It’s the Indicator Equinox.


Down in the garage I have a box of indicators. Odd ones. Cheap “sacrificial” indicators from ebay. I’d like to tell you the collection is part of a passionate hobby I pursue with great gusto. That one day I will have one kind of every cheap- arse indicator ever made and all will bask in the intermittent flashes of glory bestowed upon them. But what sounds like bullshit, oddly enough, generally is bullshit. And that sounds a hell of a lot like bullshit to me, and I wrote it. But then, there it is written and so it must be true, or partly so, or not. Seems like that truth stuff doesn’t even matter any more, this is social media aint it? isnt it? So hmm…maybe none of this really didn’t happen (think on it..clever huh? and explains also why my left side hurts).

Anyway. Let’s take this somewhere soon before it implodes. The theory is that every eight years I’ll get to a point where the rotation of the earths indicators will be such that all indicators on my scooter will be of the same variety. A situation known internationally as THE INDICATOR EQUINOX.

Of course to reach such a benchmark some indicators must be sacrificed. A situation that I’m sure you are familiar with. If not, it is possible you are much better a rider than me (and so can just bugger off) or are worse but careful and resent the needless sacrifice of cheap plastic into grinding mangling rock and earth (and so can just bugger off). For the two people still reading I bring forth to you a tale.

You see, sometimes fate moves too slow for the timely passing of the equinox. Sometimes we have to go out and FORCE the issue. Undoubtedly by now you wonder how anyone with sensibilities as refined as yours truly could ever departed ungracefully from their trusty steed. But I assure you it does happen.

A ..err…little bit.

Upon invitation to participate in an off season review of work practices in an environment far removed from the habitat my species usually operates in…verily did I depart.


The rather too soon appearance of snow confirmed the message of blistering cold that my nose sent to my brain whenever I opened my foggy visor. But vision seemed to vastly improve progress. Too much so. Indications of circumstances indicative of indicator sacrifice were circumstantially absent. And so…one more time unit the breach.


Finally, just as I was building a completely unwarranted amount of belief in my own prowess I made a rather minor decision that had a rather major influence upon the relationship between my front and back wheels. Now traditionally, when engaged in a passage of forward momentum, my back wheel has chosen to follow the front. Though after 34 years in such a fix I can understand why they may have tired of this status quo. Why shouldn’t the rear wheel go first?

Well, turns out there is quite a good reason. I found out by dabbing the rear brake a little to hard and … wait for it …bingo!


The gods had clearly viewed my venture favorably. Carefully I picked up the remnants of my indicator and wrapped it in a ceremonial oil rag, the shroud of tourin.

Such a wondrous outcome had been unexpected so early in an overnight adventure. I was now mere miles away from my retreat and so had quickly to devise my story of great hardship and endurance. A story so pure in commitment and tenacity and faith that whereupon I unraveled the shroud of tourin before them all would behold the truth that is the indisputable power of the indicator equinox.


There were no Tigers at the Tiger hut. Quite a triumph really, But there was growling, the kind of sick guttural echoing of punch drunk men with frozen minds and carefree souls. The kind of rush of freedom that becomes available when those with great responsibility relive times and tales of high stakes told at high times, in high places, when nothing can threaten the very peace they by nature commonly reject.


By morning the snow had eased. The shroud appeased. And time came to make way for new indicators. The Equinox was a day closer. But a big day. A whole year of days, a lifetime to some, to those who cried “not me” and fell softly back into bed instead of painfully upon the solid icy surface of the mother earth. Oh Mother, accept thy indicator of questionable child labour and take not the child but the indicator itself. And I will ride on.










Rooney Tune 2018 update

Ok good people. Here it is. Copmanhurst Campground.

“Ride to Copmanhurst & stay on the Clarence Way, you go past the pub & take the 1st turn to the left, you are still in the 50 k zone.
Ride down that road to the river, sandy banks good camping + toilets.”

There is accommodation in Copmanhurst for those who would like a proper bed.

If this campground is full we have a second option that is a larger area….

