Matlock, Woods Point day ride.
2022, as we have emerged from Covid Lockdowns has been a bumper year for MADCAT, as we have been able to run more rides than we ever have.
The last ride for 2022 was a re-run of an easy ride that was first done very early in the clubs’ existence. The roads leading east of the Yarra Valley are made for Adventure: wide, well gravelled, mostly un-corrugated but with a sprinkling of pot holes to keep you on your toes.
As I sit here to write this, we’re almost in Feb now, with the silly season having taken its toll, I’m doing my best to recall the finer detail of this ride! This will be a brief report.
Last ride for 2022
Being the last ride for 2022, we had a lot of interest so we opened up the tap on registrations above the 12 we would usually have. We ended up with around 20 in attendance, with just about every major adventure bike on display. Notable entrants were Spanner and Ian C, who rolled in on brand new Aprilia Tuareg, I had to confirm with Ian — having just come off a DCT Africa Twin — was he still above to operate a motorcycle with a proper gear lever and a clutch, a suppose we would see!
We wouldn’t normally run a group this large but with a number of the ride committee in attendance, and the easy grading on this ride — we decided to leave the entire group intact and take it easy.
And the Tiger
After our standard briefing we head up the Reefton spur to Cumberland junction, where the hard top quickly fades away to make for a more interesting and varying surface. As I said above, these main dirt roads are big adventure bike territory, and for this ride I was on my 2016 Triumph Tiger 800 XCx — which was bitter-sweet. Why? Because It performed brilliantly—this is the terrain that it was designed for. But this was a special ride on my Tiger, because it would be the last one for me. This Tiger helped build the club, I’ve literally been across Australia on it, its done what I needed it to do and now it’s time for me to move on.
Anyway, that’s enough about that!
The road opens up in sections and has long sweeping bends as it makes its way along the 1000m + plains, all of which I have seen well covered in snow, which the occasional bituminised stretch to rekindle the sports bike rider in all of us.
We reached Matlock and climbed the hill above the township for a break and to take in the 360-degree views of the surrounding high country, just enough time for the usual friendly banter between members to get underway, and to eat a muesli bar.
I recall the temperature difference between our meet point at Warburton and atop this hill in Matlock was not insignificant, a little bit of layer-changing was required for those who had them. I was not so lucky.
Down the hill we go.
The stretch from Matlock to woods point is down hill and twisty, and all this extreme wet weather we have had over the proceeding month has taken its toll on the road. Large sections were heavily eroded and pot-holed which made for slow going — this is not to say at all that it wasn’t enjoyable, ride to the conditions we did and all arrived shiny-side-up into the historic gold mining town of Woods Point.
The post office in Woods Point opening in 1862, and had several peaks in population with 36 hotels and two local papers before its ultimate decline in the early 1960’s due to the closure of the Morning Star mine. The town was devastated in the 1939 bushfires, in which many of the original buildings from the towns’ peak were lost. The township more or less now operates on tourism alone, however the one remaining hotel did not survive the recent Covid lockdowns.
So, it was a packed lunch nearby the iconic and abandoned woods point service station, some members recalling a time when it was still in operation. A couple of photos taken, and we’re on the move again.
Unfortunately to make this particular ride work as a day ride, we need to backtrack several kilometres to be able to head south and make a shorter loop back towards Noojee. The alternative is to head north towards Jamieson, or even further east and loop through Licola — but not today.
Back up the pot-holed zig zag to Matlock, and a little bit further on to the Thomson-Jordon Divide road. This road is a little narrower than the main road, but its surface remains good for the first little while has we make our way along above 1000m. We make our way towards Lake Thomson when I hear some faint calls on the radio. Michell is having some issues with his bike cutting out.
Mitchell has an AJP PR7, a Portuguese-made rally style motorcycle built on the same legacy Husqvarna TE powerplant we have seen in the SWM Superdual (which is now no longer available). The PR7 is the ready-made, rally-tower equipped, one-sixty something kilo rally adventure bike many of us would jump at the chance of owning if it wasn’t for the fact they don’t have much of an Australian presence. You would need to spend a lot of money (as a number of members have) on a 690/701 to get it as geared up as this machine comes out of the box.
It would appear that Mitch’s bike had some kind of fuelling issue which self-rectified shortly after some more fuel was siphoned over from another bike. This sort of thing can happen on any machine, but I suppose the fear is with the smaller brands such as AJP, could a simple problem become a major hassle because of the lack of local dealership support? Fortunately on this ride we didn’t need to find out. The upside is that I had Mitch follow behind me at the front in case it happened again. He had no issue handling that machine and at any moment could leap past the much more refined — but obese tiger.
…Anyway, and again — enough about that!
So… you know how I said that this would be a short ride report?
The ride from the Thomson to Noojee was twisty and featured a course gravel surface and sharp corners — probably the most challenging part of the day — because it just seemed to keep on going. Corner after corner of course gravel which required solid concentration to keep things upright and under control. A few members swapped bikes, Tim swapped his enviable 690 Adventure R, for Coop’s, well used but reliable BMW 800 GS. I’m paraphrasing here, but the comments were something like “Wow, this is amazing, I’m going to get one of these” and “This thing skates all over the place, you can have it back” — probably don’t need detail on which comment came from where.
We rolled into the Tool Shed at Noojee for a well deserved beer and a snack, which is where this ride concluded today.
All in all an uneventful, A great ride out excellent roads for adventure riding. A perfect ride to finish the year on, and to bid farewell to my old faithful Tiger.
Story: R0bb0 (MADCAT Secretary).
Photos: R0bb0 , Daniel