We make no ex­cuses for lux­u­ri­at­ing in the 1980s (again), plus the TRX850 ‘se­cret’ that can’t be put back in the box. Plus, a di­nosaur talks birds

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Contents - Mark Porter, Peter­bor­ough

Af­ter read­ing your We Love The ’80s is­sue (PS, Sept 2018) I was in­spired to tell a few sto­ries from that time, espe­cially as we’re only down the road from you at PS. We ba­si­cally started meet­ing in 1984 at Or­ton Longueville shops in Peter­bor­ough at around 7pm ev­ery night as most of us lived around that area. Af­ter much twitch­ing of blinds and cur­tains by the res­i­dents, we would usu­ally head off to the Gor­don Arms pub along Oun­dle Road and chitchat and catch up on the day’s events, usu­ally com­plain­ing about hav­ing to work to be able to af­ford our bikes.

Around clos­ing time, espe­cially on a Fri­day, we would head off to Sunny Hunny (Hun­stan­ton) and ei­ther camp or stay there un­til dawn the next morn­ing. At the start of gather­ings, we were mostly on 50s or 125s but within a cou­ple of years we’d all passed our tests and gone on to big­ger bikes.

Mem­ory #1 The fry­ing pan in­ci­dent

We de­cided to go camp­ing for the Sil­ver­stone 500 GP. I must have been around ’86 or ’87 as I was al­ready on my CBX6. At night, the usual ruckus of burn-outs and wheel­ies along the coun­try roads around the track was halted by a con­voy of riot vans and suit­ably clad po­lice­men. It was all quite friendly to start with and we even sat in one of the po­lice vans chatting. One of them even of­fered a friend of mine his sand­wich.

As we walked back to the camp­site, which was just be­hind the bor­der­ing hedge, a com­mo­tion started and be­fore we knew it, peo­ple were get­ting grabbed and put in vans. There ‘may’ have been a fry­ing pan thrown over the hedge from our camp­fire into the crowd on the other side which ob­vi­ously in­cluded the riot po­lice. Some­one was heard mut­ter­ing, “Me fry­ing pan, where’s me fry­ing pan?”

Much later when ev­ery­thing seemed to have qui­etened down, one of us was re­liev­ing him­self on the hedges when sud­denly three or four po­lice in riot gear ap­peared from nowhere. It turned out they were hid­ing in the hedges ly­ing in wait. As he was bun­dled into the back of the van, he later told us he heard a voice in the dark­ness say, “You **cker! I gave you my sand­wiches!”

I had to take that friend a few days later to Towces­ter Crown Court on the back of my CBX as I felt guilty be­cause I KNOW he didn’t throw that fry­ing pan. No one has owned up to throw­ing that fry­ing pan to this day.

#2 Santa Pod Camp­ing

One of our af­ter clos­ing time camp­ing trips was to Santa Pod Race­way as it was a Run-what-you-brung week­end. One of our friends came in his mum’s brand new red Ford Es­cort to carry camp­ing gear. I don’t think it had a thou­sand miles on it. We rode around the back roads test­ing the car and we hap­pened to find our­selves in an ac­cess road to a wheat field.

He thought it would be fun to make a line in the mid­dle of it us­ing his mum’s car. Well that

line ended up as a full ma­trix on the wheat field. We now know it wasn’t funny and not clever. Sorry Mr. Farmer. As we were set­ting the bon­fire, the same Ford Es­cort key holder de­cided it would be a good idea to soak his hand in petrol and stick it in the fire. He’d seen in movies that the fuel would catch fire but the skin wouldn’t get hot. Well now he knows it doesn’t work like that.

I drove his mum’s car around Northamp­ton look­ing for the emer­gency depart­ment only to find it was closed. I re­mem­ber how unim­pressed I was with the car. Da­gen­ham’s 1300cc didn’t seem that pow­er­ful, and it chugged a lot. We found out later at dawn that the edges on the front of his mum’s new car were down to primer and un­der the bon­net was full, and I mean FULL, of wheat; air­box in­take, ra­di­a­tor, the lot. On the way home, we had to stop at a petrol sta­tion and luck­ily found a tin of red rat­tle can to hide the ob­vi­ous. He later told us his mum took it back to the garage to com­plain about the poor run­ning and the garage had to re­place the fuel tank as it had wheat in it.

I could go on, but most of it is un­print­able, mainly be­cause it’s em­bar­rass­ing, and much of it is hid­den some­where in our mem­ory banks and usu­ally only comes out when we’re to­gether. The last big one was in 2014 when I went back for a sur­prise 50th (for me). Pretty much every­one was there and we rem­i­nisced all night, much to the shock and em­bar­rass­ment of the off­spring. The wives had al­ready heard the sto­ries a mil­lion times. Well, some of them any­way. Best re­gards,

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