[team vr offroad motorcycling] aussie trip diary

Friday 6 July 2001
Left Auckland airport at approximately 3:30pm arriving in Melbourne at 5pm (7pm NZ time). Caught a taxi to the apartment right in the middle of Melbourne. Went for a walk up town looking for somewhere to have tea. Ended up having KFC for dinner and then went back to the apartment.

Saturday 7 July
Caught a taxi at 10am and headed to pick up the campervan. We were lucky enough to get a brand new one. Took about an hour and a half to sign in, get details on how to use it, etc. Left there and headed out only to miss our turning and ended up on the way to Geelong! Turned around at Werribee and a young guy gave us perfect directions that led us straight to Pearcedale where Trevor and Lesley (our Australian hosts) live. Arrived at their place about 4pm and the boys straight away started getting the bike sorted out. Had tea - pizza and lasagne and chatted for a while. The guys had a few beers and then we hit the sack.

Sunday 8 July
Spent the day getting the finishing touches done to the bike. Micheal had a practice on Chase and Kade’s motocross track to make sure things were okay with the bike. We left their place at about 4:30pm and arrived at Sale at about 6:30pm. Went to Trevor’s friends place, had dinner and then headed off to bed at about midnight.

Monday 9 July
Had breakfast, drove a little into the country to empty our waste tanks and then headed up to the motocross track which was about 17km past the small town of Maffra. Situated in farmland (and pretty wet farmland at the moment) it was nestled in gum trees. A long fast open track with a few table tops, the whole track is lined with double tyres painted white. The rules are very different to NZ - No riding bikes in the pits and all bikes were in a big pit area under Ezy Ups (tents). You had to carry all your gear from the parking area to the pits. Had a walk around the track, set up the Ezy Ups and then went back to Sale to get supplies and tea. Went to the Honda shop at Sale and spent some money then headed back to the camping reserve 1 1/2 km from the track.

Tuesday 10 July
Woke up really early (around 5am). Heard some vehicles set off so we decided to do the same. Got to the track and were parked up by 5:20am. The paddock was so wet that where we drove to (and couldn’t go any further) was where we were for the day. Sign On started at 6:30am so we got our bike and lined up. Mokey’s Shoei helmet was rejected because it had no safety standard sticker on it. Luckily we had bought Russell a new one the day before so Mokey used that one. Practice started about 10:30am and Mokey’s class was the fourth class up for the day. They had a 5 lap practice in their 1st heat line up and that was it for Day 1 of the Nationals. Mokey binned it a couple of times in his practice when his wheel washed out. We finally got out of the track at about 5pm after everybody had been pulled out of the paddock with tractors, etc. We headed back to Maffra to do some laundry - Micheal’s motocross gear was filthy, got tea and supplies. Then it was back to camp at the reserve. We got the campervan stuck by the toilets where the water tap was and had to get some kind Aussies to pull us out!!

Wednesday 11 July
Up at the crack of dawn again, we got to the track at about 6am. We stayed in bed for a while then had breakfast. Riders briefing was at 8:30am and then a 2nd round of 4 lap practice started at 9:15am. Micheals bike was dropping water so we had to make sure it was filled up. Micheals first race was at 12:15pm. He had a reasonable start, came out of the first corner in 10th place out of 25. It got better, Micheal started picking off a few riders each lap going: 1st lap: 10, 2nd lap: 9, 3rd lap: 7, 4th lap: 6, 5th lap: 5. Micheal ended up 5th in his first race giving him 11 points. Russell and Trevor are going to strip his engine and put a new head gasket in and check the head isn’t warped.

Thursday 12th
Started off the day with the bike in tip top condition. Micheal had another qualifying heat.

Friday 13th July
Had another qualifying heat gaining 4th place, meaning he qualified for the finals in 6th place. Rained in the afternoon. Micheal had two finals today. Micheal went really well in the first one, gaining a 6th place. In the second race he was coming 4th and binned it over the handlebars. Micheal went to start it and the starter kick wouldn’t come out so he had to roll start it. Micheal came in 13th and looking wet and middy from head to toe. We went back to Sale to do some washing at the laundrette and Russell went off to wash Mokey’s bike and get it ready for Saturday. We (Mokey, Melly and I) spent 3 hours at the laundrette - only half of it doing the washing. The rest of the time was spent waiting for Russell to pick us up!!

Saturday 14 July
Got to the track at about 6am so we could get up near the top. Micheals race was the 6th of the day. He got a really good start and was about 2nd to the corner. He was 3rd for a while and then stayed in 3rd place for the remainder of the race. At the end of the day he was in 5th place overall, which meant 5th place for the meet. A great achievement. Went to Maffra at about 2:30pm to do all the dirty washing. The prizegiving was at the local hall starting at 6pm with a smorgasbord dinner and dessert. All the finalists went on stage to receive their little participation award and then the top three (starting at third) were called up one by one to receive their medal and trophy.

Sunday 15 July
It was pack up time so we headed back to Trevor and Lesleys to dismantle Micheals bike.

Monday 16 July

Home time! Headed back to Melbourne and dropped off the campervan. Then it was on to the airport to buy duty free and head back to New Zealand. The trip was awesome and a definite eye-opener, thats for sure!

Written by Liz Vining.

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