It has been a long time since our last Crusty crew dirt bike article, even this one comes to you almost 2 months after the actual ride, but as you will read the terrible events of this day's tale have haunted me to my very core and finding the strength to re-live this story has not come easy.
As you are all aware, Australia is in the middle of it's biggest drought ever and it would appear that our crusty crew, in this tale of woe, consists of David P aka 'Rut Slut' or 'Goldfish', so named for his short attention span and attraction to water, Darren B aka 'The Professor' because of his analytical dissection of riding technique, or 'Honda Beeatch', self explanatory really! Glenn Mac aka as 'Hiawatha', Big tree little Tomahawk! You get the picture, Dont you? And of course me, Darren D aka 'KTM Buddy' or 'The Maestro' because I'm the best dirt bike rider of this sad group. Hey, it's my article I can say what I want!
Sorry, I lost my train of thought there for a moment during the introductions, as I was saying, it would appear that the Crusty crew holds in it's possession the power to make it rain, all we need to do is organize a dirt bike ride and down comes the rain, while it didn't rain to much during our ride it must have poured down in the days leading up to it.
We set off from Club 'M' (Marysville) aka 'Astor house' and as soon as our wheels left the bitumen and touched the dirt we found the red clay surface to be incredibly slippery, so slippery in fact that it was difficult to ride in a straight line and even more difficult to turn when confronted by a corner or even worse a tree! A couple of us stopped to let the air out of our tyres, down to about 10lbs front and rear, almost like riding around on the rims themselves really. This helped, even if it was only in our minds!
It was most unfortunate, but I was the 1st to succumb to the treacherous conditions and fell awkwardly on the slippery clay after landing a jump slightly crossed up with a fist full of throttle, this caused the back wheel to overtake the front, but rest assured I was not the only faller on this perilous day.
We found ourselves weaving in and around the forest between Marysville, Narbethong and Buxton as we rode over slippery tracks up and down medium to steep hills with tight twists and turns with some wide open sweepers thrown in for good measure and variety.
We eventually came upon this tight and exceptionally tricky little track which Rut Slut lead us down. It was either a form of punishment, or a test of friendship, to see if we would follow him to the gates of HELL, who can say, but this track was a bitch! Full of low hanging trees that crowded in on us, their branches tried to rip us from our mounts as we made our way deeper into the bush, suddenly we crested a hill and slid down this very steep and slippery side, probably 50 meters down. Any thoughts of turning back were now dashed as there was very little chance we were going to get back up that hill and back out the way we had just come. All that was left to do was to press on and hope that this track actually went somewhere and not end up at a DEAD end as a lot of tracks actually do.
It is along this track that the horror of this day was about to unfold! David was riding his poorly maintained KTM, although with new tyres, lucky rich bastard! Glenn on his trusty and reliable Honda XR400, Me, Darren D on my finely tuned KTM, unfortunately with old worn out tyres, poor, under paid technician that I am and Darren B on David's Honda XL600, the BEAST! Darren B apparently is the only one who can start it, something to do with Honda whispering I guess? David and Darren D pushed on through the scrub setting a blistering pace for Darren B and Glenn to follow, we soon encountered deep pools of muddy water as wide as the track and as long as 10 to 15 meters with depths unknown until you're actually in them and trying to keep your head above the water line. Some were more tricky than others when they lay right at the bottom of a 90 degree corner with a sudden hill to climb. You had to turn, negotiate the wet, slippery tree roots and large sharp rocks as you struggle for traction and agility to flick yourself and machine out of the puddle and up the hill in 1 fluid motion. Not for the faint of heart!
Rut Slut and The Maestro had raced along this track for approx 20 minutes, nipping at each others heals as they fought tooth and nail to lead each other and shower the one behind with mud, apparently that is the fun part about dirt bike riding, after crossing a particularly deep and long puddle they stopped for a well earned rest and some KTM Buddy bonding, (That's KTM BUDDY's, as in we both have one, not KTM Buddy, as in our hero of this story, me). After what seemed like an eternity, 10-15 minutes, there was still no sight of Hiawatha or the Honda Beeatch. David decided to go back to see what was going on, knowing that David had to wade through the last puddle we had crossed Darren got his camera out to take some photos. Being the shy retiring type that David is he wanted to provide a good impression for the camera and yelled quite defiantly. "This is going to look quite spectacular or it's going to look quite Hilarious" as he took a run up at speed towards the water, he plowed into the murky depths the camera started clicking, and boy was it spectacular! This huge bow wave was created with David hardly visible behind it and although Darren was chanting "Fall, Fall, Fall" David made it through and continued on to find the others.
After Twenty more minutes of waiting Darren D heard the sound of bikes approaching the same body of water he'd been waiting at and through the bush he could see Glenn approaching and cautiously ride through the water, exuding confidence along the way, next to appear was David riding the Honda, knowing that the camera was out and how successful he had been on his earlier crossing of the puddle he accelerated into the puddle, this time it was both spectacular and hilarious as he almost made it through, but, not quite, unfortunately good old Goldfish decided it was time to take a swim and he fell just short of coming out the other side of the puddle. Steam erupted from the Honda as it plunged into the water belly up, David falling in with it and the laughter was deafening. The Professor who had been following Goldfish witnessed the aftermath of the goings on and decided to take to the bush and carve his own track around the watery obstacle.
When the Honda was finally rescued from its bath I found out that Darren B had stalled the Honda in a puddle earlier down the track and wasn't able to start it again, eventually needing Glenn's help to get the beast started again. From then on it was all down hill for Darren's stamina. He was over it all, and wanted to go home to help Michael back at Astor house make scones and Tea. Sorry Darren we still have a way to go! We continued on along the track till we came upon this steep hill with deep washouts cut into the track going all the way to the top. Lots of momentum was required to get up this sucker with any ease, dropping the bike into the deep ruts and paddling with your feet along the ground also helped. Once we all reached the top we stopped to catch our breaths.
Hind sight is a wonderful thing, and in hindsight we should have rested for about another 10 minutes longer than we actually did. It was here that our day turned to real tragedy when the 2 Darren's where run over by some errant joy riders in an old rusted out car in the middle of the bush, Darren B was flung over the roof while Darren D went under the front of the car. Luckily neither of them was seriously injured and fortunately photos of the ordeal were taken and these will help with the Law suite that is pending!
It was during the re-enactment of this heinous crime that another group of riders came by, saw what we were up to and killed themselves laughing at us, I'm sure though that they waited for us to leave the scene of this ugly affair, then came back and set up the same scene for themselves.
From here we headed back to Astor house to Drop Darren B off so he could help out with the Womanly duties he preferred to indulge in, rather than the rough and tumble world of dirt bike riding. It was unfortunate for him too because the tracks in the afternoon turned out to be wonderful as the ground dried out creating this wonderful sticky consistency to make the riding fantastic. The days ride culminated in an 8 Km race between The Rut Slut and The Maestro with Glenn being the official starter. The race incorporated up and down hill sections, puddles galore and twists and turns of every degree. It was a close race with the eventual winner of course deserving the title of "Maysville Maestro". Of course there's no prize for guessing that it was me that won with my obvious dirt bike skill advantage over David coming to the fore.
Hoorah!!!! By the time the 3 of us returned to Astor house Michael VD and his little helper, apron and all, had the scones, cream and jam, tea and hot chocolates ready to go, aah, this is living!!!