Watagans Forest Ride

Watagans Forest Ride

Watagans Forest Ride

I had just purchased some new off road tyres for the Royal Enfield Himalayan as I intended to use the bike mainly on dirt roads. There are a vast number of options for off road tyres ranging from 80/20 (80 % road and 20% off road) to 50/50 and even 30/70 which are basically rounded knobby tyres approved for use on the road.

I went with some cheap but effective Mitas tyres that were recommended by Paul who I bought the bike off who also bought some for his new bike and based on a review I watched on YouTube they seem to come in OK for value for money and performance.

I went with the E-07 50/50 Dual Sport and was keen to try them out in the bush as soon as I could

I had the week off after working over Xmas and New Year and the weather forecast seemed to be OK for the Wednesday after the rain we had earlier. So I called Peter and asked him to come along on a ride across the Watagan Forest.

We met at Wyong after an hour’s ride up the freeway and then took some back roads to the start of the forest road.

We climbed up onto a ridgeline and the tyres went great on the dirt / gravel etc

As we ventured deeper into the forest the road got worse with some thick heavy mud.

There were deep tyre ruts from four wheel drives that made it hard to change lines . The Mitas E-07 tyres  went exceptionally well

Peter trying to get out of a rut

Eventually it got worse

Peter got stuck

Peters bike had half worn Pirelli Scorpion MT60 ( i think) and they did not do as well  as the Mitas due to the tighter tread blocks not clearing mud

Eventually we got him out


Stopped for a break at the Picnic area


We were a bit worn out with all the mud and slow going and were getting hungry so we headed down to Cooranbong for some lunch at a café and then hit the road back to Sydney

I was very impressed with the Mitas tyres and would get them again if I dont go for something more aggressive next time

Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc Winter Rally 2020 – Boorowa

Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc Winter Rally 2020 – Boorowa

Boorowa once called “Burrowa” ,  said to be named after the aboriginal word for the Australia Bustard or “ plains turkey”, is a farming town in the Hilltops Region on the South West Slopes of New South Wales approximately 340kms from Sydney.The town has a strong Irish farming background and produces wine, wool and canola.



The Winter Rally was held at the Boorowa Hotel, where the publican Mike was very hospitable and excited that we had chosen to have the rally at his establishment. He went to great lengths to make our stay enjoyable and nothing was too much trouble for him or his staff. A quaint pub that has many posters and quotes adorning the walls, has a restaurant serving great food and has its own café offering a hearty breakfast menu.



Mark and Jane  – Bullet 500 EFI

Ken and Helen  – Honda CL250

Roger and Narelle – Harley Road King Outfit

Peter and Johanne – BMW 1200 GS

John and Viv – Morris Major Elite

Bruce and Cynthia – Continental GT 535

Ian and Bev – Interceptor 650

Craig and Jenny – Interceptor 650

Kevin and Mel- Continental GT 535

Bruce Butler  – Bullet Trials Works Replica 500

Wes and Julie – 2 x Classic 500 EFI

Boris and Jody – Harley Softail Springer

Paul Selwood  – Himalayan

Richard Shannon – Mk3 Norton Commando 850

Jim Pennington – Himalayan

Geoff Richards – Bullet 500


27 people and 16 Bikes, 11 Enfields and 5 Non-Enfields

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During the judging at the Chinese Tribute Gardens, Roger took both Jody and Boris for a spin in the “Monster” Road King Outfit as they had never been in a side-car before.

The meet and greet was followed by dinner on Friday Night where the Pub put on a guitarist to create some ambiance.

The food was fantastic with an extensive menu providing many choices for you to explore further the following night.

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The Rally’s Saturday ride took us along country lanes and through lush green pastures with patchwork yellow canola fields and sheep paddocks on our way to Young via Binalong and Harden.

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We stopped just out of Young where the bikes were lined up for judging.at the Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Gardens located in the Chinaman’s Dam Reserve.

The development of the gardens began in 1992 and was established to recognise the contribution of the Chinese community to the settlement of Young in the 1860s, and to the ongoing contributions of the Chinese community to Australia as a Nation.

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Leaving Young we headed north towards Cowra and then turned off the Olympic Hwy and followed a country road along a valley to Murringo and then on to Boorowa.

After a bit of a relax people assembled for pre-dinner drinks and once everyone arrived we commenced the presentation.

The trophies were complemented with a bottle of red wine courtesy of Mike the Publican.




