • Lens locking system • Massive field of vision • Pivoting outriggers provide a perfect seal • Fitted chrome lens • 50mm Film System replaces the need for tearoffs

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(banned in Australian racing from Jan 1, 2017). Attaches with the click of a button & can interchange with any lens • Canisters safely tuck in behind strap to help protect them from any impacts during racing

• Available in 4 colours: fluoro green/black, red/black, blue/black, white/black • When applying glue to Kwala grips, always use cyanoacrylate-based (clear) adhesives • RRP $19.95

3. KWALA MX VISE GRIPS

4. THOR 2017 DEFEND BLACK ARMOURED GLOVES

• Constructed of both firm & soft custom Kwala rubber compounds • Outer casing provides diamond contact points with rider’s glove • Inner casing provides excellent tackiness & shock absorption • Available in full diamond block twist pattern only • 122mm wide overall with 105mm hand grip area

• Notched wrist opening provides ease of access • Stretch mesh flex joints on fingers enhance mobility • Silicone-treated fingertips for improved traction • Hook-&-loop wrist closure system • Leather “grip side” thumb wrap for added coverage • Touch-screen compatible • RRP $72 • Available at www.gasimports.com.au


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5. TROY LEE DESIGNS 2017 AIR VENGEANCE YELLOW HELMET • Snell/DOT model 1400–1500g • Ultra-lightweight machined cross-top aluminium visor screws for durability • Vortex visor features single-point adjustability • Stainless-steel chin strap hardware • Removable mouthpiece • Washable comfort liner features moisturewicking Coolmax material • Open-cell foam and 3-layer mesh provide excellent airflow & comfort • New & improved EPS liner form to adapt to a wider range of head shapes • RRP $419.95

6. ANSWER 2017 AR-1 WHITE BOOTS

7. ACERBIS FRONT FENDER BAG

• 4 easy-adjust steel/plastic buckles • Injection-moulded plastic shin guard plate • Articulated rear ankle area aids movement • Steel shank system adds support while you're riding • Uni-directional cut sole specifically for MX • Thick ankle padding covered in vented material for air movement • Footbed forefoot holes add air flow and extra breathability • Weight 3.65lb each (1.65kg) size 10 • RRP $199.95

• Perfect size for up to 21” HD tube, tyre levers & inflator kit • Easily removable tool roll • 4 metal front fender locating hooks for extra stability • Double locking system: zipper & quicklocking buckles • Traction pad bottom • Printed logos • Made of polyester • RRP $49.95 • Available from www.mx1australia.com.au

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QUOTES OF THE MONTH

THE TWEET LIFE

THE BEST QUOTES, JIBES, JOKES AND QUIPS FROM THE TWITTERVERSE

“STOKED TO RENEW MY DEAL WITH @YAMAHAMOTORUSA AND EXCITED TO GET A TEAMMATE. LET’S DO THIS, KIDDO.” — CHAD REED

“PAIN IS A REFERENCE POINT, NOT A BARRIER.” — ADAM CIANCIARULO “Speeds on way home ... gets home, sits in driveway for 15 minutes on phone.”

— DEAN WILSON

“In 2002, if you told me that Mike Alessi and Davi Millsaps would be racing in Canada I would have suggested you put your crack pipe down.”

— JIMMY ALBERTSON

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“Think there are a lot of Pokémon at the Olympics?”

— JOEY SAVATGY

“TESTING ALL DAY IN A BIG FACILITY THAT I HAD TO GO TO A CLASS AND DO AN EXAM FOR THREE HOURS! I WAS MORE NERVOUS FOR THIS THAN @DAKAR.” — TOBY PRICE

“NO MATTER WHICH KIDS’ BOOK I READ TO MY SCREAMING BABY ON AN AIRPLANE, THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS ALWAYS SOMETHING ABOUT A VASECTOMY.” — RYAN REYNOLDS


TH E

BI KE

TH AT

BU IL DS

CH AM PI ON S

w e N all

17 0 2 kx250f

R HANDLING KEER CK IC ER ENABLING QU • 1.7 KG LIGHT STER LAP TIMES L ENGINE FOR FA FU ER W PO RE SITIONING MO • NEW, EASIER BODY PO R SEAT ALLOWS TE AT FL D AN S ROUD • SLIMMER SH RIGIDITY ITH IMPROVED INIUM FRAME W UM APHICS • SLIMMER AL D IN-MOULD GR ORY STYLING AN CT FA W NE VE SI BACK • AGGRES REAR-END FEED ENSION BOOSTS SP SU AR RE K I-TRA (SFF) • IMPROVED UN N FRONT FORK PARATE FUNCTIO SE Y AD -RE H CORNERS CE S AND THROUG • ENHANCED RA BRAKING BUMP ER OV TY ILI AB INCREASES ST BLE FOOT PROVEN LAUNCH ADJUSTA RS LA ANDLEBA H & CONTROL SYSTEM EGS P R FR GE ON 27 EASY T ENGIN DIS 0MM E TUN FI COU C ING W PLERS BR ITH CALIB & GEN AK R UINE K KX A T ION KIT ES X ACCES SORY kawasakiaus

@kawasakimotors

www.kawasaki.com.au


SCOTT BISHOP BIO: Scott Bishop is the most experienced dirtbike test dummy in Australia and perhaps the world. He’s tested everything that’s won, lost, blew up, blew smoke, holeshot or high-sided since DIRT ACTION began. These days Scott runs the GYTR Yamaha Yamalube race team in the MXD class and spends his time building bikes and riders.

FOLLOW GYTRYamaha @gytr_yamaha_team

SPORTS THAT AREN’T REALLY SPORTS T

his time of year there is a heap of sport to watch on the idiot box: football finals of every code known to man, cricket from around the globe, tennis, golf, surfing, motor racing, nag racing and then we had the Olympics on top of that. But with all that going on, do you sit staring at the TV and think to yourself, “How did this get on TV?” and “Is this really a sport?” I’ve made up a list of sports that aren’t really sports and have no business taking up airtime when Tracey could be discussing supermarket ripoffs for the 47th time this year on ACA. Or when some attention-seeking tarts wearing dresses three sizes too small humiliate themselves on national TV during The Bachelor. Or when some home-style handyman thinks he can make a house out of used spaghetti tins and seven pipe cleaners on the 139 reality DYI shows that clog up our airwaves.

WALKING I dig the athletics at the Olympics. As a kid, I watched Carl Lewis jog the 100 metres in under 10 seconds. I watched Ben Johnson shoot himself up on steroids like a WWE wrestler and then run faster than the speed of sound, all the while claiming he was clean. I was even full of national pride when Cathy Freeman wore a full-body condom and ran a lap of a Sydney stadium to win a gold medal. Running and jumping are sports. Walking isn’t a sport. In fact, I’m not even sure what you’d call it. And a walking race at the Olympics is the most ridiculous activity known to man. Hands up those of you who can list the household names generated

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from walking? And no, Forrest Gump was running. The whole point of a walking race is to run without being caught and still look like you’re walking. I’m here to inform you that every so-called walker is running and they look like they just cased a triple when their bike had no seat. As you may have guessed, you won’t be seeing me at the walking event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland unless I’m made to ride a YZ80J on a supercross track until it runs out of fuel. Then I might consider going.

WATER POLO Now don’t get me wrong, the people who do this are fit, work hard at their craft and are way more dedicated then I could ever be — but when does the sport stop and the squirrel grips and Hopoates start? And how did this get on TV? Imagine what water polo would look like if you took away the water: a bunch of chiselled Adonises wearing budgie smugglers and head condoms, running up and down a basketball court grabbing each other’s man parts and offering prostate exams between trying to throw a ball at a net. Now ask yourself, would you want to play that game? If you said yes, I’m afraid we can’t be friends any more. From what I’ve seen, getting a goal is secondary to indecently assaulting your rival or trying to drown them or both at the same time if you can tread water without using your arms. And what makes a person want to take up this activity? It’s not in any high school curriculum that I’m aware of. Playing water polo isn’t on my bucket list unless it’s in Hugh Hefner’s’ pool at a Playboy party in the middle

of a summer bender — but that’s about as likely as me winning the walking race at the next Olympics.

PIGEON RACING & DOG TRIALS I’m not even sure where to begin with these activities. I’m not going to pretend to know anything about pigeon racing other than you need a bird and you need sky. I assume there must be a start line and a finish line somewhere but who knows what happens in the middle? What happens if your pigeon wins but it keeps flying and you never see it again? Would be embarrassing standing on the podium without the damn bird. Do the birds get tested for PEDs? I would think there’d be a heap of drugs associated with that sport. I assume the bird owners would also need to fail drug and alcohol tests. And dog trials! This stuff actually made TV and for a while there was getting a fair bit of publicity. Our friends over in New Zealand obviously needed to sex it up a bit and make it more attractive to the public, so they introduced sheep to their dog trials — an act of genius for the promoters of these events in the Land of the Long White Cloud. I love watching my pooch run around the backyard. I think it’s funny when it chases birds out of the yard or gets swooped by plovers. I’m sure that hound of mine would have no idea what to do if it ever caught a bird or if it got hit by a plover. I reckon if the pigeon racers and the dog trials people ever got together, we’d have a boom sport on our hands. As it is now, I think it’s still a work in progress and far from reaching its full potential.


®


MOTOR MOUTH

POWERED BY

Megan Johnson

Isaac Volker Jake & ReeZee

SOCIAL SPACE PHOTOS BY DIRT ACTION READERS SUBMIT YOURS AT WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/DIRTACTIONMAGAZINE

Brad Newman

Carolyn & Klint Rogers Alistair Creed

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POWERED BY

NAGL RE-SIGNS WITH HUSQVARNA FOR 2017 THE GERMAN RIDER WILL EMBARK ON A THIRD MXGP SEASON WITH THE TEAM WORDS HAYDEN GREGORY

German rider Max Nagl currently sits third in the MXGP class following 14 top-three moto finishes. With only two rounds left to race, the Husqvarna rider will be looking to finish on the podium, end the season on a high and give back to the team for rewarding him with a new contract. “I’ve enjoyed some of the most successful times of my career as an MXGP rider with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team, so to be staying with Husqvarna, Antti [Pyrhönen] and the guys is something I’m really very pleased about,” Nagl commented. “I think that we’ve showed what we’re capable of as a team and enjoyed lots of very positive GPs during both this year and in 2015. “Although I’m now one of the most experienced riders in the MXGP class, I truly believe that I can be every bit as

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competitive next year as I am right now. Continuing to be a part of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team is something I’m very excited about.” Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team Manager Antti Pyrhönen is pleased and confident in Nagl’s ability to push on for a world MXGP title. “Continuing to work with Max is something I’m extremely pleased about,” said Pyrhönen. “Together we’ve experienced so much during the last 18 months, with Max showing enormous amounts of professionalism at all times. “In recent GPs he has shown what he is really capable of. Everyone knows just how fast and talented a rider he is and I believe that next year he will again be a regular podium finisher, challenging for GP wins and the MXGP title.”


GRAHAM JARVIS EXTENDS WITH HUSKY THE KING OF ENDURO HAS SIGNED ON FOR ANOTHER TWO YEARS WORDS HAYDEN GREGORY British rider Graham Jarvis is in the form of his life, most recently securing a third win at Erzberg and his fifth career Romaniacs title. Currently aged 41, Jarvis has signed to remain with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Racing Extreme Enduro team through the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

“It’s fantastic that I’m going to race with Husqvarna for another two years,” Jarvis said. “The new TE 300 is an amazing machine. I’ve been racing it for a few months and already I’ve earned two major wins on it: Erzberg and Romaniacs. “Within Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing I feel like I’m part of a global team. My focus is on the big outdoor extreme enduro events, while I’ll also be trying to squeeze in as many other races as possible. I feel like I’m in the best place right now and I’m looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.” Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Team manager Andreas Hölzl is thrilled with the new deal and the prospect of Jarvis continuing to compete at the most extreme events in the world.

“We’re excited to renew our contract with Graham for another two seasons,” Hölzl said. “He will continue racing our team’s TE 300 in the biggest extreme enduro events worldwide. “Carrying a huge amount of experience in extreme enduro racing, Graham is still very fast compared to many of the younger riders, which he proved this year at both Erzberg and Romaniacs. With Graham, age really is just a number. I think Graham has a lot more to give and will continue to surprise us with his performances in the future.” Jarvis will now focus on the Battle of Vikings enduro in Sweden before heading to the States for the 2016 Tennessee Knock Out extreme enduro event.

2017 AMSOIL ARENACROSS SCHEDULE RELEASED

THE SERIES WILL FEATURE A 14-ROUND BATTLE FOR THE RICKY CARMICHAEL CUP PHOTO SHIFTONE PHOTOGRAPHY The 2017 AMSOIL Arenacross will travel across 13 different states including new stops at Portland, Oregon’s Moda Center and the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. AMSOIL Arenacross is the most intense motorcycle racing on the planet. The fearless and highly talented athletes will compete on man-made dirt battlegrounds built inside the country’s best-known arenas for 19 nights of high-speed, high-flying and fierce-racing competition. “The field is stacked in AMSOIL Arenacross,” said five-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael. “There are so many fast guys that could win on any given night, which makes it really exciting. “AMSOIL Arenacross keeps getting bigger and better every year and the talent of the riders coming in is at an all-time high. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the 2017 season has in store and whether Gavin Faith can hold on to that championship for another year.”

HERE’S THE 2017 SCHEDULE IN FULL: R1 Jan 7–8 US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio R2 Jan 13–15 Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan R3 Jan 20–22 Royal Farms Arena, Baltimore, Maryland R4 Jan 28–29 Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee R5 Feb 4–5 Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky R6 Feb 18–19 Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri R7 Feb 25–26 Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida R8 Mar 3–5 Landers Center, Southaven, Mississippi R9 Mar 11–12 Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana R10 Mar 18–19 Moda Center, Portland, Oregon R11 Mar 24–26 Livestock Events Center, Reno, Nevada R12 Apr 1–2 Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California R13 Apr 21–23 Denver Coliseum, Denver, Colorado R14 May 5–7 Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada

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POWERED BY

SHERCO ENDURO 2017 RANGE

S

herco is now represented in 65 countries with over 850 dealers. In Australia, the dealer network is steadily growing and adjusting to suit the growing demands of riders who are drawn to Sherco. This has been a great year with the success of Australia’s own Matthew Phillips dominating the Enduro World Championship on a Sherco 300 SEF-R. Not only is Phillips winning the E2 class, usually dominated by 450cc machines; he’s also leading the GP class for the overall. With just one weekend of racing left on the EWC calendar on September 10/11, Phillips holds an 18-point lead in the E2 class and 15 points in the EnduroGP for the overall. Locally, the Motul Pirelli Sherco Factory Team is proving quite successful with Wil Ruprecht winning the AORC Under-19 class points chase with just two rounds remaining. Wil prefers the 450 SEF-R and it’s clearly working well for him. Now that the 2017 model range of Sherco enduro bikes has been released, we’re pleased to share the following updates which will make the 2017 Sherco enduro racing models the most competitive yet.

