Let me tell you about my weirdest experience in 2012. It was in early May when I was talked into racing a borrowed rigid chopper around a speedway track in middle England.
My old friend Dave Arnold (Sideburn magazines chief events co-ordinator)
rang me and briefly explained the plan and that he had tried contacting the pro skateboarder Duane Peters and wanted to bring him over to have a go. Dave and Duane go back a long way.
Anyway Duane had a fucked up leg or maybe he had been forewarned but either way Duane wasn't answering the phone,
The thing is, the more events I do and the more new friends I make, I seem to get picked out as someone who will be "up for It" Yeah " Trawler will do it !". After agreeing to do this in a spirit of not letting the side down I found myself alone driving towards Coventry on a grey saturday morning.
Riding bikes on the road I obviously don't have a problem with, I can go fast in a straight line, it's easy but I had a bad feeling that today was gonna end in either death or glory .
The Flat track guys are big on slogans, they get batches of stickers printed saying stuff like "if you aint limping you aint shit" . "go fast- turn left" Dirts fer Racing, Asphalts fer gittin there!
With a three hour journey and plenty of time to think with these words of wisdom rattling around my brain , my arse was twitching and I was bricking it!
I got to the track and parked up, It was wet, cold and damp, typical England. The type of day when this country cannot make its mind if spring has yet sprung.
The track was wet and the clay surface was like brown porridge, I soon found out that any normal speedway card would have been cancelled, but not today.
I nervously made my way to the pits to check out my donor bike for the day.
I saw it cowering in the corner. It was an unloved GS650 rigid chopper, pulled out from the back of a shed, into the sunlight, fuelled up and brought back to life.
This old Saki sipper had seen better days and It was hate at first sight!
First thing I noticed was that her sporty tank had a flame job on one side and burnt off paint on the other? She looked like Jerry Hall in that Batman movie! I later found out that she had caught fire during her resurrection three days earlier. Not a good sign of what was to come.
Looking around the pit lane and the riders meeting I noticed nearly everyone had full face helmets and leathers and seemed to be taking this pretty seriously. This was reinforced by the abundance of freshly fitted knobbly front tyres. I lined in the usual attire, Dickies, Vans, a hoody and my denim vest, I felt almost naked in comparison. All I had was my trusty elbow pad and skate gloves and knee braces to protect me from the track of doom!
Ready to go out on the track and I was shitting twinkles! The bike needed its choke out at all times, neutral gear was nowhere to be found, the bitch wasn't playing ball.
So we are off for some laps around the brown soup stuff and straight away I find out there is no traction and a non existent racing line, it was a mud bath, a 2nd and 3rd gear shit fest!
Twist the throttle down the straight and back it off around the bends, well that's what they told me.
I tuck in at the back and try and get my head into this racing lark, quickly it is the last lap of four and I try and give it a final burst past the chequered flag.
I pass the flag with a spurt but then I have to go around the corner again. Too much speed and I am wide of the line. As if in slow motion I lay her down in front of all my buddies. It is all highly embarrassing, mud right up my backside and bruised pride.
I'm helped to my feet by the marshals, they put me back on the bike and I am ushered off doing a good impression of Bambi on ice.
Second run of the day and there I am waiting in the holding lane pulling in the clutch for way too long, sucking on every other bikes exhaust.
At this point I see a four wheeled pie being driven by a head chef and it is going around the track, I must be trippin on the fumes and a little bit hungry because I swear that never happened!
Then we are out on the track and I'm the tailgunner again!
I passed one guy from Krazy Horse choppers just as he gobbed it on the back straight and he's off onto the centre concrete, breaking his levers and pegs in the process. It was a straight outta the box, a new sporty custom build and now it's fucked.
This is way too gnarly, what am I doing here?
Last lap and I want to finish on a high but I do exactly the same as before.
The bike goes straight and I have to lay it down in the fudge brownies!
Knackered, frustrated, dirtied and it's time to retire to the bar and reflect on my efforts.
It was hard work and I have every respect to my Sideburn mag and flat track racing friends.
Those guys have balls of steel, cast iron cahoonies and I thank them for looking after me today on and off the track.
Chopper racing is ticked off my bucket list, it was a blast and an experience I will never forget.
That's good because now I dont have to do it again.