Accidents.....There were a few minor spills..... 3 on the road (1 involving a fence), and some Auckland girls having a pile-up after taking on a post and a rubbish tin in the Kumara race course. This particular crash had me laughing in my sleep last night. It was when one of the girls got up, dusted herself off and said "Dammit...... It's these stupid things here that stick out" to which I replied "you mean the rear vision mirrors". Now I'm no crash investigator but I think it was probably caused by her right hand which had the throttle held wide open as she screamed past me desperately trying to slow the rampant scooter by locking up the front brake! This style of riding is new to me and I think It's one I'll try to avoid. No one was hurt and the post was still standing afterwards.Well done to everyone involved. It was a day I will never forget.Mike
From the back of the tail-end-charlie group, By the time we got to the first stop we had already picked up four bikes and riders. I was thinking, "this is going to be a LONG day!" But most got fixed and I saw them later on, still going. The tenacity and desire to make it showed everywhere, tools and duct tape the order of the day. But the best image was when the group left the Bealey, the motorhome came down the hill onto the road with all the scooters converging from the carpark and slotting in behind...it was like a multicoloured wave spilling over the top of a dam, and flowing down a valley. Amazing to watch from the road.Kev.
Well, where to begin really....I know... the start line yes thats a fitting place to start or well not start in my case!The immobiliser on my scooter decided it wanted to play up so a few bridged wires later and im at my very own start line in Sheffield...The hardest part of the ride for me was having nearly every 2stroke scooter over take me on the hills...oh the humanity!!!down hills were so fun... assume the position.. head down, back arched, kness in the position for banking and stability...and go!!! my speedo was bouncing off the bottom a few times which would have read around 130km/hr!! lucky that my speedo is a wee bit out and i was doing around 90km/hr! Following the vehicle marks and staying off the grit through the viaduct and ovetaking around 120 scooter at pace would have to be a great highlight... who knew gradients were such a magical speed enhancer lol... the most testing part was when someone slid out in about 100m in front of me slideways at the base of a bridge as i was screaming at about 75km/hr and having the guy in front of me narrowly sweep past him and myself getting around and peg scrapping the brige wall..!!!!thankyou to all 236 riders you made it thoroughly enjoyable and thankyou support crew for being there when we needed gas....most of all thankyou Jayne and Mike Rattray for coming up with such a brilliant idea!!!....might i suggest we make it a bi-annual event?????...my workmate who has just been diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia is going to laugh his socks off when he sees the pictures and videos and goes throught the blogs etc ......CHEERS EVERYONE I HOPE TO SEE YOU AL AGAIN IN THE NEAR FUTURE!! :)
The weather had vastly improved for the 9.30am start from Darfield and continued to improve as we headed down into the West Coast. First stop at the Sheffield Pie Shop allowed just enough time to find a bolt the right size to keep the exhaust on and me to gobble a hot pie.Although the snow surrounding Porters Pass made it a picturesque drive it also made the downwards leg a little slippery. The mighty General made it up to the summit (with only a little bit of leg work at the top bend) and ploughed on up the mountain slopes through a few rain showers to Flock Hill.There was a noticeable drop off in power as I headed into the Bealey Hotel. Removing the engine cover revealed the reason - a cracked exhaust pipe- but once again the trusty tool kit came out and the General headed off to tackle the slopes of Arthurs Pass and the mighty viaduct basin. The steepness of the Viaduct gave me a fantastic opportunity to gain time on the leading pack. Those sissy modern bikes didn’t know what hit them as an orange flash of sparks flew by – and yes my motorbike boots need re-treading again!Jacksons to Kumara was the longest leg and by this time the exhaust on the General was looking pretty sad, power was down and the decibels increasing. The leading bunch were waiting for the tail pack when they all turned to the road to see what the mighty noise was. The General could be heard coming for 2kms but was still soldiering on.After getting off the Scooter at Kumara I commented on my very warm butt. When I went to take the engine cover off for refuelling I discovered why – the cover had melted and the petrol in the tank was boiling. I had now become a celebrity as no one had seen boiling petrol before. There was no way I was giving up with 22kms to go until Hokitika so out came the tool kit again.With the engine cover left off things cooled down and the speedo went up to 60kms to correspond to the increase in decibels. The last ride into Hokitika was great fun as we raced the other scooters for final positions while the locals cheered us on.Destination Hokitika Beach Front Hotel 5.45pm. Someone suggested I get a more modern bigger engined scooter for next year but I think they missed the point – this is a challenge and part of that challenge is not knowing if you are going to make it or not!Thanks to all of those that sponsored me.
