Cobbold Gorge to Mareeba

Early this morning we made a few changes with duct tape to the air intake on Mawson hoping to duct air from forward into the air box instead of the dusty air it has been sucking from the rear wheel well.

Leaving Cobbold, Donnie wanted to check out a small track to a “quartz blowout” that he had passed on previous trips that had a more tight schedule. Mawson was running terribly. I decided to remove the air filter sock that I had oiled and placed over the filter.

Red dust roads just out of Cobbold Gorge

Red dust roads just out of Cobbold Gorge

The bike seemed to be running ridiculously rich from all the restriction to air flow from the large amount of oil I am using on the filter in an attempt to stop the dust harvesting it all and drying the filter out.


Quartz Blowout

Quartz Blowout


Coming into Forsyth

Coming into Forsyth


Only 40km later in Forsyth I check the filter.

40km from Cobbold to Forsyth

40km from Cobbold to Forsyth



Bloody hell, this is a really problem!

Another problem surfaced. My fuel economy was very poor. Poorer that I would have expected given the way I was riding. In fact I recorded my worst ever fuel economy of 8.05L/100km when I filled up at Einsleigh after actually running out and needing to syphon a little out or Donnie’s enormous 45L tank on his KTM 990.

Eisleigh Gorge

Eisleigh Gorge

EscapingTheLyonsDen (35 of 51)

Eisleigh Gorge cut through basalt rock

EscapingTheLyonsDen (36 of 51)

Eisleigh Gorge, signs of the cooling lava


Basalt plat through which the gorge has cut

Basalt plat through which the gorge has cut



I seem to be having a bad run of luck as I also seem to have an issue with my petcock as the tank never fully ran out. I know exactly how much my tank can take and it wasn’t empty. All these issues are starting to become a little frustrating. I like to learn from the issues that come up but its hard to learn when they all come at once.


We rode to Mt Surprise. Barry was not there and had not left a message for us although we did confirm he filled up fuel at the servo there.

I spoke to the owner of the servo and he offered me his shed and compressor to clean my air filters. I jumped at the offer. Thanks.

The ride from Mt Surprise to Almaden was great fun although I did run over the thick part of the tail of a Kangaroo. Yes, it was alive and bouncing. I was certain I was going to hit it in that instant when it jumped out and yet I missed its body by a whisker. It wasn’t even late in the day either. The roo was just sitting in a patch of shade by the road waiting for the hot hours of the day to pass.

Keeping the dust out of my bike has been my primary concern. We have decided to head for Cairns to get a new air filter to eliminate the chance that the filters are damaged and the source of the problem.

I came ridiculously close to being caught out again tonight as we came into Mareeba. I hit reserve at only 229km (I usually get 340km-380km before hitting reserve). Again when I filled up I only got 19.85L in the tank again even though it takes 22.26 (23L on the specifications however I tested it and found it was actually 22.26).


Lots of information. I log every bit of data I can and fuel consumption is a very important part of this. Donnie suspects the bike is running rich so we will pull it apart and put a smaller main jet in the carb tomorrow morning before leaving.

We are camped in Mareeba tonight. Cairns tomorrow.

4 Responses to Cobbold Gorge to Mareeba

  1. Kimon September 4, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    “Life is a box of chocolates” said the guy who just wanted to run… but I agree it is a bit hard to eat them all at once…. sounds like it is tough going … there was a comment some where back that spoke of a way to protect your air filter with some kind of pre filter that was effective and “…as cheap as chips”… have you tried what he was suggesting?

    Chin up and let us know how you work your way out of these “pains in the ass”.

    • Oliver Holmgren September 5, 2013 at 12:59 am #

      Yeah, Sleepy’s idea is a good one. I wanted to first check if it was the actual filter. One ideas was that it had been damaged by cleaning procedures. One idea was the quantity of dust was just too great. We have addressed both of these possibilities. When we tried a skin we ended up with a real shortage of air getting in which lead to a very rich mixture (air to fuel ratio). Its all pretty complicated. I am now back with stock carby setup which I know is closer to the lean side to begin with so skins shouldn’t affect the opperation of the bikes as much now. The quantity of oil on the filter is meant to be minimal and we have returned to the prescribed amount but we have tried oiling the filters more heavily to see if it is a shortage of oil.

      A very long story short, I have a new filter in, the air intake has been redirected and the filter seems to be operating more or less normally now. However the roads and tracks since these changes have not been any where near as bad. Time will tell.
      Progess is being made and no more dust is getting into the engine so I am hoping all will be well.

  2. Kimon September 5, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    Just hoping you get it all sorted before you get in the middle of BLOODY no where rather than just in the middle of no where where you are now 🙂 ….
    Still thinking of when I zoomed through the G-maps after Townsville toward the Cape landscape and it still raises the hairs on the back of my neck – very desolate, (or could it be just my armchair chafing my back side).

    Be interested in understanding the how you are selecting the route!

  3. David Holmgren September 5, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Those gorges remaind me of Windjana Gorge in the Kimberley, the way the river flows across flatish country up to the range and then through the gorge and out into flat country again. In 1973 at Windjana I couldn’t work out how the river could ever cut its was through in the first place. My current understand of such features is that the water course is really ancient before the rock mass was uplifted and the uplift happened slow enough that the rate of erosion of the bedrock to could keep up.

    The basalt close up is just like the basalt here in Hepburn. The cooling produced lots of fracture lines often creating squareish blocks but the spherical onion pattern is a result of chemical weathering that starts along the crack lines but at the intersections rounds off the corners to created the egg shapes of harder unweathered basalt.

Leave a Reply