Words Scott Bishop
The travelling schedule of the MX Nationals and Australian Supercross can be tough: many weekends on the road away from family, plenty of time staring out the window of a car or a plane and plenty of time sitting in a motel room watching reruns of Happy Days and asking yourself, “How does Fonzy pull the chicks with a name like that?”
Well, there are a few ways to entertain yourself — and that’s usually at the expense of those around you. So here are the top six pranks for life on the motocross tour.
6. It’s an oldie but a goodie. If the motel shower has a hot tap and a cold tap, simply swap the taps over so hot is cold and cold is hot and then wait for the screams of your travel buddy as they try to figure out the correct shower jetting. The hot tip here is to get your shower done first so you can change the taps and, secondly, it often takes someone about 10 minutes to work out what’s going on and in the process they run the entire motel out of hot water.
5. Before the days of iPods, CDs and MP3 players, there was a music device called a tape deck. Inside it you placed a cassette that had recorded music on a long piece of tape. Yes, prehistoric, I know. Anywhoo, once you got sick of the tape, the best solution was to hold the cassette out of the open window of a speeding HiAce.
By holding onto the cassette but letting the tape unravel, you would soon have a tape train behind you about 200 metres long. All going well, that tape would then wrap itself around any following cars — usually your mates in another HiAce — and the travelling show would look like a parade of HiAces from a gothic wedding. A lot of my old tapes — and there’s been more than a few — could be found on the Newell Highway.
4. Motel-room pranks never end well as you are in a confined space and payback is inevitable. Grabbing all the tea and coffee in the room and throwing it down your buddy’s bed is pretty funny. But one time, I was witness to a person who took all the furniture out of the room except for his bed and placed it out on the balcony. That also was pretty funny.
But payback is a bitch and when our prankster was hogtied with two ironing cords and then left at the door of a stranger’s room in just their underwear, the prank never surfaced again.
3. Once a packet of crushed biscuits was put in the air vents of another rider’s van and the vents were left opened with the fan speed maxed out. When our hero leapt in his rig and hit the ignition, the biscuits came flying out of the vents like he’d just crashed into a pit of Iced Vovos.
But the last laugh was on the prankster when some road kill was placed in the outside entry of an air vent and went undetected for days. The smell continued to get worse and the more the AC was used, regardless of the fresh or recycled air, the smell continue to fester. It got to a week and was downright putrid until an entire day was dedicated to finding the smell. Once it was found, the car pranks were instantly stopped.
2. Bike pranks are always fraught with danger, so it’s never wise to get involved in bike pranks. Visiting US riders often had their bikes covered in VB stickers or the old MC Mart stickers which the Yanks just didn’t find funny. Then helmets were used as pot plants and filled with dirt. Again, not funny in the US book of comedy.
When bikes had carbies, a common prank was to put a small main jet, like a 90, inside the fuel line running from the tank to the carby. The jet allowed enough fuel to flow through to start the bike but as soon as you put it in gear and then increased the revs to ride away, it would run out of fuel and stop. If this happened to you, where would you look? I can say that every time I saw this done, the fuel line was pretty much the last place and it took the rider hours to source the problem — unless someone stepped in to save them.
1. The best one I ever saw was by the late great Jono Porter. In 1998, Jono had a CR125 and every now and again he’d get the crank to turn over in reverse to get the bike started. Once it started, he could put it in gear and ride it backwards. The first few times I saw this, even Jono wasn’t sure when the bike had done it and when he let the clutch out, he took off in reverse and it scared the crap out of him.
Once he knew what was going on, he was able to pull it off pretty well and he learned to ride the bike around backwards. It didn’t matter how many times I saw it, it was still funny.
One place not to pull any pranks is at the airport or on a plane. They just don’t have a sense of humour any more. Any kind of joke regarding anything at an airport or on a plane often comes with a fine or a night with the security guys.
I did hear one time that two riders returning from an event were sitting in the exit row. Asked if they could help in the case of an emergency, their answer was, “No, f*&% you, it’s every man for himself and I’m first out the door.”
Yes, they were placed in the naughty corner at the end of the flight.