Best Enfield – Mark Reynolds – Bullet 500 EFI


Worst Enfield – Paul Selwood – Himalayan (Just because it was dirty)


Best Non Enfield – Richard Shannon  – Mk3 Norton Commando 850


Longest Distance Travelled – Paul Selwood – 438.8 KMS via Wombeyan Caves Road


Ian Lyons received a Life Membership Nomination for longstanding membership and unswerving dedication to the Club and the Marque which the publican graciously complimented with a gift wrapped six-pack of Reschs Pilsener Silver Bullets


Sir Bruce Walker recalled the first Royal Enfield Club trip that he and Ian went on.


The Winter Rally was an terrific success this year, having a great location, nice weather and good company it was only marred by the fact that members from other states could not attend.

Thanks to Mark and Jayne for organising it.

Thanks to Narelle and Jenny for the photo contributions.

Thanks to Mike and Young Ward and the Boorowa Hotel Staff for their hospitality

Craig Katen – Vice President – Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc.


On Sunday morning before we left for home  we spent some time looking around the Town

There is a courthouse and  a few churches  near by the pub and one had its own pet sheep which when you approach the fence comes running for a pat.

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Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Tail-Tidy, Mufflers and Indicators

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Tail-Tidy, Mufflers and Indicators

When I first saw the new Royal Enfield Mk3 Interceptor 650 I noticed the massive wide spread  upswept mufflers , huge brake/tail light and wide indicators and thought,

“There must be something you could do with that ! ” .

FIN ex1 (Large)

When the bike first came out I initially intended to purchase one to use as a tourer, I thought it was going to be a larger more comfortable  version of  the Classic 500 but alas it was almost the same size and seemed cramped for the pillion and did not accommodate luggage very well. I test rode it and thought it goes great lets see how it goes 2-up. We came back and did a quick test ride around the streets and it felt too small and less accommodating compared to our Triumph Tiger touring setup that we had just jumped off of.

That was a few years back and I recently made the decision to replace the Classic 500 ( i.e. give it to my son who just got his L’s ) and bought the Interceptor as a solo bike but I still wanted to be able to carry a pillion with some light luggage like wet weather gear etc so we could attend Royal Enfield Club of Australia events 2-up on an actual Royal Enfield instead of a Triumph.


I have a pair of small leather “Royal Enfield” pannier bags that I used on the Classic 500 to attach to the mudguard stays and thought that they might attach to the rear subframe on the Interceptor. I got excited and got them out of the shed and pulled the seat off the bike to attempt to fit them only to find they 1) blocked the pillion pegs, 2) touched the mufflers and 3) rubbed on the indicators. Not one to shy from an engineering challenge I attempted to work around the problem and find a solution.

Wanting to go riding on my new toy I quickly masking-tapped up the shock reservoir, spring and the chromed-plastic back of the blinkers to avoid any wear and simply pushed the bags back high on the rear grab bar until they cleared both the pillion pegs and the massive stock mufflers. This worked for the moment but they moved around and sagged onto the pipes and I also didn’t want to have the bike tapped up like a footballer to prevent injury.


The indicators needed to go, I wished I had replaced the ones on my 2012 Classic 500 as the chromed plastic is now quite pitted. I will put them away and if I ever want to sell the bike it can be restored to original spec and the indicators will look like new. In order to move the blinkers out of the way the huge heavy tail light assembly needed to go along with them.

OEM-rear (Large)

I set about removing the rear assembly and found, just like the KTM Freeride rear-end  I recently repaired, for weight savings the rear mudguard, tail lights, rear mudflap etc all bolt to each other and form a composite unit were you cant just remove the tail-light for instance as the mudguard bolts to it and then the number plate  attaches to it as well. It was all or nothing. With the cast aluminium mounting block and the other oversized components the rear light assembly weighs over 1 kilo.

Having removed the whole assembly I found that there was a diamond-shaped, four-holed, bracket attached to the rear sub-frame. I didn’t even have to get in the bath to have a Eureka moment and quickly the design came to me in my head. I quickly re-assembled the rear lights and mudguards and It was off to Ebay to buy bits and wait for them to come.

The thing next was the exhausts

There are a more than a few problems with the stock pipes, diameter , weight (4.5 kilos each) width (splay) and upsweep  and there are a few options on the market ranging from cheap chinese EMGO knock-offs to AEW Pune Indian stainless steel slip ons, to the Stars and Stripes S&S version or the hand-built-in -Tassie Verex customs .

