This year’s Nth Island 1600 event was on 9 October, so on Friday 8th I got away around 0830 and headed up to Turangi, arriving just before midday to check in to the cabin, then meet up with the others and set up at ride HQ.
Covid had affected us this year, with Auckland in lockdown, as well as Hamilton and the lockdown boundaries had been expanded a couple of times during the week, causing us to create three alternative routes for each event (NI1600 & NI800), with us having to resort to having to use the third options on the weekend.
I had had printer issues the week before, whereby I had commenced printing the Rider Guides (printing 10 of each) when it ran out of yellow toner, so I changed that, only discover that it also wanted two drums changed …only to discover that they were locked-up in Auckland and might take a week or more to come!! So it was quite fortuitous to not have printed a dozen NI16 ones and 70+ NI8 ones, since those routes were no longer being used!! All this led to a major overhaul of what and how we released the routes to the riders.
Covid had also locked up some of our volunteers, so Friday I found myself assisting with scrutineering, as well as taking a few photos before the early route reveal at 1730.
Saturday morning was an earlyish start for me to help with breakfast, then fart around waiting for the 800 start, then finally get away at 1300 on our ride …and that’s about all I have to say about that!! Well, I could mention that we scooted over the Desert Road, then got on the Gentle Annie to head to the first checkpoint at the Springvale Suspension Bridge (115 km from the start), but I only made it 100 km and have very little recollection of it!!
The recollections I do have were somewhat like snapshots amounting to:
*Sigh* ….the chopper ride was reminiscent of the Air Force days, but nothing too exciting while they took me to Whanganui Hospital, where I had plenty of tests/scans, Ann turned up later on and I was kept there until Tuesday because it turned out that I had been out for 5 mins, cracked a rib and lacerated a kidney ….and so began a bit of a long haul.
They were considering sending me to Palm Nth for an op’ on the kidney, but Ann said, “No, if he is to be moved, he needs to be sent to Wgtn, because I have whanau support here and we live there, but we have no support in Palmy!” They weren’t too keen on that, but must have contacted Wgtn, because they advised that the scans weren’t too bad and to monitor me for 48 hrs. At that stage I was pissing blood, but that cleared up that night and things did settle down, so we stayed put.
I wasn’t released until mid-afternoon on Tuesday, then Ann drove us back to Wgtn, where I needed to take the rest of the week off, then it just so happened that we had leave planned for the following week, to go for a trip to Hanmer Springs and Christchurch, so that was quite fortunate as it gave me a full two weeks off to recuperate …and there’s not much to do in Hanmer!
We spent a couple of days soaking in the hot pools and the rest of the time was pretty laid-back, one could argue that it was just what the doctor ordered and it was during this time that I noticed there were a few after affects from the concussion. As a young chap, I had been knocked-out three times when playing rugby and league, with no noticeable after affects, but on this occasion, I had gone to log-in to the bank and a couple of other sites that I use all the time, but found I had forgotten the passwords!! This was a bit disconcerting and there were a few other minor things that I struggled with. Nothing major, but a bit of a nuisance as well as a bit of a wake-up call!
I eventually got back to work and into the groove (if you can call working three mornings a week ‘the groove’) I had received a message, advising the Accident Report No. from the Police lady that attended the scene and eventually discovered that that the bike had been retrieved to Napier and was being written off! One would expect that a 2010 bike with 150,000 km wouldn’t be worth much anyway and hence a no brainer, but this bike had a few farkles, like Nitron Rear shock and front shocks reworked with Racetech stuff, a Rider Seat, Radguard over the radiator, heated grips, stebel horn, Honda Topbox with wing/hi-stop light and tip-over bars, so the value was set at $8K ….and although it didn’t look that bad, the damage obviously exceeded that!
I should probably note that on two occasions in recent months, on 17/06/21, then 11/09/21, the tip-over bars have earned their keep, because on both days, I had a car (in town), then a ute (on a country road), didn’t see me coming and turned in front me and had been extremely lucky to:
Anyway, at this stage I was still very much in the dark as to what had happened because I didn’t know the lady’s name, hadn’t been contacted by the Police Lady, as she was on leave and still didn’t have my gear back from the bike, but that was to change.
The Police Lady rang me, giving me a brief run down on the events, which left me even more confused, and when I asked if she could tell me who the other lady was, she offered to contact her and see if she wanted to ring me. She followed that up with an email with a few pictures and a map, noting where the accident occurred.
Police photos of bike and looking back from where the bike ended up.
