Aussie has some great yarns to tell! And he's told a few of them on the web-site here in brief. Here's a great story in a bit more detail. As regular readers will know, Aussie is the proud owner of a 1981 Suzuki GS1000G which he has owned since new. (Click here to read the story of his bike. It's a great read!). This story is about an Alpine Rally he went to in 1985. Yep, a few years ago now, but this rally was a particularly memorable one. He sent this story to Old Bike magazine; and won a pair of Draggin Jeans for it! Here's the story. I rode my GS 1000G Suzuki to many rallies during the '80s and 90s, my first being "Mother Hardys" out of Briagolong Vic.in 1983. Most prominent were "Bike Australia", Genoa, Vic.'83, "Winton Race and Rally" '86, "Happy Birthday" Canberra '88,"GP Rally" Phillip Island '89, and numerous "Kosciusko's" at Geehi Hut to name but a few. However my most memorable was the "Alpine" in the Brindabella Ranges 1985. Leaving home in Cranbourne Vic mid Friday morning, I stayed overnight with a relative at Wangaratta. Departing early on a freezing, foggy morning, I cut across through Beechworth where, stopping to warm my freezing hands, I dropped the sickle, loosening a mirror. Worked up a sweat standing it back up, unloading and repacking after getting a spanner from the toolkit to tighten the mirror! Fog lifted as I was soon motoring along one of my all time favourite rides, the Murray Valley Highway with its marvellous changing scenery. Ear plugs blocked wind noise enabling me to listen to that wonderful exhaust hum exclusive to a twin piped big Jap four. Under the open helmet my face tingled with blasts of varying warm and cool air as we cruised across the Hume weir, hammered along the straights and swooped through forest bends and hills. Yes, “open-faced” helmet – no head in a bucket for this boy. Motorcycling at its best! Fuelled at Corryong where I was advised to detour to Towong so as to avoid a flooded crossing. There I met up with John and Dave in a K2 Honda outfit. Having spotted them in Cranbourne the previous day, I'd followed them for a distance up the Melba before splitting as I headed for Wang. They'd stayed at the pub with Keith on a Laverda and "Claude" (Geoff) who I'd met through friends some time ago at another rally. He was still riding his old Matchless single with that outrageous but effective 12-volt car alternator stuck out front of the engine. Things got hairy with snow framing the roadside and patches of black ice as we approached Cabramurra where we fuelled, and had a warm-up lunch. (The photo at the top was taken at Cabramurra. Elwyn). That was merely a measure of what lay ahead as we pulled up on the Snowy Mountains Highway at a farm gate known as Rules Point. With a certain amount of trepidation, I followed the mob, closing the gate behind me. Not two hundred metres in, I smacked the Suzuki on its side in a huge mud puddle as the others, obviously unaware of my plight, forged on. Luckily two blokes on a Guzzi SP 1000 from Adelaide stopped to help me, as we wallowed in the mud to get the loaded motorcycle upright again. Caked in mud, we had a good laugh. Those blokes sure had a sense of humour, particularly one who was flat on his back under the bike at one stage! Much to my relief, they suggested we stick together. It paid off as we approached a large snow covered hill. The Guzzi's low torque hauled them up and I followed, juggling engine revs with slipping clutch. On reaching the top the Guzzi had slipped into a snow covered soft patch and was standing upright, bogged half way up to the back axle! We eventually grunted and heaved it out. Choosing to let the Guzzi have its head and with a deafening "YAHOO!" they charged insanely down the slippery slope at a great rate of knots I'm telling you! Thoroughly terrified, I daren't touch the front brake, instead sliding down, both feet on the ground using the clutch with a dead engine as a brake, finally pulling up in a pool of sweat next to the waiting Guzzi at the bottom. The remaining run was fairly uneventful as we slipped and slid on our way, except when a pack of dirt-bike maddies mono-wheeled past us along a cliff face. The leader, failing to see a right turn, sailed straight over the cliff, followed by two of his mates! We stopped to see that they were OK and continued on, leaving them to drag their sickles back up. They hurtled past us again later, albeit a little slower, but not much. Meanwhile on arriving at a clearing, there were my mates actually waiting for me. On asking John how long they'd been waiting, he lined up two empty tinnies on the side car along with the one he was drinking and with a wave of his hand replied, "This long" which brought on a gale of laughter. I knew I was a bit slow, but I reckon those guys must have been pretty thirsty. On arriving at the rally site, I calculated that I had taken nigh on three hours to ride fifty kilometres mostly using first and second gears. (See the Suzuki covered in mud and snow! Elwyn). That evening was spent with members of The Monarchs MCC spinning bulldust 'till 3am amid a haze of beer, Jack Daniels and Green Steam. Stuck my aching head out of the tent next morning to behold a coating of white ice covering everything. A local ranger, having crossed the river in a 4WD Brumby, cheerfully informed us that temperatures had dropped to minus seven degrees during the night! Monarchs member, Graham, hunted me up to join him in a nude swim, apparently the result of a drunken bet. We found a spot away from the site, but word had spread and two naked idiots were found jumping and whooping around in the icy current much to the delight of a cheering crowd. A few seconds later, we were desperately towelling our steaming bodies on the crunching iced grass bank. With splitting head and aching knackers, I charged back to my tent and warm clothes. I thought the Swampy Plains river at Geehi was cold. This was cold! After brekkie, badges were distributed. No awards or trophy's. Just getting there was the challenge! Mention was made about "cheating" dirt bikes. Keith, an Alpine veteran, informed me that it could have been worse. One year he had to remove the Laverda's front guard as caked mud had literally locked his front wheel! However he assured me that I wouldn't be seen as a squib if I took the easier(?) north track out, which I did. Riding through Canberra, I rode the Olympic Way home, staying over night at the Shirley Hotel in Bethungra. Under renovation, the owners, apologising for basic conditions, treated me as family, inviting me to join them for dinner in their private quarters.
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