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Western Congregation update

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The Motorrad Garage folks are head-over-heels into the organisation of the first-ever Western Congregation. The first recce ride to the venue has been done, and Howard and Petra sent us the following update…

A bunch of riders got together at Motorrad Garage headquarters in Welshpool, near Perth, and spent a few days trailriding their way down to the Loose Goose Chalets near Nannup to see what was what.

So far the event’s looking a right screamer.

The crew started with four and the initial route took them to Mount Dale and beyond before heading south down Watershed Road and on to the Albany Highway. The general consensus was the tracks were good fun, but a bit rougher than some would enjoy. After that the crew found some nice, easy-but-interesting gravel to get to the Boddington area.

After a 20km stretch of bitumen and a flat tyre, some nice tracks led to Collie for fuel and late lunch.

The afternoon offered more nice tracks and some easy gravel roads to Grimwade then Kirup, where things become a little more challenging.

After some unsuccessful exploring it was getting late, so the group took the direct way to Nannup – which included more good tracks – and arrived at the Loose Goose Chalets just before dark.

Petra (Motorrad Garage) was already there with supplies, so that was the trip down.

Saturday

Google Earth provided two possible loops from the Loose Goose Chalets, one at 150km and the second at 85km.

The crew set out to find out what they were like, starting with the big’n.

Rain overnight had settled the dust and made for perfect riding conditions, but what started out as good tracks turned gnarly. Loose, rutted, gravel hills accounted for two riders, and in a show of solidarity no photos were taken. That particular track won’t be going in the beginners loop.

The search for an easier route began and after a few kilometres of bitumen, some easy, flowing, gravel forestry roads led to a track which headed in the intended direction.

After crossing the Blackwood River at Jalbarragup time was getting short so everyone slabbed for 10km before diving back into forest and across the Blackwood again at Sues Bridge, then onto fast-flowing forestry tracks.

Another 40km of good, sandy, gravel roads saw everyone back on Mowen Road and back to the Loose Goose chalets for lunch.

After lunch was the 85km loop which went mostly to plan, following flowing forestry roads to the south, then east, and finishing back in the pine forest to the north of Nannup. This loop offered some spectacular views and was an awesome place to ride, despite there being plenty of ’roos and emus. The lap ended up with around 100km of track suitable for all levels of rider and everyone was back to the Loose Goose Chalets around 5.30pm for beer and bench racing.

Sunday

A look and a few photos around The Goose Shed – which will be the main hub for the congregation – preceded more great tracks and roads to Balingup. 40km of loose, gravel roads and some bitumen took everyone to Gnomesville then on to Wellington Dam.

Another 150km of forest roads and tracks had the riders back on the edge of the city to round off a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

General notes

The south-west has a lot of loose pea gravel that can’t be avoided unless you stick to the bitumen. It won’t be as challenging in October with more moisture in the ground.

The crew at Motorrad Garage now has a good foundation for a couple of different options to suit all experience levels, with some more challenging options for those who choose. One or two more weekends over the winter will see all of those route options finalised and they’ll be published as ‘suggested routes’ for those who want to use them.

Bonus

Motorrad Garage has also organised a presentation by the first guys to ride the Canning Stock Route unsupported in 1983. They’ll be showing videos and pics of the ride, and share stories of the challenges of doing it before fuel was available at Kunawarritji and long before the wealth of information that is now available on the internet.

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