Ten of us (including 4 riders new to the group) met up at Ashhurst and after waiting around for any possible stragglers we got underway by taking on the Saddle.
Taking on the Saddle is an apt description - the road is in a mess with all the road works on it at the moment. Half-way up there is quite a messy section of gravel with plenty of big chunky rocks in the mix - this wasn't supposed to be an adventure ride! Looking forward to when the roadworks are completed...
Dropping down the other side we made our way through to Dannevirke and then up to SH50 where we stopped for a quick regroup.
Next up was a good ride over 50 before stopping at Maraekakaho for lunch. By now things were getting pretty hot and when we rode into Omahu for fuel some of the guys with temperature gauges were claiming high twenties.
Leaving Hastings we puttered over to Fernhill and then turned off onto the Napier-Taihape to go check out Annie. The road starts off with great, fast and flowing curves before deteriorating a bit into a bumpy, winding road with plenty of road works and new seal. At Kurapapango it was time for another stop and check to see if everybody was still having fun.
|You know who doing you know what...|
I was leading the ride at this stage and on our way into Taihape we noticed an ambulance heading out. Both Terry and I had that oh-oh feeling but felt pretty sure that it can't be one of our guys. We got to the gas station and ordered coffee and sat to wait for the rest of the crew.
We were joined by a couple of others (and one rode past, missing us) but we were still missing 5 others. When they still hadn't arrived after our drinks were finished we knew something untoward was up and mounted up to go and investigate.
On the way out of town we had a bit of fun playing with two beautifully sounding Ferrari's who let us past and then tried to keep up. A snarling 430 Scudera (sp) sounds quite nice when the driver is using the box...
About 20km out of Taihape we finally came across the accident and it was sad to see one of the newer guys sitting in the ambulance with a banged up elbow. He had gone straight ahead on a pretty easy right hander, got into the gravel and lost it. Luckily he picked a corner with a lot of run off and had nothing to hit except the ground as he came to a stop. The poor Viffer took a bit of damage on it's side though. Even luckier, the first car to stop was being driven by a nurse who was fantastic and we were even able to use her ute to get the bike into a shed on her farm.
|Nice spot for a stop though...|
A very disappointing event on what was otherwise a great ride but great to get the help from the nurse and again hats off to the great service from the ambulance - they were there (middle of nowhere) very quickly.
Following this incident the rest of us split up to go our separate ways and Colin and I carried on home via SH1 and then Vinegar Hill. We did get a bit more excitement on Vinegar Hill in the form of a cow in the drain and then an idiot in a 4WD (towing a trailer) who insisted on crossing the centre line by a good margin on every blind right-hander - I was well pleased to finally get past him before we had another accident happy right in front of us!
So, not the perfect ride it could have been but at least no serious injury to the rider. I'm looking forward to not having anything like this being repeated on any other BRRBT rides...
More pics here.