The Ride Leader's Return Home

- The Ballad of Sylvain -


It was such a perfect way to start a Sunday...the sun was up, the sky was clear, the air was fresh, Monday was a public holiday and the smell of bacon and eggs were in the air courtesy of Peter - chef extraordinaire. After stomachs were full those who needed to be on  their way bid us adieu, leaving Kim, Sue, Ron, Sylvain and I to pursue weekend type things.  Keen to build on my baaarrely existent twisties-skills, Sylvain had devised four routes in and around Halls Gap for the afternoon to test my leaning capabilities. So after a quick fuel stop to keep the tanks full, the two of us putt-putted up the mountain to McKenzie falls. Being the gentleman rider as always, Sylvain went slow so that I could (try to) follow his lines through the corners and build up some confidence. I was feeling quite chuffed with my efforts by the time we got to the top, where we decided to walk down to the  falls - in full gear...*sigh*...not such a great idea in full sun. 45 minutes, two ice-creams and two drinks later we were back on the bikes and back down the mountain. Again Sylvain played lookout for me, this time keeping tailgaters away by following my somewhat ordinary pace.


We decided to stop for lunch and parked opposite the main drag. Once off his bike, and with his helmet off Sylvain frowned - not for the first time that morning - "can you still smell fuel?" Previously, while in the car park at McKenzie Falls, we'd noticed a rather strong waft of petrol, but put it down to the puddle on the ground next to us - but now there was no mistaking it. Something was definitely awry.


Sylvain pulled off his rather new gloves and ducked his hand under the small side cover on the Triumph - and came out with a hand saturated in fuel. This was definitely NOT GOOD.

"Bugger" said Sylvain (or words to that effect).


So out came the tool kit and three twists of an allen key later the problem was revealed, a leaking fuel tap...and not leaking slowly either. By now a few other bikers on their way through to lunch had parked around us, and it was beginning to look like a bike-only parking lot...complete with "Garage de Sylvain" (pronounce in French accent). Everyone who stopped asked if they could help at all, as is the nature of the Two Wheeled World. Trying to not look like a 3rd wheel, I trotted off to the servo to look for things of possible use...and bumped into Kim and Sue on the way. Soon they were over to help with the patch-job, which was looking more desperate as the minutes ticked on. Another group stopped to talk - this time an actual bunch of Triumph riders who had come into town for lunch in the car. Finally a large swathe of bandage was jammed around the fuel taps, secured with copious amounts of tape, a rather backyard engineering exercise, but it looked ok.


Everyone stepped back as Sylvain blipped the throttle…

"Off, off...turn it OFF!" was the immediate cry from the bikers who were supervising. There was now a small lagoon of fuel under the Speed Triple.

"Bugger" said Sylvain (or words to that effect).


The Triumph would not make it back to Melbourne under its own steam.


But all was not lost! While the engineering effort had been underway I had been on the phone to friends and family, and had managed to track down a vehicle with a tow bar and somewhere to hire a bike trailer. Now all we needed to do was figure out the details. Given  they were staying on two extra nights, Kim and Sue kindly offered to keep an eye on the  Triumph back at the off the Triumph took, back to the its spot beside the  tent under the awesome two-man power of Kim and Sylvain. I even had to wheel half way back...on my own!...because Sylvain had taken off waddling the Trumpy with my bike key in his pocket.