EVERY NOW and then you can get lucky enough to run into one of those blokes who ya know will always leave an impression on ya. Fish was one of them. He was involved with motorcycle rider training years ago and also organised the bikes for the local drag racing club, non-Jap class of course. He loved his bikes and mixed with people from all walks of life.
Unfortunately, a few years ago, he was killed when he hit a camel riding his Shovel back into Alice Springs from Ross River.
Every year since then there has been a Memorial Ride for Fish held out at Ross River Homestead campground (fondly called the Bush Pig Bar) 80 km from Alice Springs.
This year we were in Alice for the Bullseye Run and joined in on Fish’s Run.
We met at the Red Centre Resort but as usual were running late so had to catch up to the rest of the pack who had already left. It was unreal the way the cars waved us around them so the 50 or so bikes could catch up to the rest of the group. I think we rode half the way on the other side of the road.
There was refreshment stop half way out where a couple of coldies went down well—after all we’d ridden all of 40 km without a beer… unheard of in the Territory!
Next it was a short ride to Fish’s Memorial for a remembrance service where the names of other bikers who died were read out and a minute’s silence taken.
Now Fish’s Memorial is a one-of-a-kind, I reckon. It has his old Shovel mounted on top of a rock and a brass plaque attached; but just to top it of, it has a burn-out pad attached! I remember one of his bikes had a sticker on it, ‘Real men smoke rubber’, and today was no different as bikes began doing burn-outs next to his memorial.
It was then only a couple of km to the campground to pitch the tent and settle in for the rest of the day.
Somehow I managed to get bailed up at the bar and couldn’t seem to get away to join in on the events but from what I hear the slow race wasn’t. They had the sausage suck going on and some bloke decided to chuck his bike in the dirt! Was that really part of the show, Terry? Dunno if there was a trophy for that or not!
There was also a bike show, although most of the bikes were dustier than at most bike shows—to get into the place there is a couple of km of dirt road, not to mention the sandy river bed we rode through.
The takings from the gate went towards buying a computer for the kid’s ward in the Alice Springs Hospital, and from what I hear, I think they may have made enough to buy two.
There was also a lucky door prize. Not sure what it was this year but the year before it was a red XF Falcon door…
As the sun went down the band fired up and the beers just seemed to get tastier.
However it soon became harder to get a drink as the bikes started to line up with their front wheel against the bar spraying rubber and smoke through the crowd keeping everyone amused; even had a dual burn-out going side by side at one stage!
Anyhow, not sure what happened next but I woke up in my swag ready for the recovery party back in town at Bojangles Saloon and the ride through the pub.
Special thanks to the Gill Family, Bee’s, Poodge and Mingo for putting on a top show and what a great way to remember a great bloke.
story By Des