I have no idea what I’m doing. As I reach over and adjust the mirrors on the brand new T100 I catch a glimpse of an ex-superbike world champion riding behind me. He blips the throttle and with a tug of his arms has the nose of the Bonneville pointing towards the sky. In front of me, a seasoned motorcycle journalist and part-time racer weaves from side to side, scraping his pegs at nearly a walking pace.
In between them is me. Bolt upright, hands gripped tight on the bars and riding dead straight. Marlon Slack from Pipeburn – commuter, tourer, sometime weekend scratcher. I’m not a racer. I’m not thinking about stoppies or wheelies or burnouts. What am I thinking? Don’t Drop The Bike.
Tasmania. Home of the Tasmanian Devil, some damn spectacular scenery, and the butt of some pretty unsubtle jokes from the rest of Australia. Americans have quips about “Southerners,” the English make the funnies about the ”Northerners,” and down here we mostly make jokes about Tasmanians. There’s no need to go into detail – you probably get the jist already. But here’s a bike that proves beyond any shadow of a doubt just what these islanders can do. See, they’ve taken a machine that was just about the best the mighty Deutschland could muster and then pushed it a whole lot further than most of us could ever manage. And when I say “they” I really mean the rather talented Nicholas Damen and his rather amazing Bee Emm brat.