Eventually I want to make some performance changes as well as replacing the muffler’s size and location but since the pipes are double-walled and also needed to be changed to achieve the desired muffler position I would need to make changes to the engine management system to accomodate for the better breathing. This would invalidate the factory warranty so I decided to leave those changes till the bike is out of warranty. I also didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars to get a few horse power more when i have more powerful bikes to ride if i want to go faster …….performance modifications are another story that I will cover in due course.

In order to achieve the clearance I realised that the pipes maybe didn’t need to be relocated requiring new headers and that all they need to do was be reduced in diameter. This became apparent when watching The Enfield Guy  Jimi Swan’s video on installing a sump guard (click for video) and noticed that he had put some black EMGO styled reverse cones with a pipe wrap on his Ravishing Red (and black) 650 which looked great so I messaged him and asked him about them.

I ordered some chrome ones  from Ebay and for 100 bucks I had solved both the width issue and the pannier clearance problem and had some better looking and sweet sounding reverse cones that are not too loud but make a deep HSV Commodore V8 burble when downshifting.

Another benefit is the weight – the stock mufflers are 4.5 KG each these ones save over 6 kilos in weight



The rear end….and a pain in the arse

The bits started to arrive, but I was getting impatient.  I am careful when buying stuff especially at the moment with corona delays, of where stuff on Ebay comes from. I chose a few parts from Melbourne thinking it would take only a few days. The sneaky buggers can lodge the Consignment Note with Aust Post and you get sent a notification and an estimate of the delivery which was about 3-4 days. I kept checking each day but there was no movement at all. This went on and on and when I complained they advised a new CON-NOTE number and ETA and when it turned up 2 weeks later it was evident that this had come from China to Melbourne as all slack arses did was turn the mail satchel (covered with chinese post labels) inside out and mail it on to me. Oh well it’s a bit of a chuck of the dice, The pipes had come from Revesby in 2 days as had the other bits from Melbourne.

Anyway, I started to rip the back end apart and think about the design and how to  do it without destroying the original setup so I could return it to stock if needed.  I realised I needed to fabricate a bracket but also be able to tie everything in as mentioned above like the old song.

The foot bones connected to the heel bone
The heel bones connected to the ankle bone
The ankle bones connected to the leg bone

Once apart I did some measuring the Idea came to me to use the stock number plate holder and to modify the cheap Ebay tail-light not the $10,000 bike.

The rear sub-frame has a diamond shaped bracket with four rubber bushed holes, two horizontal across the middle held the number plate holder and miraculously the tail-light hole spacing was also 4cm and this would bolt on to those holes. I chopped the number plate holders off the Ebay tail light and  I also needed to fabricate an indicator mount which would also use the two horizontal holes.


The Indicators needed to clear the number plate width wise due to the location of the holes otherwise they would be behind the number plate. For uniformity and aesthetic correctness and a bit of OCD, I made the bracket the same width and used 30mm steel strap which was the same height as the number plate bracket mount as well.

A couple of bends and some holes and it was ready for paint,

indicator bracket

The bottom of the four holes was used to mount the plastic mudguard to the rear sub-frame by drilling a 6mm hole through it (the only irreversible mod by the way) and the top hole will be used to mount a black metal cover plate to hide the wiring.

Speaking of wiring

Like the indicator and tail light mounts, i did not want to modify the bike in any way so I could reverse it if need be. I looked under the seat and found the rear wiring loom connects to a plug. Rather than chop up the rear loom to suit the new indicators I decided to make my own rear wiring loom out of 7 -core trailer wire and went off to Jaycar to buy some small spade connectors to suit the plug and some bullet connectors for the indicators.





The spade connectors are not insulated so the needed to be heat-shrinked so they dont short out

Front end

The front indicators were a simple swap and go procedure. Unbolt the stock ones, take the lens of the headlight, unplug the OEM indicators and remove. Then change the connectors on the EBay indicators from bullet connectors to  spade connectors to suit the stock plugs located inside the headlight and bolt them on to the original mounts.

front headlight (Large) front wires (Large)front insulated (Large)



Finished Product

I am happy with the look but it was more about the practical side of being able to have a pillion and panniers without the two interfering with each other or the bike. I now can fit the panniers without them touching the mufflers, rubbing the indicators or getting in the way of the pillion foot pegs.

