In June 2013 Ural Australia had a group of six Russians, from Vladivostok and Chabvarosk area in Siberia, come to Australia to ride Ural outfits to “The Outback”. In 2010 some of the same group made a ride from Townsville to Bendigo.
This time they hired three Ural of Oz sidecars and rode a loop from Kentucky to Innamincka and the Flinders Ranges before returning. The word went out and eight local Ural riders joined in the run over 4,000kms in twelve days.
The local Urals were ready to be self-sufficient on the trip, and UA (Ural Australia) followed with a ute and trailer carrying food, cooking gear, camping gear, extra fuel, tyres etc. We took a trailer in case there was a problem in a remote area. Kath and Hamish drove the ute and cooked some great meals for us.
We hammered on to Bourke in sunny weather the next day. A near miss with an emu which raced between two bikes and hit an oncoming truck made our visitors aware of our wildlife. Vadim was appointed Emu Policeman and from his up front riding position he would watch for emu’s in the vicinity and attempt to frighten them away to the amusement of our Aussies.
We chose remote, narrow and little used roads where possible. The bore track just south of Innamincka was a favourite and had us wading through deep sand in one section where the road had become a stream bed at some stage. Riding the outfits on these sandy roads was a delight and no one tired of rolling along between and over the sandhills with the odd sandy crossing to keep it challenging.
We passed Camerons Corner on our way out to the Strezlecki track.
The dunes here are somewhat higher and the riders enjoyed the roller coaster run over them.We had one rider take a tumble when he miscued and left the road. This put him out of action with an ambo ride, and his bike was loaded on the trailer.
We sped on down the track to a welcome dip in the roadside hot bore where the Cobbler desert meets the stony desert.
The desert camping was a lot of fun and if the rain had not come back in the last four days we would have camped all the rest of the way!
We enjoyed a trip through the Flinders Range stopping at Arkaroola and Parachilna. Earlier rain had left some boggy patches on the roads east of the Flinders, and then some new showers made the smooth roads very slippery.It’s all good fun with a sidecar, although the low mounted Retro model’s front mudguard made front wheel ‘mud clogging’ an issue in the claggy stuff!
We travelled at around 100 to 105km/h most of the time on the tar. Where the dirt was not too rough the same speed was adopted. Normally we travel slower in a group, but these guys were enjoying the run and the bikes were all running well. There were no breakdowns or tyre repairs needed on any of the bikes all the way. Air cleaners needed a little attention with so many bikes travelling together in the dust.
We came back along the Barrier highway because of the heavy rain which had closed the dirt roads to Menindee Lakes and Ivanhoe. We made a trip into the Warrambungles from the west and enjoyed the twisty roads and spectacular scenery.
Our trip with eight local Urals and three of our hire Urals demonstrated the carrying capacity of these bikes, and there were no breakdowns, failures or punctures at all.
A common interest among the group, and a desire for travel adventure wherever it can be found ensured a strong group atmosphere enjoyed by all.
Our last day was marred by a tragic accident in which one of our Russian visitors was fatally injured after leaving the road. Igor was an investor in the Ural factory and had been helping them with recent upgrading of part supplies. He was a popular man with an enquiring mind, always seeking more answers to questions about life in Australia. He entertained us with stories of his land back in Khabarovsk, a hobby farm with four cows and two million mosquitos! His son who was travelling with him in the sidecar was uninjured.