A new preload adjustment ring is fitted to the shock for easier adjustments. There’s also new, lighter and stronger front-wheel spokes and stronger rim tape for better protection. Factory dual-colour and dual-compound grips are now fitted as standard.

TWO-STROKE The 250 SE-R and 300 SE-R two-strokes have new cylinder heads with reinforced mounting support. The 250 SE-R also has a new combustion chamber for a more linear power delivery. These models also have a new balanced crankshaft for smoother power and stronger power at lower revs with less vibration. A new VForce4 reed block increases low-speed power and longer reed life. New carburetor settings offer smoother power delivery. The 250 SE-R has a new piston for better efficiency and longer life.

250 SEF-R & 300 SEF-R FOUR-STROKE ALL MODELS The entire range has a new appearance with new plastics, in-moulded graphics, new frame protectors and new clips for holding the front brake and speedo cables. The new fuel tanks have larger capacity: the 250cc and 300cc two-stroke have gone from 9.5 litres to 10.4; the 250cc, 300cc and 450cc four-stoke models from 8.5 litres to 9.7. This will suit trail-riding conditions in Australia perfectly, with more kilometres between fuel stops. The frame geometry has been modified on all models to offer better grip and better steering control. The frame has also been reinforced at many points. The rear suspension linkage has been modified for an improved lifetime, with 14mm axles and better sealing. New material was used on the swingarm pad, which is 40 per cent stronger, and a new, reinforced rear-wheel axle is stronger.

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The capabilities of the 300 SEF-R have been on show all year at the hands of Matthew Phillips, highlighting just how amazing Sherco’s small four-stroke engines really are.

These two models have new transmission gears derived from Sherco’s Dakar racing technology. These gears improve bearing lubrication for 20 per cent longer life. The fuel pump on these two four-strokes is new and the starter relay, battery terminals and wiring sheath on the complete wiring harness improve the keyless injection wiring system. The 250SEF-R has a new piston.

450 SEF-R The Sherco 450 SEF-R has shown that a 450cc enduro bike can be mighty powerful yet mild mannered. With an already amazing performer in this category, Sherco worked on refining this machine to make it just that little bit better for 2017. When you couple the following upgrades to the new styling and modified frame, you really do have the class-leading 450cc enduro bike right where you want it. The design of the cylinder head has been modified for improved durability, reduced weight and simplified assembly. Clutch lubrication has been optimised for better temperature control and more durability. Finally, the fuel pump has been redesigned for improved reliability.


www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com

AN INNOVATIVE LEAP AHEAD Confidently head off into tougher terrain on a totally redesigned Husqvarna Motorcycles enduro model. The entire 2017 range features new, compact, powerful motors and sophisticated design innovations. These include new WP Xplor suspension, sleek new bodywork and a redesigned chassis. Every model is lighter, faster, easier to ride and nothing short of revolutionary.  All new WP Xplor forks  CNC Upper Triple Clamp  Magura Hydraulic Clutch  Composite Carbon Fibre subframe  Metzeler 6 Days Extreme Tyres  Traction Control on the 4-stroke models  Engine Counter Balancer on the 2-stroke models

Full features/benefits of the new 2017 range www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com

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MONTHS WARRANTY PARTS & LABOUR


032

FEATURE: 1984 HONDA CR500

MOTO MONSTER

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CRAIG ANDERSON BRINGS OUT ONE OF THE WORLD’S M O S T B R U TA L M O T O WEAPONS FOR A FEW LAPS IN FRONT OF OUR CAMERA

STORY & PHOTOS ASHENHURST

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here’s an entire generation that doesn’t know the 500cc motocross machinery — what they sounded like, who rode them and how brutal and yet capable they were. It’s ancient history now but these bikes were once the measure of a man. Specimens such as Jeff Ward’s 1989 KX500 are the stuff of legend, as is pretty much every Works Honda of the mid-to-late 80s. In fact, the green and red camp really went at it in the big-bike class and produced some standout machines that, to plenty of us, are still everything a man could ever want.

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EVEN FOR ITS TIME IT WAS A REASONABLY SIMPLE BIKE BUILT TO WIN VIA BRUTE STRENGTH In 1984, Honda released the CR500 to replace the CR480. It didn’t go down well with some though the public had by that time got used to Honda redesigning the bike year after year. But the 1983 CR480 was a popular bike across the board, even with the left-hand kickstarter, while the ’84 500 would certainly divide opinion. The engine was a

brute and, although at a distance it’s often mistaken for a water-cooled engine due to the unique air scoops, it was to be the last of the air-cooled big rigs. Honda threw everything at the ’84; it was an all-new bike that seemed to be designed to simply outmuscle the competition or explode trying. It featured a front disc brake for the first time


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MOTO MONSTER though there wasn’t much else on the ’84 that we’d now recognise as “modern”. Even for its time it was a reasonably simple bike built to win via brute strength. But that underplays the fact that the bike could turn well and if you could keep the power under control there wasn’t much else on the track that (with a little suspension work done) could exit a corner and beat the CR down the next straight. Ultimately, the bike had too much mumbo for its chassis and stock suspension to manage. In 1985, Honda redesigned the bike once more, introducing water cooling, and then again refined that package for what would become the legendary 1986 CR500. For reference, though, it’s worth having a look at the RC500AF David Bailey rode in 1984. That thing is a work of Works art.

ANDO TWISTS THE THROTTLE Craig Anderson has been riding this 1984 CR500 in selected vintage events and we couldn’t resist getting the two together for a shoot. Ando loves the bike and he can ride it like a demon. Of all the shoots we’ve done this year it’s this one that without a doubt sounded and smelt the best. We went to a sandy track that was pretty wet at the time and the berms were totally jacked up but Ando and the CR just carved deep ruts with every pass. Tight turns, slides, more roost, faster, slower — whatever we needed to get the shot, the combo of Ando and the CR could throw it down without question.

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ULTIMATELY THE BIKE HAD TOO MUCH MUMBO FOR ITS CHASSIS AND STOCK SUSPENSION TO MANAGE

GREATEST 500 RIDERS The guys who could truly ride these bikes to the limits were few and far between and the racing they left behind is still epic to watch. Here’s a quick list, in no particular order, of some of the standout riders on 500cc machines. - JEFF WARD The little guy kicked a lot of arse on the big Kawis - DAVID BAILEY Not many riders could think their way around a track like Bailey - DAVID THORPE A three-time world champ (could’ve been five if not for injuries), he also played a huge role in breaking the US’s 13-year MXDN win streak - JEFF LEISK Australia’s overall highest-placed GP rider ever (second in 1988) - JEFF STANTON After Johnson and before McGrath there was Stanton, who won during one of the toughest eras of all time - ROGER DE COSTER The Man. Roger was a win machine and behind much of the development of the early CR500s

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CRAIG ANDERSON HAS BEEN RIDING THIS 1984 CR500 IN SELECTED VINTAGE EVENTS AND WE COULDN'T RESIST GETTING THE TWO TOGETHER FOR A SHOOT

- STEPHEN GALL He played a big role in bringing total professionalism to Aussie motocross - JEAN-MICHEL BAYLE Probably the most naturally gifted rider of his era - CRAIG DACK The Dack attack was lethal on a 500 with a mix of smoothness and aggression on tap - RICKY JOHNSON The Bad Boy. Changed the game completely with his showtime style and take-noprisoners attitude - BRAD LACKEY The most successful US rider ever to take on GPs - HEIKKI MIKKOLA World champion on both Husqvarna and Yamaha - JOEL SMETS Four-time 500 champion and one of the true legends of the sport. Nice bloke, too - GLEN BELL In fact rode a pretty sweet 1984 CR500 just like the one featured in this story - STEFAN EVERTS What more can be said about Everts? Two of his 10 world titles came in the 500 class - SHAYNE KING The crazy-fast Kiwi took the GP title against Smets in 1996 - ERIC GEBOERS The Kid. First guy to win all three classes with his aggressive style - HÅKAN CARLQVIST Was so far ahead in his final he stopped and had a beer with spectators - GEORGES JOBÉ Without a doubt one of the ballsiest riders to ever rip a throttle.

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FEATURE: 2017 SUPERCROSS SEASON

IT’S SUPERCROSS TIME IN OZ AND THIS IS THE WHAT, WHERE, WHEN AND WHO OF EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

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STORY SCOTT BISHOP PHOTOS ASHENHURST

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THE RACING WAS FIRST CLASS, THE EVENTS RAN SMOOTHLY AND THEN THE AUS-X OPEN TOOK IT TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL

A

fter a year of getting Supercross back on the map, the championship returns for 2016 looking to build on some solid foundations. The wheel is finally starting to turn for Supercross in Australia. Last year saw the start of a small yet sustainable series run by a host of individual promoters trying to revive a sport that has had a chequered history in Australia’s sporting landscape. The racing was first class, the events ran smoothly and then the Aus-X Open took it to a whole new level and produced the best Supercross Australia has seen. The good news is that it’s all back and starting September 17. Riders and teams will embark on a sixround Australian Supercross Championship and, for the first time in a long while, it will be a credible and worthy championship in the eyes of everyone in the motorcycle industry.

WHERE & WHEN Rd 1 Sep 17 Jimboomba, Qld Rd 2 Oct 14 Toowoomba, Qld Rd 3 Oct 29 Adelaide, SA Rd 4 Nov 5 Avalon, Vic Rds 5/6 Nov 12–13 Sydney, NSW

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HISTORY Hosting a Supercross event in any country isn’t cheap. Among a million other things, potential promoters must consider venue hire, dirt purchase, moving dirt into and out of venue, track crew and machines, promotional costs, rider prize money and council and venue requirements, not to mention medical hire and a range of other costs that will continually come up. As a result, it’s a huge risk to promote events like this and some well-funded promoters have lost serious dollars over time hosting Supercross events. Since the end of the Spokes Promotions days in the mid-2000s, Supercross has been all over the place in terms of promoters, series and importance. But, with the help of a few dedicated people, it was re-established in 2015 and set on a path that should hold it in good stead for the future, with a range of promoters who understand what it takes to run events of this scale.

2015 WINNERS Three championship classes were contested in 2015 and three worthy winners crowned. Daniel Reardon made a triumphant return to racing to claim the SX1 championship after a season-long duel with rival Matt Moss. In the SX2

division, it was US rider Jimmy DeCotis who took the win after he shook off Luke Clout in the championship chase while Mitch Evans racked up the SXD win in his very first attempt at Supercross. For 2016, Reardon is in a race against time to be ready for round one after a knee injury sidelined him during the MX Nationals. Reardon is expected to be back on the bike just before the opening round but he must be considered a contender even with the injury. At the time of writing, there is no confirmation that DeCotis will return to defend his crown. He only recently got back on the bike after injury so it will be interesting to see if he makes the trip down under. Mitch Evans will make the jump to the SX2 class in 2016 as the SXD division won’t be contested this year.

US IMPORTS As soon as the word Supercross is simply mentioned, suddenly a list of who’s who in the US is rumoured to be coming to Australia to contest the series. As we write this, Davi Millsaps has been confirmed for the Jimboomba round to race a KTM while Wil Hahn will race the series with Kawasaki. There are also rumours of Hayden Mellross returning home to compete in the MX1 class on board a Yamaha while, as we went to print, Josh Hansen was mentioned as a possible starter. Aus-X Open promoters have confirmed Chad Reed and


Cooper Webb will return to renew their battle from last year. Strangely enough, they will also be teammates in 2017 in the US but, having viewed both riders at close range last year, that means nothing — they’ll both be here to win. And the Aus-X Open team has also managed to drag Ryan Villopoto away from his new career as a road builder — I’m sure he doesn’t need the money — to compete in Sydney. Unlike Carmichael the year before, Ryan isn’t here on a good-will promo tour; he’s here to race, though don’t be surprised if he jumps into the bobcat and starts making a driveway or something between events.

SOME WELL-FUNDED PROMOTERS HAVE LOST SERIOUS DOLLARS OVER TIME HOSTING SUPERCROSS EVENTS

THE TEAM LINEUPS A rundown of the troops the teams are carrying into SX battle HONDA Depending on whether you believe the rumours, Honda may field two or three teams in the ASX this year. The Crankt Protein Honda Team will continue into Supercross in the SX1 division, as will the CRF Racing Team in the SX2, but persistent rumours point to a Penrite Honda team returning with possibly Gavin Faith and Josh Cachia behind the bars. CRANKT PROTEIN HONDA Jay Wilson (MX1); Dylan Long (MX1) CRF HONDA RACING Joel Wightman (SX2); Kyle Webster (SX2) PENRITE HONDA (unconfirmed at time of writing) Gavin Faith (SX1); Josh Cachia (SX1)

HUSKY SUPPORT Nathan Crawford (SX2)

KAWASAKI Kawasaki will again field its factory-backed NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki team but, with the recent issues facing the Moss brothers, a lineup change looks inevitable. The primary focus will be on the SX1 class and we’re led to believe Kawi won’t have an SX2 rider competing from the main rig. NPS MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI Kade Mosig (SX1); Wil Hahn (SX1)

HUSQVARNA

KTM

With no in-house factory effort in 2015, Husky supported a range of riders across a number of classes in 2016 and will continue that way for the SX season. Likely to be headed by the SD3 team, Husky will make its presence felt with a host of riders on the white bikes. Brett Metcalfe is set to return after a couple of successful stints with the team recently while Luke Arbon is in a race against time to be ready for the season opener. SD3 HUSQVARNA Brett Metcalfe (SX1); Luke Arbon (SX2); Kaleb Barram (SX2)

The KTM team must be looking at its options for SX at the moment with current riders Kirk Gibbs and Luke Styke under injury clouds. Gibbs has a knee injury that he nursed through the back end of the MX Nationals and a decision must be made as to whether he gets surgery or continues to battle on. Kirk will also have MXoN duties so there will be some hard calls to make in the coming weeks for him and the team. Styke is on the mend from his second Achilles issue and is due back on the bike in the weeks leading up to round one, so it will be touch and go for him as well.

