By Rosie Lalonde, TeamMoto Marketing Assistant & Graphic Designer
Buying a new motorcycle is one of the best times in your life. The excitement, the joy, the promise of freedom and fun… you all know what I mean.
But purchasing a bike can be a big decision and knowing you have a quality machine is very important.
This quality starts long before the bike makes it to Australia and it is interesting to think about where your motorcycle actually comes from. The work behind the machine, the hours spent tuning, building, painting … all to create the pride and joy sitting in your shed.
With help from Jeff Crank, the QLD Triumph Dealer Rep, I was lucky enough on my recent trip to the UK to swing by the Triumph Factory in Hinckley, Leicestershire and go behind the scenes in their main manufacturing facility.
Tom Geary, the Regional Manager for Export Sales, was kind enough to show us around and spent over three hours going through the entire (almost – I’ll get back to this!) factory and answering all our questions.
Now the extent of my knowledge in regards to Triumph was sparse … I knew their models and the heritage dating back to the early 1900’s, but that was about it. As Tom began to give us some background on the new age Triumph the first thing that struck me was the fact Triumph is owned by one man.
John Bloor bought Triumph in 1988 and set about resurrecting the iconic British motorcycle brand. By 1991 Triumph Motorcycles were back on the streets and the brand has gone from strength to strength since, with 1,800 direct employees across 13 countries and more than 750 dealers across 40 countries. And it is still owned by John - who comes into the office every day.
As we progressed through Triumph’s “Factory 2” we also learned that Triumph has not just one or two factories, but five in total.
The original Factory 1 was opened in 1988 and was home to the production line until it was devastated by a fire on the evening of March 15, 2002. This did not dent Triumph’s enthusiasm however as production was moved to Factory 2 following the fire and they were back running by September of that year. Factory 1 was rebuilt and now plays a vital role including housing the ever-expanding parts and accessories divisions and the paint shop where all the hand painting is done.
Factory 3, 4 and 5 are in an industrial area of Chonburi in Thailand.
These factories are fully owned, staffed and managed by Triumph and are
run to the same exacting standards as the UK operations. Tom explained
how these factories allow Triumph to produce more parts in house and
retain total control over quality and ensure a reliable and consistent
The extent of Triumph’s in-house production became more
apparent as we continued to walk through Factory 2. Triumph
manufacturers an extensive array of their own components including
frames, fuel tanks, plastic bodywork, engine cases, cranks, cam shafts,
cylinder heads… the list goes on!
Their in-house processes include – ready for it - high pressure aluminium die-casting for the engine cases, plastic injection moulding, painting and coach-lining for the bodywork, powder coating on frames and ancillary components, plasma nitriding case hardening on cranks, CNC machining on cranks, cams, cases, heads, ancillary gears, welding on frames, fuel tanks, ancillary parts, polishing on many components AND various plating including chrome plating components particularly chrome plated engine covers. Whew! And that is only scratching the surface!
And all of this before we even got close to the assembly line! The full scale of production started to dawn on me as we walked through the 36,000m2 building. The time, energy and hard work that was put into each piece – however large or small – was absolutely baffling. I had always known that Triumph was a high quality brand – but getting to actually see what went into creating a Triumph motorcycle, I now completely understand what it takes to produce that quality.
As we continued through Factory 2 we passed a large building with blacked out windows and this was the one area that Tom couldn’t let us inside.
The Triumph R&D department houses more than 200 design engineers at Hinckley and they are the brilliant minds that come up with all the new models.
No matter how much begging, pleading, coercing I tried, sadly Tom didn’t allow me inside to see any secrets … although he did say they were working on 2017 models!
That’s right, the most baffling information for me was a new model normally takes 3-5 years from “concept stage” to “volume production” stage. 3-5 YEARS!
And that doesn’t guarantee the model will even make it to production after several years of development!
Tom mentioned that one model in particular had been scrapped only six
months before it was supposed to be mass produced, and when I asked him
about any “one – off” models perhaps hanging around he slyly hinted one
or two of the designers may have a full size clay model tucked away in
their offices somewhere. How cool would they be to see?!
Nevertheless we had to leave the
mysterious blacked out windows of R&D behind and head onto checking
out the assembly line. I can only imagine the energy and atmosphere
when the line would be running – the room full of people and motorcycles
I even saw a Tiger that was partially made and its identity sticker said
it was destined for Australia. I wanted to leave a note for the owner –
something along the lines of “TeamMoto was here!” but sadly I didn’t
think the Triumph inspection crew would like that!
Inspections are a huge part of the production and with the state-of-the-art inspection area, tests on components are carried out on computer controlled machines, ensuring that everything meets the very demanding requirements.
But back to the assembly line – it all starts with the engine assembly, of which they have two engine lines. There are approximately 80 operators on the engine assembly lines and Factory 2 can build up to 300 engines per day (one engine every one minute 25 seconds).
Next is the chassis line and it can assemble around 200 motorcycles each day, which means that a bike is completed every two minutes, 25 seconds. There are 75 operators working on the line and each is responsible for a process that ultimately leads to a completed motorcycle.
Once the bike leaves the rolling road, it is sent to a holding area where they undergo one final visual check to ensure there are no flaws or damage to the paintwork or bodywork.
They are then winched onto specially made metal bases and wrapped in a green plastic sack, which inhibits corrosion. Triumph only changed to this packing process a few years ago and this is proving much better for the dealers, as it doesn’t involve coating the bikes with waxy substances that are difficult to remove.