This event is giggle-and-snort-out-loud! (GSOL?). I travelled across on the Tranz Alpine TRAILER Safari :-) as pit crew for Rachel Ah Kit, and will never forget the vision and sound of 200+ scooters clawing their way over the snow line, some of them more desperately than others. I only saw one slip and tumble. The bumble bee bumbled, then righted herself and took off again on her meandering flight path. That's what bumble bees do!That night in Hokitika a scooterist told me "This is such an easy charity ... people think we're complete nutbags when we tell them what we're doing, so they pay some money and say 'rather you than me mate'".The day had eye-wetting moments, even for us bystanders. My most memorable two were at the start and finish of the safari. The cheers that went up when they arrived in the Hokitika night, blending with beat of scooter horns and little engines - I can't imagine how good that felt for the organisers who must have done a gigantic amount of work to make this happen. The other was at the startline. It was the sign and photo on the back of one young rider... "This is for Nana". A beautiful reminder of why you all did this. Congratulations everyone!
VIEW FROM THE FRONT“This is out of control...” said Mike as he viewed the crowd gathered at the No. 1 Hanger, Air N.Z. Harewood, Christchurch. “What have we started....?” was another question I had heard previously from the same source as the number of registrations zoomed past 200. It was a rather worried Mike who left the question floating in the air with no satisfactory reply being offered. “You’ll have to cancel it...” said other relatives as the 6-day “weather bomb” refused to go off-shore to a better place...However, as “Mother Duck” riding in the Camper with “Daddy Drake (the driver) it was our job to safely lead this motley gaggle of unidentifiable enthusiasts on their “ringy-ting-ting” - beeping machines up into snow country and then down a gradient approaching “terminal velocity” on the other side. Keeping ahead, but holding them back in a long-line bunch, became the order of the day.So keen were riders to get started after one stop-over that “Daddy Drake” even resorted to kicking tyres to keep the revving scooters in line and at bay behind the Campervan. N.B. Riders - the “hooter” was the 5 minute signal for the support crews to take off, not for you to start your engines and suffocate each other with the fumes. If you wondered (later that night) what the green greasy skum line around your bathtub was... just imagine your lungs!One rider suddenly decided he had to be somewhere else other than stationary behind the Pie shop and took off – nearly with the Campervan door – when the Traffic controller was exiting the onboard toilet facilities! Both got a fright, but one’s language was more refined than the other! Another intrepid rider caused consternation because of his determination to “slip-stream” our wake all the way to Hokitika. The faster we went, so did he – hunched over his bike – (how could he do that on a step-through?) whilst continuing to drink in our diesel exhaust, although one particularly smoky burst caused him to take evasive action. Fortunately there were road works ahead which allowed the main bunch to gain ground and unexpectedly regroup behind the Campervan. What a sight that was – with bikes (four abreast) stretching back in the gorge as far as we could see! This in itself caused the “Flying Nuns” at the back of the pack to worry that there had been a bad accident, and how could they possibly get up the front to administer whatever was necessary. Maybe next time they could borrow a “jet-pack” from somewhere to fulfil their mission!One enduring sight was watching Buzzy Bee “landing” at Lake Lyndon and watching Daddy Drake rushing to pick her up. At least “Bee” was the right shape for a “face-plant” but we’ve never before heard a bee say that ....!Keeping the ducks safely all in a row behind the Campervan was our assignment – and congratulations to all the riders who “made our day” so successful and incident free.Neil and I are proud of our three “off-spring” who were all involved in the event – Mike Co-organiser with Jayne, Stephan (Traffic Control), and Delwyn (Mother Superior, Flying Nuns) – all “really useful” people. A long time ago, as a College girl in 1955, I purchased a beautiful new teal coloured 49 cc. Crescent moped-scooter, one of the first with panels. Scooting around on it gave me enormous pleasure. Our kids laughed when they saw one like it in the Hanmer Museum! I wonder if it would still go.....!