In the wings is Jesse Dobson but they may also look at bringing in a rider for the series if required. Caleb Ward will continue his role with the team in the SX2 class. Raceline KTM will also contest the championship as KTM’s SX2 team, with current riders Dylan Wills and Wade Kirkland expected to represent the team. With no SXD this year, Kirkland will be in at the deep end against all the established SX2 riders but it’s a valuable experience he will benefit from. MOTOREX KTM Kirk Gibbs (SX1); Luke Styke (SX1); Caleb Ward (SX2) RACELINE PIRELLI KTM Dylan Wills (SX2); Wade Kirkland (SX2)

SUZUKI The sole team on Suzukis for 2016 is the Wilson’s Suzuki team with Todd Waters and Luke Wilson. Both will contest the SX1 class while there is some talk of Luke Clout returning on an RMZ250 with them. Waters hasn’t been on a Supercross track in some time but he’s a talented rider and will adapt. Luke Wilson has been improving lately and seems to prefer racing Supercross. WILSON’S SUZUKI Todd Waters (SX1); Luke Wilson (SX1)

YAMAHA Yamaha will again have a huge team and rider lineup for this year’s championship spread across both championship classes. To the usual teams CDR Yamaha, Serco Yamaha and Yamalube Yamaha Racing, add DPH Yamaha, Proformance Yamaha and a couple of punks named Webb and Reed — it’s a big turnout. CDR YAMAHA Dan Reardon (SX1); Dean Ferris (SX1) SERCO YAMAHA Wilson Todd (SX2); Wade Hunter (SX2) YAMALUBE YAMAHA RACING Mitch Evans (SX2); Jordan Hill (SX2) DPH YAMAHA Lawson Bopping & Hayden Mellross (SX1); Jed Beaton (SX2)

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CHAD REED, AUS-X OPEN We catch up with the Aussie legend and get his thoughts on SX, RV and JS

How important is it to have an event like the AUS-X Open in Australia? I think it’s huge. I think the event, the timing, the location, the stadium are all just really positive things for me. You know, I think Qudos Bank Arena really fits Australian Supercross right now. It’s the grassroots as to why and how it became so strong, so for me I think it’s really important that I’m able to be a part of it and support it. I really enjoy it. It’s at a great time of the year when I start ramping my fitness and training up for the new year, so I’m able to get a gauge of where I’m at, what needs tweaking, where I’m strong, where I’m not strong and bike setup. So for me, the whole event is just a win-win. You’ll be racing Ryan Villopoto at the Aus-X Open in November. What are your thoughts on him and at what point did you think that he was the next “guy”? I mean I think that, when you go back to ’05 and ’06, I’m in the prime of my career and not looking at who’s coming to challenge because you’re so caught up in the moment of racing the Greatest Of All Time and James Stewart, who’s also no slouch. So, I wouldn’t say that I thought, “Oh, wow, this kid is coming in” — you just admire the talent at that point. I remember back in those days watching his lines in the outdoors more than anything so, yeah, obviously, you’re aware of who he is. We were Thor teammates so I was around and seeing him quite often at the tracks. Truthfully, I remember seeing Ryan when he was with Randy Lawrence [Ryan’s trainer at the time] preparing for Loretta’s on his Supermini and I think those are the days when I was like, “Wow, this kid rips.” The pro race weekends were so consuming and hectic but when he was an amateur on his 85 he was pretty impressive. To date, what has been your favourite season of all time? My favourite season of all time? I’d probably say ’03 and ’04. It’s so hard to just say one (laughs)! Oh three and ’04, they were just fun, you know? My bike was awesome, tyres were awesome and everything clicked. Some of my favourite years I won and some of my favourite years I didn’t necessarily win. You know, I think that ’04 was awesome, ’03 was awesome — I didn’t win but I won a lot of races and learned a lot. I believe ’09 was a huge turning point in my life and career. You know, getting to work with Mike Gosselaar as my mechanic and hearing his knowledge about the bike with the setup and all things racing, I think that helped me a lot. I believe that the feel that I have today is really compliments to him, so he’s helped a lot in that area. And then 2011 was awesome, you know? I think that had I not had my big crash in the motocross [at Millville] I think [I’d be] the 2011 outdoor champion. Running my own team and just having fun, yet I still didn’t win. But I think what I achieved in such a small amount of time and what I took on — the effort that it took and the reward of winning races and putting myself back into a position where I was looked at as a title threat — that was a huge rebuilding year for me. Will it be strange the day that James Stewart retires, as you guys have been at it for 14 years now? Yeah, I mean, James and I have been going at it for 14 years. We had a couple of years off there when he was in the 125s. I think it’ll be sad when he and I retire, to be honest, whenever that comes. He’s younger than I am [30 years old] and I’ve heard talk that he’s only going to go one more, but I’ve been in that position where I’ve said one more and, for whatever reason, you find the passion. You just never know. James is so unpredictable. He may never find the passion and only go half a year or he could go six more years — who knows? For me, I mean I’m not his biggest fan so I don’t really care, but it will be a sad day. He’s an individual who brings a lot to the sport from a talent aspect and I believe it’s all still there. It’s just how he taps into it and rekindles the fire.

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THE VENUES JIMBOOMBA

When you were a young kid at school, did you ever want to ride your dirtbike on the school oval just for giggles? Guess what: the Jimboomba track is a permanent feature on the Hills College oval and five major events have already been run there. Just 45 minutes south of Brisbane, the country town of Jimboomba is close enough to the city to draw the crowd but still far enough out that the event doesn’t really compete with anything going on in the city.

It’s a smallish venue but when filled with revhead fans it has a great atmosphere and the vibe in the pits at recent rounds has been pretty awesome. The dirt goes cement hard but, with the dates brought forward this year to avoid the harsh Queensland sun, hopefully it will be tack city all day and the racing will be first class.

TOOWOOMBA Folks, this one is on a Friday night, not a Saturday night, so imprint that one onto


REARDON IS IN A RACE AGAINST TIME TO BE READY FOR ROUND ONE AFTER A KNEE INJURY SIDELINED HIM DURING THE MX NATIONALS

happening at once it’s hard to keep up. Sitting at the start line, a rider looks up and sees a crowd of people lining the track, a mountain of dirt shaped into whoops, doubles, triples and berms, all of which will test you and your bravery. Nineteen other riders are crammed in alongside you and, when the five-second board goes sideways, your heartrate follows the rpm of your bike and both hit red line as the gate drops. The moment the clutch is dumped, your mind kicks into overdrive. Competitors are all around you, judging jumps, hammering corners, picking lines and seeing shadows. The noise from the crowd and the commentator can all be hard but, when it’s all going right, it feels effortless. Pulling a holeshot is a highlight for any rider. Nailing the landing on a triple is adrenalin-pumping stuff. Hammering a set of whoops with your wheels barely touching the top of each one still amazes me. I loved riding Supercross. I liked that it took some thought and some technique to get around, not just the pin-it approach that motocross can demand sometimes. I liked the sensation of doing a good lap. I liked the lights, the crowd and the atmosphere and at an indoor, I liked that my bike didn’t get dirty.

ADELAIDE Another round in a showground and the Wayville venue is little more than a third-gear wheelie from the centre of Adelaide. It’s a beautiful showground and the dirt at the venue is as good as it gets. In 2015, the Adelaide fans were treated to one of the great Supercross finals with five riders all still in with a chance on the final lap. So, if all those fans come back and bring a friend with them, the joint will be overflowing and the riders will again turn on another great spectacle. Nice venue, awesome dirt, good lights — what’s not to like about Supercross in Adelaide?

AVALON The one and only speedway venue on the calendar. My lasting memories of Avalon are as follows and in this order: jumping the world’s longest triple jump, getting my rental car run over by a monster truck and witnessing a massive crash that had bikes and bodies down everywhere. Now, I hope none of those happens again — especially my rental car being hit by a monster truck as I had a lot of explaining to do down at the Avis desk the following day. I’m not a huge fan of speedway venues but let’s embrace it and make it work. Crowds have been good there in the past so hopefully they’ll all turn up again and watch Supercross for the first time in a while at that venue.

SYDNEY

your forehead and don’t forget it. The Toowoomba showground is a typical yet picturesque country venue with lots of space and room for a huge track and plenty of viewing area. The crowd is sometimes a little far away so hopefully the promoter can work a plan to get them in nice and close to the action. The track is made of red clay and it takes some time to get a feel for traction. The last few events there have been affected by weather so judging a crowd number is difficult. Hopefully this time it’s a clear night and the fans flock there in their thousands to witness some great action.

The great indoors. The 2015 race was the first time for many of the riders to race at an indoor venue despite it being a regular thing 20 years ago. With perfect conditions inside, the only issue the riders have racing at venues like this is access to watch other races as there isn’t much room backstage when SX rolls into town. The indoor venue allows the promoter to really set up production and use music, lights, lasers and a heap of other things to enhance the event. AME did a great job in 2015 and put on a sensational show. I’m sure they’ll up the ante in 2016.

RACING SX Racing Supercross isn’t for the fainthearted. For a rider, it’s almost a sensory overload as so much is

COOPER WEBB, AUS-X OPEN The young gun returns to Oz and is pumped to be racing two of the true greats — and don’t be surprised if he wins What did you like about the AUS-X Open event and Australia last year? Last year being my first year in Australia, it was awesome to go see the country; it was always somewhere that I wanted to go. To race against one of my childhood heroes, Chad Reed, and then also racing against the Australian competition is cool. It’s a great warmup for the American series and hopefully it’ll provide me with a bit of confidence heading into A1. What’re you expecting for 2016? This year’s Aus-X Open will definitely be a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity. I don’t think you’ll ever see Ryan Villopoto race again and Chad Reed is a legend, especially in Australia. It’ll be the rookie versus the veterans, so you definitely need to come and check it out. It’s one of those venues where you can see it all: any corner, any section and any jump at all. So, definitely, come check it out. What do you like about Australia? For me, the best thing about Australia is it’s a beautiful place. You know, the beaches, the water and the city of Sydney is beautiful. We went to the harbour last year, checked that out, and then racing where the Olympics were held, it was just an awesome vibe. Everyone was so cool; they were just stoked to have me there and just wanted to have a good time. So it really makes for a cool, relaxed, exciting race that you want to do. It’s not one of those races where it’s like, “Ugh, same old, same old.” It’s totally different — that’s what I liked about it. The coffee was good, too, which was super rad [laughs].

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TESTED: KAWASAKI KLR650

GR EA AT AT A LL-

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KAWASAKI’S KLR650 IS THE BIKE THAT DOES EVERYTHING PRETTY WELL FOR THE BLOKE WHO WANTS A BIKE THAT DOES PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING

STORY & PHOTOS ASHENHURST

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awasaki’s KLR650, take a bow. Come on, stand up and take a bloody bow. Yes, you’ve been derided in certain circles and far too often overlooked, but for sheer longevity and ability to provide faithful service you’re one of the greats. How many models can anyone name that have lasted as long as the KLR? It was released way back in 1987 which, to give some perspective, was the year the first mobile phone call was made in Australia. The KLR has survived all this time with minimal changes. And guess what? It’s one of the biggest-selling bikes in the adventure market year after year. Not even U2 have had chart success like that. The KLR is bigger than Rick Astley, who started and finished in the 80s. It’s more successful than grunge, which died out in in the 90s, and it’s lasted longer than the Black Eyed Peas. That’s means only the Red Hot Chili Peppers can compete with the KLR650 — but they went through eight guitarists along the way. So, yes, please direct all applause towards the KLR650 in acknowledgment of its long and devoted service. It deserves it. It’s earned it. But is it any good to ride in 2016? Fair question; let’s find out.

ON TOP & INSIDE

The KLR divides folks in the looks department. I’m split in that I don’t like the Candy Lime Green but I really like the Matrix Camo Grey. There aren’t many models that offer two strikingly different schemes to choose from, so kudos to Kawi. The bike is the epitome of simplicity. It doesn’t have a click wheel or a thumb controller or a series of electronic probes up your bum to read your thoughts and emotions and control a vast array of electronic systems. It has a speedo, a tacho, an odometer, a trip meter and a temperature gauge — end of story. There isn’t even a fuel gauge, which is, to be honest, a bit dumb. There’s a set of large handguards, which look a bit dopey but do a brilliant job at keeping the freezing wind off your hands. The rear brake and gear levers are steel, which means they can bend instead of snap, and the front brake and clutch levers feel good under light or heavy gloves.

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SIR, YES SIR!

THE KLR AS A FIGHTING MACHINE In the States, the KLR650 has long been a member of the armed forces in both the standard petrol version as well as a modified diesel. The bikes are handed over to Hayes Diversified Technologies (HDT) for the conversion to a 583cc diesel engine (can also run on aviation kerosene) and the Marines use them on active duty. Other country’s forces are also looking into using the bikes as diesels, which gives you some idea of the confidence in the KLR’s chassis durability.

The seat is magnificent. It used to be shit but now it has to be up there with one of the most comfortable seats made available for the average arse. The bike is fitted with a plastic bash guard, a pipe guard and a windscreen that seems small but is surprisingly effective for anything less than freeway speeds. There is a taller genuine screen available for those hitting the open road. The tank is a 22-litre unit and the fuel is fed into a CVK40 carburetor that’s been around forever and has always proved to be reliable and easy to work with and upgrade. Seat height is a reasonable 890mm, which will suit a pretty broad range of riders, and our test bike was also fitted with the genuine luggage package that includes a tail bag and two side saddlebags.

KICKIN’ UP DUST

Riding the KLR650 was interesting given there was a crossover period for me when I had the Kawi and another adventure bike that was absolutely filled to the brim with every modern farkle and jiggery you could imagine.


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This isn’t a bike you jump regularly or big time and that’s another criticism that’s baffled me. What adventure bike is made for jumping? There may be times when you need to clear a small gap or something like that and the KLR will oblige, but the limitations appear mostly upon the landing where the limited suspension travel and ground clearance make themselves known. But the opposite end of this is that the bike is comfortable and plush, a characteristic you’ll be a hell of a lot more grateful for than any ability to jump. The KLR is surprisingly nimble, with an excellent and tight turning circle and easy to ride through slower speed trails and tricky terrain, but its true home is on the more open tracks where it’s pretty hard to pick holes in the overall ride.

JACK OF ALL TRADES

I rode them back to back a few times and I couldn’t escape one thing: the KLR650 was all about the ride and I really appreciated that. I never worried I wasn’t in the right ride mode or that ABS would interfere when I didn’t want or that I hadn’t told the bike I wasn’t carrying luggage any more. I just kept my eyes on the trails, not on a five-inch screen, and rode. One of the commonest complaints I’ve heard about the KLR is that it’s too slow. It’s a pretty odd call and I wonder if it comes mostly from road-bike guys because on the dirt the bike isn’t just simply slow. It’s not powerful in comparison to the adventure bike competition but it has enough to be capable and, most importantly, manageable. It builds up to speed instead of exploding. It’s quiet, it doesn’t vibrate excessively and never feels like it’s trying to get away from you. It seems fashionable to declare that anything under 1000hp is a waste of time and that if the engine

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doesn’t boom like the growl of a dragon from The Lord of the Rings then it isn’t worth a damn. But try taking said ’roided-up rage machine into the bush and see how far you get when it gets slippery. Or you have to do hours on sand and bulldust and the bike just wants to spin the rear wheel. The KLR might not leap off the line or unload gobs of Trumpesque anger on the planet’s surface but it does have enough to get you pretty much anywhere. Also, because it’s still running a carbie it’s got a great feel in the slower, tricky stuff where you can feel when you’re just above the stall point better than with EFI. Although EFI would certainly improve the fuel efficiency, so the moto gods giveth and the moto gods taketh away in that case. The suspension was upgraded in 2014 to perform better off-road and the job was well done — particularly with the fork, which is less prone to aggressive diving on braking.

