Back in 2009 when the Cooktown Cowboy Adrian Knight claimed an unofficial record for the longest transcontinental ride across Australia - Steep Point to Cape Byron - veteran marathon men Phil Hodgens and Phil Laver were quick to highlight that Knight had ridden around the Simpson Desert rather than straight across it. No matter that in doing so Knight added 560km of Oodnadatta and Strzelecki Track to the ordeal.
At the time I pointed out to Knight that maybe the lateral route across Australia wasn't necessarily the longest and that he should check out how far it was between Cape York and Cape Leeuwin. A few weeks back he did just that!
On this occasion he had the sense to install a large tank, a small screen, hand guards and grip warmers to his 2007 BMW 650 X-Challenge (items he found lacking on his earlier odyssey). And this time, rather than ride solo, he was joined by Conrad McKee on his 2005 KTM 640 Adventure; only last year Conrad walked from Steep Point to Cape Byron to support 'Beyond Blue' proving he's just as insane as Knight but far more altruistic.
The resulting saga was one of melted brake pistons, shredded rubber, missed refuels, cold days, even colder nights and various spills and thrills. But the lads made it. And even though they failed to achieve their target of 96 hours (by about three and a half hours) they've set the benchmark for the 5832km journey. On known statistics this is precisely 555kms longer than the most direct route between Australia's most easterly and westerly points. Now, if someone would jump on their bike and ride from Wilson's Promontory to Cape Leveque we could really get a bench session underway.
Well done fella's. And I hope the engine rebuild doesn't break the budget, Conrad.
The boys at Cape Leeuwin (Australia's most south westerly point). Adrian Knight on left and Conrad McKee on right.