Last Friday a good friend of mine, AJ, set off to ride 800km+ in four days as part of a small group from the Gold Coast to Central Coast. While I’m delighted to say he has made it safely home I’m less pleased to report the final half of his journey was by train, not bike. A nasty case of salmonella took him out on Saturday night in Macksville – much to his immense disappointment and he returned home on the XPT instead of his Scott Foil.
Of even greater concern, however, was an incident that took place in the final kilometres of Day two on Saturday pm which AJ has just recounted…
Less than one kilometre north of their destination for the night and coming into the town of Macksville, the decision had been made for the group’s support car to go ahead – ironically to reduce the chance of upsetting local drivers. As a result the five riders were travelling in single file along the Pacific Highway, where they were subjected to a terrifying and intentional close pass by a semi-trailer. With the refuge afforded by little more than a 30cm shoulder a truck driver thought it might be funny to loom up on their right shoulders and blast his air horn at them.
“It scared the absolute shit out of us,” says AJ who is no stranger to trucks, having grown up in trucking family himself, driving and working around them for years.
“I was on the front doing about 38-40km/h when suddenly I was almost deafened by the horn. Startled, I looked right and saw the truck’s front wheel and mudguard barely 6 inches from my shoulder – I could have touched it without extending my arm – it’s a miracle one of us didn’t fall and go under the wheels, I ended up in the bushes, bunny-hopping gravel and sticks. But somehow I stayed up, we all did thankfully. The truckie just drove off as if nothing had happened.”
To make matters worse, in the immediate aftermath the passengers in a ute travelling just behind the truck decided it would be clever to hurl a full water bottle at the rear rider’s head from point blank range. It just missed.
AJ reports one of the riders in the bunch had a rear video camera, however given the incident occurred at the very end of their 200km day it’s unknown if footage exists of the incident, as the battery may have been dead.
If it does, rest assured it will have a very keen audience… here, if not at the police station.