Video: The Lockdown Show #4

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What’s that? It’s Monday? That must mean another half hour of two twats in wigs and a bloke with a suspicious semi hanging out near a crack den. That’s right, ladies and gents, it’s the Lockdown Show, and we’re a whole month into this new ’thing.’  

I was chatting to Sue Perkins the other day and he suggested the show has had a similar impact to that of Budget Bike Battle. At first, I laughed it off, but reading the comments, emails and messages from you guys, and the fact that there’s a tangible community spirit within the 44T camp during such a shit period, he may well be right. Obviously, the viewing numbers aren’t in the same league but we hope this low-rent series is bring joy/relief/entertainment/megaloz or something. 

Anyway, joining the news this week is a veritable feast of features – Fat Chat, James Holland’s tip of the week, Show Us Your Growler, etc – and there’s a raging rant on ’smart’ motorways.

And we have an absolute banger of a giveaway: an Arai helmet of YOUR choice. Other than people who posses a bizarrely-shaped head, or those who hated Kevin Schwantz, every boy has dreamed of owning an Arai.


18 Responses

  1. Great show. Infotainment at its best
    My growler Is a 2014 Triumph T100SE with the TOR mufflers. Had the secondary air intake removed, now it’s sounds like a bike. Before it sounded like a sewing machine.
    My story ran my bike into the back of cars down not a mark on me and only bent the crash bars.
    Two days later hit some tar snakes and wreaked myself and the bike. My mechanic can’t get over how I had two accidents in a week in my first summer of ownership.
    Four years later still riding the same bike.
    Does that define me as stoic or nuts.

  2. My favorite thing to watch on youtube. Much more entertaining than any of my US brethren. How do I show my GROWLER? I’m a little shy but I waxed and ready to show it to the world.

  3. My growler is too scuffy for public viewing.

    Here’s a little story for you, from my time as a useless club enduarnce racer. Brace yourself, it’s a biggun #whyarai

