XtraPix: Aussie Adventure

Fun Down Under.

Photography by Andrew Wheeler

XtraPix: Aussie Adventure

Opportunities to see new places and meet interesting people go hand-in-hand with overseas travel. Last year was a banner year on both accounts. Press junkets took me to the Canary Islands, Italy (twice), Germany and, finally, Australia. While I generally travel either alone or with one or two members of the U.S. motopress, for the trip Down Under I flew from Los Angeles with friends Tom McComas, Steve Rapp and Greg White. When we arrived in Sydney, we hooked up with yet another buddy, photographer Andrew Wheeler, who was on a separate flight that had originated in San Francisco.

As described in the magazine story ("Aussie Adventure," April, 2008), we had a great time. Kawasaki provided brand-new KLX450Rs, a street-legal model in Australia, plus two guides, a mechanic and a factory transporter. In addition, we were joined by Shannon Warner and Sam Maclachlan, editors at Dirt Action magazine. Leading the charge with a capital "C" was our escort for the week, Kawasaki race-team manager Brett Whale. We capped off the week with the MotoGP race at spectacular Phillip Island.

As is frequently the case, space considerations limited the number of photographs that we could publish with the print version of the story. So presented here are even more images, as well as handy-cam highlights of the trip courtesy of White, whom many readers may recognize from Speed Channel's AMA Superbike coverage (or not, as he's allowed his hair to grow back). I can’t speak for Tom, Steve, Greg or Andrew, but for me, recollections of this trip—of which only about 20 percent are suitable for publication in a family magazine—will last a lifetime.

Kawasaki factory mechanic Charlie Costanzo looked after the bikes.

Because Kawasaki?s KLX450R is street-legal in Australia, we were able to ride to the bush directly from the parking lots of our hotels.

Don?t let the receding hairline fool you; ride guide Matthew Phillpott possesses exceptional riding skills.

Which way did he go? Aussie MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner produced a runaway win at Phillip Island.

Former Kawasaki dealer-turned-race-team-manager Brett Whale made certain our Aussie adventure went smoothly.

Going...

Here?s what?s left of the tree that CW Managing Editor Matthew Miles hit. Update: It?s still standing.

We spent hours negotiating this amazing, single-track terrain.

Rapp star: Attack Kawasaki?s Steve Rapp answers a TV reporter?s questions regarding his victory in the 2007 Daytona 200.

Going...

Gone!

Catch any fish? Tom McComas empties river water from his boots.

TV personality Greg White was ready to go on our first day of riding.

Tom McComas devours a second (third?) homemade meat pie at a roadside bakery as sweep rider Mark Ryan looks on in awe.

Get ?em up: Dirt Action editors Shannon Warner and Sam Maclachlan were able to perform side-by-side wheelies on command.

Splashdown: Steve Rapp attacks one of several creek crossings.

Under the bubble: Roadracer Steve Rapp got seat time at Phillip Island on the Kawasaki MotoGP bike of factory rider Anthony West.