The bikes are then ready to be distributed. It was quite an impressive sight to walk through the 9m tall racks holding all the crated bikes, ready to be shipped out to the far corners of the world.?
The whole experience really hit home the dedication Triumph has for making their motorcycles the best they can possibly be.
Tom also described how most of the employees at the factory were more than just workers – they were motorcycle enthusiasts as well. They love bikes just as much as the customers across the world and in the summer the carpark is full of two-wheeled commuters.
So next time you swing your leg over your Speed Triple or Thunderbird, you can trust in the fact your bike comes from a place where motorcycles aren’t just machines, but very much a way of life.
By Stuart Firth, TeamMoto Triumph Springwood Workshop Service Manager
2006 was a good year for my speedway sidecar racing career. We were the current Aussie number 2 after getting robbed for first position at the Aussie titles but still happy with the number 2 plate. We also came 2nd in the sidecar masters in Townsville and pretty much made every final in every big meeting all year all over Australia. So when the opportunity to race in the world title in the UK came up we jumped at the chance.
I had been racing A grade for 16 years and always wanted to race overseas and have a crack at the best in the world.
For those of you who don't know what a speedway sidecar is, here is a quick run down. A speedway sidecar is a three wheeled motorcycle with a purpose built chassis that races on a oval dirt track in a clockwise direction.
There are two people on each bike, the rider (myself) and a passenger (Darren Fleming) The rider steers the bike and controls the throttle, the passenger uses his or her weight to help the bike get traction and to help steer the bike. The engines can be no bigger than 1040cc, run on methanol and have massive horsepower any where between 160 and 200 horsepower. The bikes weigh around 150 to 180 kg's so the power to weight ratio is extreme to say the least.
Oh I almost forgot - they have no brakes at all!
Racing overseas is expensive business and we were lucky we had so many supporters and friends that all chipped in various amounts of money to help get us to the UK. After months of planing, training, fund raising and saving every cent we had the bike was packed into a crate that I made, with all our spares, tools, tyres etc carefully packed around the bike.
I remember it taking a full day to actually pack up the crate it was like a massive jig saw puzzle ( a very expensive jigsaw puzzle). The crate was then sent off to the shipping company for its 6 week journey to the UK.
The next 5 weeks seemed to drag on forever. We raced our other bike and every club day we could do just to stay fit and for practice. We were pumped for the trip and were both fit, healthy and riding really well.
A week before we were to leave I received a phone call from the shipping company telling me there was a problem with the ship and my bike would not be there on the agreed date.
When I hung up the phone after taking out my anger on the poor lady at the other end of the line I just about went into shock.
We now had a huge issue - the bike was going to be in the UK the day
after the world title! Months and months of planing for nothing and
thousands of dollars wasted. What do we do now? Do we cancel the trip?
Do we go just to watch? Can I borrow a bike over there? Can I fly
another bike over there? or maybe the ship will actually be there a few
days early and we will still get the bike in time.
All these things were considered and we made the choice to still go and try and borrow a bike. After a few phone calls to the UK sidecar boys we started to get a few options so off we went to the airport with suit cases filled with as many spare parts as we could fit in.The suit cases would of looked funny in the x ray machine; mine was full of handlebars, clutch levers, sprockets, various spacers and I also had a full set of decals made up with all our sponsors on them so at least it would look like our bike.
When we arrived in the UK we were picked up at the airport by a guy named Nev, one of the local sidecar boys and he turned out to be our most valuable acquaintance while we were over there. Nev informed us that the boys could not dig up a bike for us but had found a frame we could use and a Yamaha YZF1000 motor was being delivered to our home base.
He also said "Don't tell anyone where you got the motor from and I need it back next week ... oh and don't blow it up!" I was happy with the Yamaha motor as I was very familiar with that particular engine having built many of them back home in Australia for other speedway riders. I actually rode Suzuki's myself but the Yamaha would do nicely.
We wasted no time and went to inspect the frame we could use. The owner of the frame - Duncan - said he had his old frame out behind his shed sitting in a paddock. He said" I'm not sure if is any good for you but have a look any way!"
A few minutes later my passenger Flemo and I were looking at an old rusted frame that was overgrown with weeds and looked like some sort of garden ornament. Flemo looked at me and said "Maybe we should just go and get on the piss." I agreed at that point.
OMG how were we going to turn this rusted old sidecar frame into a bike worthy of racing in a world title? I think we just stood there and looked at it for about 5 minutes. Nev who was one of those positive glass half full type of people was saying things like "it really was a fast bike in its day" and " A man of your talent should be able to get this bike together in a few days."
I was not so sure as I'm more of a glass half empty type of person. We dragged the frame out of the paddock for a better look and it was about twice as heavy as my own frame. The geometry did not look too bad and it had a mostly complete front end.
Duncan the owner started pulling bits and peaces out of his shed: "here is the seat for it" then a few minutes later "here are the exhaust pipes but they need welding up" … a few more minutes later "here is the fuel tank". This was going to be a massive project as it usually takes me a few months to put a A grade sidecar together, not 5 days! Mr positive Nev said "its looking like a bike already I'll see what else I can dig up" and he disappeared with his phone to his ear.
The next 5 days was a blur of jet lag and madly trying to put together a miracle.We started working on the bike at 7 every morning non stop until after midnight every night and also trying to stay in touch with my wife and 3 kids and sponsors back in Australia. Exhausting would be a understatement.
