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Aussie Scott Britnell- The fastest man across Australia | COLUMNS | GASSIT GARAGE

There’s no doubt about it – Aussie Scott Britnell can ride rougher for longer.

Sure, Rocky Robinson may have flashed across Bonneville Salt Flats at over 600km/h. However, all Rocky had to do was hang on to his bike for less time than it takes to down a beer. And Rusty Vaughn may well have covered over 3000km in 24 hours. But he was on auto pilot: round and round and round the smooth, banked Continental Tyre Test Track.

But here in the land down under, where women glow and men plunder, 40-year-old iron man Scott Britnell rode a 200kg plus beastie from Birdsville to Mount Dare in less than nine hours. And that was the very day after Britnell rode from Cape Byron to Birdsville in 19 hours. Then, the day after the Simpson crossing, he rode the 820 very lonely kilometres along the old Gunbarrel Highway before hooking north around the Freycinet Estuary.

Three monumental days – Cape Byron to Steep Point in 72 hours and 10 minutes. “I like the isolation” said Britnell “It adds to the dynamic.” We’re not sure exactly what dynamic Britnell is referring to, but riding the QAA line across Big Red after dark with a bung headlight sounds very dynamic to us.

Having slashed over 20 hours off the previous east-west transcontinental record, Britnell turned around to ride back to Byron Bay. He completed the 11,000km double crossing of Australia in little more than a week.

Then, for a reprise, Britnell took on the longest, most isolated track on the face of the earth: the Canning Stock Route (CSR). Almost 800km of great amounts of bugger all except sand dunes, spinifex and saltpans, with but a single remote Aboriginal community along the way. In a region where rain is a rarity, a huge dump saw Britnell riding in axle-deep floodwaters for over 200km, the extra lighting he’d installed after his transcontinental crossing proving absolutely useless in the downpour. Then it got dark, and the geographical challenges became almost insurmountable.

On reaching his resupply dump at dawn he found his water supply contaminated by fuel. He also detected signs of hypothermia and knew he may never draw another breath if he let fatigue get the better of him. Pressing on he reached the Kunawarritji store and had his first proper meal in almost two days: a microwaved pie and a hot coffee. By then he knew he’d won. He’d be riding directly into the sun but at least the sun was shining. It was still a rough bush track, but a track well defined by community traffic, all the way to Billiluna.

“It’s an undertaking that has pushed me to new limits” said Britnell. “72 hours clean across the country has nothing to match the challenge of the CSR. A hell of a ride.” There not being any record, Britnell has now set one at 48 hours. It’s a record that’s unlikely to be challenged as most veteran adventure riders reckon five days is a tough ask.

Britnell now has his eye on multiple non-stop crossings of the Simpson Desert, but these are no acts of indiscriminate masochism. Britnell has a plan. Like many of our elite dirtshifters he wants to ride the Dakar. Problem is that after a life defending democracy in the ADF, where (if you get my drift) he became highly acclimatised to dangerous, inhospitable conditions, Britnell has no competition CV and he’s hoping that by achieving some highly improbable feats his Dakar entry will be accepted for 2017. Getting the coin together is his next “impossible” challenge.

WORDS-  PETER WHITAKER , Images-Chris Beer – Billiluna