An Ardly Normal Experience – The Australian Classic Scooter Rally 2012


 Day 1

 It was the craziest thing. A taxi sitting on the opposite side of the road indicated as if to cross oncoming traffic to pick up a fare. Seeing him I slowed up but decided he wouldn’t dare cross. Oh was I wrong.

No big surprise? What if you heard that the road was actually the Sydney Harbour Bridge and cutting across it meant crossing three lanes of oncoming traffic during peak hour? Welcome to Day 1 Sydney to Gold Coast!

Except for the suicide cabby and a power struggle between Nick and a Mack truck we had a pretty good ride to breakfast at Peats Ridge.  We spent a good hour warming up and waking up but it’s day one and we were all pretty keen to keep moving and get back on the scoots.

On the road 50ks to go before we were to reach Singleton and the rain came down.  Wanting to ride all the way to the GC I was bitterly disappointed. Scoots trailered on our three vehicles and we were off to Singleton. My proposition of a friendly game of ISPY over the walkies was vehemently opposed by both other cars. It was like they all had something against ISPY or something…


Sun’s out, the weather is sweet!  Parked up at Singleton for lunch and I’m itching to get back on my scoot – in the car I’d almost successfully rationalised that out of the 986 kilometre trip if I don’t ride a lousy 50 I could still say I’d ridden the whole way. Almost rationalised.

My scoot had gone over in the trailer and the crash bars had gouged paint off the sides of Mick’s and Scotty’s scoots.  My scoot was fine except for a loose right mirror and the snapped off front brake lever but I decided right there and then you don’t really need one of those when you’re going north.

The pub lunch was good and if you’re ever in Singleton the ladies at the Caledonian Hotel will serve your breakfast in lingerie most weekday mornings 7-10am.

After lunch I had a satisfying little feeling of independence when I tightened up my own mirror with my own tools before we set off for Bendermeer!


The last part of the leg to Bendermeer was the scariest ride I think I’ve done – yes comparable with the last leg of the Port Macquarie ride: dark, rainy country roads, a cavalcade of oncoming, blinding trucks.

The pain of getting to Bendermeer was, however, my own fault.

Picture this: I’m at the back of the pack, my fuel light has been on for at least 40 minutes, night has well and truly fallen, we’re on a cliff with no kerb to pull over, going up a colossal hill – think Bulli Pass, no rear support vehicle and no hand signal for NO FUEL, my teeth are chattering from the cold.

There was a quiet panic inside me because I knew if my fuel died I’d have nowhere to pull over and I would be crushed under a Mack truck who wouldn’t even feel a bump as his first row of 18 tyres etched me into the concrete.

In survival mode, my aim was get to the front of the pack and if I broke down I wouldn’t be squished alone. I don’t know where the power came from out of my little blue scoot but in the overtaking lane I’m going past the guys and trying out a brand new No Fuel signal – the universal sign for you’re dead: a finger run across the throat with an accompanying ‘eeek’ sound.

Everyone I passed and tried it out most looked at me like I’ve forgotten my meds and I’m wondering why these guys don’t understand me pointing to my speedo and cutting my throat open with my finger. I’m worrying less though with passing each person – I’m not getting squished alone!

I’m nearly reaching Oly who I thought would understand my new No Fuel signal when my independently tightened mirror takes two melodramatic spins and disappears over my shoulder into the path of the illusory killer Mack Truck.  That took my mind off the fuel issue for about 3 seconds.

Somehow we all make it up the hill, I can’t remember why we stopped at the top but I was able to refuel on the side of the road. 10 minutes later and all downhill… we arrived in Bendermeer!

 Getting to Bendermeer was a bitch yes, but it was my favourite place to stay on the trip. Beer, food, hot water and the lovely Canberra Swarm!

 Day 2

 Trailered at Tenterfield

 30ks into the run Matt seized – trailered.

Before Glenn Innes we stopped at the fabulous Red Lion for beer and lunch. You really would have thought after last night’s fuel experience that I would think when refuelling self, check fuel requirements of transport.

Somewhere between the Red Lion and Glenn Innes my scoot spluttered and stopped, twice. Because I am seize paranoid I immediately thought it was a seize. My fuel light was flashing again and so the term that would plague me for the rest of the trip was coined – Fuel Seize.  Whatever was wrong with it – trailered.

At some point Oly had a distress call from The Wild Dogs Scooter Club from Melbourne asking to pick up a rider on the side of the road. One of our support vehicles picked him up and Billy joined our ranks as did his scoot with a fallen exhaust.

The roads to Tenterfield were windy, clear and beautiful! I was outrageously jealous and had no more goals for riding the whole way.

The most excellent Tenterfield Hotel Motel was our home for the night and far too much booze was drunk that night. Billy’s shouts are to blame. 

Day 3

Getting to the GC!

I was itching to try my scoot this morning thinking I could still get on the road, but it wasn’t to be. I started having comical visions of Sandy in a black vest, black skinny jeans and red cape voluntarily coming to my scoots rescue once we hit the GC.  Skipping to the end… yeah, that didn’t happen.

I have to confess Tenterfield was an absolute boon for me. Steve from the Swarm had some cabling issues which ended up taking about a few hours to fix and having never seen a cable or the inside of a headset before I did a lot of loitering asking what, why and how > repeat. God love him, if he tired of me or my questions he never showed it.

Finally leaving Tenterfield and in the ute, I’m excited to at least be in control of a vehicle and I love talking shit over walkies. Still no takers for ISPY.

Today offered the most beautiful roads of the three days and the least carnage to scoots with only Oly burning out his front disc brakes.

Coming into the GC we got lost several times and took roads that were difficult to navigate and at one point lost all of our riders. Arriving at our hotel, I was glad we all arrived in one piece but a little sad that that part of the adventure was over.

2 thoughts on “An Ardly Normal Experience – The Australian Classic Scooter Rally 2012

  1. Hi Lisa sounds like you had a good time, did you ride home or have them carried , when your brought up with I spy its the only way to pass the time unless sleeping of course and are we there yet, will have to try it,

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