Some days don’t go to plan. My ride from Oswestry over to Matlock where I had arranged to meet a group of fellow XJR owners went well. Derbyshire roads across the Peak District are a pleasure to ride first thing on a Sunday morning and my expensive new titanium Akroprovic exhaust gave out a mellow song.
Matlock was it’s usual busy self when I got there with the main street lined with bikes and the tearooms doing a roaring trade in biker breakfasts. Formalities over, six of us set off for Buxton and beyond with plans to ride that biker’s favourites Snake Pass and Cat & Fiddle.
It was to be a few years later that I rode to the Cat & Fiddle with a different bunch of mates – Mad Mick with the red shoulder inserts had arrived late on that first occasion and missed the Mayhem. The smiling Martin giving hand signals had wrecked himself and his bike while on the way to one of my meets in the Cotswolds a few years earlier and was to do it again on my Charity Ride in the Lake District a few years later. He was the one made the hole in the wall and was flown off to Lancaster Royal in the rescue helicopter on that occasion 🙂
Back to Matlock Mayhem
We didn’t even get out of Matlock proper before we were hit by an out of control biker coming from the opposite direction! The guy arrived at a rate of knots around a blind bend with his rear wheel stepped out like a speedway rider! He slid across the double whites and whacked me on the foot before becoming public enemy Number One when he caught my lovely new Akro exhaust can a glancing blow.
I kept my bike upright and made the bend – just – while my antagonist lost it completely and carried on underneath my mate Tony who was next in line. That’s when things got serious —
and the good natured gun-toting Derbyshire Constabulary came along to say hello —
then it was just a case of picking up the bits —
Tony looked remarkably happy for a guy who had just had his pride and joy wrecked through no fault of his own.
Our attacker got carted off to hospital with a broken leg in one ambulance while Tony had a check-up in the other.
Apart from severe bruising of his nuts when they hit the petrol tank Tony came out of it pretty well. He and his wife had been trying for a baby for some time and the blow must have shaken something into line cos – yep – you guessed right – about 12 months later they were blessed with a baby 🙂
As for me? No probs – I just pulled my damaged silencer out of the rear suspension and strapped it roughly where it should be then rode on home and let the insurance company sort things out. The on-coming rider accepted full responsibility for the acccident making things easier to settle and once he had recovered from his broken leg he undertook expensive re-training from Derbyshire Traffic Cops. The alternative being a big fine and major points added to his licence which would have really screwed up his every-day job as a truck driver.
I did get a shock much later when Derby Roads Dept. sent me a massive bill for my share of their costs involved in cleaning up the Torrey Canyon type oil slick and I was relieved when my insurance company paid out.
They also sprung for a new exhaust for my XJR1300 so it wasn’t long before I was back on song again 🙂
At least we were fortunate that the guy hit the two bikes in the middle of our group who were riding solo. The other four bikes were two up including a husband and wife who each had one of their boys riding pillion. The dad Steve – in the white polo saw three accidents that summer involving his mates while out riding in groups. He got pretty good at directing traffic and loading bent bikes. 🙂