    On a mission…..
    Is what the sticker said on the back of your Ford Orion back in 1992. I think I now know what it means. I’m still not sure what “Fat Willys Surf Shack” is, but who cares.
    All stories should start at the beginning. So my story of the Snetterton raceday starts not in Norfolk, but three weeks earlier at Oulton Park. More specifically, at Lodge Corner, and even more specifically, upside down in the grass on the exit of Lodge Corner. Regular readers will already know that we completed the Endurance Race, but were given a DNF for obeying the flag marshall. Go figure. I can’t, I’ve argued, pleaded, demanded, threatened answers and been frustrated by it but I’ve learned to let it go (don’t sing). In either case I didn’t feel I’d given my all during the race, so I decided to go for the All Comers Sprint Races on the next day. I qualified 16th and, feeling that progress was coming, lined up optimistically on the grid. I’ll spare you the gory details, but nine laps later I’m rolling on the floor in tears, wondering if the damage to my gentleman’s area is permanent. I’m happy to report that it isn’t, and John Wayne can have his walk back.
    My poor bike has taken a severe battering. Crushed fuel tank (hence the walk), smashed fairing, fractured clock bracket (the lovely carbon fibre one that I spend hours repairing last time), cracked top yoke, twisted forks, damaged engine case protectors, bent radiator, twisted subframe, and comedy ignition key stuck in barrel amongst many scuffs and scrapes. Brand new Shoei helmet, leathers, boots and gloves all bashed, scuffed, holed and destroyed. Patina is one thing, this is something entirely different, I feel angry, frustrated and sorry for what I’m doing to this faithful motorcycle. Once glorious, she looks awful and I can hardly bear to look at what I’ve done to her. I load the sorry mess into the van and head home under a black storm cloud of depression.
    Home, and the bruises are starting to colour up nicely. I decide not to dwell on what’s gone wrong, but I still can’t face the bike, so I head to Swindon to go kit shopping. New leathers, helmet, boots and gloves are complemented by a chest protector, after I read that Jo Wingate broke her sternum in her crash at Oulton. My budget can’t stretch as far as the Shoei and Alpinestars kit that has kept me in one piece for so long, in the shop I umm and ahh for hours while the patient teenage assistant tries not to be too bored by a middle aged man and all his first world problems. I leave with a Shark helmet, RST leathers, TCX boots, Furygan gloves and an Alpinestars chest protector, and drive home knowing that I’ve made the wrong choices and a big dent in the race budget.
    Martin phones. The bush telegraph has been working quickly no doubt, and it’s a timely call. He sorts a new subframe and clock mount for a very reasonable rate. He doesn’t charge me for the counselling service. I offer him an extra homo hug next time we meet, he audibly blanches and ends the call quickly. Much like the injuries, I’ll gloss over the next bit, which involves being in the garage most nights, removing all the clumps of grass and mud, straightening the bent bits, sorting through my pile of battered race fibreglass for the least worst parts, and drilling, filling, sanding, repairing, trying not to bodge. Some of you have been there and will know the feeling. I normally love spanner time when it’s done on my own terms, on a sunny afternoon, 6Music in the background, cup of tea in hand, fitting quality parts with no pressing deadline This is purgatory, and it’s got to be done in less than three weeks.
    Fast forward to Thursday afternoon, and I’m happy that I’ve done the bare minimum of work to make the bike ready. Wheel her out and fire her up, after a minor drama with the tilt switch location that old familiar burbling bark cuts through the suburban afternoon. She sounds great, like I imagine a wounded T-Rex, angry, violent and unpredictable. I smile properly for the first time since Oulton Park. No time to reflect, I decide to load up and head east. The weather forecast is dire, but you know how forecasts can be. I want to be there for test day, this bike has suffered major damage and I need a run out to sort all the minor problems that will surface later, plus I need to get settled, both in my head and in my new gear. Van loaded and I’m in bed by nine PM. It’s an 02:30 alarm call. I try to sleep but my mind just won’t shut down.
    So I’m up and out of the door but 03:15, full of lovely fresh home brewed coffee and three weetabix. It’s hammering down with rain, but I love these early morning road trips. Clear roads, BBC World Service then Alice Wotsername on Radio 1, set the control to 67 and play number plate game or sing along with the tunes, wondering about all the articulated lorries, what they’re carrying and where they’re going. Not much scenery on this trip, dawn barely makes a crack through the misty murky spray. Stop at South Mimms for a pee and possibly the worst cup of coffee I’ve had in my life, somehow me and Starbucks don’t get along. I bought a large as well. £4 I’ll never see again, so I drink it anyway. Tax dodging is crime enough, but there’s no excuse for woeful coffee.
    I’m feeling anxious as I arrive despite the pleasant drive. The usual scrum for my allocated garage, I’m the last to arrive (Trigger excepted) but I manage to park near the garage. I force myself to see this as “a good omen” although I don’t believe in all that mumbo-jumbo.
