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Author and adventurer Geoff Hill is off on his latest big bike adventure with fellow writer Colin O’Carroll: 15,000 miles around Australia.
Geoff, who’s already ridden from Delhi to Belfast and Chile to Alaska for the best-selling books Way to Go and The Road to Gobblers Knob, is facing his mightiest challenge yet: the wombats of Oz.
Sponsors Adelaide Insurance, whose MD Sam Geddis came with the idea of starting and finishing the epic trip in Adelaide, will officially launch the epic trip, titled The Adelaide to Adelaide Adventure: around Australia on a Triumph, at the February 12-14 Adelaide Motorcycle Festival in Belfast.
Leaving a few days later with Sam Geddis, who fell in love with the idea of the adventure so much that he’s joining it for the first two weeks, Geoff and Colin will circumnavigate Australia using the legendary Highway One before the road is decommissioned, taking 10-12 weeks to cover the 15,000 miles.
Highway One came into being with the Federation of Australia on New Year’s Day 1901, and is due to be decommissioned, in the same way as Route 66 was, in 2010.
The longest national highway in the world, it covers practically every major inhabited part of Australia.
It includes large capital cities, busy holiday resorts, dramatic coastlines, forests ranging from tropical through to temperate gum forests and giant karri stands. Scrubland, deserts and huge tropical swamps are some of the variety of landscapes en route.
Ironically, since the road is just about to cease to exist, in recent years it’s become a journey imbued with romance in the same way as Route 66.
Since Geoff has only been to Perth before, and since Colin was born in Northern Ireland and grew up in Australia wrestling sharks, snogging kangaroos and riding dirt bikes, the series and book will be written from two contrasting and equally entertaining viewpoints: Geoff as a relative first-timer and Colin revisiting the land of his lost youth, which is the subject of his own book, Belfast Boomerang, to be published by Blackstaff Press in 2011.
“It’s the wombats that worry me most,” said Geoff. “Apparently they go to sleep in the middle of the road because it’s nice and warm, so if you’re stupid enough to ride at night, you hit this furry speed bump.
“They’re saved by a layer of cartilage on their back which protects them from dingo attacks, but you end up down the road in a heap of wreckage.”
Geoff’s first travel book, Way to Go, on two great motorcycle journeys — from Delhi to Belfast on a Royal Enfield and Route 66 on a Harley — was published in April 2005, was the Mail on Sunday’s book of the week, was nominated for UK travel book of the year and has been reprinted six times.
The sequel, The Road to Gobblers Knob, on a ride from Chile to Alaska along the 16,500 miles of the Pan-American Highway with former Isle of Man TT winner Clifford Paterson in Spring 2006, was published in Spring 2007 and went straight to number seven in the paperback best sellers list.
His next book, Anyway, Where Was I? Geoff Hill’s alternative A-Z of the world, was published in September 2008 and also went straight into Waterstone’s best sellers list.
Adelaide Insurance are backing the trip with the help of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and Plantec.
Triumph are providing Tiger 1050 bikes and clothing, and Etihad are flying the team out, including broadcaster Matt Curry and his film crew from Bluebird Productions, who are producing the documentary and DVD.
The trip, which will feature in the Mirror, Sunday Telegraph, Irish Times and IAM Magazine and have its own website, www.adelaideadventures.com, will result in a TV documentary, DVD and book, which will be published in October 2010 by Blackstaff Press, provisionally titled Oz: Geoff and Colin’s outrageous Antipodean adventure.