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Melbourne - Darwin in 3 days

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by YAMRAJ, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. The Plan,
    Bunch of us are planning to do a ride from Melbourne to Darwin and back on the bikes. The plan is to ride Melbourne to Darwin in 3 days (day + night riding) and set a record for the fastest timing (Trying to get the Iron Butt certification). On the way back we will do it in 6 days to take it easy and enjoy the ride.

    Time frame - May - June

    Route Map -

    Start address: Start - Todd Service station, Melbourne, VIC Australia
    End address: Bicenntinial park, Darwin NT Australia

    Day 1
    Start at: Start - Melbourne
    Arrive at: Ararat VIC Australia
    Arrive at: Keith SA Australia
    Arrive at: Adelaide SA Australia
    Arrive at: Port Augusta SA Australia
    Arrive at: Woomera SA Australia
    Arrive at: Coober Pedy SA Australia
    - 1600kms
    Day 2
    Depart from: Coober Pedy SA Australia
    Arrive at: Indulkana SA Australia
    Arrive at: Erldunda NT Australia
    Arrive at: Alice Springs NT Australia
    Arrive at: Barrow Creek NT Australia
    Arrive at: Tennant Creek NT Australia
    Arrive at: Newcastle Waters NT Australia
    - 1482kms

    Day 3
    Depart from: Newcastle Waters NT Australia
    Arrive at: Larrimah NT Australia
    Arrive at: Katherine NT Australia
    Arrive at: Stapleton NT Australia
    Arrive at: Darwin NT Australia
    - 704 Kms

    I am looking for some inputs on the following
    1. Road conditions
    2. Roads to Avoid or be careful
    3. Fuel stop locations
    4. Important things to note and carry (have already made and exhaustive list of things to carry in a support car)
    5. How and where to get any sponsorship, any would be helpfull :-k
    6. Previous experienced riders on this route
    7. Any other positive input.

    I will appreciate any positive inputs from anyone. Even the smallest infor that you can contribute will be helpfull.

    Pls no negative feeders. This is NOT a stupid idea and we know we CAN DO IT so don't come telling me otherwise.

    Thanks for all the advice in advance.
    Cheers :)
  2. Having lived in Yulara (Ayers Rock) and driven the route back to Melbourne via Coober Pedy, I think what you're trying to achieve is admirable, but definitely unsafe.

    Once in that "part" of Australia, you'll find insurance companies don't like to insure you for night driving. This is because of the abundance of wildlife that wanders onto the road at night. What makes it worse is if you encounter any rain or drizzle, it will create water pools on the road that the wildlife come and drink from. This varies from roos, to cows, sheep, dingos etc.

    Considering you're doing a timed run, I'm suggesting you limit the actual amount of "night" riding you do, because I'd hate for something to happen. I drove from Ayers Rock to Coober Pedy in 1 day, to Adelaide the next and then straight to Melbourne. There was lots of road kill along the way.

    Sorry to put a dampner on it, I think what you're trying to do can be done, but those things make it in my opinion unsafe.

  3. Once you get to Tennent Creek (or there abouts) & above look out at sunset. The bugs will block out the visor in no time.

    Did it back in the 70s when the road was dirt. No idea what it is like now.

    Once was enough. :LOL:
  4. I went a similar route several years ago... but I took longer cos it was a 250cc. Then I did that sort of riding through NT/Queensland.

    If you haven't seen the iron butt website and the long-distance riding tips therein, go look cos it's GOLD.

    You'll struggle the first day with the vic / sa traffic and twisties and abundance of intersections. That's a lot of miles, and they're complex ones, not straight uninterrupted ones like later in the trip. However I have noticed that if you don't make the first day's mileage you have the opportunity to make it up on day 2 and day 3. This appears very likely and I would fully expect it if I were going on that trip.

    The desert is hella hot during the day, and hella cold at night. Sunset is like stepping into a freezer, it cools so quickly. Wear quality riding gear and electric heated gear that you can switch on at sunset without stopping.
    Carry camelbak-type water for hydration. You will need litres and litres in the desert heat.

