• April 19-28
• Airlie Beach to Condobolin, a 750 K race, and back
• About 4,800 Km Covered
Early AM I help Magnus tidy the 2007 KTM 525 EXE he’ll be racing for transport. Mags asks me to pull a wheel sensor bracket off an X-Challenge and three bolts later I can finally say I’ve wrenched on a BMW.
The KTM was missing a few bits, but Mags was confident it would be ready for competition by the weekend. Then he mentioned it hadn’t been started in four years.
Shit man, my GSXR puts up a fight if it sits for a week…
He starts loading the bike onto the trailer, and I ask if he might want to give it a try before lugging it 2,000 kilometers to a serious endurance race.
“Nah mate, she’ll be a’right.”
Hah, wait… he wasn’t kidding. The bike got strapped down and off we went.
No headlight, a bad haircut of wiring protruding from the front, and no running time in the last 48 months.
I really admired his confidence in the little pumpkin. And hell, he was the experienced racer, not me. Maybe the barn dust was good luck.
The highways were straight, but hardly flat. The massive tires of the truck bounded across waves of bitumen for miles and miles. And miles.
At one point Magnus described a trip from Timor to Europe, “Long Way Round” style.
“If I were in my 20’s, and had the time, that’s the ride I would do.”
Hmm, I know somebody with a lot of time… I made a note to ask about that one again before my term ended.
We made camp somewhere between a place called Emerald and East Fuck-All. The truck, which I learned from its badges is an Isuzu PSN 250 Crew SiTEC Series II 155 Euro IV (“the truck” for short), opened its bosom to reveal a stove and grille, on which Magnus whipped up some of the best chicken curry I had eaten in Australia.
I got a brief lesson in how to operate a “swag,” and after wrestling with the tent/sleeping bag hybrid for a bit I got familiar with my new bed. As I unfolded the stretcher Magnus offered an extra piece of advice; “You know, we’ve got a lot of bush out here mate… you don’t need to sleep right next to me.”
Embarrassed by my breach of camping etiquette I towed my setup to the far side of the truck.
The swag had been named Jennifer Hawkins by it’s last occupant… I liked the idea of sleeping with Miss Universe 2004 as well as the last guy, but knowing he had grown attached enough to name it was a bit like meeting your girlfriend’s ex. You know you weren’t the first one there, but you don’t like to be reminded.
Hoping nobody had become too friendly with Jennifer I feel asleep pretty quickly. The creatures were kept at bay by the thick net around me, and my pillow was refreshingly spider-free. Early start tomorrow.