Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Youth & Motorbikes: The Stradbroke Island enduro.

What with Stradbroke Island being in the news of late, my mind wandered back 40 years to the Stradbroke Island Enduro. My good friend Ken brand was a trail bike nut.. and a GP as well. He found that there was to be an Enduro on Stradbroke Island and conned Don (now my dentist) and I into joining in on this apparent madness.

It was to be held on a Sunday and a special barge run was put on to accommodate a gazillion trail bikes for the event early in the morning. So I had to be at Ken's house at Coorparoo very early Sunday morning to trailer our bikes to Cleveland to catch the ferry.

How hard could this be?

Well.. there was this lovely lady I knew who lived in the old nunnery at Woodford with a couple of her fellow teachers. And could she cook a magic meal. Ann was the object of my desires at age 21 and she had asked me to Woodford for dinner the night before the enduro.

After a delightful meal and lots of music on the stereo it was getting late. Really late!

"Ann, I have to go now as I need to be up early in the morning".. says I. A quick kiss and into the Celica I jump for the high speed trip home. In those days you had to drive through Petrie as the highway was not completed. Down past the weigh bridges I zoomed.. at 140Km/h; Toyota's "official" max cruise speed for the car. In through Petrie away over the limit until I arrived at Clayfield….

Sunday morning as the ferry pulls into Stradbroke Island, I can hardly keep my eyes open. We all cheer as the local cop (who comes to escort all of the bikes to the start point) is set upon by two stray cattle dogs. They grab his heels.. he curses and carries on.. eventually the dogs run off.

Briefing starts: we are handed sheets of paper in quarto size (remember that measurement?) that are all blown to the winds 15 minters later with our directions on them. But it is simple.. follow the bikes in front and try to pass them; the corners are marked.

How can this go wrong?

Well a few minutes later we are all kicking our bikes to life… the clouds of 2 stoke smoke fill the fresh seaside air while the din of a 100 two stroke engines revving must have woken the dead in the local cemetery. Ken, Don and I are way back in the pack. But that's OK.. when the ones in front get tired they will make mistakes and fall off. We'll just ride past!

(That strategy is now called The Bradbury Effect!)

The flag drops and away we go.

Now because not all of the bikes are registered we ride alongside the road through all of this soft mineral sand.. and it is hard to ride in. Bikes and riders are falling everywhere in the first 15 minutes.. but we manage to ride around the carnage and keep going. Although I am on a smaller biker I am ringing its  neck and getting closer to the front line. Just need to keep this up for another 5 hours. The adrenalin is pumping in me and I am now wide awake after the late night and long drive of the previous evening!

How hard could this be I thought?

Well.. just as I thought my first Moto Enduro might be the start of something big…. the Yamaha's exhaust goes silent and I come to a stop rather quickly.

When the publican opened the pub that morning, he found the three of us waiting for him. We all arrived on our bikes.. except mine was on the end of a tow rope behind Ken's! We spent a lot of time there and caught an earlier barge back home that afternoon.

A lot of good memories that Sunday!

I was seriously deluded that if i could stay on board the bike.. I could win against bigger machines. Of course the thing I didn't allow for stopped me in my tracks.


A holed piston!

Yep that'll stop you winning a motorbike race every time!

Me on the gold Yamaha at a more leisurely pace C1975 @ Lacey's Ck