A few overheard comments from the bar at the London show:
” A bunch of fucking assholes doing a prance of the fairies in front of the biggest collection of clueless gay wannabe bikers ever assembled”
“wow, that was incredible he was jumping higher than our house”
“it’s just a trick – anyone who has ever done a little motocross could clear those jumps like nothing”
“Dad, can I have a CRF 125 ?”
“My god! what is the life expectancy for these guys”
“If they gave the british women’s trampolining team dirt bikes and 6 weeks practice with a pit they could do the whole thing better”
“We came here to get fucked on free beer and red bull”
“we came here to fuck a proper biker”
A while ago I was treated to a unwanted “backstage” pass at the X fighters thing, it was a huge crazy production, more like a rock concert than anything I recognised as dirt biking. After a mountain of free beer and food hospitality a la F1 motor racing, I had a bit of time on my hands to take a look around the pits. There I saw that the bikes were being looked after properly by massive tool chests full of gleaming new tools, and the rides were surprisingly almost showroom standard models with a just a few tiny tweaks? I squeezed the tyres and was surprised that the pressures were so low, considering the huge hits they would be taking…I recognised a friend (who best remain anonymous) who had heard a heard a couple of riders talking about a four stroke modle they had tried out for the manufacturer, and how the engine sounds were all wrong and it was impossible to get the thing to jump right, (the bikes did not have speedos or clocks and so they just judge the jumps by feel en engine noise), in fact they were talking about the jumps to each other by making the sound of the 2 stroke motor with their mouths ” remmmmmmm and then I brim brim brahammmmm brahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” they sounded like small kids taking to each other about songs they had heard on the radio but did not know the words to yet, it was strangely cute that they seemed so technically innocent and yet so specialised in this sport.
The event it self was a big sell out and I was further surprised at how most of the people in the crowd were not really bike people at all, and quite a few of them looked like they had never been on an off road bike. Still, I thought, very quietly to myself, these guys are pumping money and popularity into the the area of sport I love, so I better just keep my dirty fingernail bitterness to myself. After a while the show started and I started talking to the head groundsman who was slightly drunk (as his work was done) an he explained to me with no sarcasm that the track was very very carefully load out to be exactly the same in the various cities that the show when though, as if it varied even slightly the riders would take a long to to acustomise to the different layout. Fair enough, i guess it would be awful if someone got hurt… these guys were catching some massive air, I could not remember anyone getting quite that much hight at anything I have ever seen.
After a little while the riders got warmed up and away they went hitting the jumps almost perfectly every time and then during the 3 seconds or so of air they nut cases filled the sky time with a whole load of different “moves” then I saw an impressive front flip – which sort of looks impossible when you see it live.
Finally as the “competition” was hotting up and was being scored (in much the way figure skating is) I lost my cool and snapped, I has found my self standing behind a kid of about 12 years old, I think he was a youth motocrosser, as he was saying to his little mate of younger brother ” it’s a fucking con! they are just doing the same pop jump over and over and just doing trampoline tricks, it’s like ballet dancing, anyone could learn to do that with enough practice in a foam pit…they are just poofs even the landings are just the right steepness so they could land on their feet, it’s not really that hard or dangerous ”
I think he was a little unkind, some of these guys have proved their metal in other areas of off road motorsport – think Travis Pastrana, and he almost called them fairies, but what the kid said did have some truth, the crowd was being treated to a very well managed spectacle, a bit like professional wrestling in some ways… I suddenly felt a bit cheated and decided to get myself a hotdog and have a chat with the brolly dollies who were all standing around in my area… I asked the girls if they get much crap from the riders, and they told me they they were very professional and mostly traveling with wives or girl friends. I though about most of the guys I ride with and wondered if they were too manly? I recon most of my mates, if they got this famous would take the rock star thing the whole way and be traveling with wives AND girlfriends AND giving the pit girls as much shit as humanly possible…
I only had a compact camera on me so could not get very good shots, for what they are worth here they are.