    Phone out, and log on to the weather forecast, it’s dire. Try another website, it’s dire. Talk to the local sages, it’s dire. I smell a crashfest coming, and I don’t want any part of it. Van unloaded, I sulk in the warmth of the cafe, half watching the F1, half browsing the ‘net, craning my neck to catch the direction of the unmistakeable sound of scraping fibreglass. It’s a regular interruption.
    I mooch around the garages, chase up my missing tickets, badger Mark about our Oulton DNF, trudge around in the rain watching crash after crash after crash. It’s miserable and I feel sorry for the riders, not many smiles to be seen anywhere.
    Tess arrives like a ray of sunlight. We have lunch, then she suggests going back to hers to look at her new bike over a cuppa. I jump at the chance to escape the misery. Tess is playing The Mission’s Greatest Hits CD so we both switch into tales from the goth days of yore, and I’m transported away from rainy drudgery to a happier place in my head. After years of struggling with shonky old heaps shitters (sorry Tess) she’s gone large. The blackest ZX10R sits in her shed. It’s gorgeous. It’s a weapon. Tess can’t stop smiling. I’m so chuffed for her, and so jealous. She’s metaphorically flaunting her new two wheeled lover under my nose, whilst I’m struggling to find any love at all for my jaded long term two wheeled relationship. It’s over too soon, Tess drops me back at the track so I can get to scrutineering and the rider briefing.
    I jump into my leathers, get the bike and join the queue, An hour later and the queue has barely moved. It’s 3 degrees C, drizzling, none of the usual queue banter, siege mentality settles in. I’m so cold I start to shiver and shudder. I’m waving may arms around like a demented schoolteacher in an effort to keep warm. It doesn’t work. An hour and three quarters later, having endured a barrage of THE WORST JOKES EVER IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE from the man with the clipboard I wheel the bike out and start her up. Uh-oh, she’s only running on three, maybe short on fuel? Hopefully? Push back, change back into warm clothes. I’m not hypothermic, but close. I need hot food and drink NOW. I run to the cafe but it’s closed, the bar is open though. I plead with the barman and two coffees in the warm surroundings later I’m out of danger. It’s heading towards 7:30 and briefing is at 8PM. Not enough time to fix the bike, so I settle into an uncomfortable chair with a pint of Doom Bar, and take my overcoat off. The phone goes, Trigger on the ID. I’m assuming he’s at the gate and needs a ticket to get in, but no.
    Trigger has broken down. Not mentally, but what I mean to say is, Trigger’s van has broken down. Near Six Mile Bottom, forty-ish miles from the circuit. I put down my second pint and start trying to think what to do now. Trig has a tow rope, so we agree that I’ll tow him in, and then he can call the AA from the circuit. I run to the office to ask Karen’s permission to miss the rider briefing, the same Karen I’ve been harrassing all day over the missing tickets. I quickly explain the problem and bless her, she gives me a big smile and tells me not to worry, she’ll sort it. What a star.
    Did I mention that it was raining? And cold? Well now it’s dark as well. Trigger is in a layby on the A11/A14 interchange somewhere, in a van the same colour as the night sky. I find him from the other carriageway and tun around at the next junction. Heading back up, the layby is empty. I’m mystified, did he manage to get it started? Fortunately I’ve pulled in one layby too early, one more mile and there he is, bored rigid. We set to roping the vans together, the only way we can join the tow rope to my van (approx 2000kg) to his (approx 2000kg, plus his bike, tools, himself, 2500kg all up I’d guess?) is with a ratchet strap. I look at the label. “Breaking Strain 250kg. SWL 500kg” it declares. Well, this can only go one of two ways, I shrug inwardly, laughing at the concept. Trigger’s van won’t start, so he has no brakes and no power steering. The tow rope is about six feet long. I mentally kiss my rear bumper goodbye. The A11 / A14 is a fast straightish stretch of dual carriageway, mostly uphill fortunately. I mentally kiss my clutch goodbye. Soon we’re rolling, 40mph and Trig can cope once I stop blinding him with my hazard lights. It’s getting late and the traffic is light. No-one at the first roundabout, so we truck on through and I breathe deeply and try not to tense up. Trig is running at a slight offset so he can try to read the traffic ahead, which means I don’t spot the Police car behind us……….isn’t it illegal to tow a van on a rope? I don’t know, and I still don’t. I’m too pretty to go to jail, Big Vern will ruin me. PC Plod gives me a brief Paddington stare as he passes without pulling us. I guess he’s thinking along the lines of “I can pull these two jokers, stand in the freezing wet and get a load of paperwork for my trouble, or I can get back to the station for coffee and donuts, maybe I’ll chat up that lovely new WPC and ask her out instead”. The rounabouts miraculously quiet, we make good progress and the miles are slowly ticking away. On the approach to one, my view is obscured by a car in lane two, the southbound Fiesta isn’t indicating and looks to me like he’s shaping up to carry on southbound. Arse. I’m about forty percent committed when I realise Fiesta Boy is going to cross my path, I’ve got to brake. Trigger is on the case, and my rear bumper lives to fight another day.
