Project 2012: Day 157
On the 25-27 May 2012, some 85 owners and pillions of Ducati’s Multistrada motorbikes gathered together at the base of Mount Seaview for the inaugural “Multistrada Experience.”
The event was sponsored by Ducati Australia, and organised by Fraser Motorcycles with support from Northcoast V-Twins. Essentially this included 2 nights at the Jaspers Village Resort, just off the Oxley Highway, with a couple of group events designed to celebrate all that is the Ducati Multistrada.
Yes. I’ve been looking forward to this event since even before I bought Lucia, and pretty much booked it up as soon as I joined the club of Multistrada owners.
After a miserably wet Sydney summer, then the driest May on record, it started raining on Thursday, the day before the event. Friday broke gloomy, and with some 6 hours of riding ahead, I prepared for the worst.
I had a chance to join some Sydney riders, the Fraser’s crew, looking to leave the Corrugated Cafe in Peat’s Ridge at 9:30. Their plan was to head up Buckett’s Way, then Thunderbolt Way, then down the Oxley to the resort. I decided not to join them for 3 reasons:
- I passed the Peat’s Ridge turn-off on the F3 an hour before they were due to leave
- I figured my riding is still pretty conservative, and I didn’t want to hold up the group
- If we ever got separated, I’d be riding on roads I didn’t know, without either a map or GPS, potentially at night
So I decided discretion the better part of valour, and headed up the F3, then Pacific Highway.
It did rain intermittently, but between the bike and my gear, this didn’t even slow me down. I was dry, warm, and comfortable. In fact there were a number of times I looked at the speedo to notice it creep into licence eating mode. With the preponderance of law enforcement I caught myself braking more than once.
I took three brief stops en route:
Just after the Hexham Interchange, I filled up with fuel, checked air pressures, and had a most welcome Double Bacon Roll & large Mocha.
The bike was behaving admirably. Just comfortably blasting up the freeway with all my worldly belongings.
2. The Motorcycle Museum
After 12 years of living in Australia, and driving up the East Coast on holiday many, many times. I’d heard about, but never stopped at the Motorcycle Museum at Nabiac. Well, here I was, in no rush, on my motorbike, needing a break. So it was time to rectify that omission from my cultural heritage.
I loved the motorcycle museum, which costs a reasonable $12 entry fee. I’m not sure the rest of my family would appreciate the time admiring the courage and engineering devoted to propelling humans on two wheels. I certainly did.
In fact the Motorcycle museum rates a post of it’s very own. Perhaps next week.
Finally, I dropped in at Mud n Tar Motorcycles in Wauchope to see if I could get some earplugs. I hadn’t ever ridden at >100kph for multiple hours before, and the wind roar in my Shark Evoline, was pretty tedious to say the least.
Unfortunately they didn’t have any earplugs. But I had a great chat with the lad looking after the shop, and tried on a pair of Liquid Image HD Video Goggles.
The organisers had also recommended we fill up in Wauchope to ensure we had fuel for the Saturday ride.
The final leg was a 60km ride in clearing weather to the resort.
I rocked up to the resort at just before 2pm, to a carnival of Ducati red. The banners, the truck, the gazebo with a line of Multi’s being checked over. Even the autumn leaves seemed to blend in to the riot of colour.
Before long I’d registered, had my bike looked at (rattle here, shake there, tyres, chain, nothing to worry about), and was parked in front of the “dorm style room.”
Next on the agenda was much needed sustenance. Before long I’d convinced the kitchen (preparing for the welcoming dinner) to rustle up a couple of open sandwiches. And a cold Corona.
Since I’d ridden for the better part of six hours, I figured there’d be no more riding that evening. (I have a strict personal, 12 hour “bottle to throttle” rule.)
Then, I remembered reading in the welcome email that we could organise a relaxing massage. So that’s exactly what I did.
As it turns out, the masseuse, from the local town of Long Flat, didn’t “do” relaxing massages. Only remedial ones. So my visions of being gently rubbed in a warm room, with meditational music and incense, were shattered. I lay shivering in an empty barrack room, being pummelled, stretched and prodded listening to the throaty roar of Testaretta v-twins arriving.
Still, apart from the bruises, I did feel better afterwards.
Especially after the next beer.
Meeting the gang
As the afternoon wore on, more people arrived, and we got down to the business of meeting each other. By that I mean, building rapport through comparing bikes. Yes the bikes were (with the minor exception of a about half-a-dozen older models) the same model, but everyone had their own personal touches.
For some it was the addition of handle-bar guards, a topbox or GPS. For others there were bash bars, frame sliders, and lights. Then there were after-market replacements: windshields, seats, exhausts, tyres, even paint jobs.
Everyone had something they believed added to the experience.
This led to conversations about fitting, pricing, and dealers. I wish I’d jotted everything down, because there was much to learn. Alas, I’m one hand too short to manage a beer, a notebook, and a pen.
Because the resort is nestled about 4km’s from the road, at the base of the Great Dividing Range, there is no cellular coverage. So a new mate, Darryl and I decided to walk up the road until we found reception, then let our loved ones know how warm & comfortable we were, instead of the rather morbid alternative.
On the way nature decided to impress us as the sun set.
Wow! This motorbike touring thing can become seriously addictive.
And it’s still day 1.
Then the convoy I’d not joined from Sydney arrived.
After reassuring our respective partners that all was indeed well. We’d arrived, alive, and had yet to crack the credit card. We batted the breeze as we wandered back to the resort. Mountains, creeks, fields, and Ducati banners formed the perfect backdrop to a refreshing walk.
Then there was time to grab something from the bar, and meet the rest of the rabble in front of a roaring log fire before the welcome dinner.
Close on 100 people crowded into the dining hall as the resort staff valiantly served us garlic bread and a choice of chicken or lamb shank.
Warren Lee, CEO of Ducati Australia & NZ, welcomed us to the event, and ran through the agenda for Saturday – Simply:
Breakfast, ride the Oxley to Walcha, with an option to add 15km of dirt experience, lunch, then ride the Oxley back, then the Multistrada Experience “challenge” before dinner.
In short. We’re here to enjoy our bikes in some of the best biking country we can.
It turns out the Oxley has 283 corners in some 45km’s of road. Then another 62km’s of fast roads to Walcha.
After dinner we trooped back to the common room to watch the cult motorcyclists documentary, “On Any Sunday.” This was filmed in 1971, at a time before proper motorcycling equipment, or even bike types and featured Steve McQueen. The sport has come a very long way since then. The passion is still undiluted.
Coming Next Week:
Day 2 – The Twisties, Sweepers, and the Adventure Tour