Photos below thanks to Warren my riding buddy, thanks to Warren as well for going back to get my truck and trailer to pick up the pieces.
Ok this is what has happened in amongst the wild stories and news paper stories that are floating around.
Warren and his son Dillon and I went to Maka's for a usual lunchtime ride, fine day, bit cool but no clouds.
We arrived at Maka's no problem as usual, had a pie and hot choco with Dave who is the owner of the Makarora Country Cafe.
We left around 2.00 pm to come home and were 10 - 15 mins towards Wanaka, I came around a corner behind Warren up a small straight when the Monsta dropped a cylinder.
I pulled over to the side of the road knowing something was not quite right, put the stand down, started to climb off when flames erupted under the rear of the tank/front of the seat region at which point I shat myself completely, I ran from the bike a few metres, took off my helmet and gloves, grabbed my phone and NO SERVICE, I flagged down a car coming and scared the living daylights out of the poor lady, asked if she had a phone that worked but she did not, she drove me back up the hill at which point we got reception, we managed to get the Fire Service to know where we were, at that point a guy in a double cab Hilux came up and saw what was happening, ironically he was from the Makarora volunteer brigade, we quickly drove back down the hill to the bike to assess the danger, the bike was now engulfed in flames and burning furiously and their was nothing we could do.
He advised me to stay away from the bike as the fire service was on their way when BOOF, something let go and a pile of burning debris got scattered across the road and across onto the vegetation, at that point things started get very serious, the fireman grabbed my phone and went back up the hill to order a helicopter with a monsoon.
It soon became apparent that things were getting worse very quickly, the first chopper turned up did a quick reccy of the situation and ordered two more choppers.
They had then deployed Makarora Fire Station, Hawea Fire Station and Wanaka Fire Station.
At that point things were still worsening, the Fire Coms Centre called in DOC (Department Of Conservation), QLDC (Queenstown Lakes District Council), Lake Contract Services and Rural Fire Fighting from three Stations.
So it rapidly turned from a quiet highway into a war zone with three separate stations working with guys on the pumps, guys on the ground and guys filling the monsoon buckets and they closed the highway.
All of this time I could only sit back from the site in the Police car watching my baby disintegrate under a pile of flames and watch as a huge portion of the hill along approx 1.5 km of the highway went up in flames, rocks were falling onto the road and it not looking good at all.
I was sick twice with a horrible empty feeling just watching it unfold and being powerless to do a thing about it.
They have estimated 40 - 50 hectares have gone but today will reveal the damage.
It took over 5 hours with four appliances, three helicopters with monsoon buckets to contain it and it was still burning last night.
I am stuck for words and still shaking from this, another two seconds on the bike and I would have been toasted with it, it has scared the living shit out of me and I am struggling to understand what has gone wrong.
There was no warning or hint of anything being not right, we had been away to National Ducati Rally the week before and even rode a day with Warren Lee of NFI, the bike ran flawlessly as it has done for 22000km.
This has all come crashing down me and we have no reason other than a mechanical/electrical or fuel fault of some description, unfortunately the bike is so far gone that the Police have said even their experts probably could not determine the fault, the engine is intact and nothing has come out.
Guys, maybe work just checking your wires/fuel lines/connectors just to make sure there is no perished lines/cables/hose, chaffed lines/cable/hoses etc.
We are supposed to be getting the bike back from the Police today, I have advised my insurance company and sent pictures that we have, the Hawea Fire Service have a lot more as well so we will get them in time.