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FIN front top (Large)

FIN rear rear (Large)

Did you notice the mud-flap ? – this is work-in-progress as on the last ride it got sucked into the back wheel by air pressure and got zinged by the tyre

Back to the drawing board


FIN rear top (Large)

FIN ex1 (Large) FIN ex2 (Large) FIN ex3 (Large)

Parts List

$95.95 2pcs Universal Motorcycle Tapered Exhaust Muffler Pipe Silencer For Cafe Racer  

$18.95 Universal Motorcycle Tail Brake Light Number License Bulb Retro Rear Stop lamp

$46.95 4x Bullet Motorcycle Chrome Turn Signal Light Indicator Harley Chopper bobber XL

$159  Pannier bag, BLACK. Royal Enfield embossed  NB Black are currently out of stock but Brown are available



Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc 2018 Gloucester-Forster Rally


Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc

Gloucester/Forster Rally – 12th – 14th October 2018

By Craig Katen

This year’s Gloucester/Forster rally was a great ride, with 10 people in attendance.

Despite a forecasted wet weekend we were greeted with all four seasons and limited inconvenience due to the rain.

We left Sydney on Friday morning meeting Peter and Johanne at the Myrtle House Cafe in Wollombi for lunch. As Mark and Jane and Ken and Helen travelled via Wisemans Ferry it was a logical meeting spot due to the convergence of the roads and the opportunity to avoid the M1, which Jenny and I used sparingly. We went via M1 and Old Pacific Hwy and stopped at the Pie in the Sky at Cowan for morning tea and then travelled to Peats Ridge and then down George Downs Drive to the Great Northern Road.


After a quick lunch we made our way back to the A1(Pacific Hwy) via Cessnock / Kurri Kurri and on to Bulahdelah for fuel before travelling along the Lakes Way to Pacific Palms / Elizabeth Beach where we were staying at Pacific Palms Caravan Park. It was a good days ride arriving in time to freshen up.

The park has a variety of basic but comfortable cabins and was located a few minutes’ walk to both Elizabeth Beach and Pacific Palms Recreation Club (the “Recky”) which is where we went on Friday and Saturday nights.


The Club is situated on Wallis Lake and normally provides stunning sunset vistas. The weather was good enough to allow us to enjoy an afternoon drink on the deck before dinner. Whilst relaxing and enjoying the serenity we heard the thunderous roar of Roger and Narelle arriving on the “Monster” .The food was great and the consensus was that it was the best club food that anyone has ever had.

Before setting off on Saturday’s ride we had breakfast at the Kembali Cafe at Bluey’s Beach which was a fusion of Indo and Aussie cuisine. Great bacon and eggs !

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Despite the spring weather, grey skies loomed in the distance and it wasn’t long before the heavens opened on us whilst retracing our route to Bulahdelah along the Lakes Way.

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A quick change into wets was required, we forged on through the rain and it wasn’t long before favourable conditions returned making the trip more enjoyable.

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Mark on his Royal Enfield Bullet following Ken on his Honda CL250s ( Helen in the Honda support vehicle in the back)

We stopped at Bulahdelah, some requiring fuel, and then rode along the winding Booral Road to Stroud for morning tea at the Crepe Myrtle Cafe.

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From Stroud the rain came and went as we travelled north towards Gloucester through “Shakespeare Land” crossing the Avon River at Stratford and on to Gloucester.

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Peter and Jo leading, Jenny and I followed by Mark

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We turned off at Gloucester and went along the “twisty turnies” of the Buckets Way through Krambach to Nabiac.

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Mark leading Jenny and I on our Triumph Tiger which we had to bring this trip due to my Royal Enfield C5 being prepared for the long ride to the Mt Gambier AGM via the Great Ocean Road later this month.

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We arrived at Nabiac and had lunch at the Greenhouse Cafe. After a quick look around we made our way back to the highway and then down the Failford road to Forster and back along the Lakes Way to Elizabeth Beach where Humpback whales were breaching out at sea on their migration south back to Antarctica for summer.

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Thanks to Peter for organising this ride again and thanks to Narelle for taking the action photos from the sidecar of the Monster.

Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc Winter Rally 2018 – Tathra

Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc Winter Rally 2018 – Tathra


Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc

Winter Rally 2018 – Tathra

By Craig Katen

The 2018 winter rally was held on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend at Tathra Beach on the NSW south coast.

