Firefighters off on safari – on scooters

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Rakaia couple Charlie and Jill Tomlin are revved up and ready for Saturday’s Tranz Alpine Scooter Safari.
The pair are volunteer firefighters and will ride the 250km challenge from Christchurch to Hokitika in firefighting gear.
Jill tackled the bi-ennial event in 2014 but, like other participants, was forced to curtail her run because of a slip at Otira.
The Tomlins are keen to support the event recipient, the New Zealand Cancer Society, and will raise at least $1000 each for the cause. The safari is capped at 250 riders.
The Scooter Safari was designed as a long, gruelling test of endurance on a city scooter and would put riders through the pain barrier, although nothing like the anguish suffered by those with cancer, said Charlie Tomlin.
The couple would tackle the challenge on identical scooters – both 2008 Yamaha Jogs with 49cc engines – which would feature ‘‘fire’’ badges and impressive fire sirens that would be used when overtaking, he said.
Although identical, Mrs Tomlin reckons her scooter is faster downhill, but slower uphill.
The section of road over Porters Pass, in particular, would be a real test for riders, she said.
‘‘There will be regular breaks for refreshments and to refuel the scooters, but we don’t intend riding side by side,’’ said Mrs Tomlin.
‘‘We are prepared for whatever the elements throw at us. At the moment, the forecast is good for this side, but not so good over on the West Coast.’’
Charlie Tomlin has been a firefighter for 35 years and is part of the Lauriston Rural Force, while his wife has just notched up 14 years with Rakaia.
You can support the fundraising efforts of the Tomlins by donating at the scootersafari.co.nz website.
Photo: Charlie and Jill Tomlin.