Farewell to the Black Widow

The Black Widow

[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_1923150_1112634692479_2379524_n.jpg]170The Black Widow
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_1-563188_3029511533202_704162714_n-copy.jpg]50She was indeed!
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_24410_1249017501964_5021062_n.jpg]30Ann with the Black Widow, overlooking the Indian Ocean at Cottesloe
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_02-aunty-jack-greg-ross-charity-run-at-kununurra.jpg]40The Black Widow & Aunty Jack.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_4862_1095571625913_315188_n.jpg]30Proud owner with the Black Widow on her first day home,
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_04-greg-toys.jpg]40The Toys
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_01-tipene.jpg]50Nephew Tipene on the Black Widwow
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_05-lenny-greg-riding-their-hondas.jpg]110Leonard Cohen and me on our motorbikes
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_1-image.jpg]20John Bowie, V8 Supercar champion on the Black Widow
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_06-drc2-008.jpg]00One Day in the country - Dowerin's 100 Year of Rail Celebrations
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_4862_1095571585912_1703753_n.jpg]10Down Margaret River way.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_4862_1095571665914_7410534_n.jpg]00Lissadel Station in the Kimberley
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_33750_1455171735691_7347049_n.jpg]00Mt Newman
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_67532_1455179655889_1548565_n.jpg]00Broad Arrow
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_72545_1455175535786_4530716_n.jpg]00The Wide Open Road
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_73517_1455170935671_4158586_n.jpg]00Paddy Hannan, Kalgoorlie and the Black Widow
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_77147_1493884343482_2803477_n.jpg]00Ann & the Black Widow at a bike run
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_73820_1493905144002_4592945_n.jpg]10Daughter Jodie and granddaughter Caitlin
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_74407_1493906744042_4347690_n.jpg]00Thumbs up from Ann and me.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_74593_1493905704016_5023690_n.jpg]00Ann and me with the Black Widow on Toodyay
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_396123_2367314378687_984253445_n.jpg]00Ann and her mum Brigitte
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_378406_2367309458564_1671308660_n.jpg]00Granddad and Caitlin
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_403141_2367308418538_712788457_n.jpg]00Brigitte, Caitlin and Ann
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_406121_2367310978602_542326736_n.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_408030_2367308818548_2002812387_n.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_404679_2367310778597_395836738_n.jpg]00Caitlin felt she was ready to ride!
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/the-black-widow/thumbs/thumbs_409649_2367314618693_1323429285_n.jpg]00So I took her for a very short ride
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Once upon a time, oh so may years ago, in Aotearoa, I fell in love with motorbikes – my first was a little Suzuki 50cc, quickly progressing to a 350cc twin. Later, in Oz, I rode across the Nullarbor on a Suzuki 550cc triple, then repeated the process on the new (then!) 4 stroke Suzi 750cc four. Then the Queensland Police escorted me to the NSW border and ordered me not to return. I’d been a guest rider with a gentle bunch of Brisbane blokes called the Gorgons and whenever we were pulled up on a run, I would assume legal spokesperson duties, quite successfully if I say so myself! However the constabulary were less impressed with my natural abilities and felt I should leave! So I gave the finger to the Queensland Premier Bjelke-Petreson and his thug police force (later Royal Commissions proved that!) and rode on south.

Life sort of crept up on me, earning a crust got in the way and somehow, motorbikes disappeared from thought – in fact my adult kids had no idea I had ever had any interest in them. Years passed.

Then one day in May 2006, during my time as CEO of the Dowerin Field Days, I was doing an exhibition deal with Eddie of The Honda Shop fame, down Midland way, when I spotted a beautiful cruiser. At first I thought it was a Harley, turned out it was a Honda, a very cheeky copy, called a Black Widow. An American model, there were only ever about 12 of them brought into the country, some Honda dealers to this day are still baffled when they see one.

Anyhow, I fell in love with it, took it for a very nervous test ride the next quiet Saturday morning and bought it, much to everybody’s shock, including mine really! And so began my rebirth into the delights of motorcycle riding and cruising. I rode her through the Kimberley on one of the Matso’s Runs I helped organise, I rode her from Perth to Broome in two and a half days three of four years ago, took her down to Margaret river several times and enjoyed many a Sunday run across to York and Toodyay, not to mention runs to Fremantle for Fish and Chips. As some of you know, I have been known to drag Aunty Jack out of the closet to help raise funds for charity and the Black Widow has always been one half of a great double act. Ann came into my life sometime in 2009 and she also fell in love with the bike.

Then two years ago, life got very busy and I knew I wouldn’t be able to ride the Black Widow again for several months. All machines need to be started and run every now and then, so I rang Susan, our Irish nurse mate up in Geraldton. She used to race motorbikes back in Ireland and had always loved the Black Widow, “Would you mind looking after her for me and giving her a run every weekend or so?” Queried I. “Aw feck,” she said, “I’ll try to put myself out!” And so I rode the Black Widow up to Geraldton, saying, “I don’t think I’ll have a chance to come and get her until after Christmas.” Susan told me not to concern myself and pushed me out her gate! Little was I to know that day was going to be the last time I ever rode the Black Widow.

The mad decision to run for State parliament sprang unexpectedly into being and that took care of another nine months, ending deep in electioneering debt. I had to get a FIFO mining job ASAP. By now it was end of March 2013. Then in July, the accident at the mine site ripped my shoulder apart and, we later were to find, tore both the left and right hamstrings. Any thought of riding a motorbike was suddenly put on hold. Rotator Cuff surgery in March this year, meant that riding a motorbike was at least a year away. Then things got worse, the hamstrings had not repaired, and in doing light Return to Work duties the other week, a table load of boxes full of books collapsed on to me and in the scramble to save myself, I ripped the right hamstring into shreds.

Send lawyers guns and money, everybody’s running backwards, there are so many people in denial, they could get a job in the Catholic Church, or the Abbott Government. Anyhow, at this particular point in the game, nobody wants to accept responsibility, (read pay) and after nine months on Workers’ Compensation, funds have become as scarce as the proposed Ellenbrook Railway, or Troy Buswell, or both, so I reached the conclusion (before the bank rang!) that one of the toys had to go, whilst we play the ‘Outlast each Other’ injured worker game.

Now I wouldn’t want anybody to think I’m unfaithful, but, I will admit to some very fickle admiring glances at Indian Motorbikes, in fact I WANT ONE!!! But I also love the Black Widow and so does Ann. However, the reality is that I may well be facing at least one hamstring operation, quite possibly two, I hope not, but whatever the outcome, there’s no way I’ll be riding a motorbike for the next ten to twelve months.

So, after much discussion with Ann and, here I need to apologise to good mate Holger, who reminded my the other night, that I had long promised him first offer on the Black Widow if ever I sold her, I emailed Susan and asked if she was interested – she also had always said if ever I decided to sell the Black Widow, I had to talk to her first.

And so, as of today, I no longer own the Black Widow! She has moved in with Susan permanently. It’s a great home for her, she is / will be loved and cared for, as she was under my wing. We can now afford champers for Ann and malt for me – well, food anyhow, but perhaps more importantly, when that moment arrives and the doctors say “Yes, you can ride again.” We can go pick up the Indian we want – it’s red with tan saddle bags and a better rear seat for Ann. So long my Muse, you were a great ride and inspiration.

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