Remembering Rob

Bondo already mentioned this one, but it was a classic.

Rob recreates Bondo's crash, despite nobody asking.
Rob recreates Bondo’s crash, despite nobody asking.

Larry Tate: I was doing a touring cruiser test for Inside Motorcycles, ‘Arris being one of the riders, Steve Bond another. Bondo managed to completely torch the Nomad a couple of hours north of the nearest hospital – managed to get the front, back, left, right, top, and bottom – and took out one of his ankles as well.

The Harley had the biggest passenger seat so we packed Bondo on behind a very reluctant and nervous Editor ‘Arris, and sent him off to the hospital in Napanee while Steve Simmons and I went back to my farm to collect my half-ton to get the remains of the Nomad. By the time we were trying to load the bloody wreck it was pissing down rain and Rob arrived back – but apparently didn’t see us off the road and cruised back and forth for half an hour or more looking for us while the two of us horsed the wreckage into the truck in the pouring rain, cursing him all the time. Finally back at my place, Rob insisted on “re-enacting” the incident from the bed of my pickup …

Then there was the time we went to Daytona. Honda ran out of airfare money (or something) to get him down for the press launch accompanying the races, so gave him an Odyssey van to drive down. I joined him, Piero, and a Honda employee. Four people to drive, no problem, right? But Piero only had a bike licence, and the Honda employee was forbidden to drive the company vehicle. So I started, and rather than get some sleep Rob just kept chattering away.

About the middle of Georgia I’d finally had enough and we swapped (after I translated for him, literally, at a midnight snack bar – Georgia English and Yorkshire English don’t combine well!), and within 15 minutes, after I’d just dozed off, so did Rob and I woke up to the sound of the car hitting the shoulder. I gave him a whack, we stopped, and switched again. I drove all the rest of the way while Rob slept the sleep of the just …

"Hrmmm this looks passable." - Rob.
“Hrmmm this looks passable.” – Rob.

For a couple of years Rob did a “Larry-fest”, using my home as the base for two or three days of riding around Eastern Ontario, usually incorporating some off-road stuff whether the bikes were designed for that or not. One year we took a Triumph Tiger and BMW GS about 40 km through the woods on an abandoned railway line.

Another time he decided that the marsh across the top of Beaver Lake should be passable. I gave up when my Bandit got in the water past the frame rails and I couldn’t touch down any more. Mr. Seck, much taller than I, rode it out for me. We found Rob an hour or so later – somehow he’d made it through. I never knew a Bandit could get through a foot and more of water, and who knows how much soft mud underneath. I’ve never even gotten a dirt bike that dirty …

I’ve made many good and close friends because of Rob and CMG, and I’ll always owe him for that. My strongest memory of him will always be his huge, infectious smile, which you could always see even behind a full-face helmet.

7 thoughts on “Remembering Rob”

  1. I’ve been thinking about the arrival of this anniversary for a while now. Rob’s death was a real wake up call for me to make sure I value what’s important. It’s a busy life – make time for family and friends. Rob was not only a big guy! He had a big impact on the lives of so many. Miss you Rob!

  2. Great stories, having lost my best friend a few years ago I can attest that the pain dulls after a while but that gap in your life always remains.

    I met Rob once at a pub night and instantly liked him, That rarely happens.

  3. He wrote such engaging articles. Technically sharp, funny as hell and self effacing. I always looked forward reading anything he wrote. All you guys that knew him personally were lucky.

  4. Always loved hosting Rob on his trips to the West Coast. Everyone in my family got a big hug whenever he arrived. Our riding adventures around Princeton and the Sunshine Coast were some of the best riding memories I have.

    Miss him a lot.

  5. Something’s in my eyes – again.
    I will never forget how he’d always remember my name even if we hadn’t seen each other in years, or his huge smile when I presented him with the Marvin the Martian helmet at MBSR.
    He gave me the tag name TK4 when we were contemplating a tech column that, alas, never came to fruition.
    Rob was blessed with the right mix of ability, enthusiasm and self-deprecating humour that is missed – terribly.
    Keep the faith CMG’ers, and never lose sight of his vision….

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