    You'll need to be super fit. Work out regularly for 2 months and eat healthy. Carry healthy food because a lot of places won't be open at the time you are passing/ready to stop.

    You WILL need reserve fuel. Some stops were 260km between service stations, and there is no guarantee that the station will be open at the hours you're riding. A fuel cell would be good.

    Caffeine is right out. If you have caffeine it will make you stop to pee a lot, and it will not keep your brain alert. If you are on caffeine (or nicotine or energy drinks), quit months beforehand. (You'll be astonished how much better you feel after the 2week withdrawal).

    You will need radio between the bikes. Nothing else will do as communication, and the occasional chatter will help to keep your brain awake.

    Roads in VIC/southSA are complex with many curves/intersections.
    Lots of mental fatigue, less miles, more bumps.
    North of Port Agusta they're wide open curves, smooth, quite flat, grippy, and you can make good time with little fatigue.

    Spend 3-4 days in Darwin recovering, and allow 2 weeks on the way back to see sights etc and have some fun.

    That's all for now.

    Good luck, be safe, keep us up to date.
  5. Thank you so much guys.
    Very important feeds considering I have not done a night run before.

    We are plannig to do a 24 hour run to Adelaide and back to Test ourselves sometime in the next month.

    Will start training. I am not in the best of shape to do such endurance riding.

    Great Tips. Will keep you posted on the developments.
  6. Melb to Darwin in 3 days is not getting you any record I can tell you that. Melb>Darwin can be done (and has been done) as a IBA 50CC thats coast to coast under 50hrs.

    Its a cruise in 3 days, I did Darwin to Port Augusta in 22hrs 56mins April 2007. Its all on my site.

    If you are doing an IBA ride and want help shoot me an email if you like.

    Just reading your 1st post again, the only part of that which is anywhere near a IBA ride is day one but you need to do slightly more than just a bare 1600 as the base entry level IBA ride is a SS1600K that 1600klms (1610 in fact) under 24hrs.

    There is no Iron Butt ride in the balance unless you try a BB2500K which is 2500klms under 36hrs and thats a rather easy ride as well.
  7. Thanks Davo, I have seen youe website.

    We are trying to get the SS3000 which is 4800 kms.
    Melbourne to Darwin is 4800kms. That should be set in 3 days to get the SS3000. Isin't that correct?
  8. Davo Isin't 50CC a North America Specific certification.
    How can someone get it for Australia?
  9. You are correct, when you said record I didn't consider that you were just doing a SS3000. 3000 mile is 4828klms btw and you MUST factor in a bit extra for safety if you do even 5klms less by their program you will not get the cert.

    For onlookers a SS3000 is 3000 miles under 3 days it does not have to be 1000 per day ONLY 3000 under 3 days.

    This also has been done but its a good ride. But you 3 days as posted do not add up to anywhere enough klms ? you have 3786klms and mapsource tells me its (as I already knew) 3757klms Melb>Darwin.

    Where are you riding to get the extra 1040klms ?
  10. I have the world record 50CC Gold Bris>Freo its all on my site. 4430klms in 45hrs 22mins.

    50CC was also done by some mate Melb>Darwin back in 2003 ?

    100CCC was done by the same riders Sydney>Freo>Sydney in 2003 ? I think I have it all and its all on the IBA site.

    It is not US specific. I am doing a 3000k day in NT later this year, I already have a best 2724klms in 22h56m
  11. One mote thing that may help you.

    They (US riders) can't do klm based rides.
    We can do either. I have done a BBG1500 - 1500miles under 24hrs (2410klms) and we can also do (I have done 3) BBG2500K which is 2500klms under 24hrs

    Like I say shoot me an email.
  12. Your right, I am wrong. Its SS2000 that we are trying to set. I know the distances that I have posted does not total to 3200ks but that will be the target to set if we can do it. And in this trip we will try to reach Darwin in 3 days.

    Coming to know that we will not be able to ride back from Darwin in a day after reaching there, we are a bit concerned. I am thinking should we do return run from Coober Pedy. It will be 3200kms. That seems more proper.

