When Australian stunt legend Dean Ross announced Aus Hooligan X 2018 at Bairnsdale Moto Plex on 4 November I got excited and signed up straight away.
There was no way I was going to miss it!
I hadn’t driven the road from Sydney to Bairnsdale through the Snowy Mountains before. Bike finished and having only had four hours of sleep, our crew formed a convoy in the early hours of Saturday morning and hit the road.
Eight hours of solid driving later we pulled up at the Bairnsdale pub around 2:30pm. The man behind the bar greeted us with “You’re city boys aren’t ya. Let me tell you a thing about Bairnsdale and the country in general. We serve lunch between 12 and 2, and dinner between 6 and 8. So you’ll be waiting a while.” We’ll at least we now know when to stop for some food next time…
Anyway, the beers were on ice and we had plenty of time to get setup at the track, have a chat with some of the other crews and sort out dinner in camp before nightfall.
The next day we got up early and I took a look at the track. It looked really sandy and had a few holes in it. So, during practice, my first time on the track and first time on the bike, I took it a bit slow to get the hang of it.
After practice there were four heats. I was in heat number four and by the time my turn came around a few people had already crashed. Just before my heat there was a race called the “run-what-you-brung” class. One bloke went flying over the handlebars on the straight and had to be karted of to hospital.
I felt pretty relaxed before my heat to be honest. But the pressure built as I got closer to the start line. The other riders in my heat were up for it. So, I thought I’d let them get ahead and hang back a bit to wait for an opening. We took off. Then all of a sudden into the first corner one of the boys behind me tried to take me on the inside but managed to hit my foot with his heels. I didn’t know what was going on, so I just carried on.
By the time I got back around to that part of the track there were two bikes down. There was the one who hit me and another one on the third corner. I moved up into second place and held it there with another rider hot on my heels for the remaining laps, right up until the last turn. He got me coming out of the last corner which meant I finished in third place.
Only the first two riders from each heat made it straight through to the final, but I didn’t mind too much. There was still one more LCQ (last chance qualifying) race giving me a chance to get into the final.
I was looking forward to the LCQ race. It was another chance to get out there and no real pressure. Having practice and a heat behind me I kind of knew what to expect. We lined up, the flag dropped, and I gave the throttle a bit more this time, doing what I needed to get into the final.
The final was bad for dust because there were so many bikes on the track you couldn’t see anything. There were five bikes in each heat whereas the final had 12 bikes in it. For the first few laps the dust would clear enough for you to see the turn but as the race went on the field spread out causing the dust to rise and just hang there.
It got harder and harder to see the corners and knowing the chequered flag was coming the sense of urgency to pass grew. Before I knew it, I was late into a corner and boom, I was on the deck and that was the end of the race for me. But at the front of the pack the battle continued. The fight for a place was strong.
Unfortunately, Gav from Mildura H-D came away with a broken leg after a close battle with Josh from HD Hooligans. The win went to Bryan Farrow from Farrow Customs and in close 2nd was James Gamble.
We had a great time down in Bairnsdale riding with and being around so many legends. We can’t wait till next time! Special thanks to Dean Ross and his crew for putting Aus Hooligan X 2018 together.
Head to our Videos page to see some short clips by Bondi Films.
Photographs by Marcelo Depolli.