I’d seen them coming two corners back, flying down the narrow twisting canyon, hanging over the centerline, knee pucks inches from the pavement. I moved right to give them room, thinking about Dick Rutter getting center punched up on Skyline years ago by another out of control “sport” rider. These two went by nose to tail, using all of their lane, and a bit of mine, too. Safely by I had just begun to relax a bit when I spotted more movement further up the road, on the other side of the next left hander. Another big displacement Japanese repli-racer, haulin’ ass, trying to catch up to his buddies. He comes into the corner, a right for him, leaning way over, steadily heading toward the center line, clearly having trouble staying on his side of the road. Going way to fast, he mashes the foot brake to slow down. The back end breaks loose, coming around the outside so I can see the side of the rear wheel. But just then the brake lets go, the rear snaps back around past straight and keeps going, and the bike high sides, flipping the rider off and throwing the bike down the road, right side down and saddle leading the charge across the center line. I’m all downshifts and brakes by then, but no matter how fast I try to move right the big Suzuki seems to track my front wheel. It’s seven feet long laying across the road, and there’s just no where to go. I look down just as we hit, my front wheel buried in the seat, the “GSXR” sticker on the side of the fairing just in front of the BMW’s right jug. I try to stiff arm it, but the impact is so hard the GS is pushed back out from under me, and I do a hand stand as I’m flipped over the bars. I see branches and blue sky, then land on my back, my legs and feet slamming crack-the-whip style into the hard pavement. I lay there a minute, taking stock. It feels like someone is jabbing a knife into my right foot, and my left hand hurts like hell. I guess the pads in the Aerostich Darien Light took the rest of the impact, since my elbows, spine, shoulders, and hips are unhurt.
I sit up and look over my shoulder to find the GS on its right side, facing back
the way I’d come from. The road is wet with oil and gas, but I have trouble standing up to reach the petcock. A car driver stops and gets out, and as I struggle to my feet I see the other rider over the downed GS, laying in the road, screaming bloody murder. The bones of his lower right leg are sticking through his jeans, and his foot rests at an impossible angle. The driver gets the GS up, and tries to use the center stand, but the front wheel is pushed back into the motor and the stand doesn’t make it to the ground on both sides anymore. I shut off the fuel and ignition, and the bike leans right but doesn’t go back down. That’ll have to be good enough for now. I thank him for his effort, and another car arrives, mentioning that he lives near by and will go home to call 911. My helper gets back into his car, saying he’ll call on his cell phone from lower in the canyon.
A few minutes go by while I try my own cell, which the narrow canyon walls and remote location prevent from getting a signal. The Suzuki rider’s buddies show up and ask what to do. I send one down the canyon to make another cell call, and put the other one back around the blind corner leading to the crash scene to stop cars. I look back to the rider, and notice a trickle of blood running out of his pants leg. I fish a bungee cord out of my tank bag, but can’t get over to him to apply a tourniquet. I call the other rider over and tell him what he’s got to do. It doesn’t look very tight to me, but the trickle seems to slow. He goes back to his corner and the crashed rider keeps crying out.
After almost forty-five minutes we finally hear sirens. Palomares Canyon isn’t that far from Sunol or Fremont, and I can’t understand the delay. It’s a fire department pumper truck with four firemen. Three go immediately to help with the broken leg, and one asks me if I’m OK. I tell him no, but tell him to take care of the other guy first. By then the CHP shows up, along with an ambulance, and in a few minutes it’s rolling out with the downed rider to what I’m told will be a helicopter ride to the nearest hospital. When my turn comes I explain my pains and they ask if I want to go to a hospital. Heck yes I want to go to a hospital! They order up another ambulance and the CHP officer hands me a card with an accident report number, and the phone for the towing agency that will take care of my bike.
Continue readingMore Tag