Hi to all,A huge thanks to Jayne and Mike Rattray for putting scooters on the map in New Zealand with such a well organised, outstanding success of a rally and best of all for raising a huge amount of money for such a fantastic cause.My day started on the Friday morning as I left Greymouth at 10.00am to ride to Chch to meet the group and then ride back to Hokitika with all. Unfortunately with snow falling when I left Arthurs Pass, I was stopped by heavy snow falls on the road at the bottom of Craigeburn cutting. Not sure if I would make it thru, as I was riding over and back unsupported, I returned to Arthurs Pass to warm up and have a think about plan b.I was rewarded with the timely arrival of a wonderful group of five from Hokitika who were heading over to meet the group for the following day and return, with a little effort on there part room was made for the scoot on the trailer and I was made welcome in the Van, thanks guys you made my weekend and will not be forgotten.So after being dropped off in Chch at there hotel, I then faced the trip out to my overnight at Rangiora in the falling rain.So I made the start and did manage the trip unsupported and what a trip it was, the ride down to Hokitika along the Coast with dusk falling was outstanding and the arrival worth the effort and then some.So that was my trip, with a full moon rising on the return to Greymouth that night, letting me know my late wife was looking down and smiling on the effort put in, thank you all and maybe next time the scoot will be doing it all again.Noel.
What a fantastic day - waited till I was 52 to ride a scooter then the first ride was up Porters and Arthurs Pass - can't beat it. I'm still laughing and thinking whens the next one. Best fun I've had for ages.
After not being able to ride in the 1st Scooter Safari the 29th May 2010 was eagerly awaited. 6am rolled round and it was time get up, get fed and down all medications as i excitedly jumped into the Stig suit and got the trusty Nifty Fifty out and fired it into life. Down the drive way and onto the street i was zooming towards the start of Scooter Safari 2010 when the mighty roar of the 50cc engine under me went silent, my first thought was f#*k have i not been punished enough lately? Doctors had worked so hard to get me out of hospital so i could do this ride and it had ended just a few meters from my own drive way not much of a Safari!!. With a quick push home and some help from my dad the panels were off and a new carb fitted, panels back on and i was off again arriving at the Air NZ car park with a few minutes to spare. Thanks to the people who were going to give up their bikes so i would be able to ride if mine would not start again and thanks to Mike and Jayne for organizing the whole day it's great to have friends like you, and a big thanks to all of you who rode and donated i can personaly say the Cancer Socity does a great job and that the crazy antics of 230 scooter riders braving the winter elements to cross the Alps has certinaly brought smiles to the faces of cancer patients i have talked to.Blair Newton
In late September 2008, just three days out from a planned five week pilgrimage through India, my partner, Kunja, was told she had breast cancer. The surgeon advised us to go ahead with the trip anyway, and booked her Op for two days after we were due to return. As practicing Hare Krishna’s we try to get away to India when time and finances allow, but this visit proved to be an extra special one. Kunja has endured all that followed that day of unwelcome news with courage, grace, and good humour, and I’m very proud of her. She has undergone two operations, Chemo, a course of Herceptin, a million injections, and a near death experience after her immune system crashed. So when we heard about The Tranz Alpine Scooter Safari we both jumped at the idea of getting involved as a way to give something back to all the wonderful people who helped us along the way,.... we just needed a scooter, riding gear, sponsors, a place to stay, fuel, tools, a trailer and support vehicle, etc! With five days out from the start line to pull it all together (in and around work and kids), we felt quietly confident. If India/cancer had taught us anything it would be, 1.) Don’t put stuff off, because you don’t know how much time you have left, and 2.) It is possible to get a family of five – plus luggage - on a 125cc Honda safely down a busy pot-holed Highway. You just have to believe.I felt honoured to be amongst the pack on that cold Saturday morning, sucking down the sweet smell of two-stroke and reminiscing the old RD’s, GT’s, and that ‘Waterbus’ (with expansion chambers!) of my youth. About a third of the way into the ride it hit me how so many were giving their all for others they would probably never meet, but whose journey through the sometimes bleak experience of cancer would be that much brighter for it. If you wanted your faith in human nature restored then look no further than the guy or girl in front of you, head down and heading for the mountains.The little 50cc Yamaha step-thru we bought mid-week hadn’t seen the road since 2004, but once the cobwebs blew out she