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Ready To Ride His Harley To The Big Apple

Roger’s Ready To Ride His Harley To The Big Apple.

A high profile Palmerston North identity and his four friends, will kick start their Harleys at dawn Monday [CST], to begin the final stages of their epic adventure, riding across America.

Roger Clausen a local farmer from Rongotea on the outskirts of the city, is taking a unique opportunity during his historic ride from Vancouver Canada, to the “Big Apple” New York, to raise more than $NZ30, 000 for the Arohonui Hospice in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

In the past week Mr Clausen has been in Milwaukee Wisconsin USA attending the Harley Davidson 100th Birthday Bash, the world’s biggest birthday party. About 400 New Zealanders are among the estimated One Million riders from throughout America and the world, who’ve dreamed of migrating to “Hog Heaven,” the home of Harley, for these huge celebrations.

Mr Clausen departed Vancouver Canada, on 30 July 2003, with 60 other Kiwi riders and enthusiasts from throughout New Zealand. Two are even from Stewart Island, and Haast. So far the 30 day ride has taken him across eight states in the Northern Mid West part of America, and already more than 7,000 kilometres are registered on his Harley’s speedometer.

At the time of his departure from New Zealand, the Speedo on his bike was recorded at 10,000 kilometres. It is estimated that when the final registration is officially read in New York by New Zealand’s Consul General Jane Cunliffe on Tuesday 9 September 2003, the total distance achieved will be nearly 12,000 kilometres.

Mr Clausen is being accompanied on the ride to New York by James Young of Auckland, a Petty Officer in the Royal New Zealand Navy. Mr Young is based at the Naval Training Centre in Devonport. Larry Robb of Wanganui and Terry McGruer of Palmerston North are also with him. They have business interests. Riding pillion with the group is Mattie Wall, a former Vice Consul in New York. She is now Communications Manager for the Committee for Auckland.

On Monday 8 September 2003 the five friends will be met soon after their arrival in New York by senior officers of the New York Fire Department, including former Fire Commissioner Thomas Van Essen. An informal meeting with former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani is scheduled to take place later in the day. Mr Giuliani will meet Roger Clausen at his Office. Facilitation for this meeting is a result of a previous visit to New Zealand in 1997 by Mr Denis Onieal, the current Superintendent of the National Fire Academy, in Emmittsburg, Maryland.

Mr ONieal was hosted during his visit to Auckland by the present Assistant Fire Region Commander for the Western Fire Region Mr Mitchell Brown of Palmerston North Mr Giuliani has taken considerable interest in the ride across America by the large contingent of New Zealanders. He was in New Zealand 10 days ago for a keynote address at a charity dinner.

The group’s ride to New York will include a stopover at the famous Niagara Falls in Canada. Mr Clausen is expected to arrive back in Palmerston North on 18th September 2003. A total of 23 Harley riders from Palmerston North were among the group who rode with Roger from Vancouver Canada across America to Milwaukee. Their journey comes to an end in Chicago on Wednesday, where the remaining bikes will be reloaded for transport by rail to Los Angeles, and then onto a container vessel to be shipped to Auckland. It will be mid October before all the bikes are back in regular use on the streets of Palmerston North. Mr Clausen says the project has indeed been “a great ride, across a great country, for a great cause.”

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