    Once we set this then we can try to do Darwin in the next run. What do you think?
  13. Mate I read back what I wrote and hope it didn't come across negative. If so I sorry. What you have outlined is a fantastic ride, far more than the average joe blow and I admire that. If I worried about what people say I would never have achieved what I have.

    Now back to it.

    In all honesty a multi day ride like that with high klms is not what you want to start out doing. Can I ask this, have you done many 1000klms day ? Have you done a few in a row ?

    I would really suggest a SS1600K or a BB2500K (2500k under 36hrs) this is for many reasons but mainly you will learn that you (or may not) as Mike Kneebone of the IBA said to me once about some riders "Dave they don't know what they don't know"

    I would start doing multi days and build up, you have already mentioned lack of ride fitness. You need to be peek or close to it. You need to be able to ride long distances with you ride in auto. Everything should be second nature to you with no real thought.

    That ride is dangerous at night, I know I have done it top to bottom under 23hrs.

    My real suggestion if you want to get a high mileage cert is try across the bottom. Run over to Port Augusta and do Norseman in a day, leave PA at about 3am (which is still dangerous but hey I do it all the time)

    How does that sound ?
  14. The down south trip sounds great and I read a guys blog here the other day that has done it.

    I have done few long runs in a day but not 1000 Miles in one day. As said earlier we are planning to set Melbourne - Adelaide and back in one day. Once we have done this few times in a day then we will hit the roads to up north.

    I will start looking at the down south coast routes considering there is more things around in case something goes wrong.

    My problem is 100kmph speed. I tend to doze off on the bike as its boring and slow. I keep awake at 150+ and I need roads where the pigs will not bother me for speeding. Thats was one reasone why we chose the northern roads.

    We will be riding 600 and 1000cc sports so speed is not a problem, it will be the fatigue that will be a challenge. So faster to the destination for the day, the better for us. We will need to try adelaide to see how that goes. Darwin is still very far. :)
  15. Sorry to pull you up on this but its a known fact amongst long distance riders that its not about speed at all. Its consistency.

    There is a 130kph speed limit in NT and I can tell you now that if you sit anywhere near what you posted you will be getting your bikes trucked home.

    Its average speed, keep moving, short stops. I fear you have a ways to go yet but keep at it. I never run those speeds on my timed rides.

    Not sure if you read my Australian Road Rider mag story last issue (most of it is on my site as I wrote it) Byron>Denham>Byron 6 days 22hrs 17mins avg 1700klm days six in a row. No high speed involved at all.
  16. Aggressive riding positions on your cbr600rr bike will kill you won't it.
  17. Not at all if its what you are used to.

    Good mate in Melb and one of the only two Australians to go to the US and ride the full Iron Butt Rally (11,000miles in 11days) rides a ZZR600. In fact he rode that same bike Sydney>Fremantle>Sydney under 100hrs and Melb>Darwin under 50hrs.

    He still rides it and did one of my FarRides few weeks back Melb to Nambucca Heads for lunch.
  18. Thanks Davo, appreciate the advise. I guess I need to learn to be awake on the bike doing speed limits first. Din know there was a cap in NT Highways. Another stupid thing to do but I will not take that further ;)

    I will read your article on the Byron ride. I need to eat more before I run. Thanks again.
  19. Its ok mate, came in 1st Jan 2007. In fact some have said I should have pulled the huge klms runs up there before it came in but the fact is that the faster you go the more fuel you use. The more fuel you use the more you must stop. The more you stop the faster you need to go to make up time......

    Darwin to PA in April was a 119klm overall average. My stops were fuel only 5-7mins and I run 40litres on that bike, 28.5 standard and 12 aux tank all plumbed in.

    My new 1400GTR will be running 42 litres within the next few months, I have applied for the 2009 IBR and expect I have a better than average chance of getting in. (over 3000 applications for 2007 and only 100 spots)
  20. I am encouraged when I see people accept help the way you have just now. I do not intend to hinder your enthusiasm but rather help you achieve greater goals safely. For you to even contemplate this ride makes me smile and want to rush over and give you every bit of help I can. BUT I want you to enjoy it and do it safely. The ride is not a success until you are safely back home.

    Little steps, bit at a time and you will do it. I know you will.