September 19, 2005 Yamaha launched its 700cc fuel injected Yamaha YFM700R Raptor two months ago and as part of the promotional activities for the potent new All Terrain Vehicle, it backed two Australian adventurers in a trans-Australian crossing on a pair of new machines. Matt Brown and Ross Ledger left Byron Bay Lighthouse, the eastern-most point of Australia and spent two weeks crossing Australia before arriving in Steep Point, WA earlier this month. The achievement will gain them entry to the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest trip ever completed on an ATV.
Technically, the new world record longest ever ATV ride has now been set by Matt Brown at 5710 kilometres. Ross Ledger rode 5526 kilometres with Matt to allow him to achieve the world record.
Both Raptors were unmodified except for fitment of Kenda tyres and RTA requirements. Brown’s Raptor was run in on the first leg of the adventure and never missed a beat across the entire 5000km plus trip. Ledger’s unit suffered a crash in pre-event testing and was repaired prior to the trip. This machine twice crashed through trees and its oil reservoir was split open but it still managed to finish the entire trip. The pair raised more than $10,000 for charity through their adventure, with their machines tackling some of the harshest terrain in the world, including the Stony, Simpson and Gibson deserts. Between the pair they travelled more then 10,000km and only suffered one flat tyre on the whole trip.
“The toughest day from Birdsville to Dalhousie Springs in a day and a quarter. It’s not that far – around 450 kilometres – but their were sandstorms most of the day and the temperature was over 40 degrees and the Ford F250 could only do 40kmh because the terrain was so rough so we were constantly waiting for the support crew.”
“The deserts were harsh, but of the toughest parts of the trip was organising the necessary permits to ride the ATVs along the planned route,” adds Brown.
The ATVs were conditionally registered in New South Wales, which formed the basis for obtaining the permits.
Each state and many councils had their own specific regulations to obtain the permits. New South Wales and Northern Territory limited the speed of the ATVs to 50Km per hour regardless of the roads signposted speed limit. New South Wales required escort vehicles front and rear of the ATVs while all other states only required one escort vehicle. Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia required the escort vehicle to travel behind the ATVs while South Australia required the escort vehicle in front of the ATVs.
As part of the approvals the ATVs had to be set up with indicators, mirrors, brake lights, headlight and tail lights as well as a flashing yellow light. The escort vehicle was also required to be fitted with a yellow flashing light as well as signs warning other motorists that the ATVs were using the road.
As far as the Yamaha Raptor 700 goes, there can probably be no finer testimonial than that of the person who took the record. Not so much that he took the record, but that the bike belonged to Yamaha and at the end of the quest, he had the chance to give it back and buy a new one, even though he already owned a 660 previous model raptor.
"The Raptor performed without incident for the entire trip, from straight out of the box, all the way across Australia" said Matt. "It did so with us checking oil and water and pouring in petrol. We did no setup before riding 5710km of the worst possible terrain."
"And it's still running so well, I bought it from Yamaha."
"It's bloody sensational and I can assure you, that's no bullshit."