Wednesday July 20
An easy day today, we have a leisurely breakfast and mount up for the very pleasant 150 odd kilometres to the Bindoon Bakery. Where Blue Knights Australia President Mel Ainsworth has arranged to meet us with a ‘few’ riders – he tells me. The WA countryside coming through here is really lovely, hills, green and a complete contrast from the striking colours of the desert. New Norcia is a pretty place, established as a monastery and now quite a tourist attraction. We don’t have the time to explore but will be back to have a good look one day. The Bakery is beckoning. We arrive before the Blue knights contingent and settle down to good coffee and pastries to await their arrival. Next minute 20 plus bikes roll in, complete with support Ute. We are presented with Blue Knights hats, greeted like long lost brothers and generally made to feel very welcome. Mel, Paul and their merry men are a great bunch. Mel has organised a new rear tyre for me and anything else we want/need.
The WA Commissioner and confirmed motorcyclist Karl O’Callaghan has everything planned out for our arrival so we mount up and head off as one at the appointed time.
We wend our way through the local wine district in the upper reaches of the Swan River and into Perth where we are met with a motorcycle escort. We re-group just around the corner from WA police HQ and proceed in again under escort. As we arrive on the forecourt, the band is playing and Karl is there to greet us with local media. He makes us very welcome in the media room and is obviously quite touched with the baton containing the names of all WA Police officers killed on duty. The gathered people nod in agreement as I talk about the reasons for the wall to wall ride, the baton and how we should never forget those who sacrificed everything for their community. It’s the Australian way and let’s hope it never diminishes. Karl re-affirms those values and has added to the events impetus in WA by his drive to involve sponsors and encourage his police officers to participate. As Chairman of the event this year, I am grateful for his efforts here in WA. I also am very grateful to WAPU President Russell Armstrong for his support for the participants this year, and also for being such a great host to Georg and myself.
As we wind up the formalities, it buckets down and we get a little damp riding to our hotel, once again organised by Russell.
We get picked up in a taxi by Russell and out to dinner with Karl, Greg Italiano and Deputy Commissioner Steve Brown. All are riding to Canberra this year again. My good mate Russell will also be in Canberra, but I can’t convince him to ride all the way – he tells me he will mount up on a pillion seat for the final run to the wall – I will hold him to that. Rex Haw, an old friend now working as media advisor for Karl is there – he won’t be riding, so he is the odd man out.
Only 320 kilometres today, easy!
Thursday July 21
A day off the bike today – supposedly. My back tyre is down to the wear markers and is badly squared off. It had nearly 4K on it before the start of the trip and could get me home at a pinch but I’ve learnt from hard experience, don’t take a chance with tyres on a motorcycle. We’ve been held up with riders who try to eek out every last bit of rubber on a long trip only to get a flat in some remote place. It’s just not worth it. Mel Ainsworth meets me at the hotel, so it’s back on the bike and a ride to “Tyres for bikes” in Victoria Park. We share a coffee and a yarn and the new tyre is on in half an hour then back to the Hotel in Como, just out of Perth.
Mel Ainsworth and the Blue Knights have organised dinner at one of their favourite places. It starts out with only a few, but ends up with about 30 – we take over the restaurant with a lot of good natured banter that tends to happen when motorcyclists get together – Last years party after the wall to wall ride was just like that.
After a great night Georg and I sleep well.