The need for speed!
- 13th November 2006, 9:41am
As a rule, getting into your rally car and heading out on the back roads or into the forest is not the done thing – with the roads not being closed there’s a real danger of something going terribly wrong.
But a number of leading drivers are increasingly turning to quad bikes to get their kicks. Drivers such as Australian Champions Simon Evans and Cody Crocker have their own bikes, and many others, like up-and-coming drivers Will Orders, Jesse Robison and Brendan Reeves, are always eager to hit the trail to sharpen their skills for the next event.
Former Tasmania and South Australian Rally Champion, Glen Cugley, has come up with just the answer for those adrenalin starved drivers through his business, Victorian Quad Bike Tours. Cugley, now based in Daylesford (near Ballarat) in Victoria, has run a number of go-kart centres over the years, so the move to the faster-paced quad bike business was a natural progression.
Catering for business and corporate groups, right down to social outings with your mates, the tours operate seven days a week, all year round. RallySport Magazine had the opportunity to participate in one of the tours recently, and came away with the urge to get onto a quad bike more often.
Fully automatic Polaris 330cc quad bikes are used, although for safety’s sake the power is governed so that all bikes are of equal speed, and so that riders of all ages, sex and ability can take part.
Perhaps the best part of the tours is that to ride one of the bikes, you only a need a civil driving licence. There’s no sitting for your motorbike test to enjoy this fun day out.
Your tour starts with a ride around a test track adjacent to the centre headquarters, where riders can come to terms with the bike in a controlled environment where instruction can be given, if required.
Following that brief introduction and chat about the do’s and don’ts of quad biking, it’s off into the Wombat State Forest where the action really begins. Tours range from one hour to two and a half hours in length, and with a licenced guide at the front of the pack and another at the rear, the pace is controlled and no riders can get lost along the way.
Our group of riders were all rally competitors, and when drivers of the calibre of Orders, Robison and Reeves are involved, it’s not hard to work out that the pace was going to be flat out from the word “go”. As mentioned, the bikes are governed for speed, so they spent around 99% of the time flat out during our day there.
In the two hours or so we rode them for, we covered around 50km over a wide variety of terrain. From grotty, rough and narrow tracks up and down hills, through water crossings, over man-made bridges and along wide-open forest roads, there was hardly a surface we didn’t encounter.
The bikes are very easy to control, both for guys and girls, and within a few minutes you learn how to get the tail of the rear-wheel drive bikes to slide, almost making them act like a rally car. They soak up the bumps with ease, have very good brakes, and aren’t hard on the body at all.
Casualties on the day of our ride were only minor. Jesse Robison hit a stump with his quad and was thrown from the bike, while his sister and co-driver, Sam, got her bike sideways through a watersplash and gently kissed a tree (both without injury). Considering the pace they rode at, this is not unusual – most other participants would have not such trouble.
Cugley and his team have set up a great day’s entertainment, and unless you do something seriously wrong, you won’t get hurt and you’ll finish with a huge smile on your face. Tours range from $70 through to $170, which includes pick-up and drop-off within a 50km radius of Daylesford. To finish off, you’re offered a BBQ lunch, giving you time to assess the day, and plan for your next ride!
It’s a great day out, and one we can thoroughly recommend.
For more information, log onto their website at: www.ballarat.com/quadbikes/index.htm
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