ran great, and I’m glad to say nothing fell off - at least I don’t think so!? The washers I packed into the front wheel cavity (in a bit of a panic) late Friday afternoon seemed to hold, and there is still some tread left on the back tyre. By Lake Lyndon I had the chain cranked out to the end of its adjustment, though it still rattled the chain-guard. Perhaps due to a partial fuel-block I began to loose power on that stretch into Kumara, with the wee bike struggling a bit to get out of those big hills that roll from the Alps to the Tasman Sea. But with the Coast in sight I wrung it out for all she was worth, and the ‘god of stepthrus’ looking down must have smiled, as the blockage cleared and we ‘thundered on’, the finish line now within reach. And I won’t quickly forget that final run - Kumara to Hokitika - packed up in an adrenalin fuelled jostling field of hard-out riders, a blood-red sunset providing the perfect backdrop. (Bit worrying that some of these are the same guys who spanner the planes we fly around in though!)Thank you to everyone who played a part, big or small, it was an amazing experience, and we look forward to doing it again soon, (2011?).Surya (Steve) and Kunja – as seen on Campbell Live :) firstname.lastname@example.org
the whole day was amazing from start to finish but highlight for me was dragging 3 abreast from kumara to hokitika with caleb(superman) my mate steve and i all on our suzuki Fa50's, you couldnt split them for pace it was a matter of tactics taking the slip stream then leaning as far foward as possible over the front of the bike even meaning putting our arms out the front to even out the weight and get them suzukis over 45kmph , then it was a matter of keeping low and staying in front while the others took advantage of slipstream, and the looks of disapointment when your airfilter cover came loose and she started to die - kick it back on and back to full potential, was great fun and the poor little suzuki didnt come off full throttle the whole way - cheers for the great day everyone
At first, the idea of being part of the 'Harcourts Hoons' Scooter Team for the 2010 Scooter Safari seemed like a great idea, especially when the actual event was quite some time away. To be honest, I think, at the time, I was more excited about catching up with my long time friends, Chris and Dean. Of course the world is a very small place (especially if you come from Blenheim), as Blair Newton (the original reason for this Scooter Safari), is the partner of Chris and Deans daughter, and I also used to pour Blair's beer for him in the 'Baggies Bar' in the air force.My original desire to join the scooter safari was more than just catching up with an old friend. A few years ago I lost my uncle to a cancer similar to what Blair is fighting.Of course the hype of fundraising and the excitement of riding a scooter with a group of friends did become the main focus until a couple of days out, when the horrendous weather made the reality of what we were planning to do, a harsh reality, oh, and did I mention that the last time I had ridden a scooter or motorbike was when I was 17, therefore at 36 I was suddenly terrified of the thought of getting on a scooter.Infact, I have to admit, I did pray on Friday night that the pass would be closed, I know, what a selfish bitch I am. And my reason for this? Simply because I had this imagine in my head of crashing off the damn scooter. Actually, I had an image in my head similar to the Tour de France, where I would be the one at the start, when everyone turned the first corner into the road to McLeans Island, and as everyone else turned, I would go straight ahead and take out the entire lead bunch. Seriously, I was almost ill at the thought of breaking the pink scooter or breaking an innocent fellow rider!Friday night 'team talk' with the 3 of us sharing the scooter, finalised with Chris riding the first stage, me, being the smallest, doing the steep section from Porters Pass to Arthurs Pass, and Dean doing the final stage. The reality of the real reason we were all there came as a sharp slap in the face to me on Saturday morning when I saw a woman in front of me with a poster on her back, showing the picture of her nana. Suddenly I felt like I was part of something special and poignant. Of course that thought was shaken when I had a quick 'test drive' on the scooter and nearly crashed off. Apparently I can turn right, but left, hmmmm.Dean and I followed Chris through the first stage to the start of Porters Pass. Chris was on fire and pretty much in the front bunch with her cute pink scooter, however because of a toilet stop after Sheffield (lets face it, all those layers and toilet stops, not the best of times) she was near the back of the bunch when it came to my turn, and by this stage I was crapping myself. I was convinced I was going to fall off (not helped by the fact Chris informed me that the helmet was sponsored and had to be returned unscratched...). As a showjumper I was slightly optimistic as everytime I have crashed off a horse gravity ensures the heaviest body part lands first, not once have I landed on my head, always my ass, so there