28 September 2006

Motorcycle Mayhem

So, how do ya like standin' on the seat of yer sled waving to the throng, on the sidestand, in a cloud of smoke from your own melting rear tire? Oh, yeah, do it all the time!

From the EssEffChron. Where else?

The moment Darius Khashabi felt his motorcycle wobble at 80 mph, he knew he was headed toward pavement. He was speeding along Highway 242 near Concord, and it didn't help that he was doing a wheelie in the fast lane while attempting to stand up on his gas tank -- an acrobatic move that required Khashabi's videographer to follow him in a car. On the video -- which is part of Khashabi's popular line of "Servin' It Up" DVDs, a 5-year-old genre of illicit street racing and extreme motorcycle stunts filmed mostly on Bay Area streets -- his feet slip off the gas tank and his front wheel slams down to the asphalt. At the high speed, the bike pitches like an angry bull, throwing Khashabi's body into the next lane of traffic.

"I was so amped on adrenaline, I barely felt it," Khashabi says at his Walnut Creek home as he prepares to leave for a stunt bike contest in Fresno. "I just got up, started running to the edge, and that's when I felt my foot start to burn."

Khashabi had shattered his right wrist, broke bones in his right foot and lost a few layers of skin from his back, thighs, palms, knuckles and kneecaps.

But those were the old days, Khashabi says with a hint of nostalgia. Three years later, the nationally known stunt rider credited with helping to launch the trend of "stunting" is trying to go legit. Khashabi, 32, aims to transform stunt riding from an illegal hobby that has long frustrated police and angered drivers into an internationally sanctioned extreme sport with an eye toward the 2008 X Games. To do so, he has tirelessly promoted his DVDs, which have sold an estimated 100,000 copies at $25 a pop, and over the past year he has appeared in 35 demos and contests, from Sweden to Sydney. His sport has yet to catch the attention of X-Game producers, but Khashabi believes that with the right organizing body and an image makeover, stunting will soon gain acceptance.

I'm glad the bikes I came up on weren't powerful enough to do shit like that. We were nuts enough to try it, but the thought never crossed our minds because the sleds just wouldn't do anything like that. We did wheelies, jumped 'em, powerslid 'em, and rode 'em balls-out in the desert. Sometimes we unloaded hard, too. It was all part of the fun.

"Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death!" is one thing, but gettin' trunked on the sidestand, or doin' a high-speed wheelie in traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, ain't on my program. Kids these days!

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