Repa accident in laos

Aug 7, 2003
The crucial part in this case was the riding buddy, without him nothing would have been done. I rode with Hiko in Thailand,Cambodia and Laos. It was scary riding behind him as he fell asleep veering straight into oncoming traffic, snapping awake at the last second, really he should not have been riding , but he had ridden around the world etc and wasn't going to stop because of illness. Stubborn. I still think especially going off road beside some kind of insurance you need a friend, how to get a bike up with a broken leg? How to ride it out? Slip off a embankment, nobody knows ? Not good scenarios. And usually it is a bit of fun taking the piss out of your mates along the way, some one to take the " I don't want anyone to see this " photos.

Ride safe.


New Member
Nov 3, 2019
My Friend Repa,

A Lesson not to be taught but maybe a lesson You can learn something from.

My friend Repa had a terrible accident with a motorbike in Laos. I tell this story, with the acceptance of him, not to teach You to take care of Your insurance policies but to tell You what can happen.

Repa is not a long time friend of me. We used to be competitors in the motorcycle trade in Finland. Repa was a big dealer of Suzuki and later in BMW. When I started to sell Suzuki I was quickly “eliminated” by the old Suzuki dealer gang (including Repa) because I was regarded as a Maverick. Later I became the biggest BMW dealer in Finland but I also learned that that meant the same as bankruptcy. Pleasing BMW and demanding BMW customers wasn’t covered by the lean “profits” you could get from the sales. Anyhow Repa concentrated himself on servicing and later specialized in old aircooled BMW boxers. He probably was and still is the best BMW boxer mechanic in the world. His one man workshop is totally devoted to this.

About ten years ago we became good friends with Repa. He started to spend the coldest season in Finland here in Thailand and he ended up joining my tours to Cambodia and Laos. We had many funny tours of which I could have written long books. Repa is such a man that if you stand in front of a luxury hotel and ask him if this is ok he says yes with a smile, if you stand in front of a Cambodian whore house at 1 dollar a night he still say yes and maybe with even a bigger smile. He never complained and he always had a smile on his face. He was also always helpful and a damned good rider. When departing boats and you had a steep 100 meters in front of you, Repa was the first one to drive up his bike and then walking down to help less experienced drivers to get their bikes up. He even one time asked me if I want him to drive my bike up but my pride was stronger than my brains.

Repa was and is probably one of the best all-around motorcycle drivers in the world. He probably has about 20 Finnish championships in mx, enduro, ice racing, speedway, road racing etc. Being Finnish champion maybe doesn’t sound too much but when you learn that the competitors names are Heikki Mikkola (4 time 500cc mx champion) Jarno Saarinen ( world champion 250, 350 cc, Daytona 200 winner 1973 and becoming 500cc world champion 1973 when he died in curva grande in Monza together with Pasolini, Jarno was probably the best rider ever in Road Racing), Teuvo Lansivuori (never champion only second would have been champion if he would have learnt English, he thought himself that if somebody have something to tell him they can learn Finish) and many many others. Repa went a hard motorcycle school and he was good. Repa probably got his last Finnish championship last year in the 55-60 year oldtimer mx class which he won on his vintage 500 mx Maico.

OK so Repa was and is a good rider. This year he arrived to Thailand early November. He wanted to rent my W650 Kawasaki (bonnie copy) for some strange reason he likes old classics. First he went to Hua Hin where a friend of him had given him a house for free. Typical for Repa he didn’t want to go the road south of Bangkok but instead he insisted to travel through Bangkok, because he wanted to learn how to drive with motorbike through Bangkok. And he did it…Anyhow Hua Hin was to “silent” or him so he drove down to Phuket. After a week there he came back to Pattaya and told me that he will go to Laos. His friend Mr.B had rented to 250 Honda Enduro Bikes from Jules Bikes in Vientianne. So off he went, he left some luggage at my house, I borrowed him a jacket with protectors ( which later turned out to be his good luck) and he went up to the Laos border where he left my bike together with some touring stuff.

He stayed a few days in Vientianne only doing daytrips around Vientianne on dust roads. Then they went north on small dust roads and on the first of January it happened. On a small road, in the middle of nowhere, a local young motorcyclist probably drunk erupted just in front of Repa when he travelled at 100 km/h and he almost had a front to front hit. Fortunally for the local he hit Repa on the left hand and flew away probably only getting a bad headache (no helmet) and some small bones broken. Repa stayed on the bike and got two open fractures on the lower leg, a terrible looking fracture on the left foot through his mx-boots, a big size swollen knee with some undentified damages and his femur bone not only getting out of the hip joint, but the rest of this largest man body bone was not only broken but fragmented into small pieces, too small to be nailed together. His male proud also got so big that the two ladies who washed him everyday in the Bangkok hospital were highly impressed. His head stayed unhurt.
Mr. B succeeded to find a pick up who first brought Repa and his collision guy to a health station nearby. At the health station they told that they cannot do anything and only gave Repa some liquid in a plastic bag intravenously. No pain killer. Then Repa and his good friend on the same pick up had a 6 hours painful trip to Vientianne on the back of the pick up. Repa threw up several times and got some of the liquid into his lungs so he caught a lung infection in both lungs. When arriving outside Vientianne Repa was already unconscious and Mr. B had to wake him up by shouting to him. Prabably he was already travelling on a new journey to a more convenient and pleasure place. The first Trauma hospital in Vientianne looked at him and told Mr. B that this is not their business, to serious damage but then they went to he main hospital in Vientiane where they have French educated doctors. Now Repa first time got Morfin to handle the pain. Quickly the doctors there cut up his trousers, saw the blood and also cut up my almost new jacket…(shit happens). They sew the worst open wounds together, without any painkiller of course and tried to explain that the damages are to severe for them to handle. Thailand next!!!