Next thing the other lady rang and we had a good chat which was most enlightening. I knew she had approached from the other direction, but not if she witnessed the accident or got there just after, but it turned out that she saw me come around the corner, supposedly on her side of the road, so she paused, I went around her, then she witnessed me going off the road, coming back on the road, then the wheels just going each their own way, so she came back to check. She advised that, I didn't appear to be breathing, so she checked for a pulse, which was very faint, then while considering how to get my helmet off to potentially do CPR, apparently I gasped, then came to! I thanked her for everything she had done, including taking the photos, at which time she advised that I had been taking photos too???!! I had absolutely no recollection of that, or seeing her vehicle on the road!
This was all most confusing because I’m not generally one to ‘cross the line’, which made me wonder if her perception was wrong, or perhaps something happened before I came into view and I still had no idea of what speed I was doing? She followed up the call with a text containing the pictures she took.
Witness photos: Where bike has dug in to bounce; From Corner looking down to where accident happened; from corner looking to where I came from; Road condition and where bike had been off-road; Damage to top-box; Damage to screen; Damage to helmet; Poor baby!!
A week or two later, I finally got a big, heavy box from Mr Star Insurance which had all my personal gear off the bike (including my bananas for sustenance on the ride!!), as well as the GPS mount and cabling from the bike and the Sena Unit from the trashed helmet. (I remember looking at the helmet and noting that it had scars on both sides and the top …so the head must have been bouncing around a bit?!) Anyway, the first thing I did was grab the camera and check (nothing special there), then I hooked the GPS up to the laptop to discover I had been doing 100kph, entering the corner at just under that, then (24mtrs later) at 85kph, then kept scrubbing speed (18mtrs later) to 64kph, (17mtrs later) to 61kph, (13mtrs later) to 47kph, (12mtrs later) to 42kph and finally (9mtrs later) reaching 33kph before ceasing motion.
GPS data entering corner to end; and showing variation between actual track and where the road shows ….so no, 1st one doesn’t show me cutting the corner.
The GPS software and track don’t drill down enough to identify if/when I was across the line or off the road, but looking at the photos and streetview, it would seem highly unlikely that I had crossed the line, because the streetview and pix note a semi-blind, easy right hander, on which excessive pace would tend to push me off the road, rather than cutting the corner, …and the liberal coating of mud on the centreline would have really discouraged any transgression!? The continual scrubbing of speed doesn’t indicate any panic-type braking, and the fact that I went off the road sort of indicates that perhaps I got onto some mud and just held my line to take to the grass, rather than correct and risk losing it. The speed continued to scrub when off the road, and it is surprising that I made it back onto the road, but it’s not surprising that I then lost it because I had to re-enter via the crap. However, the amount of damage done to the bike and myself, is most surprising at the speed of 33kph!!??
Pictures that ‘somebody’ took with my camera
Basically, with all the information gleaned from the various sources, I’m no better off with regards actually knowing what happened and why, but the outcomes are this!
Throughout my life, particularly when in the RNZAF, I moved about frequently, so it wasn’t uncommon to adopt new pastimes when I moved to different environments, or as the kids grew older and their requirements changed. Examples of this would be: I did quite a lot of gliding as a teenager and into my early twenties until I got married, I rode trail bikes in my late teens and early twenties, then did a lot of windsurfing and Sailing in my late twenties and thirties, I gave up rugby and took up squash, then gave that up after wrecking my back in a bike accident. Hence I figure, not really a big deal to give up the bike again, as something else will probably come up ….and my Credit Card bills seem to have miraculously halved over the last couple of months!!
…..But man, I really have enjoyed my riding!!! I got back into riding on an Intruder in 2005 and did my first Grand Challenge on it. That led to trading up to the first of three, built-for-purpose ST1300’s and I did six Grand Challenges (1,000 milers), plus a Southern Cross and Mini’s Return with the Rustys, then another eleven 1600’s when riding as part of the NZ Distance Riders, plus seven Nth Island 800’s. Since 2007 I’ve done fourteen 1,000Km rides, seven TT2,000’s (one Gold which included a 1,550 km Saturday and a 1,350 km Sunday, plus one completed within 24hrs) and a multitude of unrecorded 1,000 km day rides when doing conditioning, or just riding, and four of the 1,000 milers exceeded 2,000 km. It’s also led to meeting a lot of great people via Kiwibiker, then NZ Distance Riders, as well as via the Ulysses Club, which I joined in 2005 and have had some great rides and times there, in particular, the Muscular Dystrophy rides, for which the C1KC/1KC (1,000 km rides) are the fundraisers to buy Christmas presents for the children to be visited.
Although I don’t plan to ride again, I’m not planning on leaving the Ulysses Club, or NZ Distance Riders, so I will continue to be involved with things biking.
And lastly, here's the Trade-me pix of the bike:
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.