No crash! This was the theme of this year’s trip to Australia, after collecting frequent flyer points with the Flying Doctor’s two years ago.
This should be our 11th OZ trip, and our 9th trip to a unique motorbike rally called OCR, the Off Centre Rally, which takes place every second year in August in an alternate state of Australia, except Tasmania. August is Winter time in central Australia, which is ideal for travelling the outback with day temperatures around 20°, but cold nights. The rally site has to be somewhere remote, with access of at least 200 K’s of unsealed road, but must have petrol supplies - and needless to say - a pub. With more and more outback roads being sealed and alcohol restrictions respective licenses being sold away to capital towns, the selection of rally locations becomes more and more difficult. This rally is not advertised, just spread by word of mouth. This year’s easy and closer distance attracted over 250 attendees, so it was decided to held the 2012 OCR in a remoter and more difficult reachable area of Cape York.
If you travel to Australia, check out the rally calendar of the local bike magazines, as a motorbike rally is always something special and good fun to meet the local bike scene.
We, Manfred and Reggie, are fortunate to have a nearly 30 year old battle-scarred R 80 G/S with our best mate Ron at Mount Mee, just North of Brisbane.
First BBQ - first victim
We arrived one week earlier before our group of 9 set off to the rally. This left time to complete the bike preparation work. By helping on Ron and Judy’s alpaca farm, we could also return some of the many hours Ron spent into fixing the smashed bike from the last trip. First we explored local forest roads to test the bike setup and to get into tune again to ride gravel and dirt roads. It had rained extensively in the past weeks, and there were worries if the road to the rally site at Wanaaring North West NSW would be open.
At the Saturday BBQ (barbecue) party, the rally group members shared glorious memories of past rallies, sat around the fire gazing at the countless stars in the vast sky, and tasting some coffee with Swiss prune schnapps – which claimed at least another victim.