Greenlands Trail Ride 23rd February 2008
Greenlands is located about 30 minutes from Stanthorpe on the Texas road, this year living up to its name following recent rains unlike 12 months previous when it was a dust and rock paddock. TMCC members Dan Field, Danny McCosker, Mark Joy and Mark and Mitchell King all attended the Saturday loop, to be joined by Tim Peckham and David Wagner with his boys on the Sunday.

Day One had us setting up camp and attending riders briefing at 1230 with organisers warning us of bog holes and possible trail diversions if they became impassable, so off we set with the other 1100 riders into the choking dust wondering what these guys were on about. Five minutes into the ride the first creek crossing appeared around a blind bend, not a creek really but a little stream, unfortunately we elected to go out a little behind the main field so this little stream was now 30 meters wide and 10 meters across with massive ruts in gloopy wet mud.

This was to set a standard for the rest of the ride, and once you lost that squeaky clean look it really didn’t matter, you just had to survive until the end. Short sandy trails and huge granite outcrops were the only respite between these energy sapping black holes, and because this wasn’t a race we often would get off and help fellow travellers that were immovably wedged past the axial nuts at both ends. We found that as you stood next to the bike and pulled up, your boots sank at the same rate so the bike didn’t budge and you were left with ooze trickling over the tops of your boots. We all agreed that this exercise was the hardest part of the ride, not the actual motorcycle riding. One bog hole my bike stopped dead, wouldn’t even spin, looked down to see half a fence wrapped around my rear wheel. Two guys helped me scull drag the old girl out and leant on a post, an hour later with the help of my trusty Leatherman I was free, though I stayed a little longer to help a fellow rider look for his front sprocket circlip. And guess what, we found it under a piece of mud, who would have thought!!

The 39k loop was shortened in many spots due to unrideable sections and sweep riders worked tirelessly keeping the track flowing, we went out wondering if we’d get 2 laps in, we returned after 1 coward and beaten men. Before dark we managed to scrape off some free loading mud bunnies, finding an extra 5kgs in the bash plate alone, cleaned and relubricated oh so gritty chains and topped up the fuel in readiness for the Day 2 attack. That night we were entertained with State and Australian champion wood cutters, firing up racing chain saws with huge expansion chambers, these men and women competed for over 2 hours in various races and were lathered in sweat while us spectators froze in the chilly wind. Several multidraw raffles were happening during the evening (I won a socket set!), a mechanical bull ride was causing a spectacle especially when any young ladies mounted up, and the usual video of the days ride was capturing the attention of the open air cinema crowd.

We ended up going back to the camp and sat around a roaring fire that our neighbours had fired up with 5 litres of fuel, then off to bed nursing aches and pains and dreams of endlessly sinking in black stinking mud. I had packed everything except my sleeping bag and it would have been a long cold night except for the kindness of Dannys brother Pat who lived nearby and loaned me his swag for the night, so I was tucked up under the quick shade with one wall fitted for wind deflection, the club camping light illuminating my space, just nice. Last year we experienced some bad camp behaviour by grog fuelled youngsters, this year was no trouble thanks to security and police presence plus a great bunch of trail bike enthusiasts.

Day 2 dawned with the ignition of the generators in the food tent and the non stop procession of workers turning up to clean toilets, cook breakfast, take entries and pre-ride the track, the two P&C organisations ran everything like clock work. Riders turning up for the Sunday ride only could be easily identified by the actual correct colour of the bike and riding gear, the rest of us were in a uniform mud drab shade, Tim for one was a little nervous as he’s never ridden mud before, and Dave Wagner with his always immaculately prepared mount was wondering how long that would last. We didn’t have worry long, one minute after going through the gate was the first slush pit that was to become Tims baptism, instead of wheel standing across the gap he rode into it and promptly stalled and laid over for a little rest. He was right then, you can’t get any more covered in shit than being covered in shit, the rest of ride was just a hoot. We regrouped on the big granite boulder, helmets off and a stroll down the face to see what the bottle neck ahead was, as it turned out we saw more crashes on the slope while riders waited their turn, than on the actual rocky hill that lay ahead, Danny got some good photos that we’ll display later.

Some of the bog holes just grew and grew, people would ride 50 meters into the bush trying to get around the wet spots and often perfectly dry and grassy looking ground would just swallow up your front end until you just step off your mini sized mount. One in particular grabbed me in about third gear while I thought I’d found the best side of a wide grass land valley to traverse, bike dipped and stopped, rider continued at current speed and landed gracefully on the wet grass. Funny thing though while I was extricating my bike, several others would come along following my tracks and getting equally stuck, then we helped each other. Surprisingly all in good moods and just trying to survive, the things we do for fun! The loop finished in choking dust, I think we all missed a turn and dropped 10k somewhere, but we got back and enjoyed a burger and drink and still managed to get out for another lap before the 1300 loop close. All agreeing the second lap was the best, probably 70 % of the field packed up and headed home at lunch time, we were treated to flowing trail and by now many bogs were getting crusty and passable. We took our time, had a few little rests and chats, and were very content by the time we loaded up for the trip home.

I believe most of these rides are at their best after lunch on day 2, many Brisbane riders go home due to the travel distance, the hills are usually totally cut up but when its just you, take any line you like and you’ll rarely get stuck. We are so fortunate to have these organised rides right in our back yards, nothing much over two hours travel, plus plenty of school P&Cs that are only too willing to run these events in return for a cool $20K + profit.

My XR had to stay mud caked for the week due to work commitments, and I was hoping that it might have morphed into a CRFX450 by the time I cleaned it down, but no, still air cooled and kick started as much as ever before. But who was laughing when the water cooled machinery boiled with mud caked radiators, call that progress??

Until next time guys, see you at the TMCC meetings forth Monday each month at the Downs MCC club rooms in Water Street.

Mark Joy 
XR 400