ADV ProductsAdvrider Older MagazinesADV ReviewADV BikesADV Gear & Accessories

Two In One

This entry is part 6 of 16 in the series Adventure Rider Issue #39

Longtime KTM dealer and racer Craig Hartley found himself invited to do both the Wall To Wall Remembrance ride to Canberra as well a run to northern Queensland for the King Of The Beach races near Mackay. The problem was the destinations being in opposite directions from his home in Dalby, central-western Queensland, and there being only a few hours between theTwo In One. No problem for Craig and his 790.

Two In One

Two In One

When Dan Godfrey and Kel Kruger from the Sunshine Coast offered a slightly inebriated invite to ride to the beach races near Mackay, I marked the diary and left it at that.

The same happened when Steve Ryan threw out an invite to attend the 10th annual Canberra Wall To Wall Remembrance ride for fallen police mates.

Anyway, with D Day for commitment fast approaching, and even though brother Tony and I had already paid accommodation months earlier for the Wall To Wall, I was still keen for an all-dirt ride to Mackay. The beach races were something I had never got to.

About a week from departure a snap decision was made to head to Mackay, and I thought, ‘Bugger it. I may as well keep the wheels turning when I get home and launch into the Wall To Wall 16 hours later’.

Two In One

Two In One


After a quick call to Dan and Kel the evening before to confirm a Thursday meeting time at Wondai we were good to go.

The first section was a quick, 180km blast up the bitumen. Talk about timing.

I saw the first of the KTM690s arrive as I was rolling into Wondai.

The riding mates for the next five days were on six KTM690s and a Husqvarna 701, all fitted with Hard Kits with one or two on different variations of other rally kits. A fleeting thought came to mind of me being by far the oldest and on the biggest bike. Kel had painstakingly put together tracks for the GPS and I hoped no extreme sections had been thrown in for the 690s.

From Wondai we went west on back-roads to pull up at Hivesville for rehydration and lunch. From Hivesville we headed north past Ban Ban Springs and on into Goodnight Scrub National Park for a look at the north side of Paradise Dam, and from there it was a short run to Mount Perry, where first-night fever kicked in outside the hotel-motel for a while after closing time.


From Mount Perry we hooked on to the National Trail to a hydration stop at Many Peaks, and then northwest up one of the trails the APC Rally had used to get to Kroombit Tops. We nabbed a quick stop at The Tops lookout – only to be teased by the smell of some day-campers’ steak on a barbeque – then on to the Razor Back Track to come out via the Power Station Track and in to Biloela.

At the 790R release KTM played with our heads by letting us ride the standard R version on an eight-minute enduro course,then swapped us to a 790R with the WP Extreme Pro suspension.

I always like my suspension well setup, and I can normally achieve this with reasonably minor shim mods and tuning, but I have to say I got caught up in the offer and the moment and ordered a set of the trick suspension while still sitting on the second bike. It was a bit of a rad move from me, and the Minister For Financial Affairs reminds me of this occasionally.

In all fairness to the standard suspension,Rob Turton of Overlander Tours and I were on a ride, and his 790R was still on the standard suspension. He’d been dialling it in, but after swapping bikes I was pleasantly surprised at how good his bike performed. KTM has done a great job on the standard bike. The trick stuff probably has an edge occasionally, but you pay for it.

We fuelled at Biloela and blasted 186km of backroads, through some of the miningcountry to the northwest through the Baralaba area, to swing into the Duaringa Hotel. Judging by the speed the rounds went down it had been another perishingly thirsty day. Even after the bar shut the supplies in the backup vehicle were given a touch up.

Hivesville for rehydration and lunch.

No probs

After a hearty breakfast at the Duaringa servo, we were on the road on the last 350km leg to the caravan park at Sarina, taking tracks north near Boomer Range and on the Bicentennial National Trail in the Marylands area.

A fairly early arrival at Sarina saw more inner lubrication and a bit of maintenance on the bikes, which in my case was mainly checking the prefilters. It turned out the 200mm x 150mm x 20mm filter had done its job well. One of the 1190R snorkel filters I’d fitted had been sucked into the snorkel, and the main air filter was still pretty much perfect, so it stayed as was.

I simply slipped the other 200mm x 150mm foam in, removed the 1190 snorkel filters for the trip home and that was the airfilter done.