“Next place is ride to Copmanhurst then stay on the Clarence Way for about 15ks turn left on Winegrove rd., till you hit the river good camping + toilets.”

I am aiming to be there Friday night (23rd) November. Stay night Saturday the 24th. Possibly Sunday also depending on what others are doing?

So we can have rides Saturday and or Sunday?

Would people like a pub dinner on the Saturday? In which case I’ll need to start getting numbers for that. Comment if you’re in.

You can email me (stu king) : desertoak (at) gmail dot com …or call text on 0428 one42 017



Couldn’t Hop for a Better Start.

Well, if you haven’t heard the Sunraysia Rally bought first good results and then shortly after, an unfortunate undoing.
The Rooney Special had a fabulous first day at the hands of the talented Joel Spoor. Joel started the day leaving in 28th place and finished the day in 13th.
Unfortunately an errant Kangaroo hell bent on departing life early chose to do that by hurtling itself in front of a rapidly progressing Joel.
The result was not nice. Joel took a trip to the emergency ward and spent the rest of the race recovering.
But the bike showed great promise with both Paul and Joel (and many others) amazed by its performance.


Ready for a thorough flogging at the 2018 Sunraysia Safari is this Rooney Prototype frame. Sporting the tried and proven 850cc engine and an updated version of the Rooney box frame now mated to a fully adjustable swing arm delivering a full 300mm of travel. What you see is a working prototype with borrowed bodywork. It’s been out for testing in the State Forest of NSW and by all reports is a pretty damn serious bit of kit. A no nonsense airhead rally machine in the 160kg category. Who wants a ride?


Fancy a Bolt of Salt? You better be quick.

Paul Marcos is a man with a plan. And it’s a plan that’s rapidly coming to fruition. How rapidly? How about a new Dry Lake Racers Australian Club Record. Fast enough for you?

I asked Paul to tell me a little bit more about how it all came to be.

“I want to start by giving credits instead of the traditional thing of doing it at the end of the article. 

This crazy idea could not have been possible without the genuine enthusiasm of Paul Rooney in advising on the project and, of course, his remarkable engineering skills. 

Mates like David and Alex McLachlan and Jeff Mitchell lending their expertise also made the process of developing the platform for this motor far smoother. 

My darling wife Heather’s indulgence kept the money (life blood of the project) flowing.

Thank you all.”



So just what is this machine? What if I told you the engine started life as a humble 1982 BMW r100.  But as Paul points out “now not even it’s mum would recognise it, only the case and crank remain original BMW equipment

The list of mods is extensive. Paul laid out the ingredients for a record breaking blitz below:

  • Carrillo rods.
  • Rooney heads.
  • Rooney cam.
  • Moto Israel Pistons.
  • Moto Israel cylinders.
  • Moto Israel pushrods and pushrod tubes.
  • Rooney designed fly wheel (for land speed application)
  • Suzuki fuel injection.
  • EMS EFI Computer. Fantastic tool for tuning and managing a complicated custom system like this.


A critical factor, adds Paul is that the motor is turned sideways in the frame to convert to belt primary and chain final drives giving easy drive ratio change options and more efficient horsepower transfer. “it gives almost zero extra benefits aerodynamically as it’s virtually the same width”. 

This combination results in a motor that revs very freely, is rev limited to 8500rpm for competition purposes but is tuned to run to 9000rpm if the extra revs are required.

“Maximum power achieved on the dyno is 103.5hp at the tyre but this has been tuned back to a steady 100hp at the tyre at 7800 rpm to give a very nice linear power curve that starts strongly at 2300rpm.”



This motor drives through a TT Industries 5 speed gearbox which is a copy of the AMC gearbox usually found in a Norton Commando but the TTI gearbox is properly engineered for positive shifts and to take this level of power.

“All this resides in a custom land speed racing frame by David “Bones” McLachlan and bodywork by me”. And bloody nice work it is.

