You are currently viewing 12th – 15th Mar 2024: Bathurst

12th – 15th Mar 2024: Bathurst

Day 1: Tuesday 12 March, 2024

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

The Good

Myself Colin Purcell Brian Vanderkly Tim Carroll
Spiro Bellas Steve Stiles Wills Garrett Les Chandler
Greg Schafer Keith Moyle Brad Button Roger Reiger
Martin Blankensteijn Shane Orr
(New member)
Plus fellow Ulysses members
&  guests
Peter Hoare on a Triumph Rocket 3
John Schell on a Honda Goldwing Jorge Mussolino  Harley Davidson
Greg Powers on a BMW F700 Graham Rose on a Tenere 1200
Garry Porter on a BMW K1200GT
Day 1: Tuesday 12 March, 2024
Day 1: Tuesday 12 March, 2024

With Les Chandler’s mate (Grey Gums to Denman only) making 21 riders setting off from Common Grounds Café, Windsor in clear and warm conditions with roads in generally good conditions. Delays meant we didn’t get to Denman on time so added lunch to the stop and a spell/fuel stop at Rylstone gad us arriving at The Panorama Hotel/Motel just after 5pm.

  • Bill Collaros rode directly from Sydney to Bathurst
  • John Warren rode directly from Sydney to Bathurst
  • Sharon Collaros followed Bill & John in the car. (Then parked the trailer out of sight.)
  • Sam Thoma rode directly from Camberwarra Mountain to Bathurst
  • Mark Price rode directly from Kangaroo Valley to Bathurst with Sam
  • Steve Carnaby (Mate) BMW R1250GSA rode direct from Grafton to Bathurst
  • Mick Holmes (Mate) Can Am Spyder rode direct from Penrith after Dr appointment
  • Chris Potter rode direct to Bathurst after purchasing a new battery

    Day 1: Tuesday 12 March, 2024
    Day 1: Tuesday 12 March, 2024

After greetings and salutations, we partook of refreshments, banter and the handing out of shirts before getting cleaned up for dinner. Two of my daughters and their families joined us for dinner before retiring for the evening. Everyone was happy with their day of riding plus enjoying their meals and the venue.

The Bad

Chris Potter fuelled up then near Windsor then his battery failed, the one in his motorcycle I mean. NRMA got him mobile however he had to source and fit a new battery then travel directly to Bathurst to meet us.
On hearing of Chris’s problem and knowing that we had Les Chandler’s mate (travelled from Grey Guns to Denman with us) plus Graham from Bathurst Ulysses waiting for us at The Grey Gums, Myself and the group waited until 9.20am at Windsor if Chris could join us. Gorilla, Les and Captain set off to The Grey Gums to meet and ready the other two so that we could slow and they join the group. We set off from Windsor, I got ahead of the group with a slow car encountered soon after Colo River but then had to stop to secure my bag of shirts. On arriving at The Grey Gums, we found our two new riders but our three scouts were missing with conjecture as to whether they had continued or not arrived. I instructed and sent some on to Denman then pondered. No phone service, oh! Our three scouts arrived from the south advising that Keith Moyle had suffered a flat tyre, the three stopping at Colo Heights Servo which has a row of foliage between it and the roadway. Our three waved but couldn’t be seen.

Once properly onto the Putty Road, all radios failed, leaving us without communication other than line of sight and reminders to keep a watch of mirrors then stop if alone or in doubt.

After leaving Denman, on the only piece of road that I had not previously travelled my GPS decided to lead me back towards Newcastle. After two unplanned U turns, I reset the GPS to get to Bylong Valley Way and on to Bathurst.

Between Ilford and Sofala, Shane Orr, our new member suffered a flat tyre. The offending rivet was located, removed and the hole repaired.

The Ugly

After passing through Wattle Flat travelling down Wiagdon Mountain, Martin Blankensteijn ran wide on a right hand corner and fell off his bike. The low speed tumble resulted in a cut to his knee, some bruising and grazes A passing nurse stops and rendered first aid and made Martin smile. A check of the bike revealed some fairing damage, a few scratches and a dent to the front wheel with the seal of the tyre remaining intact. After checks and treatments we resumed our journey the remaining 40 km into Bathurst.

