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  • Hallet's Desert Adventures: 1986 Parker 400

    86 Parker 400

    After a solid ’85 season with Allen Fox and John Tomson, our sponsor, we had high hopes for ’86. Parker kicked off the season. On our way to Parker, 5 days prior to the race, we were traveling on 95 north through Quartzsite. A news report came over the radio that the space shuttle Challenger blew up on lift off. I’ll always remember that moment. It may have been an omen of things to come. Our team base was in a camp ground,_ on the Colorado River. 3 or 4 days of pre-running went smooth. Mark Weixeldorfer of Team Honda got hurt on the California loop (Parker 400 was one 100 mile loop in California and one 100 mile loop in Arizona. 3-wheelers didn’t go 3 laps in Arizona. Score wanted to keep trikes and cars from co-mingling too much. Weixeldorfer cased a rock with his skidpan and either broke/severely bruised his tailbone. He was out of commission before the race. The day prior to the race, about midday, I decided to run the 1st ten miles of my Arizona loop that would be the most dangerous part of my section due to dust conditions after the restart on the Arizona loop. John’s son Scott would follow me on a 250R to get some seat time. My plan was to go 10 or so miles, hit a crossover road for 5, and do the last 10 to the finish. My brother Tom dropped us off at the start-finish and waited. 2 miles out I noticed a trail veering left off the course. My curiosity told me to check it out, so I followed it ¼ mile or so and it intersected a better road. It paralleled the course. I thought, “This might be an awesome alternative if the course gets choked with dust.”
    About the time I hit 5th gear, all hell broke loose. A class 5 (unlimited Baja Bug) appeared coming head on, he and I traveling 50-60 mph. He was 50 feet from me. The overhanging Mesquite trees made it impossible to see him coming around a turn. All I had time to do was jump straight up and hope my feet would clear the bars. The jump and flight was awesome. I saw the exhaust stinger go right under me. At that moment I recall the sound of my 250R grenading into say, 8 or 10 manageable pieces. Feeling good that I avoided body vs. car contact, I neglected to prepare for the inevitable contact with Mother Earth. It was the only time I lawn darted head first. I couldn’t get my shoulder tucked under to roll. I skidded and bounced headfirst from 50 mph to a stop. After I stopped I felt fortunate to be conscious. One problem though-I was blind, just darkness. I crawled off the trail into brush.

    Now the reality of being blind set in. “Oh no, my parents will be crushed.” My throat started hurting so I decided to get my helmet off. I started looking for the buckle. It wasn’t under my chin. Wtf? I found it under my left ear. I undid it and realized my visor was sticking out behind my left ear.My damn helmet had spun almost half way around. So I torque my helmet back around. I wasn’t blind anymore. Right on. I was looking into the back of my helmet. As my goggles came over my eyes, it was such an awesome feeling to see.
    Blood exploded into my goggles. I thought, “Okay, this doesn’t seem to be your average bleeder. This is a buttload of blood.” I could hear voices. It was the guys in the car, coming to my aid. They got to me as I removed my helmet. The look on one of the guys’ faces was priceless. He’d never seen a guy who had his face dunked in ketchup before; he almost passed out. Luckily the other guy ripped his dirty shirt off and stuffed it onto my face. He didn’t know where the blood was coming from so he pressed it on my entire face. After a few seconds he lifted the shirt and could see the split from the bridge of my nose halfway around my right eye. When the helmet spun on my head, the bone of my eye socket punched through the skin.