Before we used the term adventure bike we called a bike like this a dual-sport — and that’s pretty appropriate still. It’s an excellent bike for the bloke looking to go to and from work during the week and then pack some camping gear and head to the mountains on the weekend. There are plenty of examples through the years of KLR650s taking on epic journeys with not a lot of changes or additions to the stock machine because, regardless of how the world can feel sometimes, there’s still room for simplicity. And when you’re a day from the nearest town, alone with no mobile service, there’s something comforting about being on a bike where you’d at least know the concepts at work underneath you should something go wrong. For around $8000 it’s impossible to argue that the KLR isn’t a good buy. We know it can take you to faraway places, we know it gives faithful service and can perform the role of commuter or adventurer. And we know it still sells well because of all those things and more.


THE PROFESSOR’S TOP 10 UPGRADES TO DO TO KAWASAKI’S KLR650 WRITTEN BY CLIVE WARD OF MOTORCYCLEBIZ Kawasaki’s KLR650 is a single-cylinder 650cc adventure/touring bike. Essentially designed in 1988, it’s been a mainstay on adventure trails for 28 years. The bike has received many upgrades in those years, the biggest being in 2008 and the most recent in mid-2014. The bike is popular due to LAMS approval, reliability and value for money and is recognised as an adventure bike capable of carrying rider, luggage and often pillions many thousands of kilometres through remote roads in many countries across the world. Before tackling the many adventure challenges Australia has to offer, some upgrades are required. Below are my top 10 in my order of importance. 1. FRONT SUSPENSION UPGRADE: The KLR650 comes equipped with a simple damper rod-style front fork. Fitting aftermarket travel control valves (aka emulators) will provide a massive improvement in safety and comfort. Handling and braking efficiency are improved in both road and off-road situations. If you’re over 100kg, it’s also a good idea to upgrade the spring rate while you’re in there. You may also want to consider a heavier spring for the

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rear, especially if you’re going to be carrying heavy loads and/or pillions. 2. DE-RESTRICT IT: For some unknown reason, Kawasaki supplies the bike with restrictor holes in the slide — this prevents you getting any more than 50 per cent throttle. Pull the slide out of the top of the carbie, fill the two holes near the diaphragm with QuikSteel (not the one next to the needle), smooth out flat and fit back into bike. Change main jet to #152 — or #160 if you do the exhaust mod mentioned below. 3. EXHAUST: Replace the existing heavy rear muffler with a lightweight alloy one. We’ve found the Barrett Exhausts slip-on is easily installed, sounds great and improves performance. 4. WIDEN THE FOOTPEGS: Remove the rubber top, as wet or muddy boots don’t grip on rubber well, and either replace the pegs with a new set or you can purchase peg-widener kits, which require the extra part to be welded onto the existing skinny standard pegs. This will improve grip on the pegs and reduce rider fatigue when standing up. 5. BARKBUSTERS: I recommend fitting Barkbusters. This brilliant Aussie invention protects your hands from trees, rocks and the cold. They also

help prevent levers from being damaged in a fall. 6. REAR LUGGAGE RACK: Fit a quality luggage rack to the rear. You want something that’s wider so you can fit a decent-sized waterproof duffel bag on there. 7. ALLOY BASHPLATE: Replace the factory standard plastic one with a super-strong alloy bashplate. The alloy one will provide greater protection for the frame and engine. 8. CRASH BARS: I highly recommend fitting a set of crash bars which extend upwards high enough to protect the large, wide steel fuel tank as well as the engine. 9. RAISE THE BARS: Handlebar risers will provide a better riding position, especially when in more technical terrain where standing on the footpegs is required. 10. REPLACE THE REAR SUBFRAME MAIN BOLTS: The entire rear end is held onto the bike by four small mild steel bolts. They have a habit of shearing off at the worst of times. You can buy a kit that comes with everything you need to replace the two lower bolts, to drill through the top bolt holes and replace them with a single larger-diameter hightensile one.


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FEATURE:

BOUR N' B ADVENTURE RIDE

DAMO GETS TIRED OF THE COMPUTER AND CUBICLE AND GOES MISSING FOR A FEW DAYS AGAIN STORY & PICS ASHENHURST

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KE BACK DIRT ACTION

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It’s pretty hard to beat this view — little did I know I’d not see much of it soon

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ot too long ago I attended the Australian launch for Ducati’s first true adventure bike, the Multistrada Enduro 1200. The launch was a pretty good

experience. The guys from Ducati were obviously enthusiastic about the bike, which is the company’s first proper crack at the off-road market, and they have every right to be. It’s packed with features, has a pedigree that displays quality and reliability and is very much aimed at the upper end of the scale long dominated by BMW. But the launch ride was short. At about 100km, it was a good ride but, in a positive sign for any bike, I was left wanting more seat time. Ducati was happy for me to take a bike for a good run and I’d wanted to head a certain way for a while (i.e, away from the office), so as soon as the window of opportunity opened I made some hasty plans and hit the road.

GO YOUR OWN WAY Last year I rode from my home in Newcastle (NSW), which is a coal-mining town, and headed to Cobar and Broken Hill-Silverton to see how other mining towns were doing in difficult times. I also got to tour the old Daydream Mine, which was established in 1882, and I recommend that tour to anyone as it blew my mind. Those old miners had it tough beyond

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The Red Door tour in all its glory. It’s actually a pretty good thing on a bike

explanation. You have to see it for yourself and that whole area is a crucial history lesson for any Aussie. So I like doing this sort of stuff on a bike. I’m almost always alone (got no friends) and just checking things out a long way from home. I’ve travelled a lot overseas but I never get enough of seeing different parts of Australia so, in keeping with my mining theme of the last ride, I thought I’d head out to Lightning Ridge to see what opal mining is all about. On the way there I planned to go through the Pilliga and then after a couple of days at Lightning Ridge head to Bourke via Talawanta and then home again. My first challenge was to navigate the ride. I planned it out on Google Maps but I had no idea how to take that info and export it to my Magellan GPS. This became a war between me, my laptop and the GPS. I know there are plenty of people with boundless knowledge on this topic but I’m not one of them so I was figuring it out as I went. And, believe me, it went slowly and it nearly sent me mad given I ended up plotting the entire ride turn-for-turn manually (about 2000km) in some dodgy piece of software. I wasn’t even sure if what I’d done worked so I packed my maps in the event I needed to just do it the old-school way. I’m just friggin’ hopeless at stuff like this but I learned one thing: next time I’ll ask someone else to do it for me in exchange for beer. Ducati fitted the bike with the sweet panniers

The Australia Telescope Compact Array is well worth a visit

designed by Touratech and I filled them with some clothes and camera gear then strapped my tripod to the rear rack and I was good to go. I left my street at 4:30am and headed towards Coonabarabran and then on to the Pilliga.

YOWIE-LAND The Pilliga is an interesting place. There’s a hell of a lot of scrub there — and there’s one more thing. Before I left I Googled “The Pilliga” and most of what came up on the screen was about the Yowie. Apparently the Pilliga National Park is the home of the Yowie, the Australian Bigfoot. It’s easy to laugh at this sort of thing until you get a look at how thick the scrub is and realise there could be anything in there and if it doesn’t want to be found it probably won’t be. This is where I got onto the dirt for the first time and breathed a sigh of relief. I hate riding on the road because I find it about as boring as the instructions to a slow cooker. This was also the first time I could put the bike into Enduro mode and have some fun. The sandy roads are pretty good but got pretty slippery in the turns as I skirted around Narrabri, watching for kangaroos and sending clouds of light dust into the air behind me. The Ducati has cruise control and from the moment I got back on the tar I pretty much set it and kept going till I reached the right-hand bend off the


Freshly groomed sandy roads? Yes, please!

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Endless straight roads sapped my will to live at times — cruise control rules

Castlereagh Highway and into Lightning Ridge. This is where I discovered my clutch reservoir was totally empty. I managed to mash down through the gears and came to a stop at the “Welcome” sign. There wasn’t much point sitting there so I got going again, made it into town and pulled up at a servo with a clunk, having to just stall it to stop. A couple of legendary locals stopped for a chat while I was trying to sort things out and told me the only motorcycle mechanic had left town a while ago. I enquired at the servo as to whether they had any hose so I could bleed and refill the clutch — and of course they said no. Why do we bother calling them service stations any more? There was pretty much no fluid left in the system so I pushed the big unit up the main street to my hotel where the owner offered me a beer or rum. The couple who ran the hotel were the best type of people you can meet while you’re travelling. They knew all about the region and would do anything to help or at least bring a laugh to the situation. That night I finally got the clutch sorted the superold-school way, which was a relief, but I still didn’t know where the fluid had gone. More on that later.

EXPLORING THE RIDGE Lightning Ridge isn’t a big place — there are pretty much just two main streets — but it’s a pretty busy

I'VE TRAVELLED A LOT OVERSEAS BUT I NEVER GET ENOUGH OF SEEING DIFFERENT PARTS OF AUSTRALIA town. I don’t usually do touristy stuff but I followed the two “car door” tours of the town in which you follow the arrows painted on specifically coloured car doors. I did the red and the yellow tours and got to see how opals are mined. Opals are the backbone of Lightning Ridge, which I’m told has the world’s richest deposits of black opals in the world, among other gemstones. I spoke to a local woman about how the mining works and she told me that you buy a plot, which used to be rectangular but is now round, you peg it out and then you dig down maybe 120 metres and fan out within your plot’s boundaries to find your treasure. It looks like bloody hard work and the mines are all contained in various zones that look a bit like shantytowns with busted caravans, ancient trucks and mining equipment both new and weathered from decades in the unforgiving weather. There’s a lot of art on display around the town and that’s something I also found in Broken Hill and

certainly Silverton and a lot of country towns. I found people would come up and have a chat almost every time I stopped. I spoke to a couple from Nowra who had bikes at home and had plenty of questions about the Ducati. Soon enough, another couple wandered over and wanted to know about the bike, too. Now, there was a time when I’d sense an old couple were up for a chat and I’d leave as fast as I could. I had no interest in talking about Kochie or mushy peas and that’s all old folks do, right? Then one afternoon in a pub in Bright I helped a couple of slightly confused blokes who must have been 80 order a beer taster selection. I sat with them for a while and they told me war stories that I feel the beer helped loosen out of them. I realised then that these two blokes who were travelling with their wives in caravans and who I would curse if I had to sit behind on the road and ridicule for ... well, just being old, I guess, were in fact

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A view of the flat expanse from the rare hill in Lightning Ridge

BEFORE I LEFT I GOOGLED ‘THE PILLIGA’ AND MOST OF WHAT CAME UP ON THE SCREEN WAS ABOUT THE YOWIE — THE AUSTRALIAN BIGFOOT

Yep, that’s your problem right there: road said 'Closed' for a good reason

Looking for my off-road fix, I ended up exploring a Lord of the Rings set

The Hebel Hotel (Qld). Good for a beer and a bite

absolute legends who’ve seen more and done more than I ever will. They’ve laid it all on the line and then they worked and raised families and I couldn’t get enough of their stories. I had this in mind in Lightning Ridge while I listened to more stories of travel and what some of my favourite places like Alice Springs and Broken Hill looked like 30 years ago when they first went through there.

GOD OF THUNDER INTERVENES I said my goodbyes to the now seven-strong crowd gathered around the Ducati and headed off to explore. I figured since I was only about 65km from Queensland it’d be rude not to cross the border, so I headed to the town of Hebel. The pub there is 133 years old and it’s a cracker. Good sausage rolls, too. From there I went looking for more dirt as I’d still been tar-locked for most of the trip. I even headed into the scrub to just explore and feel rough ground again and found trees that looked like Lord of the Rings characters. If the highlight of my time in Lightning Ridge was the people I met, the lowlight was the weather. Now, it hasn’t rained much in that area for about three years but it started while I was on the border. I just beat the worst of it back to my hotel (the Duke has

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some crazy pace) and, boom! — biblical rain ensued. The next very wet morning, the hotel managers grabbed me and gave me the bad news that the tracks I’d planned to ride that day were closed and impassable, which meant the part of the ride I was truly keen on wasn’t going to happen and I was going to have to ride to Bourke on the road again. I found a track that could take me a more interesting way but it had a “Road Closed” sign and another sign saying “Dry Road Only”. Desperate to ride more dirt, I gave it a go but didn’t get far. The soil was a sticky soup with no traction at all and pretty quickly it gathered under the front wheel guard and just before I managed to get out of it I lost the front and had a little lie-down in the mud. I felt like an idiot — and for good reason.

BOURKE BOUND I arrived at Bourke and checked into the impressive Kidman’s Camp with mud stuck to me and the bike from top to bottom. The rain had eased at Bourke so I went exploring. After about 40 minutes’ riding I was sure I drove past the only person I’ve ever known that lived in Bourke, so I messaged him to see if he was about. That was him and so I came back into town and hooked up with Tye Simmonds,

THE GEAR CHECK On this ride I wore the Motodry Adventour jacket and pants, which I’d worn once before when the weather was pretty much perfect, so I got a much better idea what it was like this time around. I was pretty impressed. I just wore a thermal top and T-shirt under the jacket and on six-degree mornings that did the job. When it heated up to about 18–20, I zipped down the forearm sleeve vents and opened the breast vents, all without having to stop. I used Novik Cold War gloves at any point over about 10 degrees but when it was super chilly I swapped to a pair of Five5 GT2WP gloves, which are waterproof and warm without being too restrictive and losing feeling on the levers. The boots I wore are the ones I always go to if there’s a chance of rain: the RST Adventure Waterproof. They’re comfortable, not too soft in the sole and you can cross streams without them filling with water.


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I CAME BACK INTO TOWN AND HOOKED UP WITH TYE SIMMONDS WHO GAVE ME THE GRAND TOUR OF BOURKE AND THE RUNDOWN OF WHAT IT WAS LIKE GROWING UP THERE

corner, giving me a little extra vision in the blackness.

