Where would we be without hills? As motorcyclists, we owe so much pleasure to these terrestrial lumps. Sure, we can wind a road around a flat expanse of turf. Many a brilliant race track has been intelligently designed in such a manner. But to get a road up a mountain, a steep and gnarly precipice, that requires a different approach. The topography dictates to guarantee the absence of uniformity. The absence of uniformity guarantees the satisfaction of the motorcyclist.
Of course there are hills, and then there are, well, mountains. And where there are mountains, if we are lucky, there are mountain passes. With switchbacks please, washed out ruts and rudimentary safety barriers disappearing altogether behind icy clouds.
The Rooney Special relishes this habitat. This here is Jacobs Ladder on Ben Lomond in Tasmania. It’s not strictly a pass as it doesn’t take you back down the other side. Rather it leads you to a plateau and a tavern, although given you need to wind your way back down the ‘Ladder’ getting too familiar with the Tavern is not recommended.
There are many ways to make you feel alive. But riding an oversize, overpowered, torquey traction grabbing monster up and down a slippery rutted length of immediate and alarming danger ranks up there at the top. I highly recommend it. But mind that corner just there will you….
If you haven’t already seen here the unassuming legend Rod Colling drifted a little wide and hit a sharp ledge yesterday.
The result is a broken collar bone and a disappointingly early end to this years safari for Team Rooney Racing. It could have been worse, another rider hitting the same ledge left in a helicopter.
The Safari motorcycle fleet is severely dwindled and there appears to be no pre85 bikes left in the running (although the Rooney Machines were actually not accepted in that category).
But hey, Never mind, that is racing for you. Paul and Rod have been chatting about improvements to the 850 race machine that Rod believes is already a “great package ready to go”
And I understand that there is already talk of next year.
Well done Paul, Rod, Chris, Ken and Neil.
See you next year!
I got sidetracked with family stuff yesterday so missed the update. Please accept this late submission. I haven’t been able to talk to Paul either so no detail to offer beyond that which can be found here in the results.
Yesterdays Leg 2, consisted of 450+km of Special Stages. Rod has pushed the big 850 through to 25th place overall in the Moto’s. The race is taking out competitors at a steady pace so the field has dwindled markedly.
Anyway..check out this video interview with Rod at the end of leg 2 for some graphic footage of the Rooney Race team in action. Rod, how cool and collected can I guy be?!:
The leg summary videos too are pretty cool and do a good job of testifying to the difficulty of the race….for example…
7 out of 43 Motorcycle division starters failed to finish leg 1 of the Safari, sure testimonial of the extreme conditions machine and competitors face.
Regretfully, Chris on the 650 bike was one of them. I have just spoken to Paul and it sounds as though the prolonged deep sand punished the 65o too badly and it is out of the running. You can see the results here. A mammoth call out goes to Chris. Sorry it ended early but well done! Everything I heard is that you are a great guy that was doing awesome.
Rod had a better day aboard the 850, At the end of 23.26km Special Section 1 he was 10 minutes behind the lead time and coming in at 34th overall. After the 104.8km Special Section 2 he came in 29th and brought his overall down to 31st position. In the legs final 142.82km Section Rod came home 31st to retain his overall position. This last leg alone claimed 14 cars and 4 bikes, so…well done Rod !
Here is Rod Rocketing along in the special after having ditched the light and fairing obviously to save weight and gain more speed. Image courtesy of Ross Briggs.
NEWSFLASH, a further 17 minutes is expected to come off Rods time so that overall standing is set to improve.
But then…it’s only just begun really…tomorrows first Special Section is a big one at 230km. Go Rod you bloody legend!