Biker dies during ritual ride

FAMILY MAN: Mark Fowler with his children Holley and Scarlett.
FAMILY MAN: Mark Fowler with his children Holley and Scarlett.

A night ride ritual to Riwaka ended tragically for family man Mark Rodger Fowler, the 38-year-old motorcyclist who died after a collison on Friday.

Mr Fowler died at the scene after his Ducati 900 SS collided with a 4WD vehicle on the Takaka Hill around 5.45pm. The accident left the 4WD overturned on State Highway 60 near the bottom of the Golden Bay side of the hill.

It is the second fatal motorcycle crash in Tasman in less than a month. Three weeks ago 56-year-old Terence Grew died after a collision with a car driven by an 80-year-old Nelson man along the Appleby Highway. The driver is due to appear in court this week charged with careless driving causing death.

Friend Jack Stevens said, after family, motorcycling was Mr Fowler's life. "He was an extremely good rider. The ride we were going on was a Friday ritual, we'd ride over to Riwaka."

Mr Stevens said he saw the accident in his rear vision mirror.

"It was pretty full on. I wouldn't have wanted him to go through that alone." A lot of talk had taken place with the other two riders who were out with them on Friday about whether the ritual would continue. "The decision was that Mark would be really disappointed if we stopped riding."

Mr Fowler's partner, Tiffany Price, said: "He was the most amazing father and partner you could ever have."

Mr Stevens described Mr Fowler as a "terrific family man" who had just started his own business, repairing ATVs in his garage.

He had two young daughters with Ms Price, whom he had been with for about eight years. "They had a ‘beautiful bond', they were completely happy."

Mr Stevens, a sawmiller, said he was arranging to have a coffin built for Mr Fowler. "I've hired a joiner and all his mates that want to come down and hang out or help can come in."

A passenger in the 4WD was treated at the scene by the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter's intensive care paramedic, and was flown to Nelson Hospital along with the driver.

The Nelson Mail