The two men who died within 24 hours of each other during a social motorcycle ride were experienced riders who had taken every precaution to be safe and their deaths were “totally freaky”, a member of their group said.
Dirk Fielding and his sons Sam and Ben were among the group of 13 riders from Victoria and Queensland travelling across Australia from WA’s Steep Point to Byron Bay in New South Wales when two of their mates crashed less than 200 kilometres apart along the Great Central Road.
Mr Fielding said he struggled to understand how the men, who had ridden many more challenging roads, had died during the trip, calling the accidents “totally freaky”.
“We’ve been riding all our lives, we’ve ridden across Australia four or five times,” he said.
“It’s not the first accidents we’ve seen and we’ve seen far worse accidents and had people survive.
“Every single precaution we could take had been taken.”
He said the group was riding about 100-110km/hr on the trip and were about 25-30 kilometres from Warakurna when the first tragedy struck on Monday afternoon.
The group was riding in a formation that allowed adequate space in between each rider due to the dust plumes created by each motorcycle on the sandy road.
Mr Fielding said one of his friends hit soft gravel on the road, lost control of his vehicle and crashed.
“We’d ridden through that sort of terrain a million times,” he said.
The man was taken to the Warakurna Clinic where he later died.
He said the remainder of the group, apart from him and his sons, decided to head towards the bitumen to “get home as fast as they could”, which is when the second crash occurred about 9.30am on Tuesday.
Mr Fielding said other members of the group told him their friend appeared fine after first coming off his motorcycle, which was hardly damaged.
“It was not a high-speed accident, and they said he seemed fine for about 45 minutes and then he went into cardiac arrest.”
He died at the scene.
Mr Fielding said he and the rest of the group were grateful for the support from nurses at a nearby Aboriginal station, as well as Royal Flying Doctors, police and emergency services staff and volunteers throughout the “unbearable situation”.
“They were with us in tears and they all did everything they could,” he said.
“Police and nurses were there all day and through the night, and everybody went over and above the call of duty.”