    At the track, the wally on the gate stops us. “You might struggle on the bridge mate”. I’m so stressed that I want to leap out of the van and tear his face off. I just laugh at him. What a prick. Trigger and I get to the garage, I crack open a beer and pass him one, slumping in my chair. I look into his face properly for the first time and I know that he doesn’t want to ride tomorrow. We chat and he clues me into what’s been going on in his world. I try to hide my disappointment, but I’d rather quit knowing what he’s just said. If I coerce him into riding when his head isn’t right and something goes wrong…………..I don’t want that. It’s been epic already, let’s quit while we both have all our limbs attached and most of our sanity. We agree to sleep on it. I’ve been awake for about twenty two hours, I can’t think straight. I’m done, so I head for my luxury bedroom, a camp bed in the back of a Transit van, at minus godknows degrees. What a day.
    2AM and a middle aged man is cursing, looking for his clothes whilst an all too full bladder pushes on his enlarged prostate gland. He sprints to the toilet half naked, fortunately the paddock is deserted. I of course have no idea who this idiot is, doesn’t he know the first rule of camping, always keep your pee bottle close at hand? What a fool. (At least the sprint warmed me up.)
    “The morning is over, the dawning is over, and I can’t look into your eyes” sings Siouxsie into my ear. It’s a sad lament, but I wake with hope and an idea. Kettle on, I’m at the front of the queue for scrutineering. I’ve taken to bringing Andy’s bike with me to races. I was carrying so many spares, it made more sense just to bring the whole package in two wheeled form. I get Trig to ring Andy and break the news that instead of being crew chief, he’s riding. He rings me, reticent, he hasn’t ridden for nearly a year, but it doesn’t take much to talk him into it. We’re on. I’m ecstatic.
    “Look Andy, let’s just give it a go and see what happens” But I don’t have a functioning motorcycle. I check the obvious but find nothing wrong. I need to go through the engine management diagnostics, I need a clear head and to be in familiar surroundings to fix it. Warm dry garage, cup of tea, Mary-Anne Hobbs. Obviously it ain’t gonna happen, so we’re hotbiking. Two riders, one bike. We won’t be challenging for any trophies, as we’ll have to refuel and change tyres on the bounce. We’re not set up for this, but I just want to be back in the saddle, even if it’s on an unfamiliar bike. I say unfamiliar, I know every inch of it, I built the thing. But I haven’t ridden it since January 2013, and it’s seen many a gravel trap since then.
    The rain stops for qualifying, but the track is still soaking. I’m normally nervous at this point, but I’ve let all the stress go. Pete, Rob, Tess and Tel show up, suddenly the garage feels warmer with friendly faces around. I go out on Andy’s wets, Dunlops. Wet tyres make the bike feel heavy and uncommunicative, and historically I hate Dunlop tyres. Up through Richies, everyone is taking it very steady and I feel good on the bike, talking to myself, keeping count of the gears, gentle braking, smoothly does it. By Coram I’m confident enough to pass other riders Buffalo Girls style. Hammering up the straight, into Richies, knee down in the wet at Montreal. It’s not a 160mph but I feel Speedy Sie watching over me. It’s magic, motorcycles me feel so alive. The pace is coming up quickly, but I keep a cool head and a steady hand. The last thing I want to do is bin it. Back in the pits for Andy’s go, I’m hammering the tank with my fists and roaring in my crash helmet in a combination of sheer joy and relief. I LOVE THIS. Pete gives me the look of a concerned father but I’m buzzing and I don’t care. I give Tess a giant bear hug, poor girl must’ve felt like I was crushing her to dust. Sorry Tess but I was elated and in love with the world. Andy really knows how to make this bike sing, like she complies with his every wish. Unlike me, he rides with a combination of skill and fearlessness that I’ve never been able to muster. He’d look graceful and fluid, but the effect is spoiled by the fact he’s wearing Trig’s leathers, maybe a touch too large? I ponder the aerodynamic effects of the flapping cowskin. Andy keeps her lit, regardless. We qualify 36th out of 52 teams. Marvellous.
    The rules of Mirage Racing Endurance are that the fastest rider in quali gets to do the start. It’s been that way since day one with Spike. It’s my way of making me try harder as I really want do do the start, but I haven’t been that man since Anglesey 2014. And I’m not the man today, I’ll never beat Andy in a million. Put me on Rossi’s M1 and him on a C90, and a betting man would back Mr Gooding every day of the week , and rightly so. But Andy doesn’t want to do the start, so the privilege is mine. Thanks Bud. Leathers off, to the cafe for lunch. Our race starts at 3PM ish, three hours or so. I’ve though about it, but I can’t really specify what I did in that time, maybe the stress lifting has got me a little giddy?
    Race prep time. I give myself a good long time to get ready slowly and methodically. I struggle to put them in with no mirror, but I wear my new contact lenses for the first time, my new chest protector, my new crash helmet, but I opt to stick with my old leathers, boots and gloves. Something old, something new, something borrowed……….I don’t have anything blue. Lucky I’m not superstitious. The bike is ready, Andy is ready, the team is ready, I’m ready. Never more ready.

