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True blue – Yamaha WR250R | Gassit Garage | Long Term

The time has come to give Yamaha back our trusty trail-breaker, but not before one last adventure

What better way to send off the WR250R than with a retreat to the beautiful Blue Mountains in NSW? After a good six months of blinging the Yamahammer out with performance mods and accessories from Y-Shop, and brushing up on my off-road riding skills, it was time for the final hoorah. It took the form of a proper two-day adventure with a good mate who spends most of his weekends exploring trails around Katoomba. After hours of late night planning and some ale-fuelled debate on the pros and cons of different routes, we decided to start from Mount Tomah for a 500km loop. We set off as glorious sunshine peeked over the sandstone cliffs, and I was sure it would be a trip to remember.

We began with some obligatory tarmac cruising to take the edge off the morning and warm up the big thumpers before entering the Devils Wilderness, around 10km east of Kurrajong. Then it was time to tackle the fire trails that slash their way across the landscape and provide the perfect scratching ground for the WR’s compact and forgiving three-section semi-double-cradle frame. The easy handling and rim combo of a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear shod with Dunlop Enduros was a fine recipe for power sliding, and both of us were grinning ear to ear by the time we reached Mountain Lagoon. The next leg to Colo River was full of steep climbs across lumpy sunbaked clay that gave the long-legged LAMS bike a chance to use every bit of its 300mm ground clearance.

At Kurmond the next morning we topped up the WR’s 13.8L Safari tank to jack it back up to its 400km range. Thanks to the relatively low 11.8:1 compression ratio there’s little risk of detonation, so we made do with 91 octane fuel.

We set off again as cocky as you like and that’s when it happened. We came across some rutted out 4WD tracks filled with thick, soupy red liquid. For the WR it was a chance to flush off some dust and after a bit of splash and wiggle I was through the worst of it. But the same couldn’t be said for my mate’s bright yellow TE610E. It got well and truly bogged before refusing to turn over, and while the first few minutes were peppered with ribbing, it soon became clear that this bike was down for the count. Was it something in the water that caused the split crankcase we were eyeballing, or was it the result of some earlier mischief? We’ll never know, but the Husky’s lack of compression had got the better of us. We made the call to ditch it and return to base camp two-up for reinforcements.

Despite the misadventure, the serene backdrop of sandstone cliffs put things into perspective on the rip home, and we had to be thankful for our good health and the relative ease at which we extracted ourselves from the wild. As a downright dependable trailbike, and part-time adventure rescue vehicle, the WR250R has now won another fan and I daresay he might consider a switch to the winning team if he can’t find the parts to fix his stricken yellow submarine.

Yamaha WR250R

$8299 (+ ORC)

List of modifications:

13.8L Safari tank $571.91

Blue and white bark busters $129.90

GTYR alloy sump guard $189.94

GYTR slip-on muffler $550.18

Carbon look indicators $91.10

Y-Shop Australia

yshop.yamaha-motor.com.au

Dunlop tyres

D907F 90/90-21 $113.95

D606 120/90-18 $119.95

Monza Imports monzaimports.com.au

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By Paul McCann