Submitted on: 20 Oct 11
Category: 2011 Updates
After squeezing 9 scooters onto two trailers and having a pre-ride catch up the night before, it was an early start for the support convoy heading over the hill to our Picton start point.
Lawry (Ponch), Craig (Rod) and Leah (Tinks) were already there and immediately put the rest of us to shame with an excellent display of costume creation with Ponch dressed immaculately as his namesake and sporting a ‘CHiPs styled scooter, (Hot) Rod dressed in blue and featuring a cape and Tinks dressed as… a bright pink and black AB’s supporting dirt biking punk rocker fairy princess!!! Don’t know if that quite covers it, but the photos will help.
Uniting Tinks with her matching pink and black steed for the first time was managed just in time for the local newspaper photographer to get the pic’s he was after, while the rest of us unpacked, sorted gear and made final toilet stops.
Dressed up in outfits or sporting the fluro safety vests, we made quite the group, interesting enough to attract our first donation of $10, well done that man!
A short (two page) briefing followed before we geared up for the first leg through the picturesque Queen Charlotte drive, through Havelock and onto the Pelorous bridge where we turned off for our first section of off-road.
Fears of entrants having difficulty on the loose gravel proved unfounded as everyone had no trouble disappearing into a cloud of dust and two stroke smoke.
The turn-off further up the valley onto the first proper 4wd track simply widened the smiles of the riders as they kept the throttles pinned while weaving up the hill and across streams (no bridges allowed) to Murderers Rock.
Unfortunately for two of the Scooters, keeping the throttles pinned meant lots of noise and smoke but little forward motion on the steep grade, resulting in our first two victims, Bryan ‘Mr Business’ and John ‘spider’ spending time in the back-up 4WD’s and the Scooters hitting the trailer for a short while.
Our first repairs also had to be made including Caroline ‘Whippet’s’ head-light which had removed itself from the surround and managed to hit her in the head in pointless protest over some rather rough treatment.
Onward and upward to the summit of the Mungatapu track, where the first riders to arrive were to be entertained by Joseph and his completely separated exhaust Brrrrraaaping his way up the hill and silencing the local birdsong.
Lunch at the summit included a few more running repairs and a chance to unload the two trailered scooters for the downhill run which included steep loose descents, one of which earned Joseph the title (and fine) of first crash victim of the trip.
A quick stop overlooking the lake for photos and to pass through the normally locked gate before we headed down for a re-group in Branford Park where another news photographer was waiting to snap the happy riders. In the process of getting into our ‘pose’ positions, Leah managed to create the first ‘scooter on scooter’ contact of the trip. There may have been others throughout the coming days, but the first is always the one everyone remembers!
A convoy session through town out to Tahunanui took us to our first surprise daily challenge, a kart time trial at PRO-KARTS. This involved a ‘buy-in’ donation from those that entered with the final winner having the prize pool assigned to his share of collected donations, an important prize as the eventual winner of Scooter Survivor 2011 would be assigned to the rider who collected the most during the trip.
Hot ‘Rod’ lived up to his name and possibly utilised (illegally I might add) some form of super power to remain unbeaten and take out eventual winner!
Special thanks to the team at PRO-KARTS for donating their time and effort and creating an awesome event. If you’re looking for a corporate outing, give these guy’s serious consideration!
Time was moving on and it was getting late and we still had plenty of off and on-road to cover before our first stop, so an attempt to convoy the group through to our Ruby Bay bypass turn-off was made, not without incident.
Tips for future riders, if you are unfamiliar with the route, make sure you closely follow the Scooter rider in front and not just any old cyclist who just happens to be wearing orange. Same goes for the lead support vehicle. Just because it’s a 4wd with a trailer, doesn’t make it THE lead vehicle… nuff said.
Some more grin inducing 4wd through local forestry had us emerge at Motueka where we rode into the setting sun to our nights stop at Kaiteriteri Beach. Luckily, as it was getting late and past closing time, our Camp Mum, Adrienne had sourced fish and chips for the now hungry and tired crew.