“Initial practice runs on Lake Gairdner this year showed some very promising signs but disappointingly we developed a mystery misfire which I believe was due to low battery power as the bike runs a total loss power system, this is now being changed to carry a Powerdynamo charging system to ensure sparks are there to do the job.



In spite of the dramas we were able to easily go past the Dry Lake Racers Australian club record of 126mph achieving 129mph on its first run and 131mph on its second run. This is impressive as the engine was babied along with no real effort to rev it due to the misfire”.

So what now Paul?

“We are planning to push Salt Bolt to exceed the top speed achieved by a Southern California Timing Association Moto Guzzi at Bonneville which was 171mph.” 

I for one can’t wait to see the results. It’s a fantastic effort so far. In fact, as we started with credits it seems a mighty fine way to end. Salt Bolt is a credit you Paul Marcos, and you are a real credit to racing. Thanks for the feature on Rooneycyle.

Stu King.


In for a Penny, In for “The Pound”

Fancy a ride outback with a pair of right Rooneys?  Join Chris Cowper (r80g/s) and Ian Bailey (k75gs) on this pictoral pilgrimage to the dusty innards of the Wide Brown Land.


Chris (pictured above) and his Rooney Tuned r80/gs have seen most parts of the world. Some of it more than a few times. Ian’s Rooney Tuned k75gs is featured here. Does it get any better then this? Looks like the boys have stopped here to pee behind a handy tree. Should grow any time now.


Indigenous Australians have inhabited the ‘Channel Country’ incorporating Cooper Creek for at least 50,000 years.  There are over 25 tribal groups living in the area.

Charles Sturt named the river in 1845 after Charles Cooper, the Chief Justice of South Australia.  It was along Cooper Creek that the explorers Burke and Wills died in 1861. John King survived the expedition with the assistance of friendly Aborigines. Only ten years after the explorers’ deaths, homesteads were being established on the watercourse.

By 1880 the reliable water source had attracted settlers to the point where the whole area was taken up and stocked with cattle. This led to the displacement of local Aborigines from their traditional lands. By 1900 the population had reduced to 30 survivors, just 10% of the original number, as influenza and measles took their toll.

The waterway does not experience regular seasonal floods.Being ephemeral the creek is still prone to occasional flooding, in 1940 a vast area surrounding the Cooper was underwater with the creek being measured at over 27 miles (43 km) wide in places.


A mere 1000 miles west of Brisbane is Birdsville. A common place for intrepid travelers setting off to cross the Simpson Desert, but also a hell of a destination itself. Hell, as in hot. Temperatures can reach 49 degree Celcius  (121 degree Fahrenheit)  for four months out of the year. So the Birdsville Pub is the place to be.

Looking a bit quiet above the Pub bursts at the seams during the annual Birdsville Races, which are held in September each year in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. The town’s tiny population is augmented by between 7000 and 9000 people for the two-day event, and hundreds of aircraft fill the town’s 1,700-metre (1,859 yd) airstrip.

Take an aerial tour of the region and fly over the pub and town here.


Ian reflecting on an almighty Australian adventure. Here the boys are making their way home via The Flinders Ranges nearby to Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheatre of mountains located 429 kilometres (267 mi) north of Adelaide, South Australia.

“The Pound” is an iconic landmark of the Flinders Ranges, the largest mountain range in South Australia, which starts about 200 km (125 mi) north of Adelaide. The discontinuous ranges stretch for over 430 km (265 mi) from Port Pirie to Lake Callabonna.


The first humans to inhabit the Flinders Ranges were the Adnyamathanha people (meaning “hill people” or “rock people”) whose descendants still reside in the area, and the Ndajurri people who no longer exist.  Cave paintings, rock engravings and other artefacts indicate that the Adnyamathana and Ndajurri lived in the Flinders Ranges for tens of thousands of years. Occupation of the areas Warratyi rock shelter dates back approximately 49,000 years.

Some aging but enduring blokes, err, I mean … bikes in an ancient but enduring land. Seems quite fitting doesn’t it?

Thanks Guys, great to share your adventure into such a sparse and yet rich part of Australia.