Tathra was chosen for a number of reasons, one being the location is easily accessible by both NSW and VIC members being close to the New South Wales / Victoria border and another was that we wanted to assist by giving our patronage to the local community after the recent devastating bushfires which claimed 69 homes, 30 caravans and cabins and damaged a further 39 houses.

Attendees were; from TAS Club President Mick Lemon, from VIC Anthony Wright, From ACT Allan and Elaine Bartlett and from NSW Bruce and Cynthia Walker, Jim and Jean Pennington, Ian Lyons, John and Viv Wright, Roger McCall and Narelle Whitworth, Peter and Johanne Jackson and Craig Katen and Jenny Graves.

Being a long weekend, two rides were organised for the weekend, a shorter ride on Saturday up the coast and a longer Rally ride on the Sunday heading up the escarpment and looping back thru the mountains.

Saturday saw us heading north from Tathra crossing the Bega River at Mogareeka Inlet then through the villages of Tanja and Wapengo, where the Walkers lived from 1979 to 1982. Bruce and Cynthia stopped to show the group the house that they had built.

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One of the many one-lane bridges that cross the creeks, lakes and inlets on the far south coast

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Allan leading the pack on his Electra-Zuki

Continuing through Murrah and Cuttagee Beach we arrived for morning tea at the fishing village of Bermagui where my Grandmother was born in 1900, by the side of the road under a horse dray as my ancestors passed through this area via the same roads we had just ridding on, travelling from Cooma to relocate their family to parts unknown before eventually settling in Sydney.

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The picturesque fishing village of Bermagui

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Upon leaving Bermagui we crossed Wallaga Lake and joined the Prince’s Highway briefly before turning off towards Tilba on Corkhill Drive.

Central Tilba is a perfectly restored and maintained period village protected by National Heritage listing. It features a host of unique shops and galleries showcasing antiques, traditional crafts and woodwork, a range of cafes and the ABC Cheese Factory.

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Craig and Ian checking out Ian’s Triumph opposite the tiny Tilba pub.

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After bite to eat and a stroll up and down the village looking at the wares we headed back.

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Jenny and Craig

Most people chose to return the way they came and to quote Sir Bruce “A road ridden in the opposite direction is a different road”.

Notwithstanding, Craig and Jenny and Roger and Narelle decided to go back via the highway stopping in historic Cobargo to check out the town which has similar tourist attractions to Tilba and then through Bega to Tathra.

For Sunday’s ride, which would see us going to Nimmitabel for morning tea and Bombala for lunch, we assembled outside Tathra School before proceeding thru Bega and up Brown’s Mountain.

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Allen’s well engineered Electra-Zuki

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Mick Lemon’s Carberry


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Anthony wearing three sets of riding gear but surprisingly no thongs !

We went through Bega and along the Snowy Mountains Highway through the foothills of the mountains before our climb up to the plateau.

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The “better half” of John’s outfit !

The road wound up Brown’s Mountain which has an elevation of 1243m ASL through the White Ash forests and ferns and up onto the Great Dividing Range.

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Peter and Johanne, Craig, Allen, Anthony and Mick enjoying the corners

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Wringing its neck to maintain momentum up the hills

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Once we reached the summit it was evident that we had climbed to a fair altitude as the temperature dropped considerably.

From there it was a short ride to Nimmitabel for a stop at the bakery which has an elephant next door !

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From there we rode to Bombala over the freezing cold high country plains

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Anthony looking cold

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Some nice rolling hills and corners to warm us up on the way to Bombala

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Cows !

We stopped in Bombala for lunch then headed through Cathcart and down Mt Darragh to Wyndam and on to Candelo via Myrtle Mountain.

Both of these mountain roads had plenty of bends and scenery to keep us entertained.

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Bruce and Cynthia leading in the Camry due to Carberry problems

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More curves !

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A catch up with Mal Gilles at the Candelo Pub

Sunday’s dinner was at the Tathra Hotel where we awarded the following trophies.

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Best Non-Enfield – John Wright – BMW R80 Outfit

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Best Royal Enfield – Allen Bartlett – “Modified” Electra

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Longest Distance Travelled on an Enfield – Mick Lemon

Thanks again to all those who attended this year’s Winter Rally, for me it was good to ride an area that I hadn’t been to on a bike before. I think there is scope to return to discover another part of the NSW South Coast in the future.