VERIFIED GLOBETROTTER who gave me the grand tour of Bourke and the rundown of what it was like growing up there. He showed me his tracks, the spot that he can jet ski when the rains come, the river he skis on and, at the pub that night, one of the best schnitzels you’ll ever have. His uncle even owns Kidman’s Camp and it’s on a piece of land that used to be one of his tracks. Bourke’s pretty cool and seeing it from Tye’s perspective was the best way to do it. That night I ducked out at about 2am to take a photo of the bike under the amazing stars. The next morning I was planning to head to Walgett, stay there the night and then head home the next day. But since I was locked onto the tar roads and couldn’t really explore much I couldn’t be bothered hanging around and decided to ride home from Bourke instead. This wasn’t the smartest move and it certainly wasn’t much fun. I had a tinted visor so once the sun went down the country roads were crazy dark and I was on kangaroo alert in overdrive. Impressively, the Ducati’s cornering lights lit up the inside of each

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In total, I put about 2500km on the Ducati Multistrada Enduro 1200 from when I picked it up to when I dropped it off. That’s way more time than you get to spend on any test bike and my impressions are good. I like the bike. It’s more comfortable than I thought it would be and I definitely had enough saddle time to be sure of that. I don’t like the fact that there isn’t a 12-volt socket on the dash; there is one under the seat but up at the dash it’s an accessories plug and the adaptors for these are long and obtrusive. The clutch was a pain in the arse but the cause ended up being pretty simple. The fluid was leaking from the cap in minute amounts but enough to be a problem if you didn’t know or you couldn’t refill it on long trips. The Ducati guys were super helpful (they really are all-round good peeps). The Multistrada is classed as a globetrotter in the Ducati promotional material and that’s an apt description. It handled the long road sections like they were nothing, punting along in cruise control. While I thought the curved seat would be


It’s 2:30am in Bourke: the stars, the Ducati and a freezing-cold Damo

uncomfortable, after about three hours it was good for an entire week. I used the ability to adjust the suspension from when I was carrying panniers and then not when I was exploring and switched modes between Sport, Touring and Enduro as the terrain and conditions dictated — doing this improved the ride each time. I also gave the ABS a huge test when a dumb roo jumped out mid-corner and I had to grab a handful but was still able to steer away. I think this ride, although it was hampered by the weather, was the perfect fit for the Ducati. It feels like an even 50/50 split for dirt to road and at my best guess that’s what most blokes are doing with adventure bikes these days. Plenty take them further while a lot don’t and, while the Ducati might not be the pick for a deep-sand desert ride because of its weight, it’s a brilliant bike for putting your finger on a map and saying, “I’m going to go and see what’s there,” which is pretty much how I plan rides. It’s also one of the best ways to see Australia. I’m happy to take the Ducati on pretty much any adventure and I’m already planning one now — one that can’t be shut down by weather, that is.

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FEATURE: 2017 YZ250F

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A GAME CHANGER FOR THE 250 CLASS IN 2014, THE YAMAHA YZ250F HAS RECEIVED A SOLID LIST OF UPDATES THAT ARE ALL HIDDEN BEHIND WHAT COULD BE MISTAKEN FOR JUST BOLD NEW GRAPHICS STORY SHANE BOOTH PHOTOGRAPHY DAMIEN ASHENHURST

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he bike that took the 250F class by storm in 2014 has remained mostly unchanged over the past three years but for 2017 it gets a solid list of changes aimed at reinforcing the strong position this bike has in its class. There isn’t much of the bike that hasn’t received a tweak of some sort: engine, gearbox, footpeg position, frame and even plastic have been updated. The list of updates looks very much like some of the GYTR performance options that have been available for the bike over the past years. While they may not be identical, it would seem there’s plenty of race-team flowon into this bike.

THE ENGINE

The engine receives what you could just about call a totally new head. The cam profiles are more aggressive, the porting has been changed, the airbox now has a shorter intake funnel and the valves have also had an update to improve performance and reliability. The crankcase benefits from a new manufacturing process to improve strength and durability. All in all, the updates aim to get air in and out of the engine quicker and more efficiently while maintaining durability. On track, the bike is noticeably more responsive than the previous model. To me it feels somewhere along the line of some of the modified YZ250F race bikes I’ve ridden. It revs quicker and probably the biggest difference I noticed was in the top-end performance: it seems to keep pulling longer into the high rpm than it used to. The solid torque this bike has always had is still there and even slightly improved, which is a nice complement to the additional over-rev performance. On the track, it’s a nice engine to ride. For a 250F it

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has plenty of grunt off turns and doesn’t require you to chase as much as some of the other machines in the class. It responds well to some increased rpm but it’s not a 250F that needs excessive revs to produce performance. You can easily torque this thing off slick or hard-pack turns, which is nice. When this bike was released in 2014 it set a new benchmark for engine performance in this class and with these improvements it will stay at the front of the pack.

THE FRAME

The frame had been stiffened to improve the bike’s agility and responsiveness and the footpegs have been lowered 5mm to help improve weight distribution. Most of the change is around the swingarm pivot area where the frame has been thickened up by around 12mm, very similar to the 450. On the track, it feels easy to change lines and place it where you like, which is what riders are looking for. While the previous bike was hardly a heavy beast, the ’17 may just be that little more refined and nimble with these changes. The position is something that I liked and if I’m not mistaken it’s now in the same position as the 450.

S U S P E N S IO N

The suspension hardware essentially remains the same — no air forks here, but the setting has been refined to match the chassis updates. The bike remains a very stable platform that does everything predictably and without any major issues. The new settings work well with the new chassis and there is no sign of any harshness that may concern riders when they hear the frame has been

stiffened up. I like the feel of the KYB SSS forks and have no issue with them not being of the air variety.

T R A N S M I S S IO N

This area of the bike has received a whole bunch of changes and to be honest I never thought there was an issue with shifting performance on the bike. The gearbox has had a bunch of parts smoothed out and tweaked to improve shifting performance and consistency. On the track, I had no issues at all with gear changes and they all dropped in nice and smooth. But I’d be hard pressed to say it’s better than last year, simply because I never felt an issue there, either.

W H AT E LS E ?

There’s a new standard map setting for the ECU to match up with the changes. You also have the option of


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201 7 YAMAHA YZ250F SPECS Engine type: Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4 valves Displacement: 250cc Bore/stroke: 77×53.6mm Compression ratio: 13.5:1 Lubrication system: Wet sump Fuel management: Fuel Injection Ignition: TCI Starter system: Kick Fuel tank capacity: 7.5L Oil capacity: 0.9L Final transmission: Constant mesh 5-speed Length: 2170mm Width: 825mm Height: 1280mm Seat height: 965mm Wheelbase: 1475mm Ground clearance: 330mm Dry weight: 99kg Wet weight: 105kg with 7.5L fuel Frame type: Bilateral beam Suspension front: Telescopic fork, 310mm travel Suspension rear: Swingarm (link suspension), 315mm travel Brakes front: Hydraulic 270mm single disc Brakes rear: Hydraulic 245mm single disc Tyres front: 80/100-21 MS32 Tyres rear: 100/90-19 MS32

purchasing a Power Tuner, which will make it very easy to adjust the mapping without the need for a laptop. At this point I haven’t adjusted anything but we’ve been supplied one from Yamaha and we’ll tweak some settings to see what we can come up with. The airbox has been remoulded around the Dzus clips to seat them deeper so there’s less chance of catching them with your legs and popping one open while riding. It’s surprising they went to that effort rather than maybe returning to an 8mm bolt, as many of the race teams do. The Dzus clips are definitely handy but can be a little bit fiddly and at a motocross race you’re generally pressed for time to change an air filter. A few gold anodised bits have been added: the chain adjuster blocks and the front brake pinch get that treatment. The bike carries over the 270mm front brake rotor and also the four-way-adjustable handlebar

positions, which are a nice touch. There are also some new graphics that include decals on the front and rear fenders, which add a little more punch to the look.

THE WRAP-UP

A bike that was no slouch to begin with has now had some timely updates to help it maintain its position at the pointy end of the 250 class. The engine is more responsive and has improved top end and over-rev while the chassis and suspension changes help it feel just that little bit more responsive and nimble. The culmination of a host of small updates has really injected a performance kicker at a time when the competition is closing the performance gap on the YZF. This bike will keep YZF riders happy and ensure they have a machine capable of running at the front.

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TESTED: 2017 SUZUKI RM-Z450

THERE’S SOMETHING TO THE SAYING THAT WHEN YOU’RE ON A GOOD THING, STICK TO IT! STORY SCOTT BISHOP | PHOTOS GREG SMITH/IKAPTURE

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ince its introduction back in 2005, the RM-Z450 has been an extremely successful bike for Suzuki. On the track it has won countless races and championships in all parts of the globe. In sales, the RM-Z range (250/450) represents 10 per cent of Suzuki Australia’s sales in recent years, so the bike has a good connection with the public. The 2005 model was almost the first bike released at the end of the Suzuki-Kawasaki alliance of the early 2000s. And within the first lap, you knew it was a Suzuki. Then, in 2008, they released the first of the EFI machines and, despite some serious hiccups in the first year, from 2009 the bike was well received and successful on the track. But the knock against the RM-Z450 is that it hasn’t been significantly updated since that time while every other brand has been through a range of model updates and even ground-up rebuilds. That train of thought isn’t entirely accurate and Suzuki Australia went to great lengths to explain a series of updates since that 2008 model and nearly every part on the bike has been advanced since that time. Despite that, the look didn’t keep up with the internal changes and as a result the public perceived that not much was going on under the RM-Z hood. Line up a 2008 and 2015 model and anyone bar a

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WE’VE SAID IT BEFORE AND WE’LL SAY IT AGAIN, THE AMOUNT OF POWER FROM A 450 IS NEVER THE ISSUE Suzuki enthusiast would be hard pressed to tell the difference. So market appeal drops as the dated look of the bike deters prospective buyers and then the resale market suffers because no one wants to buy a used 2015 model when it looks the same as a 2009 model. The yellow 450 had a big makeover in 2015 — everything from frame and suspension to cams and piston — while 2016 showed some very minor changes and the focus of 2017 was cosmetic. But for the first time in a long while there seems to be a bit more energy coming from Suzuki Australia. Instead of just sending out a bike to test, it hosted a

launch at the Echo Valley circuit in Toowoomba with the Wilson’s Suzuki race team and allowed several journos to test and ride the bikes. The following day, some dealers came in and also span some laps on the picturesque circuit. While none of this is ground breaking, at least they did something. In this current market, manufacturers and dealers can’t just open their doors and expect people to waltz in and spend dollars. You have to communicate with them, engage them and help them live the lifestyle they want to live via the products you offer. These were small but significant steps for Suzuki and let’s hope it can continue to build from here.


One fact that Suzuki was quick to point out was that since the RM-Z450 was released in 2005 it’s had 164 race wins at MX Nats, AMA and GP level — the most of any bike, according to Suzuki. In that time, riders like Carmichael, Dungey, Reed, Moss, Waters, De Salle, Stribos and, more recently, Roczen have won on Suzuki. I bet that fact would surprise most people and it’s something Suzuki should be making a big deal of. At a factory level, the RM-Z450 has always been a bike that pros speak highly of. The reason the majority of the above riders have come and gone from Suzuki hasn’t been a bike-related issue. The RM-Z is a respected race weapon. In production form, it’s been a workmanlike performer that’s stood the test of time well. But will it stay that way with the introduction of a new KTM Husky, an all-new Honda and the recently overhauled KXF and YZ-F? We hit the track to find out.

GET ON BOARD Sitting on the RM-Z isn’t an uncomfortable experience and, with changes to the frame and the ergo layout over the years, the fit and feel aren’t totally outdated. Every other brand has now had a major makeover and reshaping of the ergo design, giving them an ultramodern feel, but the RM-Z is like your favourite pair of shoes. It just feels good.

Lever and throttle pull are nice. Front brake is reasonably strong although Suzuki needs to step up to the bigger front brake rotor if it wants to head the class in this category. All of its competitors now use a 260mm front rotor or bigger while the RM-Z still runs a 250mm rotor. The bike feels slim and, apart from my boot catching on the rear of the radiator shroud every now and again, it was pretty easy to crawl all over it. Since the update to the starting system in 2015, firing it up is a walk in the park and, outside of the button-start KTM, this is the easiest 450 to fire into life. The Renthal Fatbars are also a nice touch and are obviously good quality.

THE MOTOR We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the amount of power from a 450 is never the issue; the way it’s delivered is and the RMZ delivers its power in an impressive fashion. With the bulk of its power aimed directly at the midrange, from 6000 to 8500rpm, the RM-Z has a wide sweet spot and the perfect placement for the majority of motocross tracks around the world. Where it loses a little to some of the other brands is that the new trend is making more power across the board and then delivering it in a metered fashion that makes it rider friendly. To compensate for this, the RM-Z turns over quickly in the bottom end and has a quick-

revving and lively feel, making it fun to ride.Suzuki showed a dyno graph of the RM-Z with peak power reaching around the 54–55 mark, a figure that isn’t to be laughed at but is now starting to show its age when you consider the Husky, KTM, Yamaha and Kawasaki are over the 58 mark and able to produce a very rideable power delivery. Four horsepower isn’t a deal breaker for the majority of buyers and the benefit of having a bike that’s been in the development cycle for some time is that every aftermarket product you get for it should enhance its performance. If an aftermarket exhaust or cam company can’t produce a product that makes the bike better after being around since 2008, they shouldn’t be in business. A couple of things worth mentioning about the RM-Z motor are the ECU couplers available to help fine-tune the power as well as the launch control system used. The RM-Z 450 comes with two couplers, one leaner for more aggressive riding and the other for a tamer style of power delivery. I ran the standard plug for a while; then, with traction good and the Toowoomba hills requiring some hit, I tossed in the leaner coupler and it definitely sharpened up the motor across the rpm range. Most riders would swap between the stock and leaner coupling and very rarely go for the richer one.

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THREE SIMPLE UPDATES If you were to buy the RM-Z, here are some things you can do at a minimal cost to improve the performance: 1. OVERSIZED FRONT BRAKE ROTOR 2. DIAL IN THE FORK 3. A GOOD EXHAUST TO PUMP UP THE POWER

The launch control system is now seen on all current 450cc motocross machines. The theory is to help the bike maximise traction in the starting situation and not lose horsepower to excessive wheel spin. The Suzuki system is one of the better working systems and was certainly noticeable when practising starts. The RMZ motor is easily good enough to win races and has stood the test of time. It’s a no-frills motor that gets the job done and still has plenty of fans.

SUSPENSION & HANDLING Suzuki and its motocross models have staked their reputation on the ability to turn. From the very first days of the RM through to the RMZs, Suzukis have always turned with agility and accuracy. The 2017 bike is no different and for a 112kg bike it’s easy to point and shoot the RMZ. The compromise is always the stability of the bike in high-speed situations but that’s a tradeoff many riders are willing to accept. The fork is the Showa SFF TAC air fork. Air forks have copped a fair bit of flak since they were unleashed onto the market, many believing the product from both Showa and KYB hadn’t been developed enough before its introduction to production bikes. Each time I’ve tested the RM-Z, I felt the same trait in the fork — a harsh feel at the top of the stroke — and I’ve always looked at ways of reducing it. Looking through my notes from the 2016 test, I see I changed the air in the inner chamber to take out some harshness, while this year I used the external clickers. Both methods are able to reduce the harsh feel; 190psi in the inner chamber was a good starting point for me and then I just dialled in the clickers to get the feel I was after.

