50-year old Nick Ward had always dreamt of riding to Alice Springs, now he’s done it..
After starting out on a 125cc GSX-S Suzuki less than two years ago, the now Canberra based university lecturer recently got a hankering to start a little adventuring.
Nick had always, for some reason, wanted to ride to Alice Springs…
Nick: “I don’t know, it kind of features in one’s imagination I suppose and the outback is kind of an extraordinary thing. So I wanted to go to the outback on a motorbike.”
Nick recently bought himself a new BMW G 310 GS and little did he then know just how well the planets were about to align for him. He would be setting out on that Alice Springs mission a lot sooner than he had envisaged, and via a lot more harsh outback terrain than he had ever dreamed of trying to tackle.
When Nick was picking up his new bike the dealer, Rolfe Classic BMW in Canberra, informed him of a two-day BMW Off-Road Training Course that was being held only days later, Nick said, ‘sign me up!’
Nick: “Well yea, I did one of the off-road courses, the weekend courses, a two-day course, three weeks back.
“I thought the course was exceptional, the quality of instruction kind of blew my mind. I hadn’t experienced anything as good as that for many years.
“While on the course I told instructor Shane Booth that I wanted to go to Alice Springs. He mentioned that the GS Safari Enduro event was commencing in a couple of weeks and was taking a large group of BMW riders to Alice Springs.
“I imagined the film ‘Out of Africa’’, with Meryl Streep, and this kind of romantic image was in my head. I didn’t pick up on how it was the harder enduro option of the GS Safaris, and how serious the trek was going to be. It all came as quite a surprise on day one, but a good surprise.”
MCNews: And you survived!
Nick: “I survived.”
MCNews: How many times do you think you picked that bike up this week?
MCNews: That’s outstanding.
Nick: “I know, that was in the sand on day one.”
MCNews: That was a bit of a surprise to most people, the day one conditions. So you’ve learned so much this week?
Nick: “It’s been a fantastic experience.”
MCNews: Do you need a week or two off the bike or are you ready to get right back on?
Nick: “I’m off tomorrow, I’m going to go on a bit of a trip to Uluru (Ayers Rock), and then I’ve got to ride back to Canberra.”
MCNews: Do you know which way you’re going back?
Nick: “Not so much outback for the home trek on my own. More likely the Sturt Highway and Port Augusta I guess, then make it up as I go along.”
MCNews: Well congratulations, you’ve inspired us all on Safari this week as with that short suspension travel it would have been a tough week for you. The rest of us were floating along on comparatively magic carpet rides with electronic suspension and all the creature comforts of the big GS bikes. And you kept those cast rims round, where many others managed to turn spoked rims square. Are you ready for an F 750 , F 850 GS or R 1250 GS now?
Nick: “In a few years perhaps, one of us has gone back to university, so I have to keep an eye on the money!”
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