Submitted on: 23 Oct 11
Category: 2011 Updates
A stop at the Punakaiki rocks allowed plenty of time for everyone to have a good walk around these amazing formations before we got set for our own ‘scooter formation ride’ past for all the Bikies catching up on their coffee fix in the roadside Café. A bit of a laugh and plenty of cheers from the leather clad crew, most of whom would be seeing us on-track later in the day.
Heading south from Punakaiki the road twisted and turned along the coast, offering up fantastic views along the way.
Even though we only had a short excursion onto a gravel road, everyone was enjoying the route and, I think, looking forward to a well earned rest.
The incident of the hairy-arsed hooligans provided light entertainment for us, but I’m guessing a little trouble for someone else as 3 Police cars, sirens on and lights flashing, were soon spotted heading in their direction.
At 2.3km short of (according to Mordors GPS), and within sight of Greymouth, the support team were pulled over and unloading john’s ‘sweet FA 50’ and ‘Mr Business’ Bryan’s ‘Jaffa’ for the final leg into town. As the rest of the crew pulled in, we heard over the radio “Caroline’s scooter is dead, we’re going to trailer it!”.
Looking back, we could see a scooter and 4WD pulled over to the side. That’s not Caroline, that’s Leah!
A few of us scooted back to find a dead scooter and a slightly (read: highly) agitated Leah. “She got pretty hot and now she’s just dead, I can’t believe it!”. A quick removal of the spark plug showed a distinct lack of compression (one of the things required to make an engine work).
Within sight of our final destination and suddenly two dead scooters! AND it was on the shortest day with almost no off-road! What were the frikin odds?
While weighing the options on what to do with Leah’s scooter, ‘Whippet’ roared on up her somewhat 2nd hand beast “long live the DJ!” After nursing the muffler for the past two days, the header on the exhaust had broken off completely and despite not having a back-up toolbox available, she had managed to scrounge up two hose clips and a short length of metal with which she re-attached the exhaust well enough for the home stretch. Damn that girl is determined.
She may be a Military Helicopter designing Engineer from Ireland, currently living in Aussie, but she knows what a piece of No. 8 wire is!
In another display of sheer bloody minded determination, Leah decided she was going to arrive into Greymouth with her scooter NO MATTER WHAT and promptly started pushing towards the distant roar of race bikes.
Being of sliiiightly smaller stature, fully loaded with riding gear and pushing one of the heaviest scooters of the trip, this was a humbling display, but not one the rest of the pack were going to accept lightly.
Photographer Stephen jumped onto my scoot, Leah and I jumped onto hers, and with a t-shirt tied to the carrier of ‘Ponch’s’ mount, we managed an arm-stretching, scooter wobbling tow into town.
In fact, in the course of finding the track entrance, we ended up circling most of Greymouth and reaching speeds 40km/hour before we managed to gather at the emergency access. (Note: that final tow in along the main highway with cars and trucks passing and a tiny front wheel threatening to tuck under at any second, rates as the scariest moment in 2 Scooter Survivor trips!)
Then, with a big announcement, a running commentary by Lex on the PA and a safety car leading, we raced onto the track like a pack of angry bees.
Somehow Leah’s scooter had managed to start, but it was simply the final death throes, as 30m onto the track, it pinged it’s last ping and expired. A following ‘Sacka’ offered up his scooter and Leah was off again, good on ya Neil, as the coaster would say, “that man’s a bloody good bastard”.
Two laps, with the track record under no threat whatsoever and we were directed into our own parking space… and Survivor Scooter 2011 was over.
A re-group back at the campground was followed by an exodus to the beach for a few bears and to watch the sun set over the Tasman Sea.
After riding much of the trip on a borrowed scooter, John ‘Two Scooters’ felt the need to show the FA was still a capable off-roader and attempted to ride onto the beach via a short steep drop. The drop won and John managed a very graceful trip over the bars, to land head first into the (luckily) long grass. He’s quite intelligent and a bit of deep thinker is John, but in this case, giving in to natural reflexes might have been the better option in avoiding a little spilt blood. Did I mention he wasn’t wearing a helmet?.
Dinner at a local pub, just in time to watch the All Blacks, put on the most stressful game I have watched in some time, but at the end of the day, we came through victorious with the World Cup!. A great way to finish a great trip!