Photos courtesy of Marek Puc and Milhail Jershov (instagram: @mjstudio_uk)
Great things often occur from chance coincidences and late night drinking sessions, and The Mile is no exception. The boys from Malle came across Jonathan, owner of a stately home in the outskirts of London, and by sunrise a plan to host a day of drag racing was hatched.
A meet up at Bolt for coffee and croissants was organised by Movember before riding out to the estate, I did not know what to expect but the bikes kept rolling in until they filled the yard and the pavement opposite.
It was red hot and the sun beat down throughout the day as amateurs gave it their all ragging bikes up and down the 1/8th of a mile grass strip. There were Indians from the turn of the last century, harleys and hard tails right through to modern customs. So often these bikes are seen displayed, gleaming and highly polished - today no one cared, they were here to be thrashed.
Riding on grass was no easy feat, especially when you are running slicks, and almost impossible when you're riding a big hulk of a bike like my Moto Guzzi gt 850. It was great on the take off but soon traction was lost and the back end would flip from side to side, when the front end bulked my nerve was lost. I decided to take on Bolt's designer David Hardy for the practice run, his tuned lambretta vs my guzzi seemed to be nicely stacked in my favour and I wanted to get off on the good foot. A gentlemanly race, no chance, we both gave it some, but after a close start David gained some ground and then left me for dust. David went on to win the next five races, putting Triumphs, Hondas and Sunbeams to shame. Never underestimate a light and agile highly tuned lambretta with knobbly tyres!
The first few races saw the grab rails and front mud guard shake loose and thankfully cable ties came to the rescue. Then the fuel hose gave out and I lost most of my petrol. In true racing spirit a jerry can was found and everyone donated a splash of petrol and I was back in the race.
Bolt provided the music for the event and it was not easy trying to race and dj at the same time - thank god for long players! Sonny 'Scully' Evans, the bossman of the Ugly sound system turned up with literally a mountain of 7 inches and shared the afternoon session with Bradley Hall, head honcho of the New Originals and Danny. The Bay of pigs played a live set and then the Switch Blade djs with Wild Cat Will headlined the after-party. I actually got to play some records which was a rare treat and probably the only time the misogynistic gang-banging rhythms of Miami Bass ever got played in a stately home.
The party ended in the pool with a few more races and then finally I crawled into a Yert, bed less, I buried my head into Johnny's old leather jacket and listened to the rain come thundering down.
Special thanks to Johnny and Robert from MALLE london for organising such a great event and Jonathan of Kefington hall for hosting it.
Bring on the Mile 2016