  4. Its another sunny day here on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The weather and beaches are lovely, the waters warm, there’s no covid and the rum bar is open ! 
    The roads are a bit dodgy, we drive on the left, in lefthand drive cars, scares the crap out of passengers when overtaking!
    Hardly anyone where’s a lid on their bikes and scooters so you can imagine the carnage. I endeavour to avoid said carnage on my XT125 with my third hand unknown make helmet.
    Would love a large Tour X4 in U.K. colours with a 44 teeth sticker emblazoned on it.
    You could possibly attract an even more diverse range of 44 teethers! and BVG fans! If you need a holiday you could always personally deliver it #whyarai

  5. After spending a nearly a year wearing PPE and dealing with patients…all I want to do know is get my helmet out…#whyarai

  6. #whyArai
    Years ago on the way to the pub for a Christmas drink with my brothers and parents in freezing conditions, mum found a significant packet of drugs on the road. She put it on the wall to report to the police later.
    We forgot about it but a couple of days later, after the weather had warmed up, on the way to the pub again there was the pack of drugs on the wall, now defrosted.
    Turns out it was a sanitary towel. How we laughed.

  7. #whyarai

    I don’t know if this is true story or not, but I’ve heard that women, if they get infected with this new strain of virus, could get pregnant from infection.

  8. #whyarai
    The young  lass from Newcastle stared long and hard at my flaking, aging, battle scarred helmet before enquiring “Arai’t pet?”

  9. #whyarai

    Once upon a time there was a sad, fat, bald bloke who was ashamed of his dull, smelly and slightly baggy old helmet. One night, on YouTube, whilst looking at growlers after the news, he saw a shiny new helmet and thought how nice it would be to show it to his wife and let her touch it. And he lived happily ever after. The end.

  10. In those jackets and wigs you both look like the love children of Liberace keep on with the show love it, also can you ask Boothy how he got hold of my old mattress on which I had many a good nights kip when I was a tramp.
    P.S any chance of a helmet to make up for the loss of that mattress #whyarai

  11. Hi I’ve just bought a gsxr 600 srad 26k miles for £1k I’m wanting to do some power mods to it it alread has a stage 3 jet kit on it is there anything else 8ve Heard that you can put k1 1000cc cams in but in not sure

  12. I know it’s just a slip on but I might be the only person with a Mivv on an s1000rr so deserve the win for bravery, class and style.

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