Drew Jackson and John Davies rode all the way from Warwick (QLD) to attend the 2017 Rally in Bethanga.
Here’s Drew’s account of the long ride down and back!
The ride to the Rally began in Warwick on Wednesday [Nov 22] and it was raining. We usually ride down to the Bruxner Hwy via Killarney, Legume and the Tooloom Scrub to Urbenville and eventually to the Bruxner; however, with the rain, we decided to go directly down to Tenterfield on the New England Hwy.
Our bikes are good back-road tourers, but constant highway speeds seem a little cruel. The KL250 Kwaka is happy at 95 kph, and so is the SR, especially as the round trip will be about 3000 km.
The Bruxner Hwy from Tenterfield to Drake is a great ride with a good variety of corners, but take care, as there are a couple of corners posted at 30 kph that tighten up pretty quickly and have caught out a few riders. Just before Tabulam, we turned south and headed for Grafton. Because of the small tanks on our bikes, it was necessary to fill up whenever we needed to cover more than 150 km. Both bikes were getting over 25 km/L, but running out of fuel is not much fun, so we were being careful.
After a quick lunch in Grafton we headed towards Ebor and Armidale. This is one of my favourite roads, with plenty of corners and only light traffic – it was a pity it was still raining lightly. The new Metzeler on the back of the SR was performing well on the damp roads. From Armidale, we headed to Uralla, and then Walcha, where we spent a very comfortable night at the Apsley Arms Hotel.
An early start the next morning saw us in Gloucester for a coffee after an interesting ride over some pretty rough sections of road. From Gloucester, we headed to Dungog, and then Singleton and Denman. The next section was the Bylong Valley Way to Rylstone; this is great ride with great sandstone formations and plenty of tight corners in a couple of places. I hope the protesters manage to keep the coal miners out of the area. From Rylstone, we headed to Kandos, Ilford, Sofala, and Bathurst – there are plenty of good corners on this section. Our destination for the day was Blayney where we were booked into the Royal Hotel. It was steak night at the Royal and it was booked out – every table in the pub was taken, but the barmaid found us a spot, and for $12 we had a steak with a great selection of sides. We had done about 650 km and we only had about 500 km to go to get to Bethanga for the Rally.
From Blayney, we headed to Cowra and then Boorowa and Jugiong where we joined the dreaded Hume for a few kilometres on the way to Gundagai. It was good to get off the Hume and head to Tumut, Batlow, and Tumbarumba for lunch. We were getting pretty close to our destination, so after a pie and a coffee, we refuelled and headed off to the border at Jingellic. The ride down to Jingellic from Tumbarumba is another good ride, with plenty of good sweepers, and with the aid of gravity, the bikes performed well.
After crossing the Murray River, we turned along the Murray Valley Hwy and headed towards Granya where we turned off to Bethanga. We arrived mid-afternoon and set up our camp before going to the hotel to meet a few of the regular Rally-goers. All up, we did 1615 km getting to the Rally.
The Rally is fully catered and the food is very good and the prices charged are fair. Hot showers are available and there was a cricket match to watch on the Saturday. Saturday night was the official part of the Rally, with awards given out for the Show ‘n’ Shine – Best Original SR, SRX, and so on. There were some very interesting bikes on display.
The Rally was very good and the SR Club did a great job. The venue is a cracker, with a fair amount of shade and green grass to camp on.
The ride home was a lot faster, as we took a more direct route – back to Tumbarumba, then up to Cowra, Wellington and Gulgong. The next day, we headed north to Coolah, Manilla, Bingara, Warialda, Yetman, Texas, and finally to Warwick via Greenup. It was a long day and we did have a break at Yetman at the Codfish Hotel.
We refuelled in Texas – still the cheapest fuel in Queensland.
Over the six days, we averaged 500 km per day, even given the rest day on Saturday.