Saving the Imps: back with a bang in Basel

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Just two months ago the Imps Motorcycle Display Team was in serious trouble. The volunteer-run charity, which teaches superb motorbike skills to disadvantaged kids, was desperately raising funds to repair and replace an ailing, ageing fleet of bikes.

With just days to spare before show season began they reached their fundraising target and could buy the bikes they needed to keep going on, thanks in no small part to the generous support of MCN readers.You responded to our coverage of the Imps’ plight with donations totalling over £10,000.

Imps founder Roy Pratt told us: “That money paid for a third of our new fleet. Without it we wouldn’t be here.”

And where is ‘here’? MCN caught up with the Imps in the middle of a 15-show run at the world-renowned Basel Tattoo, a spectacular Swiss show with a military background that showcases musical and artistic acts of international acclaim.

The Imps stand out as the only motorcycle team in the tattoo and are the youngest act by far, performing alongside military professionals and seasoned competitors in front of thousands-strong crowds and hundreds of thousands more watching on TV.

Though it’s their first time at the Basel event the Imps are a huge hit with audience and co-stars alike. The crowd gasp at the timing and skill of dangerous manoeuvres, scream with laughter at the cheeky antics of a sidecar passenger carrying a super-soaker water pistol and cheer wildly as a 16-strong pyramid of bikes and riders circles the arena waving a Swiss flag.

The Imps themselves are loving the experience. "We just want to say thank you to everyone who supported us," says nine-year-old Aliyyah Kiberu. "We love bikes and entertaining, but we also get to travel, meet different people and try new things. I want to shake the hand of everyone who helped us – we’re so happy we get to keep on being Imps!"

For a full story on the Imps' salvation and appearance at the Basel International Tattoo, see Motor Cycle News in print on August 12, 2015.

The Basel International Tattoo runs until July 25, 2015. More info on the event here.

The Imps are performing back in the UK later in the summer. For show info click here…

Photography courtesy Patrick Straub

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Charlie Lester

By Charlie Lester