    My right shoulder ached but didn’t seem broken. All in all a successful wipeout, considering a head on with a car, with a closing rate of 100 mph. I asked the guys why they were going backwards on the course. They informed me that I was the one going backwards. What I didn’t know was that the start and finish of the loop was only 400 feet apart, separated only by a hedgerow of desert brush. After 2 or 3 minutes, I got to my feet. The two guys in the car and I walked back to the impact sight. Holy crap, there were parts spread everywhere. The car had a broken spindle and bent trailing arms. I guess my front tire slid by his right front. His right front shaved everything off the right side of the trike: brake pedal, peg, then axle. It ripped the axle out of the swing arm and ripped the swing arm loose of the frame. Something we never figured out was how it flipped up and hit the passenger side A-post on the car. Bent it in 8”. The co-driver thought I was dead. He thought I had hit the A-post with my body. He probably closed his eyes on impact.
    Another pre-runner in a 2 seat buggy pulled up, saw the carnage and stopped. He offered me a ride to the start/finish line. His co-rider got out and I got in. I found John and he toted me off to Parker hospital. All the while, Scott made my designed loop and found the crash site. Bloody goggles, helmet parts everywhere. The guys in the car told him I was okay, so he stayed put with the bike parts and riding gear until someone returned, 4 hours or so later. Meanwhile, at the hospital, they wouldn’t let me get undressed. They cut my jersey and riding pants off. When they got to my boots I called bullshit! I forced my way up and unbuckled them and kicked them to the floor. I thought, “Hell, I just got those things broken in.”

    I told them my right shoulder was sore. They x-rayed me head to toe. After the doctor reviewed the x-rays, he determined my left shoulder needed attention…but it was the right one that hurt. Old injury I guess; I had neither worked on. I got my face stitched up. John hauled me back to camp. In the meantime, my brother had gone out and picked up all the pieces of my pre-runner (and Scott). When they rolled up, John asked Tom where the bike was. He said its back there, not visible over the side rails of the truck bed. John stuck his head over the side. There she lay. The only thing usable was forks, front tire and wheel, and the motor, which had to be gone through due to induced seizure. Can’t recall if it was broken or not.

    Now 12 hours before the race, a decision had to be made. I had asked the doctor if riding the next day would make the stitches bleed. He didn’t think so, but recommended I not ride, of course. I told John & Al I was good to race. They asked Dean Sundahl if he would fill in if I couldn’t ride. He agreed. He was going to solo on a Kawi. The next morning I awoke to a right eye swollen shut-just a sliver of light getting in. Sundahl was in, and I would watch.
    The race had Allen and Marty Hart even at 100 miles. But Marty in the move from CA to AZ, we had 1 hour or so to get from the end of the CA loop to the start of the AZ loop. Marty missed his start time due to yakking up breakfast . The race finished with Fox & Sundahl overalling. But Honda attempted an underhanded deal to give Marty the 3 minutes he missed at the start line. They were unsuccessful,due to John Tomson not letting Wes Mccoy pull a fast one on SCORE.
    All in all it was a good race. Our team won the thing, I was alive, I could see, and there was only one destroyed pre-runner,and a hefty hospital bill.
    Curiosity damn near killed this cat.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Hallet's Desert Adventures (Mike Hallett) started by huntinpecker View original post
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. atctim's Avatar
      atctim -
      Wow that is an unbelievable story and the pictures show how devastating the impact was! That is crazy! I was wondering what the red ring on the front wheel in the lower picture is?
    1. Lil Earl's Avatar
      Lil Earl -
      this is amazing, 1 for him being alive and not blind, 2 the team won, 3 who the front end is fine if it was a head on colision
    1. Sawfly's Avatar
      Sawfly -
      the best feeling in the world is realizing you are alive and can recover after a near-death experience. and yes i think this counts cause if he hadn't jumped...
    1. Erics350x's Avatar
      Erics350x -
      Amazing story!! Thanks for sharing
    1. huntinpecker's Avatar
      3WW Star-huntinpecker -
      Quote Originally Posted by atctim View Post
      Wow that is an unbelievable story and the pictures show how devastating the impact was! That is crazy! I was wondering what the red ring on the front wheel in the lower picture is?
      I went thru all the photos of that machine,I believe the red ring is duct tape,before a race we would mark parts that needed to be removed off our prerunners for race spares. Good eye it does look like a plastic ring in the pic.
    1. atvjoe's Avatar
      atvjoe -
      wow! serious inpact! Good thing your Okay.
    1. atc007's Avatar
      atc007 -
      Thanx a million for sharing !! I had missed this till now.. Amazing story...What goes on in the desert ,,sometimes stays in the desert...Glad You made it out!
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