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Mini-moto

Published: 05 August 2002

The holiday so far had simply consisted of lazing by the pool recovering from a thorough skin full the night before. The other lads and myself fancied doing something different on this particular day, so we left the birds lying at the hotel and jumped in a taxi to the mini moto centre. The drinking activities from the night before having not completely worn off, chewing gum was purchased on the way.

When we arrived at the venue, the go-cart track was in full swing. The mini moto however, was populated by nobody. Obviously they’re all pansies I thought. We purchased our tokens for an eight minute session., made our way over to the bored looking chap with the obligatory Spanish tash, and put on the decidedly dodgy looking armour. This consisted of what I am convinced was nothing more than skateboarding attire, shielding the knees and elbows, giving no protection to the hip area, but more of that later. The helmet provided would have made the good folks at the ACU laugh until their arses fell out. The fit was not dissimilar to that of a garden pot, with a matching about of dirt inside as well, the origin of which I have no desire to find out.

The circuit briefing was not that different from those you get on a track day at home, except slightly shorter, and spoken in an entirely unintelligible dialect.

" Booteros, booteros, th th th th, brake here, bueno estente, go here, th th th th, stop here. "

This was accompanied by lots of enthusiastic gesturing in the direction of the bike, dirty laughing and I am sure there was a look of gleeful anticipation.

I envisaged my first lap spent learning the lines, establishing the apexes, memorising my braking markers. My two friends had no chance. One had only just passed his test, and the other doesn’t even ride. I am going to rule.

The kindly man fired up the bikes by yanking on the cord, awakening the beast beneath. What a f*cking racket. This thing was like a lawn mower on acid, with a set of race exhausts. Off we went, entering the world of low to the ground performance.

If I were to be able to offer some sort of comparison as to what this thing was like ride, I would, but as there is probably nothing of the sort anywhere else in the world, it’s quite difficult. The front wheel seemed to be loose, causing a constant weave that my already compromised balance could have done without. The numerous bumps on the circuit would have been absorbed beautifully by the suspension had there been any, and braking could have been greatly improved by fitting front brakes. The first half of the lap was more a battle to stay on this little death contraption, rather than the impressive display of " I’ve got a bike at home you know " that I had intended. I had finally got the hang of it by the back straight, and hadn’t been caught by my friends, so I thought I had it pretty much sorted.

The last turn on the circuit proved this to be somewhat of a misconception. Barrelling into this corner, checking for the approving glances from the smiling assassin at the side line, I thought I was the dog’s danglies. Then the corner tightened up. A lot. Too fast, I’m heading for the tyre wall. Brake. Sh*t, it’s only got a back brake. Sh*t, the back end is slipping out, let go of the brake, that must be the best thing to do. SH*T!

I had high sided a mini moto. The body armour protected me as much as I thought it would do. I landed on my left hip, a massive distance of about three metres away from the bent handle barred little swine that had just ejected me. My mate passed. The bike was still running. With the urgency of a MotoGP contender, I remounted, and set off in hot pursuit. The stubborn piece of machinery performed admirably, spluttering and farting around as it over heated and under performed for the remaining six minutes. I didn’t catch my smug friend. I pulled in, aching and bleeding. I should have left it. I should have gone back to the pool.

So I went and bought some more tokens……………

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