The word was out with what we were trying to achieve and a non stop wave of people, whom I had never met started appearing at all hours of the day and night offering all sorts of parts. Most of the people I really did not even get to meet as I was head down bum up and I started to feel guilty that all these people that were lending me all sorts of expensive parts didn't even get to have a quick chat or beer together.
I also started to forget who's parts belonged to who but this was something I would have to work out after the title. On day two I decided I had better have a closer look at this engine before it was seated into the frame so I removed the rocker cover and checked all the valve clearance then did a quick compression test.
The motor all seemed pretty good for a standard road bike engine until I fitted one of the new spark plugs that someone kindly donated. As soon as I started winding it in I knew there was a problem, the thread was stripped and the spark plug would not do up tight. I jumped on the phone to try and find a auto spares shop that sold heli coils. Heli coils are a very common item in Australia but apparently unheard of in the UK. After a few hours of stressing we found a engineer that would put a insert into the spark plug thread while the head was still on the bike, this was fantastic news. But it did involve a 3 hour trip and time was not something we had spare.
Once the engine was in the bike things seemed to happen very quickly and a sidecar started to take shape. We begged, borrowed and even had to steal a few items but I wont go into that. I spent half a day making a good set of carburetors out of 3 worn out sets and some spare bits that I had brought with me, another half day making a wiring harness from scratch and then wiring up the ignition.
The back wheel turned out to be our biggest handicap. A speedway sidecar wears a rear tyre out in about 1 minute which is one race, usually this is not a big problem as you just take that wheel out and put another one in a process that took me about 30 seconds on my own bike but with the serious of spacers I had on this bike it took about 10 minutes and caused lots of cuts and slices on my hands trying to master it.
This was going to be a problem as I would not get time in between heats to change wheels, but I was hoping on a standard motor I might get a few races out of a rear tyre and change it at half time.
On day 5, the day before we had to go to practice we fired the bike up and it fired up first go and sounded pretty good. I gave it a few practice laps in a grass paddock next to our workshop and managed to spin the bike around backwards every time I gassed it up, but the bike was not designed to get traction on grass! The good news was the engine did seem to run well and the carburetor set up was perfect. The rest of the day and most of that night was spent painting the fairings by hand with a paint brush (UK hard ware shops don't seem to sell spray cans?) and fitting up all our decals. Then we loaded up the bike in a borrowed Sprinter van ready for the trip to the Isle of wight where the world title was to be held.
After a exhausting few weeks with not much sleep we were finally at the track waiting to go through scrutineering with a bike that at least from a distance looked like a race bike. The paint was still wet, we had no idea how well our tyres would last and we had no idea how it handled but we were here at least.
Speedway sidecars in the UK have a minimum weight limit of 170kg's. On my own bike I would of had to add about 10kgs of lead to the bike to get it passed but not this bike, as it came in around 200kg much heavier than any other bike there and worth about $25000 less.
It was finally time to see how it went on the track… we only had a small practice window to play in so out we went. We decided just to go hard first lap out and hope for the best or at least not crash and burn. I was so nervous but just hoped for the best. We lined up at the start of the back straight in position for a practice start and waited for the green light to come on. I saw the green light come on then brought my revs up somewhere around 10,000 rpm and just dropped the clutch.
The front wheel climbed straight up into the air as the bike leaped forward and it tracked perfectly straight so I just kept opening up the throttle. We wheel stood the complete length of the back straight at full race speed which is a spectacular sight to see a sidecar doing a wheel stand especially at over 160kph!
The corner was approaching quickly so I threw it in full lock sideways and it just went round like it was on rails. We finished our 3 practice laps and returned to the pits to the sound of clapping and cheering from very impressed witnesses. The relief I felt after practice was like nothing I have ever felt not only did it all work but it worked pretty well.
The bike seemed to be fast and and steered exactly as it should but the rear tyre did wear fairly badly in 3 laps so that was going to be a problem we had no choice but to do at least two races on the one tyre.
Race day was here and although I was still wishing I had my own bike I was happy to at least be riding at a world title. After all the opening ceremonies, parade laps and other celebrations that go at all bike meetings it was time to go out for our first heat. I wasn't even very nervous probably because I wasn't expecting much and had a pretty good excuse for not doing as well as we should.
The Start tapes flew up for the start of our first race and I got a blinder of a start, wheel stood half way to the first turn and rocketed to the lead. I held the lead for the whole race and crossed the finish line comfortably in first position.
Wow that was a shock one race and one win! As soon as we entered the pits I was dragged off for a live TV interview and was more nervous about speaking live to people all over Europe than I was about racing. The lady who does the speedway interviews is a very pretty blonde and is quite famous all over the speedway world.
Just before we were to go on air I accidentally stood on her foot and the interview started with her wincing in pain as he had open shoes with heels and I was wearing riding boots, I was pretty embarrassed about that.
Anyway one race down four to go. Our next heats consisted of places but no more wins as we suffered with the rear tyre problem, however we did take a few points off good teams.
We ended up 6th overall out of 24 bikes - a huge effort to achieve with no money or time, but I cant help but wonder how we would of gone on our own bike. The meeting was won by Scott Christopher and 2nd place went to Darren Treloar, both Fellow Aussies whom we'd been battling it out with for the last few years.
My bike turned up a few days after the title and we did not even open up the crate we just put it on another ship and sent it back to Australia.
We did one more meeting in the UK on the bike made out of bits (Frankenstein it was nicknamed) then pulled it apart so all the parts could be returned to there rightful owners. As far as I know the frame is back in the paddock that we dragged it out from in Maidstone.
When we returned back home I must've told this story a thousand times never sure whether to cry or laugh about it. We rode one more Aussie title in Adelaide and had a terrible night and finished well down the field thanks to bike troubles most of the night. Due to my kids getting older, work commitments at TeamMoto and it taking 5 years to repay all the money I borrowed to go the the UK I haven't ridden a Speedway sidecar since. I still have my bike sitting in the shed and one day I'll drag it out and have another go.
The world sidecar title is in Australia this year at Murray Bridge Speedway in Adelaide on the 12th of November so I guess I'll be sitting on the hill drinking rum and coke telling anyone who will listen how good I once was just like that old saying "The older I get the faster I was".
Overseas Travel with Mark Hinchliffe
As a motoring writer, I am often invited overseas to the launch of some new, exciting car.
Bike manufacturers don‚t have the deep pockets of the car manufacturers, so I have only been to one international bike launch and only ridden a bike overseas on one other occasion.
But even in these short excursions and in my extensive overseas driving, I've discovered a few very important things about driving cars and riding bikes overseas.
First, while the tourist buses park miles from a tourist attraction and cars are often restricted, no one seems to blink if you sedately ride your bike right up to some major tourist attraction, park it right next to it and take your photos.
Europeans and Asians have a great tolerance of scooters and bikes parking and going where they please.
The only time I was moved on was by a concerned citizen who showed me the plaque in the ground near the Jewish memorial in Berlin that said "pedestrians only". Still, he allowed me to take a quick snap before removing my bike.
(Below images include the Berlin Wall, Jewish Memorial and Brandenberg Gate)
Don't try this in the US where the paranoid police will probably gun you down as a potential terrorist threat.
Second, we all know the advantages of rolling into town on a bike and
being immediately approached by locals wanting to know all about us, our
bike and our travels.
Even better if you have an Aussie accent and you‚re in the middle of mid-western US of A. You become an instant attraction.
a group of us Aussie bike journos rolled into some insignificant town
in Indiana whose name I forget, the local newspaper hack even came out
to interview and photograph us for a story.
Third, confusing road rules and remembering to stay on the right can be dangerous and mentally draining.
Somehow it‚s easier, not harder, on a bike.
traffic, you can simply filter through and disregard a lot of the
rules, anyhow. Again, the Europeans and Asians don‚t seem to mind, but
don‚t carve up Americans ˆ they carry guns in their cars.
Just keep moving with the traffic and you‚ll be ok. The only difficulty with driving on the right is roundabouts and turns.
Just remember "tight right, and loose left" and you won't make a mistake.
and stay away from the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The
giveway rules are reversed and it is so dangerous, insurance companies
won‚t cover crashes there.
The European autobahns are an awesome experience you should not avoid just because they are straight roads.
They are fun to ride at ridiculous speeds, but require a lot of attention.
Check your mirrors frequently, look ahead, be courteous, indicate and stay right unless you are passing.
matter how fast you are going you will not be the fastest out there.
You may find an impatient Audi driver blowing the horn right behind you
at 250km/h wanting to pass.
Six Days of Enduro: Nate Castle takes on the ISDE!
The International Six Days Enduro is considered the Olympics of Motorcycling – and rightfully so. It is one of the oldest off-road motorcycle events and is a true test of man, machine, endurance and reliability.
Held annually at various locations across the world since 1913, this iconic race was originally called the International Six Day Trial (ISDT) and it even attracted the likes of Steve McQueen – who raced in East Germany in 1964 on a Triumph and Bud Ekins (McQueens stunt double in The Great Escape).
It wasn’t until 1980 that the name was officially changed to the International Six Days Enduro. The ISDE attracts national teams from as many as 32 countries, with upwards of 500 riders, together with thousands of support crew and spectators.
In 2011 the ISDE rolled into Kotka-Hamina, Finland – home of the best Enduro riders in the world. The Finnish have a fearsome reputation when it comes to motorsports and the anticipation was high for this iconic event …
Six Days of Enduro
By Nate Castle, Photos by Ken Roche of 404shots & Rosie Lalonde
I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean I have been to the ISDE before as a supporter in 2006 in New Zealand and 2008 in Greece, but this time I was riding!
I knew the Finnish riders were the best in the world, so I was very keen to find out what the terrain was like in a country that bred champion enduro racers.
After speaking to some Finnish riders on Facebook and other Aussies who had raced in Finland in the past, the word was the terrain would be sandy with “stones”. Sweet, I like sand. And stones – well, a stone is like a pebble so no worries!
How wrong I was.
I was soon to find out that Stones = Rocks. Lots and lots and lots of rocks. Enduro champions weren’t the only thing that Finland bred. They also bred rocks.
Even though I live in Queensland, which is said to be a “rocky” state, QLD has got nothing on Finland. As I found out, it seems back in the ice age when the glaciers melted, all the rocks that had been in the ice were dumped across Finland. Makes for very interesting enduro riding.
As I said I have been to two ISDE’s as a supporter, but this was the first time I was racing. After saving up all year and training hard at home, it was a thrill to finally reach Finland.
Including myself there were 17 riders riding for Team Australia and it was such a thrill to wear my Australian painted helmet and Australian jersey.
I was renting a bike from KTM for the event, so the week before the race was taken up with getting the 350EXC-F prepped on and off the practice track and putting the bike through scrutineering. Once the bike goes into the “impound”, which was a few days before the start of the event, I wasn’t allowed to touch it until I went to get it on the morning of Day 1.
The ISDE rules are very strict when it comes to bike maintenance – you are only allocated 10 minutes each morning and 15 minutes each afternoon to work on your bike, in which you can change tyres, oil, air filter and any other parts that need attention.
And one of the most important rules of the ISDE is that no one other than the rider can touch a bike – very important, as riders have been disqualified in the past for something as little as a supporter leaning on their bike or touching the handlebars.
Pre-race prep also included checking out the seven special tests. Enduro is much like rally car racing, with timed stages and checkpoints. You have a certain amount of time to reach each checkpoint, but throughout the trail sections you have “special tests” which range from 4-8km long that you are timed in.
Because you are allowed to pre-walk these special tests, we spent several days before the event walking them all… twice. I worked it out, I think I walked over 70km in three days. Great way to keep fit before riding for six days straight!
Walking the special tests was also a great way to get an idea of what
the terrain was like … and that was when I discovered Finland has rocks.
Especially the Kymi special test. There was one section in this test
that was a kilometer long and full of rocks, mud and tree roots. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
Check out the video below – but
even the video doesn’t even give justice to how tricky it actually was.
And we rode that test twice on day 1, twice on day 2 and twice on day
Note: The above video contains footage of most of the Australia riders, as well as the top enduro riders in the world. The first rider through, Eero Remes of Finland, ended up winning the event outright!
So once all the specials tests were walked, my bike was impounded and Day 1 rolled around … the good weather that we had been having (25 degrees and beautiful sun) decided to run away and was replaced by torrential rain.
This meant Day 1 turned into one of the hardest things I have ever had to do on a motorcycle. I rode over 300km and was on the bike for 8 hours that first day, with no more than 3-4 minutes rest at the checkpoints.
I never once had enough time to take my helmet off or even sit down. I had to push pretty hard all day just to get through the sections and stay on time. And at the end of the Day I realized that I still had 5 days to go …
All in all the Six Days of Enduro was … well … at times it was hell, then it was fun, then it was hell again! There were times when I was riding through fantastic single track or on wide open gravel roads with a big smile on my face.
But it got rough. It got really, really rough. With over 350 riders going over the special tests twice a day, what once were smooth trails turned into 2m deep whoops by the end of the event. I’m not even exaggerating … 2m deep. It was insane.
And then there was the rain.
At one point that rain was coming down so hard in a special test, up the big hills the water was flowing right over my front guard. It was like riding up a waterfall. Not so fun when you go back down the other side of the hill and all you can see is endless water and you know there are deep ruts under there somewhere!
Because of the rain the trail sections developed endless bog holes that inevitably caused dozens of riders to get stuck. You just had to pick your line and pray!
I was fortunate that I didn’t hurt myself too badly or have any serious mechanical issues as getting your bike through the six days, especially in wet weather, can be a serious challenge.
But in the end I got through without dropping any trail time and was one of only eleven Australian riders to finish.
After 1700km of racing (I basically rode from Brisbane to Sydney and back again … in the bush), I got 9th in my class out of 60 riders and it feels like I have really accomplished something!
For a long time I have dreamed of the chance to race overseas and wear the Aussie colours and to finish something that hard makes me realize all my hard work and efforts were worth it.
I don’t think I will be rushing back over to Finland any time soon and I will definitely be staying away from “stones” for a while!
But however hard the riding may be, the ISDE just has something about it … whether it’s the international atmosphere or the allure of taking on such a challenge… who knows what it is that pulls you back, but I know I’m already looking to save my money and head to Italy in 2013!
Tales from abroad ... Marty's globetrotting adventures!
By Marty Pocock, TeamMoto Business Manager
The full stories are actually much better than described below, but we can't really publish the unedited versions through ...
(Pictured left with Jeremy Burgess, after jumping the fence at the 2005 Leguna Seca MotoGP and wandering into the pits unchallenged ... we were close enough to the podium to have a champagne shower and to top it all off at the end of that day I talked my way into Troy Bayliss' RV and got him to sign an Aussie Flag ... all with the trusty TeamMoto cap on!)
CAMPED OUT 4 NIGHTS LEMANS MOTO GP 2008
Got there with no tickets and managed to fumble my way through enough French and handed over a scrap of paper with what I was trying to say was, “need 2 tickets please” Accommodation and caravan parks booked out eons in advance, we ended up in our camper in a 20 acre field with us as its only occupants, we thought, yeah this will be ok, close to the track, we’ve got the place to ourselves…
The next day there was room for not another single tent. They were as
far as the eye could see. Any spare space where there wasn’t a tent
there was a passed out Frenchmen.
Crazy wheelies, stopies, burnouts and a constant chorus of bikes pinging
off their rev limiters till all hours of the morning, flares and
fireworks – didn’t get much sleep. Plenty of partying with the locals,
good racing and a great experience. The day of departure that once a
nice grassy field looked a war zone.
DROVE A 3 WHEELED TUK TUK - BANGKOK
After arriving off a massive flight, a cab ride to the hotel, I was out to explore. Caught my first Tuk Tuk and got talking with the driver. It was my first visit to Thailand, I’d obviously paid him too much money – I later found, out it was actually about a month’s worth of income.
Needless to say he was waiting for me each day at my hotel. Over a few days I got to know him as he drove me around the tourist sites. I told him I rode big bikes in Australia, and all of a sudden… he wouldn’t take no for an answer, he insisted I drive the thing… Clutch on the floor, twist throttle, three wheels and a gear shift between your legs, add some Bangkok traffic and I couldn’t give the thing back quick enough.
