BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Monday, 17 November 2014

Are we there yet? The Balladonia express to my front door.


The sun was beaming in through the hotel room window at 4.45 am and I was wide awake. Rexy was up and making coffee, so I knew I had one co-rider for today. Uncle D and Uncle R stirred soon after, so the four Mild Hogs would finish this ride together as a team.

With a forecast high of thirty four degrees Celsius today I decided it was time to remove all the liners from my riding gear. I know I've raved about it before, but my Rev'it gear is probably the best investment I've ever made as far as motorcycle gear goes. It's kept me 100% dry riding in hours of down pouring rain, it's warm, but with the liners removed it's comfortable in the heat. I was ready. 

My standard rule is not to ride within an hour of sunrise or sunset, this way we avoid the kangaroos and other wild life that like to throw themselves at our bikes. With just under 1,000 kilometers to cover, our wheels were rolling westward again at a quarter to six. The light was quite harsh for this time of the morning, making the strong colours of the desert even more bright and vivid than usual.

More of the same.
Luckily we didn't get lost.

It was a really pleasant ride as we made our way toward Norseman and the crisp morning air made the bike run strongly.

After a quick breakfast and refuel in Norseman we turned north toward Coolgardie. On the way we rode past Lake Cowan, a huge salt lake that reminded me of Lake Lefroy. Lake Lefroy was home to WA's biggest and best desert race. It was a challenging race, but once you got to the end you felt an enormous sense of achievement. Unfortunately the race is no longer. I miss those days of racing.

We stopped in Coolgardie for fuel and a quick energy drink, then the other side of Coolgardie threw up some more road works for us. It was just a final little slap in the face for the boys who don't like dirt roads.

Check out that sky.

Our next refuel was in Southern Cross and while we were there we shared our lunch with the local flies, who were even more friendly than usual.

After another refuel at Tammin it was just a matter of continuing east until we crested Greenmount Hill, the gateway to the City of Perth.

Perth city from Greenmount Hill.
Nearly at my front door.

I experienced mixed emotions when I saw Perth. I was sort of glad to be home, but also sad because it meant our ride had come to an end. After quick farewells at a set of traffic lights I wheeled left toward home and parked the Guzzi in the driveway about forty minutes later. It was over.

So, how was the trip? I'd driven across Australia a few times before and didn't enjoy it at all, but I'd never ridden across so this was a first for me. I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to the long, straight, flat roads we had to cover, but I found I actually enjoyed it and I would happily do it again, so that's good. Maybe it was the company and laughs in the evenings that made the difference.

The Moto GP was fun, but Tasmania was a real highlight of the trip. If you enjoy riding a motorcycle, you must visit Tasmania. It's just fantastic.

The bikes ran faultlessly for the whole trip apart from my exhaust gasket issue, which was easily fixed, and the running on one cylinder problem that I have to look into. Surprisingly, for six blokes living in very close proximity for so long, there was only one little tiff, and that was my fault. Sorry Rexy.

We'd ridden a tad over 9,000 KM in 24 days. For my European friends, if you plot our ride in Europe it would be like riding from England, through The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Turkey into Lebanon, then back again. Yes, it's a long way.

What was the best part of the trip? That's easy, as always, the people. My riding mates are a great bunch of guys and made the trip all the more enjoyable. Thanks guys. Catching up with family and old friends who I never see often enough is always a good thing. Then there are the new friends we made along the way. People are the best part of any trip and they create memories that last forever.

Of course the dogs I met were great too. I still believe that dogs are better people than most people, so a big "Woof" to all my new canine friends.

What was our final conversation about at the last fuel stop? It was about planning our next ride, of course. We have a few ideas in the mix already. I don't know where we'll be going, or when, but hopefully I'll see you on the road somewhere soon.

So that's it...for now...


  1. Hi Simon
    I just found your blog today. I’ve been reading all about your Motogp trip. It was an excellent read especially your trip around Tassie. I’ve ridden Tassie with my brother and was one of our favourite rides except for New Zealand last year. Those roads in WA across the nullabour look pretty boring, I could see you giving it the berries on the 90 mile straight.

    Its good to find other aussie biking blogs as they are few and far between and yours was very well written. Keep it up mate.
    Anyway if you ever find yourself on the otherside of the country riding give us a yell. I’m here in Sydney.
    The Road to Nowhere

  2. Thanks very much Steve. I'll definitely contact you if I'm in Sydney, and we'll catch up for a beer. ☺ Same applies if you're ever in Perth.