The Biggest Sandhill

Submitted: Monday, Feb 11, 2008 at 13:20
ThreadID: 54463 Views:2651 Replies:1 FollowUps:2
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Australia day 2008, at the signposted junction of the
Big Dune/Deliso tracks 15km east of the Murrayville track in
Western Victoria. (UTM 54 H 534159 6078132)

Cookie backed the Patrol down slowly.

Last season the new 3inch exhaust, turbo mods and tune up
to the GU TD42 had enabled the car to soar over Big Red but this was different.
The car hadn't even come close to getting up the hill and was still in the soft sand at the bottom end of the track section that had defeated it.

300ft from the Patrol and 150ft above it, I looked down and thought "There is no way a car was going to climb that long soft right hand uphill sweeper with its quicksand like consisentcy".

We have driven many sandhills, from Robe to Mt Dougherty on the
border track, Mt Jess to the north and classics like Big Red but
this is the first time we have not been able to get a car up a legally signposted sandhill track.

We were here as one part of a test weekend, checking the capability of our bikes and cars.

I'd taken a gamble by selecting my CRF230 over my XR400.
The trail bikes ignition was re-mapped and along with carby and fuel mods it had the power, but here you needed more than power.

You needed to max out your momentum by sequesting every bit of traction available and playing it out on the quicksand section further up.

Nevertheless I was surprized to be sitting on the hilltop radio-ing
overly clever instructions to the cars and bikes below as they struggled to find suitable spots to turn around and backtrack.

In a flurry of wheelspin my teenage son soon joined me at the hill top on his new RMZ250 motocross race bike that Santaclaus had brought him.
We had spent some time on this machine making it legal in the bush, and this even included designing a special set of electronics, as these bikes don't even have a power source other than a magneto.

There is a world of difference though between my trailbike and his
race machine and he considered getting up this hill on it an unfair contest.
So he took my bike and said he would prove he could ride up this monster hill more easily than his still panting Dad.

He revved the bike up and came at the hill significantly faster and cleaner than I did, straight past where the best of the cars had got to, he was 200ft into the 300ft sweeper before his traction ran out and he stopped disbelievingly.

Now, lined up for a second try he took off well and made it to almost exactly the same place again before stopping.
"What is going on here! ".
The sand was so soft where he stopped that you just sank in it
and the steep incline made it just flow around everything.

The sun was very hot and the heat and effort required to extract the bike was getting to him now but he was soon back at the starting point with no thought of giving up.

There was no way an "A" grade rider, fresh from taking out the clubs best and fairest trophy could a let 60 yr old dad get up hill on a machine that he couldn't do the same with.

Dennis came over and spoke to him !

"Did you notice your dad took the inside wheel track"!

"No! but thats close to the bushes and you can't get anywhere near as clean a go at the hill that way" he said.

But, taking the advice he was off again, carefully dodging the overhanging bushes he took the inside track and while more awkward it was less used and the sun had been off that side of the track for an hour.
The sand was just that little bit firmer, and the bike just hung
on long enough for his momentum to get over the tough spot and he made it to the top, secretly relieved, and without even putting a foot down.
Even dad had had to jump off and run, half falling and half pushing the bike the last nasty few meters thinking he was unnoticed.

This, impossible for cars track section, is actually the lower part of a two part 500m track that dead ends at a magnificent and un-named lookout point on the top of the Clarence ranges.
We rode up the last section together, where it looked like no vehicle had been for ages.

The top is a true volcano like round peak with a soft sand flat top of about 8m in diameter and with one of the best completely un-interrupted 360 degree views you could imagine.

--- Couple of photo's in home page -------
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Willem - Monday, Feb 11, 2008 at 16:18

Monday, Feb 11, 2008 at 16:18
Try getting up this one, Robin!!!

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Follow Up By: Willem - Monday, Feb 11, 2008 at 16:22

Monday, Feb 11, 2008 at 16:22

Our Suzuki parked at the base of the dune. Judith took the photo more than 1km away with a telephoto lens.

Some locals took three days to winch their Toyotas up the back of the dune and then let them slide over the top. Was pretty scary stuff a fella told me. Then they sent the photos to Toyota in Japan, but a letter came back dismissing it as trick photography...:-)

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Feb 11, 2008 at 16:30

Monday, Feb 11, 2008 at 16:30
What a magnificent hill Willem.

Might require something stronger than a hearty Blackberry and apple pie before I'd try that.

On second thoughts, I could easily get up it, however I refuse to
break the law today and I don't see any signpost indicating its a legal track at the base.
Robin Miller

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