I was lucky enough to attend the Heart of the Forest festival in Measham, Leicestershire on the 22nd June 2013, and among the –very many – events that were happening during the day were two performances by the MSI, or Moto-Stunts International, team. The team, if you have not heard of them, were formed back in 1977 by three former army motor cycle display team riders, and trained originally at nearby Mallory Park. They trained Michael Crawford for his motorbike stunts on Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, and worked on Silver Dream Racer. Over the years, members of the team – and in particular, John “Golly” Goddard have set all sorts of impressive records, like jumping over 118 people, or 16 double decker buses, or 15 trucks, or 300 shopping trolleys, or through 25 walls of fire. They have appeared in all sorts of television programmes over the years.
The team were not limited to just motor bikes, but also had quad bikes and even small four by fours in their team. They started by driving around the arena, and then having an impressive crossing at diagonals by two lines driving through each other.
Next up were a series of riders jumping over a ramp that was on top of one of their colleagues. Rather him than me…
As well as the tricks on the motorbikes, there were plenty of tricks on the quads too.
If watching one quad was not enough, there were two racing around the arena at once. Although they were quads, they could really have been bicycles, given that there never seemed to be more than two wheels on the ground at any one time…
If two wheels did not seem to be the right number to be on the ground in a vehicle like this, then we did have glimpses of four wheels on the ground, and also with no wheels on the ground…
Thankfully, no damage appeared to be done to car or driver when it ended up on its side on the very slippy and wet grass.
Next up was a tripod on which one of the team stood as another crashed into it on a quad, which required the chap standing on top to leap off at just the right time. Most impressive.
Next up was the proof that the best use for a standard four wheeled car is to use it to jump over.
The big finale was a ride through a wall of fire. This involves bring out a straw contraption, setting fire to it, and riding through it. There was plenty of straw, and plenty of flames. Even from my safe distance, I could feel the heat from the fire within a few seconds of it being lit.
That just left time for a lap of honour for the rider who managed to get through the wall of fire, and then a goodbye from the team.
A great show, which seemed to be well received by everyone watching the show. The crowd was – understandably – even bigger for the second show of the day, and the firewall was even bigger. If you get an opportunity to see MSI in action, then take it.