Sunday, 26 July 2009

Woodhill Two Man series round one

The team at the Kawasaki Sandpit have organised a Two Man series in the Woodhill forest. The first round was run on the 26th of July in good conditions.

I was going to ride the Iron Man and simply rove around and take video but ended up entering in the Vets class. I ended up on the fourth row of the grid with all the guns which was a bit intimidating to say the least.

The longer length version can be seen at

While this was supposed to be a fun event most of the local big guns were out in force. You get an idea of how many of these guys are around when in the pit tent beside the spot we marked out for our own pit was the temporary home to people like local luminaries as Chris Birch and Karl Power.

The first lap was pretty intense, starting from the 4th row with all the big guns meant that I spent the first half of the first lap simply getting out of the way.

In the second half of the ist lap I moved along a little quicker trying to pace myself with people a little ahead of me and actually managing to pass a few people.

I have no idea where we placed as on my second lap I stopped to help out with an injured rider and that was more or less that.

Had a good day and got a chunk of video.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Remebering Apollo 11

The 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing is upon us. 40 years ago tomorrow the lunar module landed on the moon and a few hours later Armstrong and Aldrin left the Eagle, lowering themselves to the planet surface. Man had taken the first few baby steps in our exploration of the solar system.

I have vague memories of sitting in a freezing cold pre-fabricated school classroom listening on the radio to.... Well until I did a bit of research today I thought I must have been listening to Armstrong and Aldrin taking those first tentative steps on the moon and uttering those famous words, 'one small step.....'

But by my reckoning school wouldn't have started for the day when the Eagle landed and by the time the astronauts left the lunar module for their moonwalk I would have been on my way home.

At this distance I am no longer sure what I was listening to along with my classmates. I am pretty sure that we were listening to something to do with the moon landing but I can no longer remember which part of that great enterprise it was. Might even have been the splashdown for all I know.

Not that it really matters. However, until this morning if anyone had asked me I would have sworn that I had witnessed, albeit on the radio, along with millions of others man's first landing on the moon.

Strange how our memories play tricks on us at times and how we can believe implacably in something that can easily be proved to been an untruth. While I have just amply shown I am as fallible as the next man I never cease to wonder how many people simply refuse to face up to a truth when it is staring them in the face.

One of the great untruths of course is that god or his equivalent depending on where you live on the planet and the institutions you were brought up in created the world and then sent us prophets with a list of rules to live by.

I take the view that clever men created the mostly good rules that societies like the one I live in use as a general foundation for the way we behave and interact with our fellow citizens in order to do just that. To give us rules to live by and as a way of explaining all that that was inexplicable without the benefit of modern science and technology.

Somewhere along the line other clever but far more devious men worked out and continue to use religion as a way to enforce their will on others in the same way that any other petty despot does. Unlike the simple tyrant religious leaders have a ready made audience of blindly faithful followers. The poorer the nation, the more ignorant and uneducated the people are, the greater the opportunity there is to pursue political power and control in the name of religion and at the expense of basic human rights and freedoms.

And that is the way it happens. Those countries or the people in poorer parts of countries dominated by fundamental religious fanatics are poor and ignorant. If the west wants to reduce the spectre of international terrorism we would be better served spending massively on aid not armaments and drag some of these medieval states and regions into the modern world. Easier said than done when some of the most rabid fanatics live in the backwoods of the world's only current superpower.

One of the untruths in my life. Well lets be honest here, one of my many, fantasies now that thecoach of the All Blacks is no longer likely to call on me to fill the gap on the open side flank in the final of the World Cup, is that I am a great dirtbike rider and a better video editor.

The truth of course is that I am a middling rider and editor. But like faith in ones religion it is a harmless though fulfilling pass time and I get satisfaction from being the chief camera mount and the hours spent editing the footage.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Nukeproof mount for V.I.O POV 1.5

The only accessory I have bought for my camera is the Nukeproof mount and we now stock them-visit us at Dirtvideo

The camera head itself is fairly robust and I was wearing it on the side of my helmet so it was fairly well protected.

However, no matter how robust the camera head is supposed to be it will only take so many knocks before it suffers some form of damage so it is essential to protect it.

The short video clip embeded below shows what can happen out there on the trails and why a Nukeproof mount is an essential piece of kit.

So you want to be famous?

When I was a kid all I ever wanted to be was world famous. It wasn't for the music, the game, or for the art. It was all about being famous and what I was going to do once I was famous.

For me it was about the money, the adulation, the parties I'd get to invited to, the other famous people I would meet, and the pretty girls. Not that I was sure what I would do with all those things at the time. I couldn't sing, I wasn't any good at sport, I didn't even know what acting was. I didn't know how I was going to become famous. I just wanted to be famous.

Looking at the life of Wacko Jacko I am glad that things have turned out the way that they have. I'm not famous, I'm not rich but I lead a fairly happy and normal life, and can walk down the street without being mobbed.

If I had achieved any sort of fame at a young age I am sure it would not have been pretty unless someone had stepped in and kept my feet firmly on the ground. Given free reign in a sweet shop I would not be able to restrain myself. I am not even sure that it would be pretty now. Unfortunately for Jacko and others like him he appears to have been surrounded by sycophants who indulged his every whim instead of looking after him.

This wasn't supposed to be about the crashes.....

I can go to the supermarket or go out at night and misbehave and nobody will really care. Photos of me misbehaving won't appear in papers across the globe, my every move and eccentricity (and I have a few) won't be documented and analysed incessantly by supposed experts in the name of news.

Wacko Jacko's music wasn't really my cup of tea but there is no doubting he was an extremely talented individual and his music had wide appeal. Like many talented people he also had his well documented eccentricities and because of his wealth he was allowed to indulge his whims - which most likely contributed to his untimely end.

He was also perhaps a little unlucky in that he also suffered various debilitating illnesses and injuries due to accidents on film and concert sets that may have led to a reliance on various prescription drugs.

But for all his supposed faults, brushes with the law and, a lifestyle that most of is can simply have no conception of, he can't have been the total nutcase that the media would have us believe.

Despite well publicised troubles with his finances he was in no danger losing his shirt. He owned catalogues of songs that included many Lennon and McCartney hits and he continued to earn tens of millions of dollars from his own work.

The saddest thing about Jackson's life is that he probably never experienced anything like a normal one. From an early age he was famous and in the public spotlight subject to all the pressures that living in that kind of bubble entails. Especially in this age of instant communications where everyone with a cellphone camera is a source of news, gossip, just waiting for a celebrity to start behaving badly.

We put people like Jackson on a pedestal, we idolise them, we buy their music, the magazines to help create the myth that they are special, we watch and hang on their every move and then delight in mocking them when they turn out to be as weak and mortal as we are ourselves.

The problem for anybody famous, for anybody who has never had the opportunity to live a real life, is that they don't realise, often until it is too late that their lives are not real, that they don't really matter any more than anybody else and that in the end we all have to live by the same set of rules.

Yes I am glad I am not famous-even in my own lunchtime. The young French Rugby player Mathieu Bastareaud probably feels a bit the same way after his recent trip to New Zealand.