Riders :
Dean West (Lead)
Russell Archer (Sweep)
John Adams
Wael Atwa
Clinton Buckwell
Alan Casey
Ray Parlanti
Craig Stirzaker
Bryan O’Donoghue


With a preceding week of cold and rainy weather, nine brave Madcat Adventurers were under no illusion of the conditions we would face on the “Acheron River Ride”.
Arriving at our meet point in Yarra Glen we had a good mix of Adv bikes and their owners ready for whatever this ride had coming.
Dean and Craig on the Gen3 KLR’s
Ray and Bryan on CRF 300’s
Clinton on his new and highly modded CRF 450 weapon
Alan on his trusty Himalayan (V2.0)
John and his DRZ 400 setup in Supermoto spec running a 17” front
Wael on the big Triumph Explorer 1200
And our sweep Russell on his Africa Twin
Big Russ managed to kick off proceedings by reefing on an occy strap with a bit too much vigour, sending the AT to the deck.
First drop and we are still in the IGA carpark!
After Deans dulcet tones had delivered the ride briefing, with the main message being “don't crash” we were ready to set off.
Mounting our freedom machines, we had a short braap on the black top before hitting the dirt and ascending into the hills of Toolangi.
The initial tracks were mostly perfectly maintained compacted gravel base which was a very gentle introduction for the days ride.

As the group tractored up the climbing tracks you could really feel the winds increasing and temperature drop even further.
Dean pulled us up for a check in near our first summit and the general consensus was that it was “not that cold”.
I don’t know if most of our crew were wearing more layers than myself or if they were just putting on a brave front, but to me it was as cold as the hairs on a polar bears bum!

All accounted for we continued following the little green line on Gaia. Tracks continued to be a very predictable mix of hard base windy and faster flowing dirt roads with the only notable obstacles being the many and sometimes deep potholes hidden like landmines beneath the glassy wet road surface.
After a couple of hours of really enjoyable riding we had made it to Marysville and parked the bikes adjacent to the pub. Alan made it clear (seemingly regrettably) it was too early to start swilling beer so the choice was made to head on down to the Bakery.
We filled up on Pies, coffee and baked goodness and for a moment the clouds separated and it almost felt warm…ish.

Siren sounded and back on the bikes again for the second half. Heading north from Marysville towards the Rubicon Valley the rays of sunshine did not last long.
Ascending again to higher ground we found ourselves on Blue Range Road.
After climbing in altitude Dean pulled us up to marvel at the sight of snow lining the side of the road and within a couple hundred metres it had increased to a complete blanket of white.
The road had turned into snow lined single track from the 4WDs carving a pathway way before us.
Steady momentum was on order as we tested our balancing skills to stay within snow lined trench marks.
Clinton being the wise man he is decided that this was a perfect time for his new shiny 450 to lose its virginity and binned it on a perfect cushion of fluffy powder… Not a scratch!

It was fantastic riding through the snow-covered landscape and was a highlight of the ride for all of us.
Wael and Russell did particularly well getting the big bikes through and remaining upright.

Within a few Km’s the scenery changed again and the snowed petered out as we descended to lower ground.
From here the roads were slightly more challenging than the mornings riding but still easily manageable and we were skipping along at a reasonable pace.
We did have a fallen tree branch on the track at some point which managed to catch our leader out resulting in a christening of the new Klim adventure gear.
I think maybe Dean has been watching too much hard enduro on YouTube and felt inspired, attacking the obstacle with a bit too much gusto!

Winding our way through the Rubicon Valley we eventually found our way back out onto the bitumen main road and blasted our way up and through Taggerty searching for our final run on the dirt.
Once we departed the black top and were back on the good stuff things became interesting for a bit with Dean rerouting on the run a couple of times in an effort for the rest of us to maintain our dignity.
We were still challenged with some sections of slippery clay but all managed to get through unscathed.
Nearing the final stages of our ride the sky was getting darker and you could feel there was some nasty weather on the way.
At the dirt roads end we parked up, and thankful for another great Madcat ride we said our goodbyes and parted ways.
The final act coming soon after with heavy clouds and rain just in time for our ride home.


Final Scoreboard
Binned it – Russell – IGA Carpark (yes mate, it counts)
Clinton – Snowman scared the shit out of him
Dean – when extreme enduro goes bad
Broke it – Dean – Bent brake lever, cracked plastics
Made it – 9/9
Until next time Madcats .


By Bryan O’Donoghue