Day 2: Wednesday 13 March, 2024

Vision, Or Lack There Of

ROAD RULES 2014 – REG 218-1

NSW rule: using lights on vehicles generally

218-1 NSW rule: using lights on vehicles generally

The driver of a vehicle must not–

  1. use any fog light fitted to the vehicle unless the driver is driving in fog, mist or under other atmospheric conditions that restrict visibility

Now this is the actual relating to the use of fog lights. “Why is it there?” You ask. “Because fog lights are designed to glare through fog, mist, etc. When there is no fog, mist etc, they provide no benefit to the user however the glare makes it very difficult for oncoming of those who use their mirrors to focus on their driving.”
“But other drivers can’t see me!” Believe it or not there remains some form of eye testing before one can obtain a drivers of riders licence,
“It’s not that they can’t see you, some, who are poor drivers just don’t care and have the attitude that smaller vehicles will just get out of the way or do whatever it takes to avoid any pending collision. Better drivers will be distracted and more likely to collide with you, someone else or the scenery.”

‘But the salesman told me I can have them on at up to 70% power.”
“We that’s 60% fantasy, 10% possibility and 30% absolute bull shit. They are primarily interested is getting your money, At 10% of power they are slightly glary Daytime Running Lights. Not ideal but less dangerous to road users and still work when turned on in fog.”
“So why don’t the authorities tell me or enforce the law fog lights?”
“It is more difficult to educate and, unfortunately, if there is a level of collisions then speeding is used as the cause in advertising and this is an excellent revenue stream.”
Bear in mind that the three greatest impediments to road users are INATTENTION, DISTRACTION and LACK OF EDUCATION.

The Begining

Day 2: Wednesday 13 March, 2024
Day 2: Wednesday 13 March, 2024

With 20 riders, everyone refreshed or at least partly refreshed. Keith & Keith got everyone together before the 8,45am departure to remind of radio problems, asking to ensure that you be able to see at least two riders (Unless you are TEC or 2nd last) behind you or stop.

We had a clear sunny day which was going to get hot again. Martin Blankensteijn had a rest day, Sniper checked out the sites with Sharon. Schelly, Porter, Jorge and Greg done a few short local rides due to the heat. We had twenty odd riders and lap tops to stream Ken Morton’s funeral.

Day 2: Wednesday 13 March, 2024
Day 2: Wednesday 13 March, 2024

As we were about to set off there was a eight to ten requests they were turned down or off. Anyhow, we set off through the three sets of traffic lights to get towards Ophir Road, nobody stopped so I had to assume everyone was with us although I had great difficulties as the fog lights had come back on, near welding my pupils and causing great difficulty trying to see numbers behind and focus on the road.

By the time we got to the Burrendong Way at Orange, my arm was getting sore and my finger was getting blunt as requests to corner mark were being ignored and from the few opportunities when I had to clearly see riders behind there did not appear to be enough yet at least half the riders were present. After a short wait, thankfully, the remainder had made their way through and caught up with us so, on to Wellington with a few stretches of roadwork then finding the chosen café had us there shortly before Ken’s service was due to begin.

The Middling

After ordering food and refreshments, then being shown to a quite area, attempts to stream Ken Morton’s funeral service proved fruitless with insufficient download speed. A few words were offered for Ken and a moment of silence observed. Keith & Keith made another plea to be alert and recall how to corner mark.

Re-mount and several more requests for fog lights to be turned off, fuel up and head towards Yoeval where the bleeding fog light came on again. After I stopped, they finally went back to a DRLight. Finally, I was about to re-name him the Monument!

The roads were good through Yeoval and skirting Parkes with the temperature climbing, several patches of roadwork slowing progress then a Highway Patrol with a car stopped meaning that most had to slow to a crawl when passing we stopped at the Royal Hotel in Manildra.

Refreshments were had, menu inspected with most opting for a pie from the nearby bakery. After some discussion we decided to cut the day short by travelling back to the Orange bypass then through Lewis Ponds and Ophir Road.

