Speedy brew

February 16th, 2017
Speedy brew
Prancing Pony's head brewer Frank Samson race his motorbike across one of the largest salt lakes in Australia next week at the Dry Race Lake to be held at Lake Gairdner.

Located to the north of the Eyre Peninsula, Lake Gairdner is one of the few places in the world where you can ride flat out for 19 kilometres.

Part of Speed Week it runs from February 27 to March 3, attracting competitors from all over Australia and around the world, with cars and trucks also racing to achieve the highest possible speed.

While it may be his first time on a salt lake, Frank is no stranger to the track, having raced in Europe during his 20s.

Frank said he's always 'been on two wheels'.

“I've been on a bicycle ever since I was three – without training wheels,” he said.

“A lot of my friends were into motorcycles and one day they were being photographed for a magazine and took their bikes out to the racetrack and they said 'come along and have a few laps'.

“I got into racing – it's competitive but you can compete against yourself to improve your skills.”

Hitting the track once again for Speed Week, Frank will race his classic Royal Enfield which he describes as a 'new bike built like a retro.'

“It reminded me of the way we brew – old methods but with new technologies,” Frank said.

“The bike is the same thing, modern technology but it's build like it would have been built 50 years ago.

“Jon supplied it for me – he regularly comes here to the brewery – we'd talk about bikes and he said why don't we take it out for the speed record on the salt lake and that got the ball rolling.”

Originally bought for 'pleasure runs', Frank modified his bike with the help of his friend Jon Guidera, owner at Motorcycle Revolution, a Royal Enfield dealer.

To prepare the bike for racing on the salt lake, crucial fasteners were locked-wired for safety, including taping over the headlights, removing indicators and tightening nuts and bolts, and adding a kill switch.

A Royal Enfield can usually reach around 135km/h, but Frank and Jon are aiming for 160 km/h.

Also Jon's first time at the Dry Lake Race, he will jump on the bike to race which is something he has been wanting to do for years.

“Everyone says they get the salt fever and have to keep going year after year – one gentleman I was speaking with has been 14 times,” Jon said.

“I was joking with Frank, we might have to go up every year from now on, so be prepared for that, but faster and faster of course.”

Frank and Jon will enter in the 650cc MPS-PG category because of the bike's traditional push rod engine, but this category doesn't have an existing Australian record at the moment.

“If the bike runs okay and neither of us fall off then we'll come home with a record,” Jon said.

But Frank isn't too concerned about setting a record and is just looking forward to having a bit of fun.

Corinna Steeb, also a motorbike enthusiast, will be joining her husband and business partner Frank on the trip to Lake Gairdner.

The pair met 30 years ago when they bonded over their shared love for motorbikes.

“I met Corinna at a place where we used to hang out with our friends on motor bikes and she used to go there – we went to the same waterhole basically,” Frank said.

“She was into motorbikes and at the time she had a friend with an old antique bike rusting away in the shed.

“Corinna bought it off him for a few tapes of music and together we restored the old bike.”

Corinna said motorbikes have always been a big part of their lives and she is looking forward to reminiscing about the past.

“I'm looking forward to meeting other crazy people who decided that they're going to put something with an engine on a dry lake,” she said.

“I'm just there for support and hopefully to take some spectacular pictures – the environment out there is amazing.

“We love the outback and it's a good opportunity to do something you enjoy and hang around the camp with other crazy people from around Australia and hear their stories.”

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