Penny Wells' tips on tackling the Herne Spur Track
As I gazed over my bonnet looking up at the foreboding Herne Spur Track, I still had the comments ringing in my ears of another passing four wheel driver telling me no less than a month ago some unfortunate people had rolled their vehicle and camper trailer on this very track!
This track is situated between Wonnangatta and Eaglevale in the stunning Victorian High Country. Driving in from the Wonnangatta end is beautiful and full of history with the murders that were never solved here decades ago. There are still ruins of the old homestead that you can visit. The Herne spur track is not for the faint hearted and I would probably recommend taking the Wombat Range Track as an alternative if you are towing any sort of camper trailer.
This mountainous track is about 3km long with the steepest section about 1km long, every 100 metres or so the track also has huge erosion mounds to negotiate.
When you find yourself in this kind of scenario it’s a point in time where everything must come together, driver skill, appropriate tyres and throttle control. If anyone of these is out of sync the risk of sliding backwards and jack-knifing the camper trailer is all but inevitable.
This is not road tyre territory and I wouldn’t venture here in anything less than my Mickey Thompson ATZP3’s. An aggressively lugged tyre is what you need when the country is so steep that you slip over just trying to walk up the gradient.
Tyre pressure plays an extremely important role in this loose steep country. A reduced pressure rate will increase the foot print of the tyre and allows the tyre to mould over the rocks rather than bouncing off them. Although the pressure would vary on your tyre size, vehicle weight etc. I found 20 PSI worked perfectly on my Landcruiser fitted with 305/70R16 ATZP3’s.
From here it’s all down to throttle control and knowing engine torque range, holding the rev’s within that without causing excessive wheel spin.
As you rapidly rise by 600 metres in elevation on this track you really don’t get much of a chance to enjoy the view as all I could see was bonnet and sky. The intersection of Wombat Range Track is a welcome sight as this signals the end of an epic climb. And it’s at this point that I pull over and get the thermos out, pour a stiff cup of tea to bring my heart rate down and plan the next leg of my journey.
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