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The RM-Z’s shock is good. As an example of how the bike has dated, the ride height recommended is around 100–102mm whereas every bike that’s seen major updates in the past few years suggests somewhere in the 105–110mm range. The old 100mm rule doesn’t apply to the latest-model four-strokes. But, having said that, at 102mm the shock worked a treat. It was firm enough to stay up when required yet didn’t bang around on acceleration. It didn’t skip or wallow; it just worked.

IS THE RM-Z STILL RELEVANT? Of course it is. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the other brands but, at a recommended retail price of $10,995, it’s nearly $4000 cheaper than some of its market rivals. It’s been refined over the years to be a solid, high-performing bike that works well across most areas. The RM-Z is a good bike at a good price that will satisfy a huge cross-section of riders.


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FEATURE:

N E E R G VINTAGE KAWASAKI KX80

R E V FE

JOHN HAFEY TAKES ON A REBUILD MISSION WITH MORE TWISTS AND TURNS THAN THE AVERAGE MX TRACK WORDS & PHOTOS GREG SMITH/IKAPTURE

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hose in the industry will know John Hafey and that he works for Husqvarna Motorcycles Australia. The thing most people don’t know is that he’s an avid collector of road and off-road motorcycles, among other things. You can find him at the national motocross races and other events but his passion is getting out and about on one of his many collectable motorcycles at a vintage motocross meeting. I caught up with John at the recent Classic Dirt number 12, held this year at Queensland’s Green Park MX course. He wasn’t hard to find, lounging around on a mid-70s dragster pushbike close to his pride and jewels, all parked perfectly in line under his six-bythree tent. I immediately noticed the KX80 and how beautifully it had been restored and asked if I could shoot it. He said yes and started telling me the story below. Trust me, if you want to know anything about these early-80s minibikes, there’s no one else to talk to.

BACKGROUND Back in late 1981, I’d been racing for a little while on an RM50 when the time came to graduate to the 80cc class. My parents, who in hindsight probably couldn’t afford this sport with four children, recognised my single-minded love of motorcycle racing and decided to encourage it. One Thursday shopping night they ventured into town (Toowoomba) and toured the four main dealerships at the time with no real idea other than I needed an 80. The story they recounted from that night I’ve never forgotten and use it in my role now. After, as they described it, not really getting much assistance anywhere else on the way home they dropped into the Kawasaki shop, Royal Kawasaki, which was a little out of the way, and were sold a brand new KX80D1 by a “very nice, helpful man”.

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THOSE IN THE KNOW WILL UNDERSTAND MY EXCITEMENT GIVEN THE COMPARATIVE RARITY OF THESE MACHINES

My journey started here as this man became a mentor and second father to me from that day. Noel Royal was a professional and passionate businessman who spent an amazing amount of time with me over the next 10 years, particularly during the recession years of 1984–85 when Dad was working seven days a week getting our family’s financial position back in order. I rode Kawasaki from this time until 1992, when a change of class in road racing brought about my first brand change. I also made some lifelong friends during this period of Team Green “brotherhood”, such as Rohan Pask and Chris Hill. Noel continued to be there for me and my family right up until his premature death from motor neurone disease some 10 years back. My only regret is I didn’t call him more often for advice during my 20s, when I “knew everything” — and I certainly wish he was still around today as this lifetime motorcycle journey continues.

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THE BIKES Around eight years ago I went to an MX track in northern NSW with a much younger Dean Ferris for a weekend ride — a venue I’d not been to since 1982 for school on this very KX. While I was soaking up the nostalgia, Dean showed me a small collection of unrestored bikes nearby. Right in front of me was a KX80D2. Those in the know will understand my excitement given the comparative rarity of these machines. I expressed my need to own this bike. Four years ago, during my second tenure at McLeod Accessories, I employed Nathan Crawford who was having a tough time personally during this period (Nathan now works alongside me at Husqvarna Australia). Nathan was quite close to the owners of this northern NSW venue and I mentioned there was a KX80 there I really wanted to own. Not one week later, Nathan turned up with not one but two KX80s, one even rarer in that it was a 1981

KX80D1, the same as my first 80. I won’t go into the details of the deal; however, many thanks go out to John Boyd and Nathan for making this a reality.

TWO PROJECTS Early on I decided to restore the D1 back to showroom and display it in our house. It was very original, with original tyres, grips etc — just very, very rusty and no plastic at all. It must have spent 20 years in the weather. The second project was going to be a rider (I don’t plan on growing up any time soon). The D2 was to become a “mini works replica”. I could see from some photos back in the day that such a bike existed in the United States under the Team Green program and I wanted to build one, only take it one step further.

STEP ONE: STRIP DOWN After stripping the D2 down and consequently beginning the eBay parts chase, I took the frame and


cases to my mate Geoff Holmes for a blast and a coat of “works blue”. I then bought a 1987 YZ80 front end off eBay as I liked the twin-piston caliper and disc arrangement on this bike. These bikes did not get disc front brakes until 1984 — true works bike. Geoff also did a beautiful job on the gold swingarm.

STEP TWO: BEGIN BUILD Approximately 18 months later, after a job change and moving cities, I began to build this bike with the newly gold zinc-plated bolts. Problem number one: the main Uni-Trak bolt hole was flogged out and I didn’t notice this upon strip-down — really difficult to get at and extremely hard to repair. Much anguish followed. I decided to think about this and build the engine up first using my newly acquired 99cc factory cylinder kit: freshly painted cases in factory blue, NOS crankshaft from Sweden, a new clutch basket. After some research I discovered a 2013 KX100 piston kit from the UK drops straight in. Perfect. While finishing the bottom-end assembly, I slid the NOS cylinder on and discovered BIG problem number two: the D1 and D2 have different cases and cylinder bases — very slight difference but the boost ports are larger on the D2. More anguish. My factory 99cc cylinder is D1 only

and they are very rare birds. Not many people know this as the models look almost identical but actually differ in many, many ways. Most eBay sellers assume these models coincide. They don’t. That I learnt with so many more discoveries later. Luckily for me, Kurt Percy from Full Throttle Motorcycles (top Husqvarna dealer) still has many old parts and bikes around from the original wrecking business he purchased. He knew what I was building and gave me a rolling chassis and bottom end from another D2. It was time to start again with a new frame and cases (both required some repair) then off to a local powder coater in Toowoomba for a coat of space blue, which is closer to the original factory navy colour but still not correct. I like it, though.

STEP 3: BEGIN AGAIN After another six-month break due to disgust, disillusionment and finances, I began again. But now in my desperation to solve some of these mysteries I stripped down the D1 to educate myself. All theories proved to be correct and I now had two KX80 projects running alongside each other. eBay again turned up a NOS 82cc D2 cylinder (Aussie/UK models were 79cc). In fact there were two, except the seller explained one was a strange blue colour with different porting and came from Michigan out of Eddie Warren’s dad’s

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MY PARENTS WHO, IN HINDSIGHT, PROBABLY COULDN’T AFFORD THIS SPORT WITH FOUR CHILDREN, RECOGNISED MY SINGLE-MINDED LOVE OF MOTORCYCLE RACING AND DECIDED TO ENCOURAGE IT shed. I couldn’t hit the “Buy It Now” button fast enough, feeling sick at the money I was spending and trying to explain the world’s most expensive KX80 build to my forever understanding wife. The wheels went off to John Titman many months ago to be built up in factory gold with a NOS rear hub I also got from Sweden. Rear shock went to Andy Thomasen of ATR fame to build me a “factory shock” out of a Works Performance shock I got from the US on eBay to fit D1/D2.

MORE PROBLEMS Engine in frame and swingarm in, wheels arrived and the rear wouldn’t fit. The D1 and D2 have different spacer arrangements and my NOS hub turned out to be for the rarer bird — of course it was. Problem solved as I found the correct D1 spacer at CMSNL in Holland’s online. It’s the last one — lucky me. A part arrived in a few weeks with the right part number but there’s a crank seal in the packet as it had been labelled wrongly. A few more weeks pass and another pops up on eBay, this time in the USA. Fixed. The rear wheel is in. A special Talon sprocket was airfreighted from the UK by Kev Titman.

BEGIN FRONT END FABRICATION The YZ80 steering stem is nothing like the 1982 KX80 so I need to get a custom stem made. Jason Corney of JCR Developments and I go back a long way (Radars

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Team Yamaha and before that also). He used his machinist skills to fabricate it to fit. I spent days with my Dremel buzzing the original casting marks off the top and bottom clamps to give them that works smooth look, then re-blasted them. A1 anodising at Ormeau then anodised them gold for me. The two different colours you see are a result of the two different materials. The fork lowers were painted black and I brazed up the compression and rebound holes to redrill them for a valving change to suit my weight. Then I cut the original YZ80 springs and made preload spacers to suit my weight again. The front end went together pretty smoothly other than blasting the hot pink colour from the YZ80 caliper body. I added a ’94 KX500 master cylinder that I had lying around. John Stamnas built me a custom blue brake hose to suit it.

REAR SUSPENSION After a year-long saga of discovering the “works performance” shock was cactus and wouldn’t work anyway because the top Uni-Trak A-arm on the D1 and D2 actually mount the shock differently on both models — go figure — Andy managed to build me a beautiful works shock using a D2 body that he’d cut open to revalve for my weight and then welded up again. A NOS hose I got off eBay mated to a TT350 reservoir that’s an inch longer for more oil capacity after loads of plating and machining and a KTM 65

PDS spring. I would say this is by far one of the “tricker” items on the bike.

FINISHING TOUCHES A 1985 Elliptical bore bigger carburetor is fitted. These were state of the art in 1983/84/85 and a massive reason why the KX80 was so dominant in that era. A 1985 model DG pipe is also fitted along with an unidentified DG muffler modified to fit. The plastic restoration was done by me and decals by Nine Two Decals finish it off nicely. I also bought a NOS rear guard on eBay for more than $500. I located a blue CEET brand seat cover from their US website that came with the completely wrong printing on the side that I ended up removing with Prepsol and reapplied the correct font using stencils made by Nine Two Decals. Brian Litzow made me some new seat foam one inch higher at the front and half an inch higher in the rear to suit me better. To this day, I haven’t ridden it. I do plan on riding it — I’m just not sure when that day will come.


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084

INTERVIEW: SIMON HO @TACBIKE

ALL-AUSSIE ADVENTURE SIX MONTHS’ RIDING EXPERIENCE, A YAMAHA XT250 AND A SENSE OF ADVENTURE WERE ALL THAT SIMON HO NEEDED FOR HIS RECENT RIDE THROUGH AUSTRALIA. SIMON DOCUMENTED HIS BREATHTAKING JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM, INSPIRING YOUNG ADVENTURERS ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY TO FOLLOW HIS LEAD STORY HAYDEN GREGORY PHOTOS SIMON HO

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irst of all, where do you call home and what do you do for work? I call Melbourne home. [I’m] currently working part-time as an Army reservist and fulltime as a postgraduate law student at the University of Melbourne.

How long have you been riding bikes? Unlike other people who go on adventure rides and have been riding since childhood, I haven’t been riding very long. I actually only began riding six months prior to my current trip, [in] August 2015! Can you broadly describe the ride you’re on? After doing a lap of Tasmania, I rode from Melbourne to Adelaide, up to Uluru, then to Darwin. From Darwin I headed across to Townsville, up to Cooktown (I couldn’t go further due to time constraints and wet season) then back down the east coast to Melbourne. This was done during summer/wet season from December-January and was an unfavourable time to travel but I had to do so before university started.

This big portion was 14,000km. I spent $1500, slept by my bike most nights and ate very little food, losing 10kg bodyweight. I travelled alone the whole way except for a few days, which I spent at friends’ places around the country. Now, back in Victoria, I’ve been doing very regular rides to all the main attractions of my own home state. Since coming back, I’ve done some 8000km of adventuring around Victoria — everything from urban exploration to longer rides like the Great Ocean Road. I intend to continue with the western half of Australia in the near future and if things go well I have my eyes set on overseas. What moment or thought sowed the seed for this ride? The push factor was my postgraduate studies at university in law and I knew I’d be having my head in the books. I’ve always wanted to travel and do something big, so pretty spontaneously I decided to use the bike I’d bought for commuting and camping to go further. There wasn’t any particular “moment” except the realisation

The Route taken for the fiveand-a-half-week trip. Plans for the west currently underway

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that my university break was coming to an end — more of a push than anything. Now, back in Victoria, I ride as a regular thing. The pull factor is a break from studying. The motorcycle to me is a modern-day horse and riding it far away where there [are] no traffic or red lights I felt a very addictive sense of freedom. In the outback it’s only me, my horse and the environment, nothing else — no bureaucracy, bills or bullshit, no one else to blame for my mistakes and only one person to rely on and listen to. A lot of people would be surprised to see you’re riding an XT250 on such a long trip. How did you come to choose the Yamaha? A Yamaha XT250 2015 dual-sport bike — reliable, tough and agile, it has done everything I have needed it to do and more. After doing my research, I found that Yamaha is a very reliable brand. Furthermore, the XT250 for a beginner was easy with a low seat height and light weight. This means that on the bad occasions where I’ve been bogged down or dropped the bike and I’m alone — like in the water at the Daintree rainforest of Far North Queensland — I can resort to plan B of dragging

First night of the trip at the Bay of Fires in Tasmania. Milk crate side racks can be seen. Tasmania was a trial for gear. After that I ditched a lot of stuff, including the sleeping bag


the bike out with my bare hands. The bike hasn’t failed on me once from its manufacturing, [only] due to operator errors. Although many people choose larger adventure bikes, I think this limits the potential of the adventure. The best features of a motorcycle for adventure to me are the agility, mobility, small profile and lightweight build. Fuel efficiency and minimalism also come to mind. Why buy a $20,000-plus bloated motorcycle with all the farkles, panniers and comfort accessories when you could be more comfortable in a car for the same price? I don’t think paying four times more on things that aren’t needed will make a trip four times better. You will see in my photos that I’ve used an inverted milk crate as my side racks. A PVC pipe on the side was what I used to hold my food. I don’t think it takes that much to go on an adventure. People often think 250cc

is too underpowered, but I’ve been able to comfortably sit at 90–100km/h. Going an extra 10km/h faster really doesn’t make much difference in the scheme of things, plus keep in mind the XT250 has also been my university/ local grocery commuting bike. This is the reason why I really like dual-sport motorcycles like my XT250: they work well for different needs. They are the perfect multipurpose tool for a wide range of situations, plus they can take a beating. Did you have an overall plan to start and have you stuck to it? Yes, the overall plan was to complete the eastern side of Australia with the time I had before uni began. Since returning to Victoria, the plan has been to explore everything in the home state, which I’m currently working on. The additional objective has been to

document the process to share with other people and inspire people to either get into riding or get out there and start riding. That has been quite successful, too. Many of my friends have got their licences and bought motorbikes, many more are gearing their bikes up for adventure and, from the looks of things, people have taken well to the story on Instagram. In terms of the actual planning from day to day, I’ve found it’s better to remain flexible. Originally, I was very specific and well planned on my movements during my riding. Over time, I found it was much better to be more fluid and flexible with an overall objective but the finer intricacies of the plan to be worked out as I go. It’s good to be able to adapt to new situations, especially continuously riding into new places. There are many things you cannot possibly foresee, from road blocks to bad terrain to a location I might want to spend more time at.