The quick-release tankbag is near identical to the 1190R system and I’ve had no trouble with them in the past, but the ripcord on mine had been getting progressively harder to release from the filler-cap bracket, so a tankbag-catch pull down was in order. It appeared the cam in the release catch was a bit aggressive in its action, and a bit of filing on the cam profile with the Leatherman fixed it.

If that’s the only dramas I ever get from the 790 I’ll be happy.

Mick Page from Bell getting his birthday best wishes at Gingers Creek before the devastating fires came through.

Don’t ask

A taxi bus down to Grass tree Beach on Sunday morning set the mood for a casual day spectating motorcycle madness on the beach,and I’d have to say the viewing from all angles did not disappoint.

It’s not a bad event.

We’d planned an early start Monday morning as we had a 682km day to get down to the Many Peaks Hotel, and that meant a bit of bitumen down the old Marlborough/Sarina road. Marlborough was the fuel stop, then we cut down to Westwood for lunch where the old girl running the pub was a full-blown character with some classic replies. I was starving, so asked if lunch was a decent meal – meaning large – and her reply was a rough, “Nah, love. It’s shit.”

You’ve could’ve knocked me over with a feather.


The last day out of Many Peaks ran down the edge of Bulburin National Park to Apple Tree Creek. Then was all dirt through the forestry to Aramara, a cracker section which continued, mainly all dirt, to come out at Woolooga where we parted company.

I arrived home at Dalby Moto at 4.00pm Tuesday. I got the boys to swap the wheels with the 790S – it had more road-orientated tyres on that suited the road ride – caught up on some paper-work, then bolted home, changed the oil and pulled out my prefilter and checked the air filter. Lo and behold, it was still close to perfect. I ditched the prefilter for the road ride, swapped a few clothes and was good to go on another adventure.


Wednesday morning while having breakfast with wife Robyn I mentioned we may have broken a record with only 16 hours between rides. With slightly upturned eyes she agreed.

Sergeant Steve Ryan of Millmeran had 30-odd riders from all over southeast Queensland gathered at Millmeran ready to start the ride. After a riders’ briefing, explanation of the cornerman system, and blessings from the local police chaplain, we were off.

There was a radically different list of bikes on this ride.

Steve was on his old KTM950, brother Tony and mate Nelo were on Ducati Multistradas, Rusty McKee from Roma was on his KTM1290R, and we had older Kwakas, FJR1300s, even a Can-Am trike-thing and a Goldwing.

Day one saw us do 454km on country roads through Inglewood with lunch at Texas, then on to Uralla top pub.

Once again there was a lot of excitement around the bar on the first night. It was really my seventh night away…

barring the previous night at home. But I was fit for it and soldiered on (as you have to).

Wall To Wall Remembrance Ride

The Wall To Wall Remembrance Ride is an annual event which raises funds in support of families of police officers who have died in the line of duty. It also promotes motorcycle safety.

Riders from around the nation make their way to the national capital and arrive in Canberra to meet at the National Police Memorial. Interstate groups meet at the NSW Police Academy in Goulburn before the entire contingent makes its way back down the Federal Highway to Exhibition Park in Canberra.

Long way ’round

Day two saw our convoy – and don’t forget there were groups converging on Canberra from all over Australia – head down the Oxley Highway through Long Flat, Wingham, and along the Pacific Highway to the Gloucester caravan park.

Steve had done a great job of not only leading our group on as many back-roads as possible, but also of booking accommodation for all of us and ensuring food was always there when needed.

The following day we headed for the Hampton Hotel on Jenolan Caves Road.

Google maps says it’s 380km and would take four hours and 36 minutes, but somehow Steve had us seemingly always heading in the wrong direction. It was all part of the plan to give us a great ride, but it took nearly double the time. It beats me exactly where we went, but you get that a bit when you follow others with the cornerman system and don’t keep a track on GPS.

Anyway, Hampton Hotel was an awesome stopover, and worth a visit for anyone down that way.

The Federal Highway is closed to general traffic in one direction, with only bikes allowed.
Steve had done a great job booking accommodation.


The fourth day was a short run to Canberra via Bathurst and Tuena, and then up the Federal Highway into Canberra.

It’s a big deal. The Federal Highway is closed to general traffic in one directionafter 1.30pm from Antil Street to Flemington Road, Watson, with only bikes allowed. There’s a large trade hall with many companies displaying product and Yamaha was showing off the new Ténéré 700. I caught up with Robin and Veronica Box of Touratech on their trade stand, plus there was a lot of memorabilia for sale. The line up of police bikes, and trick-as police cars and 4WDs, was also very impressive.

