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We’re back, all but a little bit older but back all the same. Adventure Bike Australia has not missed a single Northern Adventure Congregation however it’s been a good couple years since there’s even been an event and we can thank COVID for that.

We had a massive turn out in 2019 in what can only be described as a dust bowl, yep that’s right 2019 was drought times. Wow how we all forget as we’ve been in La Nina times these last couple years, we’ve gone from the driest of times to flood conditions and were told there’s still more rain to come.

Around 170 riders fronted this year approximately half of what we had at the last event. Still a good number I might add but has it anything to do with COVID or is it the weather, the later I reckon had some bearing on crowd numbers.

Some things don’t change though, the comradery with your mates and adventure riders of all types coming together for this annual event. Pre set ride loops, ride skills demonstrations by Nick Selleck, some fun competitions like gymkhanas with some cool prizes. Trade displays like ours were thin on the ground, a shame as we’ve seen up to ten at previous Adventure Congregations.

Riders turn up on the Friday from about lunch time onwards, some (and we won’t mention any names Catman) turn up in the dark after a couple minor issues with a couple newbie adventure riders. Some choose solo while smaller groups of two to half a dozen are common. Legend Dave Ramsay who fronts most of the Northern Rivers Adventure Riders puts together a group ride every Adventure Congregation so it’s nothing for him to lead in twenty five to thirty riders. Steve, Neil, John, Darrell and myself had been out a couple weeks prior with Dave pre riding and checking some of the route, a worthwhile exercise as we’d found a couple of our normal back road and fire trails impassable due to weather conditions. Half a dozen of us on a late afternoon dragging your bikes over logs is one thing not something you want to be doing with any lesser riders in a group of thirty !

With so much moisture and the ground already sodden it takes nothing for it to re flood. We heard plenty of stories from riders that they had to turn around and re route after hitting swollen creek crossings. One of our DRZ customers telling us he was sweep clean of a causeway, he bravely hung on to his bike with just his head bobbing above water, his mates running a couple hundred meters downstream to help retrieve the bike. They were lucky to drag it out do the customary dewater and be back on the road. Yep you gotta love these old school Japanese bikes.

Karen and I have attended every single Northern Adventure Congregation from day one with our Adventure Bike Australia trade display and the only industry people to do so, the event has been held on two different properties. Of course the later years it’s been held at Green Valley Farm at Tingha in Northern New South Wales and venues don’t come any better. This is a gem of a location with a beautiful hard working family hosting the event. We tented it in the early years, one year from Saturday afternoon on in nonstop rain and that’s no fun when you have a quick shade full of product. Of course these later years we’ve had our own cabin as do people from Adventure Rider Magazine, Suzuki and other related industry reps. Makes life a lot easier and when you go there with the sole aim of creating a decent trade display and not getting much of a chance to do anything else we have Henry’s Hut permanently booked in our name !

No need to cook it’s all very well organized you have a selection of coloured tickets to cover your different meals. Friday night is always a big outdoor gathering with plenty of fire drums to hover around.  A nice big burger and hot chips with a great selection of beers, bourbons or a wine to wash it down. Breakfast is covered both days with a choice of cereals for those inclined followed by the standard adventure rider bacon and egg roll ! Saturday nights are a great get together and is always held in the old wool shed now converted with a nice bar and outdoor area, again the place is a fantastic and perfect for such a gathering, a credit to the owners. After dinner the fun begins with lots of prizes from the day’s events and great giveaways and vouchers for the oldest rider, youngest rider, longest distance covered, oldest bike and bike with most kilometers and so forth, good fun a few laughs and Mitch and Tom from Adventure Rider Magazine did a great job with the proceedings.

Sunday morning riders start to make a move, some are up early and out of there while most wander around and pack up in their own good time, some riders chill leave a later while we’ve heard a couple stay an extra day. We felt for Dave’s group who were all packed rearing to go queued up to make an exit when a Triumph refused to fire, bikes went from idling to turned off while one then ten all would be mechanics surrounded the Tiger . You gotta hate that no one likes to be the one holding everyone up. I believe in the end it was a case of call your wife or RACQ !

We’d personally like to thank Mitch Newell and Tom Foster from Australia Adventure Rider Magazine for another well run event and to Kathy and her family at Green Valley Farm job well done and we look forward to catching up with everybody for another round next year, cheers

*Thanks to Green Valley Farm for the images