Temperature around 40 degrees Celsius every day in the desert in summer. It’s actually better insulation to be fully covered up when the temperature is that hot

The Devil’s Marbles: Australia has many attractions but large spaces of nothingness in between them

Melbourne skyline. Dual-sport motorcycles belong in urban environments just as much as on trails — this is something people often forget

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How are you navigating — GPS, maps etc? I had maps but they got destroyed along the Overlanders Way: my bag sagged over the exhaust and they melted. I normally use my phone when there is reception and draw a rough map. As long as I have a compass and a rough idea, things have been OK. I much rather prefer to get lost occasionally trying to locate a place than to go straight there via a GPS navigator attached to my motorcycle — it adds to the adventure, not always having everything certain. Where do you call home at the end of each day? On the road it was a mix of hostels, friends’ places and the spot next to my bike. If I sleep next to my bike I make sure to conceal it so that no one knows where I’m sleeping. Can you describe some of the standout sights you’ve seen? Cities and towns are the main ones, but spots in particular I found great were: TASMANIA: Cradle Mountain (I climbed it), the Bay of Fires, Freycinet National Park, Mount Wellington, Lake Burbury, Lake St Clare, Ocean Beach SOUTH AUSTRALIA Coober Pedy, Barossa Valley QUEENSLAND Mount Isa, Black Mountain, Daintree National Park rainforest, Atherton Tablelands NORTHERN TERRITORY Uluru, the Olgas, the Devil’s Marbles, Litchfield, Katherine Gorge, Edith Falls, Wycliffe Well (“UFO Capital of Australia”) NEW SOUTH WALES Blue Mountains ACT The various museums and memorials, Mount Ainslie VICTORIA The Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula,

Fort Nepean, Cape Schanck, the Otways, Warburton, Twelve Apostles, Snowy Mountains Have you been surprised by the country you’ve found as you’ve explored it more and more? Australia is big, very big. While people do international road trips between many countries, just going across Australia is a long ride. Although I haven’t done the entire lap yet, I think Australia’s Highway 1 is the longest road in the world. Some days I found myself riding for over 12 hours. Most of the country unfortunately is empty, with some portions featuring mundane and repeating landscapes (mainly the centre). What I found amazing was the diversity of environments. Too often we stay at home in our suburbs or cities, but this being a big country it has climatic variations that make you feel like you’re in different worlds: eg, snow in Tassie, the red desert of the centre, lush tropical rainforests of the north, then the populated east coast cities. What are some of the everyday struggles you’ve faced on the ride? Climate: heat so hot where it would be better to wear full gear for insulation, where my nose would bleed and it would feel like a hair dryer was blowing on me. What I did was cover my face and nostrils with Vaseline and drench myself with water whenever I could. Down south it has been cold, so cold once that someone donated me some clothes from a shop. The cold is mainly the wind chill and rain combined. I’ve heard people say that at 10 degrees Celsius and you’re going 60km/h the wind

Nothing to see in the fog and rain at the Blue Mountains

Lightweight dual-sport motorcycles always allow you to have plan B in comparison to the far heavier, fancier and more comfortable adventure bikes

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Water crossing in the Daintree rainforest, Far North Queensland. Wet season was a bad time to be in the tropics


chill is minus-10 Celsius. This feels even worse considering I don’t have any heated grips or a heated jacket. Humidity was very bad in the north during the wet season. It just makes things uncomfortable, especially at night. I didn’t carry a sleeping bag or tent with me and my sleeping method was as simple as laying the sleeping mat I had next to my bike. Bugs. I would always cover up in my motorcycle jacket at night but still things would crawl all over me. Often I would play it off as my imagination only to wake up the next day and find a squashed bug where I felt itchy. Some of these bugs up north were big and physically hurt on impact at high speeds and after a good amount of rain they came out in huge numbers. The worst-ever bug incident for me was when one wiggled under my goggles and began chewing on my eyelid. I was riding at 100km/h and it was challenging to maintain control to gently pull over and brush the bug away, as opposed to squeezing my brakes hard and ripping my helmet off. Being alone: this can make you weird. Humans are social animals so being alone for extended periods of time I guess makes you appreciate having other people around. Anyone who’s travelled alone will know what it’s like to talk to themselves. Another part of this is the mind playing tricks on you when you’re meant to be sleeping. When I was in the middle of nowhere and no one knew where I was, although it seems funny now, I’d ask myself things like, “Are there aliens around? Is this going to be Wolf Creek 3?” etc. Having a sore arse: it hurts but it won’t kill me.

What pieces of equipment can you not live without? Spare water is an absolute must. You will die very quickly without water more so than without food. Even just being dehydrated will make you think differently and could lead to you making a fatal error while riding. Even though it can be hot and humid I always wear full motorcycle gear. This is because I’ve come off in the past and they were not pleasant experiences. The camera I carry with me is essential to my activities. Great effort has been taken to preserve and maintain the camera to continue documenting my journey. Sunglasses are important, especially in Australia. My boots: the Sidi Adventure Gore-Tex boots have also been essential. Although I’ve ridden a bit, I also do a lot of walking on my rides. Boots that can actually be walked in, while providing adequate protection, are a must for me. My backpack. The pack has a few small first-aid items and emergency items, but importantly I can clip my helmet onto it, which allows me to walk around and have the helmet with me hands free. It must get lonely being by yourself so much. Have you spent much time riding with other people? A fair bit around Victoria and it’s always good to have company. Small day rides with friends have always been good. But I think for longer trips you get two negative things happening. Firstly, your group creates a bubble around itself and prevents it from interacting with others as much as you would have. In this sense, although I was travelling alone and it’s common to think of travelling

alone as super lonely, it was actually much easier to meet and interact with others. Secondly, people can sometimes annoy each other after prolonged exposure to one another. It can be difficult to have any private time if you’re travelling for long journeys with the same people and little things like one person needing to use the bathroom or one person being hungry, disagreements in where to go etc can make people annoyed at one another over time. Is this something you’d recommend other riders take on? Yes, definitely! This is the reason I’m sharing the photos I’ve taken. In life it’s the things you don’t do that you regret. If I can go 14,000km round Australia with six months’ riding experience and on 1500 bucks, it should be very possible. A lot of people talk about their good plans but the actual difference in making it happen is the doing part. For anyone interested, I suggest taking small steps towards the goal: for example, buying a map. Each small step you take towards the goal makes it harder not to do it. On the road, the other long-range riders I came across were decades older than me. I admire their dedication but would also urge younger people to consider using their motorcycles to travel. What comes next? More riding in Oz? The west side of the country is a must. Then after that I have my eyes set on a trip or two much larger overseas.

To follow Simon’s journey, check out his Instagram page @tacbike, where you’ll find a number of stunning shots.

Dark and eerie pine forests around Great Otway National Park

Taking a break in the snow-covered mountains of the home state, Victoria. I’m always impressed by the huge variation in climate and terrain of Australia

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FEATURE: HONDA OF TROY

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HONDA

AS AXIS MOTORSPORTS PUT THE FINISHING TOUCHES ON THIS MINT SWINK REPLICA CR125, WE ROLL IN WITH CAMERAS AND LIGHTS WORDS D. ASHENHURST PICS B. ASHENHURST

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or Australian moto fans, the phrase Yamaha of Troy brings back great memories of Chad Reed making his name early in his US career and his cousin Craig Anderson taking the win at Southwick in 2003. The team wasn’t always with Yamaha, though. In fact it really made its initial reputation on Hondas and some of the most memorable-looking CRs of all time.

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The guys at Axis Motorsports gave us a call and suggested we come over to snap some shots of a bike they were finishing for owner Paris Corless. We’re not going to fill these pages with words — we’ll let the bike do all the talking — but what you see is a replica of Brian Swink’s 1995 CR125 race bike. Swink was a wild rider with tonnes of natural talent who initially rode Kawasaki but switched to Honda in 1991. His time there lasted only a year before he swapped to Suzuki. He stayed there till 1995 when he

returned to Honda CR125 on a bike just like the one you see here. In fact Swink rode both a 125 and a 250 in 1995. The bike is one of the more distinctive in a period of bikes that had character and are still remembered all these years later. The only thing missing at the time we took the photos was the original blue-coloured seat; that’s since been rectified and the CR was fired up in anger at the Conondale Classic with Paris on board. Sadly, Swink would end his career back on a


Kawasaki but by that time he’d lost his way and strayed into a lifestyle not conducive to being a successful pro rider. But he left behind memories of some amazing rides against the likes of McGrath, LaRocco, Emig, Kiedrowski and Windham. Plus of course he had the rare distinction of winning his very first AMA Supercross in 1991, after which he went on to win the East Coast Lites series — ironically, on a Honda team that would also later change to another manufacturer: Mitch Payton’s Peak/Pro Circuit Honda.

THE BIKE IS ONE OF THE MORE DISTINCTIVE IN A PERIOD OF BIKES THAT HAD CHARACTER AND ARE STILL REMEMBERED ALL THESE YEARS LATER DIRT ACTION

93


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THE

DEALER INITIATIVE

SHOP LOCALLY NSW CITY COAST MOTORCYCLES 262-264 Keira Street Wollongong, NSW 2500 02 4228 7392 sales@citycoastmotorcycles.com.au www.citycoastmotorcyclesyamaha.com.au

RIC ANDREWS MOTORCYCLES 169 Manns Road West Gosford, NSW 2250 02 4324 1800 www.ricandrewsmotorcycles.com.au

VIC FIRST CLASS MOTORCYCLES 26 John Street, Lilydale, VIC 3140 03 9739 7277 sales@rstclassmotorcycles.com.au www.rstclassmotorcycles.com.au

PETER STEVENS MOTORCYCLES DANDENONG 105 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, VIC 3175 03 9791 7722 infodandenong@peterstevens.com.au www.peterstevens.com.au

PETER STEVENS MOTORCYCLES GEELONG 21 & 36 Mercer Street, Geelong, VIC 3220 03 5221 0400 infogeelong@peterstevens.com.au www.peterstevens.com.au

PETER STEVENS MOTORCYCLES MELBOURNE 339 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000 03 9602 5833 infomelbourne@peterstevens.com.au www.peterstevens.com.au

PETER STEVENS MOTORCYCLES RINGWOOD 507 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood, VIC 3134 03 8870 1322 inforingwood@peterstevens.com.au www.peterstevens.com.au

STUART SIMMONS MOTORCYCLES, MOWERS & MARINE

WA MIDVALE YAMAHA 75-77 Farrall Road, Midvale, WA 6056 www.midvaleyamaha.com.au

NT

105 Benalla-Yarrawonga Road, Yarrawonga, VIC 3730

JETCOR YAMAHA

QLD

1/39 North Stuart Highway Alice Springs, NT 0870 08 8952 4884 www.jetcoryamaha.com.au

BAY CITY MOTO 1/60 Boat Harbour Drive Hervey Bay, QLD 4655 07 4194 5688 www.baycitymoto.com.au

SA

BAYSIDE YAMAHA

72 Stirling Road, Port Augusta, SA 5700 08 8642 5551 www.northernmotorcycles.com.au

8-10 Merritt Street Capalaba, QLD 4157 07 3245 4301 robbie@motosport.net.au www.motosport.net.au

BURDEKIN MOTORCYCLES 266 Queen Street Ayr, QLD 4807 07 4783 3773 enquiries@burdekinmotorcycles.com.au www.burdekinmotorcycles.com.au

ROCKHAMPTON CITY MOTO 152 George Street Rockhampton, QLD 4700 07 4921 0555 www.rockhamptoncitymoto.com.au

NORTHERN MOTORCYCLES

PETER STEVENS MOTORCYCLES ADELAIDE 221 Franklin Street, Adelaide, SA 5000 08 8212 1494 infoadelaide@peterstevens.com.au www.peterstevens.com.au

WSB DISTRIBUTORS 198 Main North Road, Clare, SA 5453 08 8842 2177 www.wsb.com.au

TOWERS MOTORCYCLES 17 Mary Street Charters Towers, QLD 4820 07 4787 1588 sales@towersmotorcycles.com.au www.towersmotorcycles.com.au

SEE YOUR LOCAL MOTORCYCLE DEALER TODAY!


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MOTO MANUAL

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DIRT ACTION


5 01

REASONSWE LOVE AIROH AVIATOR 2.2

02

The field of view from the port is enormous so you can see the look of misery on your mate’s face as you breeze past him.

Weighing in at as little as 950 grams, the Aviator is lighter on your head than a hipster’s man-bun.

03 05

Ventilation on a hot Aussie day isn’t a problem with the Airoh designed to allow plenty of airflow around your nut.

04

The Airoh Emergency Fast Removal (AEFR) system allows for a quick removal of the cheek pads when it’s needed most.

The Airoh is available as a Matt Phillips replica so you can run a lid just like the Aussie world champ.