Mr. B who is a former officer in the Finnish army wanted “justice’ at any cost and went back to the village to pick up Repa’s bike together with Max from Jules. And he succeeded. The police found the young local guy guilty. Of course he had no money but the village chief collected from the villagers I million kips to Repa, ok the money went to repair the bike Repa had rented from Jules, but anyhow. Since I have handled many similar “police tribunals for friends with accidents in Laos and Cambodia I know that very often it is more easy to pay a small fine and get rid of it…But Mr. B was tough, justice!!!! Also all credit to Jules. As far as I know they handled everything in a very professional and human way, even if I know that as a GT-rider I should recommend Jim.

Repa had fortunally a travel insurance from Finland. Everybody don’t know but we do have the world’s best health insurance system in the world here/there in Scandinavia and almost everybody also have a home insurance (costing about 100 Euro/year) in which a 12 month travel insurance is included for trips up to 45-90 days depending on the insurance company. Repa had such at Tapiola Insurance (one of the biggest insurance companies in Finland) and the CEO of the company is a Motorcycle freak who has been driving with me in Thailand and Cambodia. At the moment he was on a 3 months motorcycle tour in South America so I couldn’t contact him and I didn’t have to. Everything was handled in a very professional way without interference from the top. Scandinavia have almost zero corruption. I am fed up with the disinformation that especially American FOX tv promotes about bankruptcy European states with a broken health care system. Pls do your home work look into the situation in Scandinavia, or Germany, Holland etc and don’t talk lies. If I get angry enough some day I will write something about it.

Anyhow Mr B. telephoned the insurance company who uses SOS international in Denmark as a trouble shooter agent agent. Despite the new year they sent in 6 hours an ambulance airplane from Bangkok with 5 people to pick up Repa in Vientiane. The cost? I think about 1-1,5 million Baht. Repa remembers that he got more morfin in the plane and he also remembers that he threw up on both the doctors and nurses for which he is still ashamed.

In Bangkok he was picked up by an ambulance from Samitevej hospital, maybe one of the best and most expensive hospitals in Thailand. The hospital is full of Korean and Japanese patients making by-pass operation etc.

He stayed one month in the hospital. They made three operations two long time +10 hours operations. The biggest problem was the femur bone. It could not be nailed together so they used a metal thread to sew it together. Everything was very professional done and we had a Ortophed from Finland living in Satahip too look at the pictures and he confirmed the professionalism.

At the hospital he got superb service. Since he could not go to the toilet himself he had to use pampers but was cleaned every day by two lovely nurses. His pee went into a plastic bag. For a long time they had to empty his leg from internal blood into plastic bags. He spent the whole month in the emergency department.

Three days ago he got permit to fly home. A doctor arrived from Denmark and I think that so did a nurse. He flew back in Business class, paid by insurance as well as his followers. At the aiport in Helsinki an ambulance was waiting bringing him back to his home town 100 km from Helsinki. In that hospital he will now have a new operation, the femur has not started to heel. I think that they going to implant a bone from the chest and make that a new femur. I am not sure but I think that Repa’s travel insurance is not now covering the damage anymore. Now it is the general health insurance that covers the cost. Repa has got a small daily allowance from the travel insurance, they brought him cash the cost for the Vientiane hospital (117USD) at 9 a clock evening one day. Now he probably get a daily allowance from our government, probably quite smaal because he has been self employed and only informed a small salary. Businessmen are “kinioy”.

So why did I write this story? Actually I don’t know. First of all I am the first to confess that I never have had any good insurance cover, even if I sell insurances and have worked with insurance companies for 40 years. I also take tremendous risks only relying on “it doesn’t happens me”. I have driven motorcycle about 2 million kilometers, only one bad accident and that in Cambodia. I have driven with motorbike through Sahara in wood clocks and jeans and I used the same “safety shoes” during most of my trips in Cambodia and Laos (ask Harrithefinn he knows) I travelled with motorbike around the world without money, without insurance and I am still alive. I travelled in Cambodia illegally with motorbike when the war was still on and somebody try to shoot me a few times. Nowadays I drive motorbike despite neurolepsia which make me sleep quickly anytime even on a motorbike. But I am still alive… “It doesn”t happen to me”

This Repa case ended up in several discussions with Repa in hospital.. Repa told me, which is true, that he should have understood that, the man who appeared could have been very drunk. That is our responsibility as motorcycle drivers to assume that all other people in traffic ar stupid, drunks or whatever. In that way we stay alive longer. I share Repa’s view. Then Repa said that it is also a statistical accident. Repa has driven motorbike quite a lot, maybe half of what I have but he has driven every kilometer much more fast. Before long something happens, now it happened to him, maybe I or You are next….Think about it

Best Rgds
Hi Hiko,
What do you think about this personal accident policy in Singapore ? SmartPA Protect+ Personal Accident Insurance | AXA Singapore
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