ROCKSTAR ENERGY US OPEN SUPER CROSS – MGM GRAND LAS VEGAS 2006
I think the racing was good? I remember Ricky and Bubba had a duel in the final lap, Ricky fell off…….. then there’s about 8hrs missing out of my life from that night – What can I say - VEGAS BABY!
THE LONDON SCOOTER-COMMUTER
Spent 9mths living over there. No congestion charge on a bike! I worked in a bike shop and rode plenty of different bikes to and from work. I set my lap record for the 20 mile ride home, on a Yamaha VITY 125cc. I never took another bike home. The 1000 and 600cc sports bikes were no match for its nimble agility in London traffic.
I couldn’t put a figure on the number of car mirrors, black London taxis and red double deckers that I knocked or scratched during my daily commute… they definitely squeeze them in tight on the roads.
And talk about COLD – it would take more than just one coffee and a good
2 hours before I could feel my hands in the morning – even wearing a
set of inner and winter gloves! – Yes that’s snow on my bike out front
of my house.
REDBULL HARE SCRAMBLE - ERZBERG RODEO – AUSTRIA 2008
For all the weekend hackers out there like me – WOW! What you and I can do with a bike doesn’t even come close to the talents, strength and endurance these guys have - motorcycle and rider become one! The riding is so tough 1500 riders start and the year I was there only 23 completed the course.
Factory riders have helpers stationed along the course to help drag, pull, push and use ropes to help try get their bikes to just finish.
Sporting my Aussie Truckers Singlet and a huge hangover, from what I’m told is the best beer tent on the Europe enduro circuit, I managed to muster enough enthusiasm to do my bit for my country and drag a few of the Aussie riders, likes of Chris Hollis and teammates up a crazy vertical hill.
Since the riders had all pasted our assistance point and being that I that I was so exhausted from “Doing my bit” – I decided time to pay another visit to that beer tent.
Stein in hand, a great view of the finish line, I got a work out just by helping and I didn’t even need to put on a helmet and boots.
Motorcycle Holidays - Nope, that's not an oxymoron!
Holidays are a wonderful chance to get away, relax, forget about reality and generally eat and drink as much as humanly possible.
But not all of us enjoy sitting on the beach with a book or margarita – each to their own! But when it comes to comes to motorcyclists - as you can see from this newsletter - we are a passionate bunch that would swap the beach for the bush or tarmac any day.
Since I know you all have that same adventure streak, have you ever considered how many options are actually out there when it comes to motorcycle holidays overseas?
There are options for all types of motorcycle enthusiasts … from road tours across Europe and adventure tours in the Scottish Highlands to trail riding in the Italian countryside or riding the best motocross tracks Southern California has to offer.
When you start to look you discover how many options there are for a motorcycle expedition overseas, but to get the juices flowing I have listed a few below that are definitely on my bucket list…
Edelweiss Triumph Tours
Edelweiss Bike Tours have been operating for over 30 years and offer tours to an abundance of worldwide locations.
It was only at the start of 2011 however, with the launch of the all-new Triumph Tiger 800 XC, that Triumph and Edelweiss joined forces to offer exclusive Triumph tours across England, Scotland, Thailand and now Croatia.
??The Triumph Tours include all accommodation, breakfast each day, dinner most evenings, motorcycle rental with unlimited mileage, third party liability insurance for motorcycles, tour guide and support van for luggage.
The itineraries for the tours include some outstanding routes… for example the Highlander Tour starts at the Triumph Factory in Hinckley (guided tour of the factory included in the price!) before heading north to Scotland taking in sights such as Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond, Balmoral Castle and the stunning Isle of Skye – and of course, there is even a rest day in Inverness on the shores of Loch Ness so you may catch a glimpse of Nessie.
Tour times are limited, but the schedule for the 2012 and 2013 tour dates are already listed. There are prices for single riders or two up and although the prices may seem step at first, when you think about what a two-week vacation on a beach might cost, things are put into perspective!
KTM Adventure Tours
Whether training with champions, riding for fun in the most beautiful locations in Europe or seeking pure adventure, KTM Adventure Tours offers a spectacular program for all friends of offroad!
There is a huge range of tours available from KTM ranging from three to four day adventures all the way up to nine-day excursions. The exotic offroad locations include everything from France to Spain, Romania or Croatia and even Italy and South Africa.
The tours range in riding ability, ensuring there is someone for everyone. Most tours include the price of bike hire, but just ensure the bike rental is included when you are looking. The only thing you do need to bring for these tours is your own riding gear, but everything else including bike hire, accommodation and meals are generally included in the price.
For anyone who is a motocross fan, Race SoCal is your dream holiday. The chance to not only visit, but RIDE on infamous tracks in Southern California is an incredible opportunity.
Race SoCal runs motocross holidays every year from September to June. They also cover specific events on the AMA Motocross & Supercross calendars, so you can include hitting the Las Vegas Supercross Final in your trip.
The MX Holiday packages differ depending on the time of year, but generally they include full accommodation for the length of your stay in the Race SoCal House, plus riding at tracks such as Perris Raceway, Pala Raceway and Glen Helen.
Depending on the date you can also get personal tours of the Pro Circuit and Troy Lee Designs factories.
