Well the dust has finally settled on what was an epic event at Ellaspede‘s Dust Hustle 4 (DH4). Our first foray off the flat track of previous events and out to the QVMX Biddaddaba venue was certainly one we won’t forget anytime soon! Let’s take a look at what was a massive day on the dirt…
It was only a month prior to the event that Cyclone Debbie rolled down the Queensland coast and into New South Wales leave a trail of dampness and destruction. The tracks for DH4 took an extreme hit, with both ‘The Middle Child’ grass track at ‘Hollywood Hillbilly’ hillside track both being completely unrideable after the weather! Some sections even showed off meter deep washed out ruts from the rain.
It wasn’t the news we wanted only weeks out from the first event at the venue, but nothing could prepare the venue for that kind of weather. Without a second word though the Queensland Vintage Motocross Club (QVMX) members sprung into action, working every weekend without pay (even over Easter) to repair the track for our event. Their dedication to fix the track damage and prepare such an incredible venue was a huge effort and something we, and everyone who rode or came to the event should be super thankful for. All considering, our thoughts are still with those who haven’t been able to rebuild so quickly after Debbie.
Fast forward to the calm before the storm on Friday 21 April. After a busy setup that week we swung open the gates at 4:00pm for riders and spectators to roll in and setup camp for a night before the day that was. We’re stoked with the far and wide support for these events, with riders rolling in from as far up as North Queensland and down to Victoria.
A gorgeous sunset settled over the venue as the South East Queensland Rural Fire Brigade fired up the burners for a gourmet BBQ fundraiser for the local station. Some riders took the opportunity to sign on early as tents went up and bikes rolled out of transport rigs all over the venue.
As the lights lit up the last minute prep was going down, while the lucky punters who prepped early took the opportunity to stand around, soak up the venue and shoot-the-breeze. We couldn’t have arranged it better as a light drizzle settled in overnight and ended up keeping a lid on the dust for most of the morning.
Sunny skies with a scattered cloud welcomed the Saturday morning, what a relief! Campers woke to the slow and steady pace of hot air balloons blowing by in the distance, what a contrast their pace and grace would end up being to the rest of the day.
After that it was go time for the rest of the event. Sign on was open, breakfast was on and final bikes were being unloaded as the remaining riders rolled in early for a full day of dust. On schedule (can you believe it?) the riders briefing was done and the entrants readied themselves to hit the tracks as the first of the days spectators began to arrive.
With 3 tracks on offer and 4 rider classes it was the ‘Risky Road Bikes’ who drew the short straw and had to cool their heels for the first session of the mornings rotation. Meanwhile, the ‘Clutchless Scooters & Posties’ class, ‘Old Mates’ class of pre 90’s bikes and the ‘Enduro & MX’ class didn’t take long to warm up to the action on all 3 tracks. Each class would work their way through a session on each track in the morning, until the lunchtime break let engines cool before doing it all again in the afternoon!
“The Middle Child” natural terrain grass track was the unassuming course that surprised many at the event. It’s reasonably flat layout with some on and off camber corners was a ripe mix of tight turns, small berms and short straights. With inside and outside lines on most corners it was a hive of passing action and suited the more nimble bikes who had a field day cleaning up some of the bigger bikes all day.
“Dad’s a Drag Queen” was the affectionate name for the uphill grass track drags. A special track developed only for Dust Hustle 4, this was the first ever Motorcycling Australia approved drag track in Australia! After so much work to get this track across the line for the event it was epic to finally see it in action. We can assure you that when the flag dropped, the big talking stopped as riders blasted their way up the grassy incline to the finish.
Overlooking the venue with the ‘selfie popular’ Hollywood sign was the “Hollywood Hillbilly” groomed dirt long track. Covering the sweeping hills it featured some big corners, long straights and a few tight sections to test the brakes. QVMX even left in a few ‘humps’ just to get the riders excited and keep them on their toes.
Even if you missed the rider briefing at the beginning of the day you couldn’t mistake that even though this is an amateur event, there were a few notable riders putting down some incredible pace. A few special guests were kind enough to come along and join in on the event, proving that even pro racers like to have some laid back fun on their bikes still!
Dakar, Finke and general desert racing legend Toby Price rolled up and was ready to race on his KTM’s after coming back from a broken leg. Although you wouldn’t know he still wasn’t 100% given the pace at which he blew past everyone else on the track. An extra treat for the rally fans, Toby took a break from his KTM 500EXC, donned his infamous Panda suit and rolled out his KTM rally bike as well! There aren’t many other local events where any local legend can enter to ride with the Dakar legend on his rally bike, how good!
Now a Dust Hustle veteran, American AMA flat track pro and multiple Australian state and national dirt track champion Mick Kirkness wasn’t missing out on the action even if it wasn’t on a surface as smooth as he’s used too. Riding a handful of bikes for legendary sponsors the Young Henrys during the day, he showed it wasn’t only the smooth stuff he was a gun at and slide his way around all day long.
New to the action, Enduro X National Champion and Junior & Youth Moto-Trials National Champion Ruben Chadwick came along to get involved. Known to feature in the Cross Training Enduro Skills videos teaching us average Joe’s how to ride, he left the modern bikes at home and opted for a more inappropriate vintage Bultaco flat track bike without front brakes that he rolled out of his dad’s shed! Sliding through corners with one hand off to give a thumbs up, yeah he can definitely ride a bike!
We’re not even at the lunchtime demos yet, let alone an afternoon of action, accidents and amusing outfits to cover! PLUS the unveiling of the Ellaspede SR400 custom kits! Catch us back here shortly for Part 2 of the action from Dust Hustle 4.
As always, this inappropriate dirt flirt event wouldn’t be possible without the support of our epic sponsors. Please thank Bell Helmets | Young Henrys | Sailor Jerry | Fonzie Abbott Espresso | Brisbane Motorcycle Towing | Skullcandy | Shannons Insurance | Iron & Resin Garage | BMW Motorrad | Ride Till Dead | Motul | Scooter Style Noosa | Miss Moto | Cutgrafix | Death Collective | Draggin Jeans | Shinko Tyres | MXstore.com.au | Transcale | Loadscan | Pro Wake | Traction | Scoller & Co