This is an abridged version of my motorcycle crash on 9th November 2006, 20km out of Orbost on the Bonang Highway. This is Part 1, with Part 2 to follow soon after. 95% of this was written in December 2006 with a few minor updates made at the time of posting.
I’d gone down to the Snowyride with a few mates from the OzVFR group, and we’d been on a HUGE ride from Jindabyne to Orbost. We’d left the “90km winding road” sign heading up the Bonang Hwy out of Orbost (VIC), and after a few km, the other guys had gone on ahead, with me bringing up the rear.
I’d gone about 20km along the Bonang Hwy when the crash occurred.
I had failed to make a slightly downhill right handed bend, and ended up hitting an embankment then a tree. The bike was dead, and I wasn’t, which is the best part of the story! It happened at 4:40pm. The bike hit the embankment at approx 60km/h, then my thigh and forearm hit the tree (and I still remember both impacts on the tree) My leg was then sandwiched between the bike and the tree.
After it all stopped, I crawled out from under the bike, turned off the ignition and removed the key (One of my mates said “Why – were you afraid someone might come to steal it?“) I did the systems check – fingers…check. Toes…check. Legs…check (although I was able to put weight on my right leg, it was quite sore to begin with, and I hobbled around a bit. Eyes…yes, they could see but weren’t really registering the damage done to the bike (or myself).
I was amazed and astonished that I could stand and hobble around, which I am VERY LUCKY to have been able to do.
I removed my luggage and rummaged for my mobile phone, only to find there was no network coverage. I had a drink of water and wandered around for a few mins with many things racing through my head, including:
- “If I call the boys, they can come back and get me“
- “I can call Stewie(*), who can rescue the bike – it shouldn’t take too long, we should be home by dinnertime“
- “I’ll just pick the bike up and keep riding, just like in MotoGP“
Great thinking when there’s no mobile phone coverage! Anyways, it took a while before someone else came along the road:
- about 40 mins after the crash, a fellow on a trail bike [who had somewhere else to go] would alert my mates if he saw them and promised to help on his return journey
- A young lady in a car packed to the gills with belongings (and looking deathly frazzled) stopped and offered help in some way, but she looked to be in more trouble than me – kinda like she was running from something or someone!
- About an hour after the accident Pete arrived. Pete stayed with me until my mates arrived (they had been a further 50km up the Bonang Hwy before realising I wasn’t coming, and we were reunited about 2 hours after I crashed).
Pete is an absolute champion in the true sense of the word. Typical of most Aussies, he stopped what he was doing to help out – he drove me to hospital in town, picked up his trailer and (with the help of the boys) loaded the bike up and took it back to Pete’s place. I went to hospital for a checkup, no broken anythings just bruising, miraculously! By now we’d realised we had to stay the night in Orbost. We stayed in a motel (arranged by one of the nurses); went to the pub for a beer (the motel called the pub to make sure they were still open for us; and then proceeded to drop us at the pub!
Orbost is full of lovely people and we certainly appreciated their hospitality 🙂
Next day, I called & claimed on insurance, and after saying bye bye to the bike, I was a pillion for the 600-odd km trip back to Jindabyne (the long way).
What contributed to the crash & lessons learned (with the wonderful benefits of hindsight & discussing what happened…)
- It was late in the day and we had done 600+km already, fatigue and lack of concentration are likely contributors
- I had the wrong line into the corner, with not enough ‘space’ should something go wrong. There was a bump in the road (as I started to tip in) that upset the bike. I must have tried to correct it somehow or probably stood the bike up ready to tip-in again. Either way I was into the grass/leaves/gravel off to the side of the road quite quickly, and it went from there.
- My skills in slower/tighter corners was always my weakest point, and something I didn’t readily look forward to a similar incident had occurred earlier in the day when I was distracted by something – again a ‘lack’ of concentration.
As with anything in life, it’s what happens when things go wrong that proves how well you come out of it. I was with a great bunch of the OzVFR guys (AB, Greg, Trev & Dan) who were very accommodating and in a way I felt sorry for them having to endure the event because of my crash. Thanks all.
There will be a follow-up post to this to really bring to light why this crash was one of the most important parts of my life to date. Stay tuned for part 2!
* the owner of the place we stay during the Snowyride…270km away in Jindabyne