You can choose from their Honda motorcycle lineup that includes CR85, CRF150, CRF250F and CRF450F bikes that are all professionally maintained by SoCal’s inhouse technician. All you need to bring is your riding gear!
There are so many other opportunities out there for motorcycle holidays, these three only scratch the surface. These may not be your traditional holidays, but when it comes to my next trip, I think I’ll know where I’ll be looking…
Homegrown Adventure: APC Rally a huge success!
The inaugural APC Rally is done and dusted and by the smiles on the boys faces, it looked to be a huge success. The Triumph Tiger team consisted of; Mick Matheson (ADB Journalist), Trevor Hedge (MC News Editor), Michael Oliver (TeamMoto Virginia Dealer Principal), Wayne Croaker, Steve Chiodo (Triumph Australia Rep) and Brendon Roberts (Triumph Australia Rep).
Mounted aboard Triumph Tiger 800 XC's Michael Oliver, Mick Matheson and Wayne Croaker rode the event solely, while Trevor Hedge, Steve Chiodo and Brendon Roberts completed the rally as a team in relay.
Enjoying some of Australia's best adventure touring routes combined, the team travelled the Hattah Desert, the Border Track, Big Red, Birdsville, Innamincka, Emmaville, Woodenbong and down some challenging sections of the Great Dividing Range in NSW.
Sadly due to limited mobile reception, Michael wasn't able to update Facebook and the TeamMoto fans on his progress throughout the event. The Spot Tracking system was a great way to follow the guys, but next time we will definitely find away around the no reception issue to bring up-to-date coverage!
As it was, you can only do what you can do, so below is a photographic journey through the APC Rally courtesy of Brendon Roberts.
"It's more than just riding bikes out there," states Brendon.
"Its the diversity in the terrain, the wildlife, the places and the people you meet along the way. An event like the APC Rally is a perfect reflection on why this market segment is growing so rapidly, for me nothing matches it for pure enjoyment on every level."
This was the longest ride so far for Michael Oliver and the Tiger 800XC and he found the bike absolutely fantastic during the extensive and challening ride.
"It was great riding through the desert - really challenging," Michael states.
"And when we got up into the ranges along the east coast it was tight and real enduro like. The Tiger was awesome the entire time, even through the really deep sand. The trip was amazing - I'm not a pretty scenery type of guy, but the Flinders Range were fantastic!"
It was a great trip for everyone involved and TeamMoto can't wait to see what the APC Rally holds for the future! As they say, a picture says a thousand words, so below are some of the amazing shots from the "Tigers assault" on the APC Rally ...
Above. The guys at Mungeranee, the only fuel stop on the Birdsville Track. Check out the old trucks in the background ... these are THE original trucks used by Tom Kruze the legendary Outback Postman!
Above. At the Cameron Corner store, on the border of NSW, QLD and SA. Cameron Corner is the destination for the "Longest Day Ride" on December 21st each year.
Above. A Caravan Park where they spent one of the 14 nights out ...
Above. On the East Coast near the end of the ride ... Almost home!
Above. Everyone was cruising slowly through this particularly wet section, when Michael decided to come through at a fast pace and splash everyone! Well done Nog!
Above. Michael changed everyones tyres for them ... What a nice guy!
Above. The hot resort pool in Mungeranee.
Above. In the middle of the desert on the Birdsville Track, you have to cross a river... So you get a free ferry ride!
Above. The start of the Flinders Range in South Australia.
Above. Just before Woodenbong coming from West to East along the border of NSW and QLD.
Above. Which way? Heading from Camerons Corner there are many options!
Above. Michael in the Simpson Desert.
Above. Standing at the top of Big Red, which is the biggest sand dune across the Simpson Desert. There isn't supposed to be water here! Due to this flooding only 20 bikes made it to Big Red and we were among them.
Above. Looks like a chilly morning! Setting out from Cradock Hotel in outback South Australia.
Above. Where the ruts get deeper and the hills get steeper ... reliving the days ride sitting around the fire, could it get any better?
All new Triumph Tiger 1050 SE now available!
The Tiger 1050 has long been a favorite in the Triumph stable. Boasting the incredibly user friendly 1050cc three cylinder engine that delivers torquey performance and an infectious sound and feel, the new 1050 SE takes the standard Tiger that extra mile.
The SE (Special Edition) adds an exclusive color scheme and a higher specification that includes our sophisticated ABS system as standard, as well as color coded panniers and handguards.
Available in Intense Orange and Matt Black/Matt Graphite, the new Tiger 1050 SE is even more practical and desirable with its commanding riding position, powerful brakes and high spec sporty chassis.
A high riding position with wide bars inherits excellent control and precision handling.
A screen for wind protection without obscuring the view creates that extra comfort and enjoyment in conditions.
ABS comes as standard on the new 1050 SE and Triumph’s system has been specifically developed for the Tiger and operates at 100 calculations per second working on both wheels independently.
With the 20-litre fuel tank and powerful engine, you have yourself a perfect combination for one or two up adventures either in the urban jungle or on the open roads.
The Tiger 1050 SE is brand new to Australia and our TeamMoto Triumph dealerships have demos in store now for test rides. Please click here to contact your local TeamMoto Triumph dealer for more info, or to book yourself a ride!
Motorcycle Riding School: Lane Splitting
By Steve McDowall, TeamMoto Motorcycle Riding School Manager
There we were, in the car and sitting at the head of the traffic at the roundabout waiting for a gap in the morning procession of vehicles.
Now we’re not talking about just any roundabout, this is the one near the big Ikea store in Logan, just down the road from our Springwood dealerships.
