Transmoto 12hr Event
Day 1: Arrival
12pm—Registration and bike scrutineering open. The 4×4 cars loaded with bikes and camping gear roll in one by one off the dusty dirt road. Thirty minutes west from civilisation, the river crossing into the gates of Buckenbowra gives cars a welcome wash.
In the afternoon, riders set up their campsites which will turn into their pit area tomorrow. The sun is out, the ground is dry. The field of tents grow in a variety of colours.
“It’s a real big turnout, I hope it rains tonight, the trip in here sucked. If one car was making that much dust in front of us on the way in, we are in for hell tomorrow.” Ben Ferguson, team member of ‘Ahead or receiving it’ is confident but shows doubt in the hope for the perfect conditions.
3pm—Beers, chips and dip come out. There is maximum relaxation although some people are still arriving. Others make their way exploring parts of the track, building nerves and meeting other riders. There are appreciative smiles when the water truck is spotted, dampening the track to help minimise the dusty conditions.
5.30pm—The compulsory riders briefing brought together 410 competitors plus some family and friends. The atmosphere was lively, with free merchandise being given away and raffles drawn. On a serious note, riders were given tips about the track as well as general track etiquette and rules.
Day 2: Race Day
6:55am—The start line is roaring with the sound of engines warming up. Spectators gather around in the chilly morning air. The fast riders place themselves at the front of the pack, with slower and less competitive riders starting towards the end. One by one, given a small distance apart, the riders are sent off onto the track. They are racing against time.
The morning had perfect weather conditions for the riders, although dust was a concerns. The day has heated up to the mid-20’s, higher parts of the track are becoming very dry, dust affecting the riders visibility.
There were no major injuries, although small incidents and rider errors in difficult sections of the track are common. Down by the creek crossing is classified to be the most dangerous. Bikes plough over dry river rocks and loose boulders before entering the flowing water of the creek. To reach the other side, riders have to duck under the bough of a tree before continuing on.
In the afternoon, many riders looked fatigued. Many have small niggling injuries but continue to race. The skill of certain riders begin to fade. Chris O’Meilly began to feel the pressure,
“It was my fourth time out on the track and my turn out there came up so fast! I wasn’t ready when my teammate came back, I chucked my helmet on and couldn’t find my gloves. So I rode without them.” Chris had blood-covered knuckles and was shaking his head and acting very annoyed with himself.
“Typically I had to stack and a stick went through my hand. I am so stupid, when I was riding I felt something flapping on my neck. Then I remembered my gloves were in my helmet!” Chris said.
2pm—Four hours left for the race. Event organiser and manager Robbie Warden of Transmoto Magazine enjoyed a quick break, bathing in the fresh water swimming hole.
“The event has been great so far, the turnout is amazing and this venue is absolutely majestic. To be able to use this property is such a big favour done by the owner Lyndon Heffernan.”
4pm—At this point of the race, riders who are in teams of four are getting ready to go out and do their final laps of the track. Bikes are covered in mud. At this time of day the track is getting well worn and very rutted out.
5pm—Down by the river crossing, a rider stops and turns off his bike,
“How long is there left?” he said.
At this point riders are ready for the day to retire. Especially those who entered the Iron-person class, riding solo for the whole twelve hours.
6pm—The day ends. Riders return to the pits and begin packing up. It was a successful day, with no major injuries. Results are presented at the presentation.
Story and photos by Claudia Ferguson