Monday, October 15, 2007

2007 Grand Challenge

Well, she's all over for another year. That's six in the bag for me now and this one must go down as one of the hardest and all because of the weather!

Prior to leaving all the weather forecasts were saying that the North Island (particularly the West Coast) was going to be hit with rain and wind. And for once it was right - damn!

After making really good time to the first checkpoint in Paeroa and heading into Auckland the weather changed for the worst. We got soaked on the motorway and pulled in to a gas station to put on wet weather gear where we a lot of guys were doing the same thing. We also ran into 1 of 3 riders who chucked it in due to the weather.

Splish, splash up on up to checkpoint 2 in Dargaville and it was more of the same - wet riders gassing up. Most sill had a mile on their faces as they rode off into the now dark and wet. It was quite a mission riding on up to Kaitaia in the dark and wet and I took it very quietly. Just south of Opononi we came across a downed rider. He was okay and his mates waved us on - apparently he broke his collarbone but was able to be hitch a lift home on the back of someone else's bike.

Pulling into the gas station at Kaitaia and there were a couple of cops checking out all the bikes - pretty friendly and I don't think they called their mates down the road to look out for us. Checkpoint 3 signed off and back into it.

Our next stop was at Wellsford for gas where we wasted 10-15 mins waiting for the lady to try to turn the pumps on! Gave up as someone told us the one up the road was also open - doh! Finally gassed up and it was off through the winding roads to Helensville. It was here that I really started to feel a bit crook and had to stop a couple of times to take my helmet of and have a breather.

On the motor way into Auckland and I was still feeling off so we stopped in at Drury for a decent break - my only coffee of the ride, a bit of grub and some panadol. Then it was just up the hill to Checkpoint 4 before heading out the back of Pukekohe on the way to Ngaruwahia for more gas.

Back into it and now the wind had really come up to keep the rain company - the rain was now horizontal in places. At 8 mile junction we took Highway 4 and then turned off this onto Ohura Road. This was a real goat track and in the wet conditions - painfully slow. Never mind we hadn't come this far to make a mistake so we took it really carefully and eventually got into Ohura for the final checkpoint.

From Ohura it was just a short ride back into Tamarunui and then over the hill to Turangi - but not before the weather could really chuck some rain at us. I'd look back in my mirrors and see Mark's Bandit throwing water out in all directions and he later said that it looked like I was hitting every puddle I saw when in reality the puddles were the road!

Back in Turangi at exactly 1pm - 22 hours and the longest time it's taken me to do the run. But we made it in one place and had 2 hours to spare. A good Rusty feed and then back to the motel for a wee nap...

I intend to write up something a bit more detailed for my website but in the meantime here's a pic of some dirty bikes and checkout a map of the ride here.


  1. nice write up mate.
    I'm glad to hear this was the hardest year, as it was my first year, so here's hoping next year is easier :)

    my write up

    19.5 hours for me, and I'm stoked

  2. Thanks Paul - checked out your blog. Pretty flash man - I likee. Seeya at the next GC?

  3. Anonymous11:15 am

    Good report Andrew, - lookin forward to reading more; Shafty