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This year’s TT2000 Long Distance Motorcycle Rally zoomed ahead in Oamaru’s Centennial Park yesterday, and one rider would not let anything get in the way of completing the challenge.
Anja Claus had plans to complete the 2000km journey for the first time, side by side with her husband Hans, who had completed it three times before.
But after Mr Claus’ unexpected death in January, Mrs Claus was more determined than ever to complete the rally.
"I couldn’t miss this.
"I would be miserable if I was just sitting at home."
But it was not without some hurdles.
A week and a-half before the rally was destined to begin, her motorcycle’s fuel injection pump broke.
So she decided to ride her cross country bike instead.
While driving to Oamaru from her home in Christchurch, its engine position sensor gave out.
Resolved on going through with her and Mr Claus’ plans, she took it to a workshop.
"They said the part wouldn’t come until Monday."
Luckily they lent her a temporary bike and she was off.
Rally master Wayne Poll said this year’s rally would be in Mr Claus’ honour.
Mr Poll started co-ordinating the event in 2016, after its founder and popular writer Mike Hyde died.
Mr Hyde had been worried about the fuure of the event, so Mr Poll promised to keep it going.
And that he did.
It had grown from the 60 people at Mr Hyde’s first rally in 2009, to this year’s 270 registered riders.
From February 19 to 21, riders would visit 50 locations in the South Island, covering at least 2000km.
Needing to collect at least 100,000 points, participants would take pictures of their bike and TT2000 T-shirt at each checkpoint.
With "Scottish" as the rally’s theme, they would travel to locations with Scottish names, such as Duntroon, Craigellachie, Lagmhor, Roxburgh and Dunedin.
Mrs Claus said, "I think I’ll suck at it but I want to give it a go."
Once on the road again, she would first head north, then make her way back down to Oamaru.
"I’ll probably get lost along the way."
Riders would reconvene in Oamaru at noon tomorrow.