was hope for the virgin bike helmet yet.So here we are, nearly at the back of the pack at the bottom of the start of the Porters Pass. First thing I did learn... I don't like a helmet on my head with the plastic thingee down on the front... hyperventilating and screeching at Chris to raise the plastic thingee. In fact, I had it half open the entire journey, which sucked on the rainy bits. Oh crap, I'm on the bike, Dean is yelling I'm good to go, so I trust him, I'm too scared to move my head in case I ass off, so off I go! I swear, the journey to the top of Porters Pass, I didn't move. When I saw Toni taking photos I tried to wave by raising my hand briefly. I was too scared to even more my eyeballs!!! I do recall our theory of my smaller frame being a bonus as myself and trusty pink scooter 'putt putted' past many of the other stragglers.Of course, by the time we had reached our second stop and I found I could still breathe, blink and not fall off, I was on fire!!! I even managed to clock out the speedometer at 80km's downhill, but must admit, sucked that I would then be struggling at 20km's on the uphill. Do you know, that if you are about to fall off the road, if you look where you want to go, then you go in that direction. Amazing! By the time my scooter journey was over, not only could I dance on the bike with my iPod (in my helmet I sound really good as a singer) but I could lean into a corner without screaming inside my helmet!However, it was more than just fun and games. The stage to Jacksons Pub was a big reality check. It was a bit drizzly, I nearly got blown off my scooter by a helicopter (what a cool story that made), but there were long straights when it was just yourself and your thoughts, and I must admit that I did get a bit emotional when I thought of all these
could have done the Scooter Safari last year, but I was too chicken. I'd only had my little 50cc a couple of months and didn't feel confident enough to take it all that way. Then I saw the photos. And the state of some of the scooters that actually made it. And how much fun everyone seemed to have. And I wish I'd done it. So when Jayne contacted me this year to say it was on again, I registered without a second thought and was excited from that day on!I lost my Mum to cancer 7 years ago at the end of this month. And her younger sister, my aunt. And my Dad's brother, and my cousin. A close friend's sister is still battling with breast cancer. And a good friend of my husband died really suddenly in her early 30's. Cancer isn't really fussy about who it affects. And so, riding in the Scooter Safari and supporting the Cancer Society became a big thing for me.Now, as a seasoned scooter rider ...over a year's worth of riding I mean....I felt quietly confident about the trip. Although, the images of the guys pushing their scooters up Porter's Pass haunted me - I didn't fancy struggling to push my wee scooter uphill! I had nothing to worry about. My scooter was new. It had just been serviced and it ran like a dream. And then the weight advantage kicked in – a 50cc engine could cope with a 53kg rider easily uphill; a 100kg rider, not so much. I think I hit a top speed of about 35kmh at the top of Porter's – I felt like I was flying! So, while the actual riding wasn't as hard as I thought, what did get me was however the cold. I feel the cold. Riding 8km in the morning across town is enough to give me numb fingers. I lost the feeling in my fingertips and toes halfway to Kirwee, regained it during lunch at the Bealey and then I kind of just blocked it out for the rest of the trip. The handwarmers my husband got me were enough to keep my hands warm, but it didn't extend to my fingertips. I was pretty sure it wouldn't be enough to develop frostbite. I hoped. And I know it wasn't a race. But there's a slightly competitive part of me that just had to overtake at every opportunity. Uphill especially. Three abreast overtaking on a hill was probably a bit risky, but it happened. Four abreast overtaking on the Kumara-Hokitika straight was just plain silly – especially as I was then overtaken by a car!And my “experienced” riding meant I was quite capable of taking photos and video on my phone - whilst riding. And then uploading said photos to Facebook – whilst riding. I know driving and texting is illegal – but does that include scooters? I too nearly got blown off my the chopper. And decided riding one-handed through the grit over the Viaduct probably wasn't smart. Never mind. I got footage of Blair “The Stig” as I overtook him and he gave me a blast of his airhorns...magic.But the biggest highlight was the almost overwhelming arrival into Hokitika. As we regrouped on the outskirts of town and felt enormously proud of what we, as a group, had done. There was so much excitement amongst all the riders. Hearing the cheers and clapping from everyone on the streets as we rode through town brought a tear to my eye. We'd made it. A little worse for wear. But we'd made it.I'll always feel a special bond with everyone involved in the Scooter Safari this year – riders and support crew. We were part of something big. Something really special. Thank you!