The national contingent of motorcycle riders started off at 3.00pm, heading for the parade around Parliament house.

There were 2277 riders, of which 323 were from Queensland.

After the lap, all bikes converged in convoy to Kings Park, overlooking Lake Burley Griffin, where the National Police memorial is situated. There was a very moving ceremony. There was also a strong contingent of police from America who’d helped start the Wall To Wall theme.

Anyway, it was a touching ceremony that had a lot of teary eyes.

It was really interesting perusing the wall to see the dates and places where 794 police had lost their lives in the line of duty, and I’m talking every policeman and policewoman since back to the 1800s. It’s definitely been a hard trek for them, and it really made us appreciate what a hard job they have.

King Of The Beach

The annual King Of The Beach meeting is the only legal beach race for motorcycles in Australia.

Held at Grasstree Beach in Queensland, 38 kilometres south of Mackay, just off the Bruce Highway, the annual event has riders racing around a pair of course markers on the hard sand at low tide.

Spectators can enjoy kids’ entertainment, a licensed premises for the adults and numerous food stalls.

Great riding

After all the ceremonies we headed to our overnight stop at the Eagle Hawk caravan park at Sutton, then the next day we all went home in different directions.

Tony, Nelo and I headed north to another adventure. Nelo had a mate from Warialda who races V8 power boats in the Hawksbury River where the Bridge To Bridge starts, so the bikes were parked at his accommodation and we were shuttled down to the Hawksbury to drink more beer and do some solid spectating. It was really a great day, with cars and boats of all ages on display. Life doesn’t get much better.

The next day we headed home via Putty Road, and I just had to sniggle another night at Nelo’s in Warialda. From there it was a casual ride home the next day outside of ’roo times.

And as for the 790R playing with road bikes, once again it did a great job. It seemed better than many when it came to the rougher country roads, and even Jed on the late-model Goldwing was whinging it was kicking him up the butt on some crap surfaces.

Overall it was a great couple of weeks’ entertainment on the new KTM790R, and I would have to say it didn’t disappoint in any area.

There were some trick set ups for the beach races.

Craig’s 790 prep

In typical Hartley fashion, rather than wasting tons of time and taking months to prepare for a ride, I had a quick look at the 790R for basic service and set up, threw a few tools, spares and minimal personal items in the saddlebags and tank bag and less than six hours later was good to roll.

I was lucky I’d previously set up the 790R pretty well. It already had the usual mods like rally ’pegs, ’bar risers, weathershield Barkbusters, Andy Strapz saddlebag racks, B&B bashplate, tank bag, good Michelin H5 front and, in this case, Dunlop 908R rear – I’m also happy with the Motoz Rallz Adventure tyre on the rear – Akro with baffle removed for some twin sound, plus I’d opted for the 1190R carrier option as I’ve never found I needed a big, wide carrier platform for my usual swag.

As it was winter when I received this bike I’d also spoilt myself with grip warmers, and for the more boring road sections, where my right wrist has problems maintaining legal road speeds, I fitted the KTM cruise control.

Apart from roughly wiring in a GPS and iPhone holder on RAM mounts, she was right to go.

One other last-minute mod was to fit one of those Touratech clamp-on wind deflectors I had laying around.

I fitted it to the screen for a fraction less turbulence behind the glasses when the visor was up.

Air flow

I’d done my own prefilter experimenting as I’d heard a bit of dust circulates around the rear guard/under-seat area.

I fitted a set of the 1190R Unifilter snorkel filters down the twin intake tubes, plus, in a bit of a more radical move, I Silasticed up all the gaps in between the plastics and the subframe in an effort to reduce the dust swirl off the rear tyre up under the rear-guard area. Just to go that extra step I grabbed a 20mm sheet of 305mm x 405mm air-cleaner foam, cut it in half and trimmed the edges so it fitted over the air cleaner snorkels in between the subframe rails. I tucked it under the seat-catch rail at the front and under the two seat-mount rest pins at the rear.

For more stories, go to:


Series Navigation<< Northwest Or BustHelp Me If You Can >>

Northwest Or Bust

Previous article

Help Me If You Can

Next article

You may also like


Comments are closed.

More in ADV Products