It’s that time of year again and I’m not ashamed to say it, it’s up there with Christmas Day.
Bathurst Road Trip time!
Although it feels a little different this year, with it being the first time in my racing career that the Bathurst 1000 has headlined the Supercars Endurance Season. Previous years have seen Sandown act as an ice-breaker, allowing both Teams and Co-Driver pairings to settle into a rhythm. Not this year, straight into tackling undoubtedly the TOUGHEST race track (physically and mentally) on the Supercars calendar. Mount Panorama.
Bring it on.
Each year we hit the road with our caravan and make a slow and steady trip from Brisbane to Bathurst. We generally take a week to ten days, that’s for a couple of reasons. For me, it’s really important to prepare both physically but also mentally for such a big event. A usual day is training until lunchtime, resistance work and a lot riding which means we can also see the local region. After lunch it’s usually chilling out, going for a swim and making sure we are sorted for dinner… if the fish aren’t biting that evening.
But it’s also to make sure we get there safely knowing it’s a big week ahead. It’s just over 1000km from Brisbane to Bathurst and while The Great Race is 1000km and I reach speeds approaching 300km/hr down Conrod Straight, I’m not willing to risk my safety or others on the road by taking risks and rushing to get there.
Each year it is school holidays. Which means peak time on our roads with plenty of families taking the same opportunity to head away on a road trip for a break. Plenty of traffic, caravans, trailers, cars with families.
Which is why it makes it even more important to undertake a few easy checks prior to departing.
Firstly, check your tyres on both your car and trailer if you are towing. Often trailers are sitting around for long periods of time unused, so pay special attention to these.
It’s a quick check, but think of the big three –
Tread depth – have a good look over the tyre, looking out for any irregularities. When your tyres are low on tread, you’ll see small blocks in the groove which indicate it’s time to replace. As a back up, the minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm between the base of the groove and the contact patch.
Pressures – a big mistake here is setting them when the tyres are warm. Same as with a Supercar, tyre pressure comes up with heat. So be sure to check them cold or early on your trip.
And always be sure to set your pressure to the Manufacturer’s specification, which is listed on the tyre sidewall.
Side wall – the main things to keep an eye out for are cracks, bulges or any damage to the side of the tyre. This one is particularly important if you are towing as it places extra load on the tyres, which can magnify any structural weaknesses.
Again, if you are in doubt call into your local Tyrepower store. They are always happy and willing to give you a hand or advice.
And don’t forget to take regular breaks on your drive. This also serves as an opportunity to give your vehicle a once over before you get back on the road.
Drive safe and keep smiling