I just moved to the Orlando area and wanted to take a nice long ride on new year day to adventure Florida a little bit. I decided to take a ride to the space coast and check out all the cool NASA stuff.
Needless to say its pretty neat to see the Kennedy space center. While on that side of the state I found by using Siri that Manatee park is also very close. I’ve never seen on of the sea cows so I decided I should take a ride there and check it out. Along the way, I noticed that the road was actually curvy, if you live in Florida you know that’s something pretty rare!
I ride really hard, but I usually ride the road first to get a grasp of the topagraphy before I hammer it. Now a blind corner in Florida is the most elusive of them all, I was doing 70ish in 5th gear on a straight and decided to slow down to 35-40 for the corner in case of sand etc. Unfortunately as I entered the corner, the blue Toyota Seinna backed out of a driveway blocking both lanes and a White Nissan Murano sitting on the side of the road. There was no run off room either spot, it was hit the Sienna broad side or try to ride it out through the grass.
I made a split second decision to ride it through the grass and brake hard when I hit the pavement for the driveway. I did that exact thing. Unfortunatly it wasn’t enough space to stop the bike. I went straight into the swamp (yes I rode it in) at about 5 - 10mph. Its pure pants shitting shock when you hit the water full force and your helmet fills up with water! For about 10 minutes I had a Ducati Submarine, it was completely submerged in the murky, nasty, silty swamp water. I wouldn’t just leave it down there to sit in the swamp so I lifted it up so it was back on two wheels. As I was standing there, don’t forget I’m from Vermont, this old back woods Floridan came up and said “well shit boy glad that 5.5 foot gator ain’t around, or the water moccasins”.
That really motivated me to get it out ASAP. Not long after, one of the neighbors pulled up with a tow strap. Though the cops were on the way, I was not interested to let it sit in the bottom of the water. I wrapped the tow strap around the swing arm and the other side to the Nissan. Slowly he pulled it out of the mud and muck as I steadied it up the bank. My Alpine stars race suit was drenched and covered in the worst smelling water and mud a person could imagine. The paramedics asked if I needed to be checked over or brought to the hospital. I was in full leathers and landed in water, I wasn’t hurt but its their job to be persistent after a crash. I said, “you can take me to the hospital if you can think it will cure my hurt pride.” They all laughed and said, he’s OK.
Long story short, the police showed up and did a police report, insurance companies were called, and the bike was towed to the Ducati shop in Odessa Fl. I had a chance to wash it off and the fairings looked good but when flipping on the key, I was met with an array of lights, I thought to myself that its being very festive considering it looked like a Christmas tree on my instrument panel. I’m pretty sure every sensor, computer, and wiring is completely fubar. The entire bike will have to be disassembled, brakes, steering, suspension, removed to clean the silt from them and replace any parts completely ruined. Since I rode it into the water, I’m wondering if it sucked water into the engine and hydro locked it. Only time will tell but I’m 99% sure its totalled.... RIP 899 Panigale, now the question is whats next!
Here are some picture of her before the drowning: