Ténéré Tragics Bay to Bush Run
Catch up on the eighth annual Tenere Tragics Run spanning 2200km over five-days, featuring 70 plus riders. Here’s the official wrap up from Yamaha Australia…
Ténéré fans across Australia were surprised to see the Ténéré 700 World Raid Prototype machine at their annual rally event. The machine appeared with Yamaha Factory Racing Dakar Rally rider Rodney Faggotter on board at the Tragics Welcome Dinner in Hervey Bay, Qld on March 4.
70 riders of all model Ténérés from the original 1983 XT600Z right up to the latest XTZ1200 Super Ténéré were gathered for a group photograph when Faggotter appeared unannounced on the prototype machine. The bike was being filmed in Australia as part of the Ténéré 700 World Raid movie that is taking place with key riders such as Stephan Peterhansel and Adrien van Beveren and in special locations across the globe including Argentina, USA, and Europe. The reaction was universally positive, with many Tragics asking YMA staff to accept their deposits despite the bike being a prototype. Faggotter was also super impressed with the 689cc parallel twin, praising its handling, suspension, and engine in the varied Australian conditions.
“The surprise appearance of Rod and the Ténéré 700 World Raid prototype has to rank as one of the absolute highlights in the eight-year history of the Ténéré Tragics Run,” enthused ride organiser Andrew ‘Captain Tragic’ Clubb. “There is no doubt the Ténéré 700 World Raid is the most keenly awaited Ténéré ever, and to have the prototype here in Australia, at the Ténéré Tragics Run, exclusively, and with Rod in the saddle, is an occasion the Tragics will never, ever forget.”
“Yamaha’s head office team identified what is believed to be the only event of its kind in the world for Ténéré enthusiasts and made the decision to include the Tragics in the World Raid movie series that introduces the Ténéré 700 prototype. I guess you can say this has really put the Ténéré Tragics on the map…” adds YMA Communications Manager Sean Goldhawk. Faggotter rode with the Ténéré Tragic Rally from Hervey Bay to Kingaroy, Qld on day one of the event while being filmed as part of Yamaha’s World Raid initiative. Look out for the Ténéré 700 World Raid movies coming soon…
The event continued on to Dubbo in central NSW, resulting in a 2200km five-day course for the assembled Tragics. While wet weather reared its head through stages of day one and day two – with massive storms near Allora on day two forcing the cancellation of the afternoon’s final stage – conditions improved from there on and the Tragics once again enjoyed a top-shelf Ténéré touring.
Overnight stops on the Run included Kingaroy (Qld), Stanthorpe (Qld), Tamworth (NSW) and historic Gulgong (NSW), with the finale at Dubbo (NSW), where the traditional Farewell Awards dinner was staged at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. With no serious injuries and only a handful of mechanical issues, the 2018 Ténéré Tragics Run was hailed another roaring success, with longtime Tragics John Wheeler (NT) and Mike Haysom (Vic) being recognised as the Most Truly Tragic riders of 2018, the pair collecting awards from Yamaha dirt bike legend Stephen Gall, who once again rode with the Tragics.
Wheeler, who set off from Darwin a week before the event, got 700km into his long ride to Hervey Bay, only to be forced to turn around by the pain of recovering shoulder/arm/wrist injuries following recent surgery. He parked his Ténéré back at home, then flew to Hervey Bay to attend the Welcome dinner, then hastily arranged a lift with ride sponsor Greg Parker from Pro Accessories for the Run, and then another lift after the Run to Adelaide with South Australian Tragic Colin Jay, from where he could fly home to Darwin. Meantime Haysom, who rides a legendary first-model 1983 Yamaha XT600ZL Ténéré, trailered his bike to Dubbo, then set off on his own for Hervey Bay, only to have his classic thumper give up the ghost in the middle of nowhere, around 140km south-west of Toowoomba.
Haysom stashed his bike in the bush off the side of the road, then thumbed a lift that eventually got him all the way to Brisbane, where he stayed with relatives for the night, before borrowing a car to race to Hervey Bay the next day to arrive in time for the welcome dinner. Tragic by name, tragic by nature… Immediately upon his arrival at Hervey Bay, the Tragics ‘family’ clicked top gear and St George Yamaha dealers Phil, Matt and Josh Halpin – who all ride with the Tragics – arranged for a friend to collect Haysom’s stricken bike from the bush, and then transport it to the finish of the Run in Dubbo. Haysom then played a game of planes, trains and automobiles via public transport to get to Dubbo, where local Tragic Col Hayden offered him his XT1200Z Super Ténéré to ride on the final day of the Run, in what was a supreme example of the Ténéré Spirit.