Not that Harleys, Ariels, BSAs and Nortons were called 'dirt bikes' back in 1924, it's simply that Australia's first 24 Hour Reliability Trial was held over a roadless 700km Loop between Bordertown, Broken Hill and the Barossa Valley. Eighty-eight years later, the course has been cut down to a more manageable 250km, encompassing 48 special stages through private properties where the organisers have marked out the worst sections of scrub, rock-shrewn tracks, creek crossings, plus the inevitable sand and bulldust to test competitors' skills and perseverance.
If a 250km enduro loop sounds all too easy, remember it has to be covered four times; twice at night - with competitors allowed only to take on fuel and food, just as it was back in 1924. But no longer are synchronised fob watches and fountain pens required to monitor riders' progress and this year, for the first time, the Swann Insurance 24 Hour Reliability Trial will introduce transponder timing to the event with 26 locators around the course. This will provide competitors and spectators a real-time view of results for the 28 special stages.
The 24 Hour will start at Kapunda on July 14 at 11am, five weeks after Finke. And, whereas Finke is almost guaranteed to be hot, dry and dusty, the 24 Hour is traditionally cold, wet and boggy - the perfect counterbalance for dirtshifting masochists.
Transmoto will keep you in the loop as events unfold, but if you can't wait, log on to 24hrtrial.com.au or call Brett Tomkins on 0419 848 298.