It’s a beauty! For those that haven’t experienced it, there are 10 entry
and exit points and 19 lanes in and out of this amazing piece of road
There’s never a day that goes by where total strangers don’t have the dubious pleasure of “interacting” after meeting by so called accident.
In the passenger seat was Dale, our newest recruit and also an accredited riding instructor.
I had my head turned to see the traffic coming in from right, and as soon as there was a gap I moved forward, turning my head to look ahead. With my peripheral vision I saw a massive white object to my left and heard Dale freaking out!
We’d just been lane split …… by a Toyota Hiace van!!!
Yep, straight down between our car and the one to our left.
The driver then cut into the left lane, only a metre in front of the car that was being driven by someone equally freaked and amazed at the van driver’s attitude.
Obviously illegal! Stupidly dangerous! And a blatant disregard for other road users!
So why do some motorcycle riders do the same?
Ok, ok, I hear you ….. we’re smaller and can do it safely. Or can we?
Here’s some facts about lane splitting. There is no law anywhere in Australia that specifically prohibits lane splitting, but it is illegal.
There’s also no law that specifically prohibits me from picking up a piece of timber and belting someone over the head with it. Try that, and you’ll be up on charges of assault, grievous bodily harm etc etc.
So, the absence of a law specifically prohibiting an action doesn’t make that action legal! I know this because I’ve spent the time pouring over every state and territory’s road rules.
So why is lane splitting illegal? Because it is in breach of several overtaking laws.
All states and territories base their road rules on the Australian Road Rules, but these are model laws and have no legal effect.
It is the individual state or territory laws that do, and with the exception of around 30 laws they are all pretty consistent.
Here in Queensland, it’s sections 140 to 150 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulations that we run foul of when we lane split.
• Section 140: No overtaking unless safe to do so
• Section 141: No overtaking etc to the left of a vehicle
• Section 146: Driving within a single marked lane or line of traffic
• Section 147: Moving from 1 marked lane to another marked lane across a continuous line separating the lanes
• Section 150: Driving on or across a continuous white edge line
Basically, you can’t overtake to the left of a vehicle unless it’s turning right (Section 141), if you have any part of your bike (that includes your mirror or even bar end) across into the other lane you aren’t wholly within your lane (Section 146), and you could be deemed to be overtaking in a way that is unsafe (Section 140).
If you run down the Honda highway – the emergency lane – you’re in breach of Section 150, and if it’s the left one then Section 141 applies as well. You can, however, ride up to 100 metres down an emergency lane or side lane if you are about to turn left, or exit or enter a road.
Don’t think it’s ok in stationary traffic at intersections or traffic lights either. All of the above applies as well as Section 147 which prohibits you from crossing a continuous white line separating the lanes.
Now this is all before we start to consider failing to indicate your intention to change lanes if you happen to be crossing from one lane to another, and get this – every time you change lanes you have to indicate, so every single time you don’t, it’s another offence!
Bottom line, there’s enough offences there to amass a huge haul of points and possibly do your licence.
Apart from the legal side of things, lane splitting can be potentially dangerous because it puts you so close to other vehicles and, well, can you trust them?
After seeing the Hiace van driver’s manoeuvre, I’d say not!
Yeah, yeah … we all do it, or have at least thought about it when we’re in traffic and want to get moving.
But here’s my advice. If you decide to lane split, know the consequences, and be prepared to accept them.
I’ve had a number of students say they’ve seen riders lane split past police and not get caught. Sometimes the Police might just let you get away with it, but don’t take that as meaning it’s legal.
So what happened with our mate in the van? Yep, he just kept going! He knew what he’d done because the guy driving the car next to us told him. Not politely either!
Cancer Council Queensland Road Ride: 50 years in the making!
Join the ride that's been 50 years in the making!
Enjoy a once in a lifetime opportunity to take to the road with Cancer
Council Queensland in a motorcycle ride to celebrate the roads between
friends and our fiftieth anniversary in the fight against cancer.
If you or someone you love has been touched by cancer, ride with us and show your support!
The ride has been organised in tribute to
CCQ’s supporters and friends, the backbone of our organisation. Each
year, thousands of Queenslanders enable our vision for a cancer free
future by volunteering or giving generously to support people affected
This ride is our way of saying thank you, and will be an event to celebrate the road between friends.
All members of the community are welcome to join us on tour as we take
the fight against cancer on the road to visit the towns that connect us
with the community.
Our CC Riders will cover 5,000 kilometres across Queensland during
August and September, with three major rides and local events planned to
take in the regional towns along the way.
We’d love you to JOIN US as we take to the road – you can register now
to ride on different stages of the ride or ride with us for the whole
You’re also invited to join us at any of the events to celebrate our community along the way!
As usual, Shots of the Month includes images from around the world ...
Above. Future Champion ... Patriot KTM fan at the 2011 ISDE in Finland.
Above. Another great Monkey photograph ... These are too cool.
Above. Safety first... This could only be in the USA!
Above. I'm actually not even sure what this is ... ED NOTE: Mark just let me know - this is a Steam Engine Motorcycle! Who knew!
Above. We found this restaurant / hotel in Finland ... and it was literally in the middle of no where! The most random place, next to a shipping yard outside the small town of Kotka, it was full on American - Harley's hanging from the roof, bikini clad girls everywhere, dirt track out the front and bike shed round the back - and no joke about 20km from anything else! Only in Finland I spose ...