The Ending

We were back to the Panorama before 4pm, relax, clean up then off to the RSL where I had booked for a meal with a request for a quiet area where we could watch Ken’s service, All of this worked well with another good day under the belt.

Day 3: Thursday 14 March, 2024

Lithgow Small Arms Museum

Eighth of a Cup

So today were off to the museum, great weather again, clear and sunny but still warm to hot. Whilst speaking with one of the barmaids, Kaiser, from Estonia, found that she has a motorcycle, a BMW S1000, and was keen to do some of the local roads. Her bar work, uni studies and power station break down work keeps her busy and she hadn’t had time to explore many of the local roads. She called the Panorama at 7.40, she was on her was, just had to get fuel, would be there by 8,05am.
Martin was travelling home after getting his bike checked, Chris Potter, Steve Carnaby (GSA) Mick Holmes (Can-Am) and Whispers had a day off whilst Garry Porter, Schelly, Jorge and Greg rode off towards their homes as Jorge in particular had been struggling with the heat.

Quarter of a Cup

Everyone was ready at 8am after having to wake our southerners which gave us a little more time to wait for the lass, well, 8.10 arrived with all engines running at the driveway ready to leave and no sign of Kaiser. OK She said she knew Rockley so we set off steadily, through Bathurst streets and on to Perthville where we stopped. No problem other than Kaiser had arrived and after a call from Whispers, we would wait for her at Rockley. We continued steadily to Rockley with a short stop to secure Colonel’s number plate holder. At Rockley, I found that the ride had been too fast???

Third of a Cup

All together and off we go through Gilmandyke, left to Mt David, my god, they’ve remembered how to corner mark, through to Black Swamp then on to Oberon for some morning tea. The original plan was to travel via Jenolan Caves however the road from the highway was closed. After a tasty repast, we were about to ride off when a local advised that the Jenolan Caves Road between Duckmaloi and the highway was closed for repairs. Re-think and we set off set along Lowes Mount Road, right to Tarana, Sodwalls, Lake Lyle and South Bowenfels then left to the Small Arms Factory Museum.

The museum was well worth a look with many ooh’s, aah’s, wow’s and photos at the items on display and the precise processes used to build them. Once you’ve had enough, head to the Lithgow Workies Club for lunch which was another good feed.

Half a Cup (Big Time)

The return trip was going depend on how much time was spent at the museum. Follow me I said and we set off to Tunnel Hill, Castlereagh Hwy, pass Mt Piper power station, Portland, Sunny Corner then Dark Corner. After enjoying the spectacular views, particularly those to the north of Dark Corner and keeping the pace so that our group stayed together we reached the T intersection, where I SHOULD HAVE TURNED LEFT.

Day 3: Thursday 14 March, 2024 - Wash Me !
Day 3: Thursday 14 March, 2024 – Wash Me !

I turned right and after a couple of kilometres the bitumen stopped and the gravel road started. I hadn’t ridden this area for some years and, thinking the main rout may have been changed due to a bridge wash-out or something with maybe a few km of gravel. 15 or so kilometres further and still on the dirt we pulled up with many unhappy looks from following riders. We’ll turn around. No, the road isn’t wide enough to turn the Harley and the Rocket around. I got some service and it’s only 6,2km from the next intersection where the tar should start again.

Not quite. After another 6.2km we came to Palmers Oakey. No bitumen, but Mt Horrible Road which I knew would take us on to Limekilns Road with is tar sealed. After many heart in the mouth moments and expletives directed at me from within helmets we arrived at Limekilns Road, allelujah! On a check of google maps, from the Dark Corner Road intersection to Limekilns Road is 45 kilometres.

Stuffed up big time but we were all safe and survived the section other than Captain Steve Stiles getting a flat in the gravel. With checks and portable compressor we could only get 20 or so pound of air pressure into the tyre and not be able to identify the puncture. Righto, Kelso is 8 to 10km along the road with a servo on the left at the highway intersection. Ride steadily, watch you rear tyre monitor and we’ll stop, top it up and do the same again until we get there.

