SPEEDS of up to 140mph were reached as two motorcyclists tore through the Welsh countryside during what a judge described as "a prolonged piece of selfish, self-indulgent, adrenalin-seeking riding."
Michael Groves, aged 39, of Roman Road, Rhyl, received an eight months suspended jail term and must do 300 hours unpaid work.
Andrew Bennett, aged 48, of Pen y Cae, Abergele, got a six months suspended prison sentence with 200 hours unpaid work.
Dashcam footage courtesy of North Wales Police
Following sentencing at Caernarfon crown court on Friday, North Wales Police released footage of the two bikers careering along the A470 from Betws y Coed to Llandudno and Llanddulas at speeds of up to 140 miles per hour.
Judge Niclas Parry said while the standard of Bennett's riding wasn't as serious as that of Groves both men were banned for two-and-a-half years and ordered to take extended tests and pay court costs.
They admitted dangerous driving during a journey of 27 miles on the A470 through the Conwy Valley to Llandudno and then east along the coast to Llanddulas, near Colwyn Bay, where they collided.
The bikers were prosecuted after police recovered a head-cam attached to Groves's helmet.
Judge Parry told the defendants at Caernarfon crown court that they showed "utter disregard" for other road users. "You used North Wales country roads for kicks," he remarked. "You reached quite staggering levels of speed" and there were "wheelies."
Groves had filmed "this bravado, no doubt so you could boast about your achievements."
The judge said there was "deliberate and flagrant disregard for the rules of the road" although there was no evidence of racing. There were dog walkers, oncoming cycles and speeding in areas where the potential for a collision was "blatantly obvious."
He said: "What occurred was the inevitable."
But Judge Parry added: "I fulfil my public duty in passing the sentences."
Prosecuting barrister Paulinus Barnes said four bikers in all had been riding at high speed and Groves reached 140mph in a 60mph zone and 110mph in a 30mph limit.
Judge Parry said the case involved a stretch of road where there have been more than 220 collisions in five years, seven fatal.
Patrick Thompson, defending Groves, said: "The defendant's life was changed by this collision. He's had seven operations. He is now disfigured permanently. He's had to give up sports. He's psychologically damaged to a great degree.
"He's learned an extremely bitter lesson for his behaviour on that day."
Mr Thompson said Groves ran the recycling operation of a respected family business. If jailed, the business would have to cease for a time.
Ffion Tomos, for Bennett, said he had shown great remorse and had a clean licence. What happened in April last year had severely affected his health.
After the case Groves apologised for his riding adding in a statement: ”The riding of my motorbike on the day was unacceptable and done through a moment of stupidity which I regret deeply and will never be repeated. There is no excuse."
Inspector Alun Davies from North Wales Police’ Roads Policing Unit said: “The footage on the headcam showed evidence of some outrageously bad motorcycling. It’s a miracle that a collision didn’t occur earlier in the evening and that nobody was killed due to their reckless behaviour.
“Speeds of well over 100 miles per hour were reached which is clearly unacceptable. This not only put the riders in danger, but also other innocent road users.
“I hope that this sentence sends out a message to drivers and riders that we will prosecute you if you are caught driving or riding dangerously.”
“Our seasonal campaign, Operation Darwen, which is aimed at reducing collisions involving motorcyclists is now well underway and this is a warning to anybody who is considering riding at dangerously high speeds on our roads that we will prosecute. Please heed the warning.”
See full story in the Free Press