IFMR Belton S.A. weekend

IFMR Belton S.A. weekend

A couple of months ago I had an email from Tony Moyle inviting me along to an IFMR dirt bike weekend at Belton.

We would be staying at Bryant Chivell’s property for a couple of nights and exploring some of the sights and tracks within a 40 km radius of Belton. Having been a member of the IFMR for only a short time this seemed like a good idea to meet a few members. Belton is 350kms north of Adelaide SA and 30kms NE of Carrieton. Byrant had a choice of caravan or shed to sleep in. The only other buildings in Belton consist of an old stone house in the process of falling down.

This sounded like it would be a fun weekend.

We arranged to meet up in Orroroo around 4.00pm on the Friday, so I knocked off from work lunchtime, loaded up the bike on a trailer, along with a few necessaries like food and alcohol, and headed off.

I arrived in Orroroo a bit after 4.00pm and found the others had arrived only a few minutes before. The crew consisted of myself, Bryant, Paul Martin and Tony Moyle. Paul and myself had our bikes on trailers, Bryant had trailered his upto Belton but ridden down to Orroroo to meet us. Tony was the only one who rode all the way. We had some afternoon tea, stocked up with beer and headed off.

 On arrival in Belton we offloaded the bikes, arranged who was sleeping where and then were taken on a guided tour of Belton by Mayor Bryant in the Belton taxi. After that we settled down with a couple of drinks, lit the camp fire, cooked up some marinated kangaroo I bought along for dinner and finished of the night sitting around the campfire with a few drinks watching the flames die down.

We awoke Saturday morning to a clear blue sky with just a slight breeze, the perfect day for a ride. First up was a ride to the abandoned Prince Alfred copper mine. This was only 20k’s away but the track deteriorated as we got closer to the mine and eventually, after  dodging cows and horses, turned into a bit of a goat track, with us crawling along in first gear  dodging the rocks and gutters on the track. But it turned out to be a well worthwhile visit as there is  still the remains of a large stone building, chimney and a few smaller outbuildings, along with a few  mine shafts. After having a good look around and deciding it must have been a hard life working in  mines in the 19th  century, we headed back to Belton for some air in one of the bike tyres and to  find an ocky strap to help hold my tank bag on, the Velcro just wasn’t up to the task of staying on  with some of the bumps I was hitting.

Then it was back on the bikes to make our way to Cradock for lunch. This entailed riding over another goat track to get over a low range of  hills then down onto the plains. We had a photo stop in a creek on the way and another stop at  an old ruin where we disturbed some reptiles just coming out of hibernation. I tried to get Tony to  pick a big snake up for a photo shot, as he was well protected with all his bike gear on, but he  declined saying it might upset the snake.

 Then onward to Cradock accompanied along one stretch of   dirt road by 2 kangaroos, and 5 emu’s. It was quite   interesting riding along with them about 10m’s off to our side  at 70 odd kmh.

Our arrival at the Cradock pub was quite an event as I don’t think they were used to such large  numbers of people arriving for lunch, especially when another couple arrived and swelled the number by 50%. From the pub we headed down the bitumen at a great rate of knots for 10 k’s or so before turning off and heading through the Eurilpa Gap and back to Belton.

 After getting the campfire going again I cooked up a Spicy Lamb stew with thyme dumpling and  Bryant cooked up some roast spuds. The evening was then spent emptying another bottle of red  wine while watching the distant lightning. During the night there were a couple of showers of rain but  only enough to settle the dust. Before morning it had stopped but it was still a bit overcast. After  breakfast we headed south down to Johnburgh, another old  town with more ruins than Belton.

After checking out the pub and some of the equipment still  laying  around we met up with a mate of Bryant’s from Pirie, who has a shed there for weekend  stays. We had a coffee with him, during which time one of Bryant’s sons arrived with his daughter  riding pillion.  We then headed off again through the hills to Carrieton for lunch. This was another  quiet pub, once again only one other couple entered while we were there. After lunch was the   conclusion of the weekend. Bryant’s son and Tony headed off home from Carrieton while the remaining  3 of us headed back to Belton via yet another dirt track, accompanied by some light drizzle. Back at  Belton Paul and myself packed up and headed off leaving Bryant to potter around before he headed off  home later.

 I for one am looking forward to doing it all again next year.

Cheers – John Moss “Mossy”