Fortunately, there was only one more stop then Steve, myself and a couple of others went to the servo whilst the remainder headed back to the Panorama, with instructions. At the servo with enough air pressure and volume we were able to quickly identify the puncture, fail to be able to operate Pricey’s puncture gun then put a rope type plug into it which done the job.

Day 3: Thursday 14 March, 2024
Day 3: Thursday 14 March, 2024

Back at the Panorama I had plenty of offers to wash others motorcycles which I declined and went about rehydrating, apologising and relating that I can ‘far cup.’

Anyhow, some refreshments, a good meal at the Panorama and plenty of banter finished off another good but very memorable day.


Day 4: Friday 15 March, 2024

A smaller group for today with Steve Carnaby, Mick Holmes, Spiro, Sniper, Whispers (and Sharon with the car), Chris Potter and Pirate (I think that was all) rode directly back to their homes from Bathurst.

Easy 9am start to allow everyone to be well rested and packed. The weather was considerably cooler with scattered cloud making good riding weather. Spiro had his drone and had to travel straight back home for work but wanted to get some footage of us at Mount Panorama. After some discussion we agreed to let Spiro leave a few minutes before us, go to the start line, wait for a wave then ride the circuit giving Spiro enough time to get near the Chase to take some more footage then we head of.

Sounds easy. I rode to the start line however everyone else stopped 60 or so metres back where you couldn’t see any signals. I went back to the group, parked on the outside of them and asked what was happening to find we had decided to wait there however nobody knew how long. When a vehicle going the same way passed, with plenty of room, was informed that this was a two way. A gas tanker slowing as we blocked the lane wasn’t seen or considered a problem. OK?

Eventually we set off, slowly along Pit Straight then left to Mountain Straight where I cruised at 45 to 50kmh and left the rest of the group. I continued around the track and waited at Hell Corner. The group arrived and after a short time when everybody appeared ready so I moved off but was alone so waited 50 to 60 metres down the road. Some time passed and I heard bikes coming closer, eventually I was told that we were now ready to go. On looking around the rider had his fog lights on! Not again? After only eight to ten requests and a puzzled look the fog lights were turned off.

We wound our was through suburbia and onto Perthville, Georges Plains, Tuena and on to Crookwell where we stopped at the bakery (easter side of town). The Trunkey to Crookwell Road has been re-sign posted to mainly 80kph zones. With the group beginning to disappear into the background as I approached the displayed speed limit the road still has beautiful scenery but sub limit speeds made it a chore leaving me to search out an old cigar from my top box.

We had decided to stop for fuel at Marulan then Werai for lunch if enough riders wanted the extra stop. We rode to and through Goulburn and by the time we got to Marulan there were roadworks on the Hume and the skies were looking as though rain was pending. Everybody stated a preference to go straight home which became the plan.

Off we set, riding through Marulan township and onto the highway then Talong and through to Exeter the Nowra Road to Sheepwash Road where we waved goodbye to our southern contingent. Over to the Illawarra Highway, through Robertson and down Macquarie Pass then over to Mount Marshall then onto the highway at Fowlers Road. The usual route was then taken up Mount Ousley the Old Pacific Highway back to home without major incident.

We had a few sprinkles through the highlands were stopping to put wet weather gear on would have resulted in getting more wet. The remainder of the trip was at less than the speed limit by 3 to 4kph (as per my GPS) or leave the group behind. Hopefully, this inability to travel at the speed limit was due to riders being tired after four days of riding with some new and challenging roads thrown in. Watching my mirrors to see a mix of bikes and cars travel along the Wollongong motorway with the bulk of the cars wanting to travel at the speed limit was a recipe for disaster which, fortunately didn’t occur. Adding GST or part thereof is a far safer habit.

Summing Up

Let’s see, three flat tyres, radios not working properly.

An excellent venue in the Panorama with a number of great roads covered yet many more (tar sealed ones) left to ride in all directions from Bathurst. The weather was great although a little too hot for the first three days. Splitting the group on the first day with the slower / more senior riders taking a much less taxing 310km route from Menai.

A shorter second and not getting flustered then taking a wrong turn would have made day 3 much more enjoyable. All in all, we all survived, had some great times, learnt some great roads, gained many memories and contributed to a rural economy.