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2011-06-29 "Forty-thousand kilometres down, ten thousand to go..."



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Forty-thousand kilometres down, ten thousand to go…

After months on the road a team of motorcyclists are finally beginning the last leg of an epic journey. Having already conquered Europe, Africa, South and Central America, the riders from across the world have just navigated their way through Australia and are now bound for the most challenging part of their adventure – Asia.

Tree

Led by Welsh motorbike expedition company Globebusters, this latest Antipodean stretch included a collision with a kangaroo, travel fatigue and seemingly endless stretches of unchanging terrain. But the BMW Motorrad machines that almost all the travellers are using have continued to perform amazingly well. "It's been a demanding journey so far," says Kevin Sanders, Globebusters expedition leader.  "The bikes have done about 40,000 km in the past six months, 12,000 kms of which were in Australia. When the bikes arrived in Sydney, they all went to Procycles BMW. The team there worked on Good Friday to ensure we could leave on Saturday morning. That's dedication for you!" 

Australia is the fourth of five sections of the trip. It began in Europe in November 2010, then moved to Africa, followed by South and Central America. The explorers are riding a mix of R1200GS Adventure, R1150GS Adventure, F800GS and F650GS bikes. While all have done well, Kevin says the clear stars are the bigger GS models. "In my mind there's no doubt that a R1200GS Adventure is the bike to go for, if you are planning your 'once in a lifetime' trip. I've travelled on them constantly since the mid-nineties and I've never had one of my bikes fail on me. They are just fantastic, proven machines."

While parts of Australia proved hard going, Kevin says nothing could detract from the beauty of Uluru, also known as Ayres Rock. "On our second night we rode out to watch the sun set at Uluru. I think we all found it a magical experience. There is truly something about that place that is in another dimension, you cannot help but feel a moment of calm and serenity as the sun slowly lights the rock different shades of red, pink, gold, and orange. Many of the ancient aboriginal sites have an aura about them which is hard to describe."

Ayers Rock

The veteran traveller was joined by wife Julia, with whom he runs Globebusters, throughout Australia. The pair had spent many weeks apart while Julia took care of the logistical side of the epic trip from the couple's office in the UK. "Julia coming out to join us was a personal highlight for me," says Kevin. "There were a number of highlights of the country itself – I think the emptiness of it all was just mind-blowing. On leaving Sydney, we had the most stunning riding. The Great Alpine Way and the ride across the Snowy Mountains through Kosciuszko National Park was as good as any roads I have had the pleasure to ride."

One of the more unnerving moments of the journey came when one rider hit and killed a kangaroo. The animals are a frequent hazard on the country's outback roads. "Luckily, although the bike and rider crashed, it was only minor damage to both, but it was a wake-up call to everyone who had been pushing the speeds on the isolated roads," says Kevin. 

Some of the long distances also tested the group, as they covered up to 725 km per day during the most gruelling sections. But problems were few and far between, and despite the intense emotions associated with such a long trip, the riders have remained on good terms throughout.

"We're still all speaking to each other, which in itself is a bit of a feat," jokes Kevin. "We have a multi-national team here, German, Austrian, Italian, America, Canadian, British and it's interesting to see the different character traits of each nationality.  We all do have a very individual sense of humour.  But I think that is what keeps the interest and camaraderie going – try explaining Cockney rhyming slang to the Americans or getting some of the Germans to have a full 'English / Australian' breakfast of bacon and eggs – it's very funny, but we all get the hang of it.  I've learnt quite a few new and interesting things too and I know a little more German now than when I started.  Of course, it's not without its ups and downs and personal habits can grind people down, but there are enough riders in this team to let issues lie, move on and still have a great time.  After all, we all love our bikes!"

Rider

Next for the travellers is the experience of riding in Asia – something Kevin knows will challenge and enthral everyone. The journey will begin in Bangkok and the route will include the infamous Silk Road route. The next milestone, in three months time, will be the end of the 50,000 km adventure. 

Follow the group's blog at:  http://www.globebusters.com/expeditions/tales-from-the-road/2010-2011-discover-our-earth
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