There was a wide variety of quality backroads for everyone to enjoy riding on any size bike at the VSM ADB Adventure Ride.
It was a cold winters’ day as Vince and his staff huddled around the roaring fireplace in Vince Strang Motorcycles and dreamed of warmer weather and sub-tropical locations. My phone call to him disturbed the ambience but in the middle of our conversation Vince blurts out “we should organise a ride over to Coffs Harbour and take some customers with us so it looks like we are working” and the VSM ADB Adventure Ride was born.
The October long weekend was picked so I didn’t have to go to Inverell in the cold and to give people the chance to get to Inverell. We would camp at Yildaan, a little piece of paradise nestled in the hill behind Coffs surrounded by forest. Leaving Monday for people to ride back home.
Keep it simple
The VSM ADB Adventure Ride was 320km long with some tighter sections, and some flowing New England granite backroads before following Old Glen Innes Road beside the Mann and Boyd rivers before finishing with some rainforest close to Coffs. There was a wide variety of quality backroads for everyone to enjoy riding on any size bike.
With GPS and old school route sheets lifted from my Dualsport Australia adventure riding guides the course was easy to follow. A sweep vehicle leaving at 8:45am let riders set their own times and to spread out to avoid dust and made for a relaxed vibe.
The early bird
A few groups of riders made the most of a balmy Inverell morning, and not rattled by the start of daylight saving, snuck out of town at dawn and avoided some traffic. Others enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and left at a more sensible time. Starting from Vince’s shop the ride naturally attracted more than its fair share of DR’s and DRZ’s, a few V Strom’s, the normal gathering of bigger KTM’s and a few other assorted bigger adventure bikes.
If missing an hour’s sleep made anyone drowsy the first section snapped them back to reality real fast. It featured a super slippery tight twin track littered with rain ruts and deep holes that were often hidden behind hundreds of erosion mounds. The bigger bikes picked their way through and around all the hidden obstacles whilst the singles jumped and carved their way through, some leaving a few extra scrape marks on the ground but no real harm was done.
Glorious flowing New England granite roads looped over to Glen Innes. A few slippery causeways and some dry loose gravel built up on the corners kept everyone alert while they marvelled at all the windfarms and scenic undulating countryside.
Fill up time
Glen Innes gave a chance to fill up with fuel and snacks to eat by the riverside, with some taking the opportunity for an early lunch. Old Glen Innes Road was packed full with adventure bikes spread out along the entire length, with at least as many coming from the opposite direction. The long weekend also attracted hundreds of campers and too many 4WD’s to count.
A handy reset on the route sheets encouraged some to climb up to the breathtaking Tommy’s Rock lookout. Others stopped for snacks and despite the heavy traffic most riders managed to spread out and enjoy a dust free run following the mighty rivers. Virtually no one felt the need to rush through this beautiful section and we had time to smell the roses and check out the iconic tunnel carved through the imposing rocky banks.
Word must have gotten out about how many trick DR650’s there were on this ride, as a cheer squad of attractive bikini clad young ladies waved to the passing riders crossing a bridge as their boyfriends/partners watched on from the shore. Strangely this is as close as we got to a major accident as several riders almost crashed on the bridge. Unfortunately all the photos came out blurry. I must have bumped a wrong setting there somewhere.
The loose rocks started after Nymboida as the forest road became rougher. Thankfully a huge hole that was big enough to hide a 4WD in, that was hiding behind a small jump, had been marked with hi-vis warnings (thanks Keith) the day before. It still caught one rider unaware, and although he managed to stop, he still toppled over because the bottom of the hole was a step too far.
Our only mechanical happened just before Lowanna where a puncture saw a regroup of the tailenders and showed that the 4WD sweep wasn’t as far behind as we expected. With the puncture mended a few riders kept the Lowanna General Store open so everyone could get some cold refreshing ales for later.
From there the rainforest was cool and crisp after an impressive drop down off the escarpment, then a run across a picturesque valley. There was only a short bush section left past some small waterfalls and then a narrow gentle climb to Yildaan, a spacious grassland campsite bordered by a crystal clear creek and surrounded by tall eucalyptus forest.
Yildaan is huge, with good amenities and proud tall shelters. With plenty of private pockets and room to spread out, riders set up camp in small groups. Some close to the amenities and festive sections, others tucked away in blissful quiet natural settings. Not everyone camped but those that did were rewarded with a feast of huge steak sandwiches by the fire, a selection of sides and even fancy coffee and ice cream for those who wanted.
A big screen meant we didn’t have to miss the exciting end to the NRL Grand Final. Many tall tales of riding excellence and favourite trails were shared over cold drinks by a warm fire before people wandered off to a restful night.
With riders splitting up to head to their respective homes on Monday morning, some tried different trails to add colour to their trip home. By all reports they were raving over spectacular scenery especially if they went through the promised land, and great routes.
All in all the VSM ADB Adventure Ride was a low stress high fun jaunt through spectacular scenery to a quality destination that was enjoyed by all. Too easy.
For the full feature, check out issue #531 of ADB.
WORDS & PHOTOS MARTYN BLAKE