DIRT ACTION

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MOTO MANUAL DIRT SHOP

A SELECTION OF COOL STUFF WE FOUND THIS MONNTH

ACERBIS 2017 FLASHOVER PANTS • Zipper closure, double snap with hook & plastic micro adjustment • Double waist adjustments with Velcro • Kevlar Schoeller reinforced and vulcanised rubber on inner part of right knee and Kevlar Armortex on left knee • Reinforced foam on knee & soft TPR patch on thigh • $189.95 • mx1australia.com.au

AIROH AVIATOR 2.2 ISDE 2016 EDITION • • • • • • •

Tailor-made graphics resembling Spanish flag Each limited-edition helmet will carry a sequentially numbered plate Fashioned from 100% carbon Kevlar Expanded field of vision Exclusive peak provides maximum protection from the elements Optimal ventilation & breathability motonational.com.au

KAWASAKI UMBRELLA Take shelter under this black Kawasaki umbrella, decorated with Kawasaki logo printed in white on alternate panels and lime green piping. RRP $31

RHK YAMAHA YZ/YZF/WRF 99-16 GOLD PURSUIT FOOTPEGS • Fitted with super-aggressive high-tempered steel teeth for exceptional grip • Includes spare replaceable super-aggressive & standard teeth • Unique triple bridge design allows for 17 teeth across 3 rows for increased grip • Lightweight cut-outs give an aerodynamic design which reduces excess mud buildup • 57mm-wide oversize footpegs for extra stability • Available to suit Honda, Husqvarna, Husaberg, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki & Yamaha

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ALPINESTARS 2017 RACER BRAAP FLUORO YELLOW/BLACK GEAR SET JERSEY • Poly-fabric construction is lightweight, moisture-wicking & durable • Cut longer in rear area for compatibility with Alpinestars’ MX pants • Stretch collar neck construction for fit & comfort • Fade-resistant sublimated graphics • Fitted wrist cuffs for optimised fit

BIKE KUBBY

PANTS • Durable poly-fabric/nylon construction • Extensive lightweight & ventilated mesh with stretch panel inserts for improved fit • Heavy poly-fabric reinforcement on seat area & inner leg panels • Includes perforated foam hip pads for fit, comfort & breathability • Ratchet closure with dual waist-adjustment pulltabs for safe, personalised fit • Convenient interior hip pocket for key/coin storage

• Fits virtually all standard, sport and touring motorcycles • Locking hardware allows the Bike Kubby to be locked in the lowered position • Provides full coverage protection from the elements • Powder-coated Steel Tube Structure • Durable 600d polyester fabric with polyurethane coating & fully taped seams for water proofing • Very fast installation — less than 30mins • Anchors are included for secure mounting on pavement • Accommodates impactresistant floor • 2 year warranty

BLACKBIRD RACING DG3 SEAT COVERS With a new anti-slip section, the hallmarks of the Double Grip 3 seat cover are the innovative high-frequency welded traction strip system and the ultra-resistant, excellent-grip materials. The raised strips have been specifically studied to allow riders to shift their weight directly onto the back wheel. The covers feature excellent traction and shock resistance. The two colours and the micro-injection patch give the seat cover a racing look to complement its leading-edge technical features. Available for most makes and models. RRP$99.95

FOX 2017 180 CREO ORANGE DUFFLE BAG A great everyday duffle bag for your travel and track essentials, the 180 Duffle Bag features a main compartment and two zippered compartments on either end. Dimensions: L 10” × W 20” × H 16”. RRP $99.95

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JUNIOR GEAR

JUNIOR SECTION

6D 2017 ATR-1Y HORNET • Patented ODS technology • Carbon-fibre, composite fibreglass & Kevlar shell • 4 intake ports, 13 transfer ports & 4 aggressive exhaust ports • Genuine CoolMax™ anti-bacterial fabric comfort liner • Emergency-release cheek pads • Sternum pad • Exceeds ECE, DOT & AC standards 6dhelmets.com

LEATT YOUTH GPX 6.5 V.02 CARBON HELMET • Carbon matrix junior shell ECE+DOT • 3D in-moulded multi-density V-Foam Plus • Optimised integration with Leatt neck braces • Rear hyperextension impact platform • Maximum ventilation with 11 large vent ports • Reduced outer shell volume for reduction in neck forces & rotational brain acceleration • Zero-friction removable safety cheek pads

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ANSWER YOUTH SNX 2 • Meets or exceeds DOT FMVSS 218 safety standard • Shell made of injection-moulded acrylonitrile butadiene styrene • Removable/washable liner with moisturewicking fabrics • 2 large front air intakes & 4 rear exhaust

M2R X-2.5 JUNIOR LEGACY • MIT shell construction • Lightweight & strong carbon-fibre, Kevlar & fibreglass shell • Adjustable flow-through ventilation • Fully removable interior comfort liner • Australian Standards AS/NZS1698 approved

FOX 2017 V1 FALCON • Injection-moulded polycarbonate construction • 3 shell & 4 EPS sizes for a precise fit • 9 intake & 4 exhaust vents for optimum airflow • Exceeds ECE 22.05 & DOT certifications • $179.95 monzaimports.com.au

RXT RACER 2 • ABS construction with AS/NZS 1698 standards • Graphics from world-renowned designer Antman • Sizes: XXS–L motonational.com


DIRT ACTION FIND-A-WORD

Time to put your thinking hats on, kids. See if you can find all of the words hidden in the box below..

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BLING CAIROLI COMPRESSION JERSEY LAUNCH

MXON OIL PANNIER PLASTICS ROOKIE

STAND TOOLS UNADILLA VETERAN WORLD CHAMPION

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MOTO MANUAL FREE SPIRIT

FREE SPIRIT

@chickamotorunner

@motogeo

@bmwsafari

INSTA ADV

GET YOUR FIX OF ADVENTURERS 24/7 THE WORLD OVER THROUGH THESE AMAZING INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS

S

ocial media can be a bad thing. Like when those photos appear on Facebook that someone took of that night you don’t remember but you know you woke up the next morning with no pants on and a dead wombat in the bed ... yeah, that was hard to explain. But it can also be a good thing and enable you to keep track of people on amazing rides all around the world. We like Instagram because it’s mostly photo based, easy to upload to and there are fewer idiotic and hateful comments than on Facebook and

Twitter. Nothing sucks more than a bloke in his lounge room criticising anyone out and about on their bike and seeing the world in their own way. So, we’ve put together a short list of Instagram accounts we recommend you give a follow. Some are accounts that bring together content from different people and some are dedicated accounts that allow you to follow someone on their journeys, often in real time — like the excellent Daryl Beattie Adventures (@hanginfive), which is one of our favourites and always makes us want to be out on the bike.

@motorsurgicaldiaries

@aus_advrider

@_rodeo_cowboy

@advlifeofficial

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WHERE THE BLACKTOP ENDS AND THE DIRT PICKS UP, THE WORLD BECOMES AN ADVENTURE PARK FOR THE FREE SPIRIT

@_africatwin_

@hanginfive

@rideadv @tacbike

@dualsportlife

DIRT ACTION

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MOTO MANUAL ADVENTURE TIP

ADVENTURE TIP

CLUTCH POP WHEELIE THIS IS A SLIGHTLY MORE ADVANCED SKILL BUT A VERY HANDY ONE. IF YOU CAN LIFT THE FRONT WHEEL OFF THE GROUND WHEN REQUIRED IT CAN HELP YOU DEAL WITH DIFFERENT OBSTACLES AND TERRAIN

STORY & PHOTOGRAPHY SHANE BOOTH

T

with the clutch release and you’ll just spin the rear wheel. Too few revs and too slow on the clutch and the front wheel won’t lift and the bike may stall. It’s a combination of throttle and clutch almost simultaneously to pop the front wheel off the ground. It takes practice but eventually you’ll get the feel of it.

SLOW IT DOWN

If you get all of this right the front wheel will climb off the ground quickly, so be ready to get it back down again. If you’re quick enough, just simply pulling the clutch in will do the job; but if you don’t react quickly enough it might be on its way up with enough momentum to keep going right over. If you think this is the case, you want to apply the rear brake, which will drop the front wheel very quickly and stop the bike from flipping.

his is a skill that will require some really solid clutch and throttle skills, so before we go into it make sure you practise that stuff beforehand. This is not a power wheelie; it’s a controlled release of throttle and clutch to lift the front wheel off the ground for a small amount of time. It’s a handy skill to use when you come across things like sharp ledges, rocks or logs — anything that may stop your forward progress. If you can get your front wheel over those things, the rear usually follows without any problem.

This is a slow-speed technique, so to do it well and accurately you want to be in first gear and almost stop the bike completely before you pop the wheel up. As you slow down, you can use the front brake to slow or stop the bike. That will cause the front suspension to compress; as it rebounds, that’s when you bring the throttle and clutch into play to lift the front wheel. The rebounding suspension will help get the front wheel up.

ALL ABOUT TIMING This isn’t about power; it’s more about timing and being able to release the clutch with the correct amount of throttle so that the engine responds and the front wheel lifts. Too many revs and too quick

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BE READY TO DROP IT

PRACTICE This is a skill worth practising in an open paddock so that you can get the feel of the control use needed to get the front wheel up. Remember, when you need to use this out on a ride it will be critical that you can do it on cue and accurately. If you mistime a clutch pop wheelie you may end up putting the front wheel back down right in front of the obstacle you were trying to get over — and that isn’t ideal. Practise it until you have the front wheel on a string.


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108

MOTO MANUAL TRAIL TIP

TRAIL TIP

DROP-OFFS

THESE SHOULDN’T BE TOO MUCH OF A WORRY WHEN TRAIL RIDING BUT GET IT WRONG AND YOU COULD HAVE A NASTY TRIP OVER THE BARS

STORY SHANE BOOTH PHOTOGRAPHY KTM

T

he unknown is what trail riding is all about — you never really know what may be around the next turn or over the next crest. A drop-off is one of those unknowns where it can appear there’s no option other than to ride off it. If you have to send it off a drop, you want to get it right.

STAND UP When you’re going to ride off a drop-off you want to get up into the standing position if you aren’t already there. Leaning back slightly will help you keep the front wheel level as you ride off; you also want to be standing so that you can absorb the landing. How hard you land will depend on the angle of the landing and how big the drop is but generally the landing from a drop is fairly firm, so be ready for it.

DRIVE IT OFF You don’t want to go off a drop with zero throttle — that will just make for a quick nosedive and you’ll only survive if the drop is small enough for the front wheel to get to the bottom before you go out the front. You need to drive the bike off the drop with throttle so that the

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front wheel stays level until the rear wheel comes off — not so much throttle that the front wheel lifts up, as that can lead to a loop-out when the rear wheel drops off. In a perfect world, the front wheel stays level or just very slightly higher than the rear wheel as the bike rides off.

REAR WHEEL FIRST If you’ve nailed the throttle control, the rear wheel will naturally fall away as it rolls off the drop and set you up nicely for a rear wheel landing. As the rear wheel drops, brace yourself so you’re strong for the landing. Make the suspension work before you start to soak up the impact with your arms and legs. If the upcoming trail allows, you should land with some throttle, too — that will help smooth things out on impact.

BEWARE OF THE BIG ONE When riding, you should always try to be at a speed that will allow you to stop at the top of a drop if needed. You’ll be surprised at what you can ride off on a dirtbike but at some point you may come across one that’s just too big a drop and you’ll do damage to yourself or your bike if you send it off. Be ready for that and get the bike stopped before it; it’s not a nice way to end your day’s riding.


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110

MOTO MANUAL MOTOCROSS TIP

MOTOCROSS TIP

LOAMY BERMS

WHEN YOU SEE A LOAMY BERM PUSHED UP ON THE OUTSIDE OF A TURN, IT’S HARD TO RESIST HEADING STRAIGHT AT IT AND DESTROYING IT. THAT MAY LOOK SWEET FOR A PHOTO BUT IT’S NOT THE BEST WAY TO USE IT

STORY SHANE BOOTH PHOTOGRAPHY HUSQVARNA

STAY LIGHT & LOW Remember, these berms haven’t been built — they’ve been pushed up by all the bikes getting on the gas and roosting that dirt into a pile. It’s loose and soft and you can blow straight through really easily; when that happens, you’ll most likely find yourself lying on the ground. The way to avoid that is to stay light through the turn, approach on the shallowest angle possible and flow with it. When you come in sharp and try to turn off it sharply, you’re likely to push the front end through it or blow the back end through it with the throttle. Pick it up early and try to stay on it the whole way through. Another way to help avoid blowing through is to stay low on the berm and not get up high. If you’re lower there’s more dirt holding you; the higher you get, the thinner the berm gets and the more likely you are to blow through it.

LEAN WITH THE BIKE You can lean your body with the bike as the wheels have something holding them from sliding out. If you try to sit up on top of the bike too much you’ll struggle to keep down low on the berm; usually, you’ll find the bike tries to stand up and climb the berm, which isn’t what

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you want. So try to trust the berm and lean in with the bike as you make the turn. Remember to keep your head forward over the handlebars, too — that will also help keep the front wheel where you want it and stop it climbing the berm.

READ THE CHANGING CONDITIONS This can be the best line on the track in one lap and put you on your head the next. These types of berms change with every bike that goes through them, so make sure you’re always looking and doing your best to read the changing conditions. The more bikes that go around it, the more it will push wide — at some point, probably too wide to be a good line. Sometimes when this happens you can change the way you use the berm by turning off the very beginning of it and cutting off the exit of the berm where it’s got too wide. Just be careful you don’t bury the front end when you do this. If you get it right, it’s a very effective way to get through a turn with lines that have all blown out wide. You don’t want to be the unlucky rider who’s on it when it finally gives way because it’s too blown out, so keep a close eye on it and change your line when you need to.


DIRT ACTION

111


THE POWER SHOT

THE LONG WAY HOME PHOTO ASHENHURST

Kawasaki’s KLR is a bike worthy of praise. Fill the panniers and point it down that dirt road and disappear for a few days. It won’t let you down and it won’t stop you from exploring this wide world.

112

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DIRT ACTION

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KE O R T S &4 E K ELS O D R T O S M 2 ES & K A M ALL

years Over 40 ience! of exper


NEW HGS 250F HI FLOW EXHAUSTS. Super light. AMA Dyno test winner. In stock now!

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YZ85 HGS pipe and silencer $49 0 YZ125 HGS pipe and silencer $55 0 KTM SX50 HGS pipe and silencer $45

5 0 KTM SX85 HGS pipe and silencer $49 0 KTM SX125 HGS pipe and silencer $550 COBRA CX50 HGS pipe and silencer $455 KTM SX65 HGS pipe and silencer $49

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SATURDAY 19TH OF NOVEMBER BOMBALA SHOWGROUNDS ENTRY COST IS $15 ADULTS & $25 FAMILIES EARLY BIRD ADULT TICKETS AVAILABLE ONLINE FOR $10

Visitor Information phone (02) 6458 4622

GATES OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AT 10AM, SHOW CLOSES AT MIDNIGHT. CAMPING AVAILABLE AT THE SHOWGROUND

FLAIR RIDERS STUNT SHOWS, SOUTH COAST DJ’S, LIVE MUSIC, TRADE STALLS, FOOD, NOVELTY EVENTS & BURNOUT COMPETITION. SHOW YOUR BIKE IN OUR SHOW’N’SHINE COMPETITION. 16 DIFFERENT CATEGORIES. $10 ENTRY FEE, ENTER AS MANY CATEGORIES AS YOU LIKE. TROPHIES AND CASH PRIZES UP FOR GRABS!

WIN A Brand New INDIAN SCOUT SIXTY

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incl. on road costs from Canberra Motorcycle Centre. Strictly Limited to 500 Tickets $100 a ticket


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122

PARTING SHOT

NATHAN CRAWFORD PHOTO D. ASHENHURST

Husqvarna’s Nathan Crawford is one of those rare talents made up of equal parts aggression and raw skill. He’s easily one of the most exciting riders to watch on race day and will spearhead the next generation of riders heading into MX1 in the coming years.

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DIRT ACTION


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Dirt Action 10 2016