TRANZ SCENIC SCOOTER SAFARISaturday 29th May 2010 As promised – a wee story recounting our adventure The Players: Nic and her scooter “Audrey” Jo and her scooter “Da Jaffa”The Support Crew: Mike and DaveThe Plan: To ride from Christchurch to Hokitika – 265 Kms, taking 10 Hours Friday arvo was our first training run (our one and only!), fully kitted up. The weather was shitty and miserable, perfect for a training run. We decided to head down to the Air NZ Hangar, which will be our start point tomorrow. That all went to plan and we arrived back home warm and dry. We stopped at the petrol station and filled up our tanks – cost me 4.65 to fill Audrey up!!! Don’t know why I drive a car really?!! In hindsight it would have been a better idea to have the training run at least a few days before kick off, so the gear could dry out if it got wet. A lesson for next time. Saturday dawned grey and dull – but not raining (thank you Lord) and we headed off to the airport in the darkness. We were greeted by the sight of scooters, scooters and more scooters at the hangar. All models, all ages, all colours (and that’s just the riders). There were Hondas, Suzukis, Yamahas, Nifty 50’s, Vespas, a Puch, Symco’s and many more that I can’t name. There were some very old ones, some very small ones and many that looked like they had been dragged kicking and screaming from the barn, kicked into life and ridden straight down to Orchard Road. People everywhere, all suited up and looking like they meant business. And then I saw HIM … silver haired, sleek and oh, so sexy lookin’. All geared up in his “man leathers”. (Oh thank you, thank you Lord). The CEO of Air NZ, Rob Fyfe. Be still my beating heart! Serious eye candy there, girlfriends. I think I will have to contact the organisers and suggest he be the poster boy for the next ride. Rob, I’ll never fly Qantas again!!!! Righto, back to the scooters. The “Campbell Live” team were there (they followed the scooter safari for the whole day) and interviewed Jo and I. Looks like it will air tonite at 7pm as it wasn’t on last nite. We had a short briefing at which time the organisers told us that we had raised close to $100,000.00. FANTASTIC. A spokesperson for the Cancer Society gave a small speech and recited a modified Irish blessing for all of us, and then the call rang out “Start your engines” (No, I just made that bit up, but it would have been fitting). And then 236 (yes, 236) scooters roared into life. I tell you, there’s nuffin’ like the smell of 2 stroke, first thing in the morning to awaken the senses. And we were off - every departure seemed like organised chaos as we all jostled for position and a bit of space. Pretty nerve wracking to say the least. First stop Kirwee and the tavern had an open fire and a cuppa for everyone. Apparently just before the first riders appeared, 2 horses were galloping down the main road, running free. Luckily they disappeared down a side street before we turned up. Four friends braved the cold and had risen early to be at Kirwee as wee tootled in and it was lovely to see them. A change of gloves for me as my fingers were frozen. I wasn’t the only one with that problem tho’ as I heard quite a few people complaining about cold fingers. I put on Stu’s gloves and they were brilliant for the rest of the trip. Apparently it’s the wind that is the killer. Next stop – Sheffield for one of their famous pies. A gold coin donation got us a pie or soup. So very generous of them. Passing thru Darfield I saw a sign saying “Go Nic” and “Go Jo”. Only just realised that those signs were for us as I went sailing past. 6 friends there also, but only recognised Timmy at the last minute. Raised a hand in greeting and then I was gone. Sorry ‘bout that guys – just concentrating on the road and what’s up ahead of me. Raining slightly now and it’s getting colder as we near the base of Porters Pass. I had a wee encouraging word to Audrey as we made the run up to the first slope. No stopping us now, Audrey was fantastic and just powered away (must be that 4 stroke in her). Passing the more unfortunate ones who had to push their trusty steads up the Pass. Plenty of snow on the side of the road and the hills were covered. Glad that was over and done with, as that was the steepest part of the journey. On to Lake Lyndon where we met up with our support crew. Very scenic there with the lake in the background and the snow on the ground and on the surrounding hills but colder than a grave diggers shovel. Hirequip had provided a horsefloat type trailer and in it was a rather large heater whic