Posted by: yz450rjb | January 14, 2008

First ride of the New Year

Quick summary of the first ride for 2008, or in Roy’s case, probably his last ride before he departs for the cold weather back in Aberdeen. A hastily planned ride, with most folks only returning from holidays on the 4th of Jan. Jezza offered to driver recovery, as well as Pat and his mate Darcy. Ant was his usual self and unable to make the planned departure time – apparently some work emergency with one of the rigs or platforms (probably due to him forgetting to weld something ;). We started a little further down the road this time in an effort to save tyres. Some cunning plan, as it also offered the opportunity for leaving the 2 trailers secured in front of Max’s car (he doesn’t want to get it dirty – smart man). We finally hit the road sometime after midday. The road was in fair condition considering the heavy rain that had fallen in the previous week. A few more ruts, but nothing too bad. We all got to the fork in the road without too much effort. Max, however, was less than amused at having rocks tossed at him by one Ritchie (aka Rooster Doyle). Compounded by the fact that he had also forgotten to bring his helmet liner (nice and clean, but back in Panaga), he was less than impressed. Hell hath no fury like Max roosted!! Recovery vehicles caught up with us a bit later we set off to make our way to Melilas. Conditions started to deteriorate, but were still fairly okay. At the Melilas bridge we were suitably impressed by the newly built bridge (given the previous time it was non existent). Okay, bridge may be pushing it, but a careful scattering of trees, branches & logs had been fashioned into something to make the river passable. Pat & Darcy got clear and almost to the bridge, when big Jezza and the Pajero beached themselves in a mud-hole. What transpired was around 2 or so hours of digging, back filling, rocking, pushing, towing and generally throwing everything at them to try and get the car out. Needless to say, Jezza wisely sat firmly in the drivers seat and barely moved. Pat got stuck in and was covered from head to toe in foul smelling mud and clay in no time. Ritchie and myself eventually headed to Sukang to seek assistance. Well, assistance was not to be found. In fact, the road into Sukang had been slightly flooded. Like a sucker, I volunteered to walk through the crossing to see if it was passable. It was, but there were spots that were a little deeper and rutted out than others. Ritchie got across without incident and my bike stalled and refused to start half way across. On trying to get back, I found that the side of the road was non-existent and ended up nearly dropping the bike into shoulder high water (would not have been good). Assistance was not to be had, but the locals were happy for us to stay the night if we could make it there. We headed back to see if one Pajero had gotten unstuck, or if Jezza had managed to extract his arse from the drivers seat. Well, neither had happened!

Luckily, Ant finally made a showing. Being his usual self, he decided that we were all crap and he could pull Jezza free. Despite some wise advise, he jumped right in and promptly found himself stuck! Thankfully, getting his little Suzuki free was far easier. Prepared for the trip, we made quick use of his finest Chinese winches and slowly started getting Jezza out. By the time we were done, Melilas was not an option, as it was getting dark and would not have made it there in time. Sukang it was. Max decided that he would ‘go and check on the progress’ of the others crossing the water and promptly found out that his big tank works well as a flotation device. Too bad his engine was all that keen on running under water. After a good swim, he pushed his bike into the village and started the process of getting his carb free of water (oddly enough, engines don’t run all that well on water). The locals decided that his backfiring engine and spluttering was a signal for them to get the fireworks started, so much like the previous visit, we were treated to some fireworks whilst Max coughed and spluttered his way back to life. Jezza & myself had gotten a fire going and started the dinner BBQ. The evening ensued with usual activities of sitting around, talking shite, playing cards & having a laugh. Sleeping was a different matter, as I can assure you, a hardwood floor is really hard! A mattress or 2 would not have gone amiss – not to mention a set of earplugs. The sounds of the jungle bugs were soon drowned out by all and sundry snoring their heads off. I reckon the locals must have thought we were cutting the village down with all the noise. Morning came way too quickly and camp was packed in minutes. Breakfast consisted of a muesli bar (thanks who ever brought those!) and pulling on wet smelly gear from the previous day’s ride. I snagged a pair of dry socks from Ritchie – not that they made any difference, as my boots were soaked. We set off to check out the way to Melilas. Roy (who had had all sorts of smart advise about crossing water) headed off first. Thankfully Darcy had his camera ready on the other side. The pictures tell the story, plain and simple. He blew it and took an early morning bath. Max having had a good swim the night before was feeling fresh and ready to take the water on, so gave Roy no time to get going and belted passed him, nearly making Roy fall in a second time. I took a more sedate approach and headed though slowly. Ritchie saw the camera and thought it an opportune time to get a photo of him on the back wheel.

At the Melilas turn off, we left the recovery boys behind (not wanting to get Jezza stuck again!) and headed off towards Melilas. The ride there was pretty good going and a few of the washed out bits on our previous visit had been repaired and filled in. we met all the folks from the village, had a bit of a chat, drank some of their tea. A few geologists from Indonesia were having a look for coal. Roy informed us that we needed to carry coal with us to give to the people we meet in the New Year (some odd Scottish tradition, apparently). The road back was all going well, until I got to about 200 metres from the bridge. Coming over a rise, I had picked the line that was not the right one. On the other side, it was deeply rutted out and not forgiving at all. I recalled Ant’s famous advise to “just ferking nail it”, but it was in vain. The rut monster reached up and ripped me from the bike. A few stars later, I found myself nicely pinned under the bike, while hearing the other bikes disappear over the bridge. Roy came back to look for me, by which time I had gotten out from under the bike and shaken off the cobwebs. My helmet was (is) history, but not major damage to me or the bike. Needless to say, the ride back to the original departure point was somewhat slower than previously. We all made it back without further incident (unless you count Jezza getting stuck again!). It was back to Roy’s to clean the bike and cars. Max sat around slagging Jezza off for getting stuck, then promptly managed to find himself getting stuck in the garden.

All in all, a great weekend and a good laugh. Thanks to all those who played a part in organising (that’d be everyone) and for the guys driving recovery. A great ride for Roy’s last weekend out in Brunei. As usual, there are some pics from the trip in the blogroll.

Happy trails.



  1. Now settling in back here in the land of neeps, haggis and a pint on the way home from work. The KTM was ready for me when I got back to the house and has had a few trips up into the mountains, despite the winter. I will post a few when I can get my hands warm enough to take some photos – I do have heated grips fitted – really cant remember why we did not fit those in Brunei. That last trip was an experience that will be difficult to forget (not sure how Richard remembers any of it after that ding to the head. Those Yarpies are tougher than they look. I would be happy if someone would send tyre changing instructions through, bit short of a tyre changing chappy out on the trail. Looks like no more lounging round the pool with a Magners post ride either – have to settle for a fireside and a dram. It has been a complete blast guys, and I will try to join the Enduro Africa with you all if the calender fits.

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