A Dark Horse Indeed


No. 1     A Dark Horse Indeed 

     by Martin Young

I’m often looked at to provide tales of jolly japes and larks and associated merriment which on one hand is entirely justifiable but on the other an audience should seek elsewhere for the source. There is one among us who, seraphim by nature and quiet and unassuming holds the record for inducing heart failure in yours truly. The miscreant is known to the Howlers, for the ‘she’ was my girlfriend at the time and known to most by her name Mrs Barbara Young. 

During the summer of 1979, we decided to take an ad hoc trip on the bike, not a Honda but a Yamaha RD250. For the purposes of the story, we’ll call it a Honda CB250 if it pleases. This, being my first long distance bike ride, we set off from home, with the destination of Swanage in mind. The bike was ok but it needed a bit more maintenance than I ever gave it. We stopped in a layby halfway down the A354. 

            Martin Young - Raconteur

         Barbara  - aka The Dark Horse

We both had a good stretch and I had a drink and a smoke. Suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, Barb started asking questions, about motorcycling, about my motorcycle to be precise, how to make the motorcycle go.  

Well, here was my opportunity to show off a little. I explained there were three major controls to master. The clutch, throttle and gear lever. After a short while I made her sit on the bike to see for herself. Barb seemed to take it in and understand. With the engine running she pulled in the clutch, selected first gear and set the throttle. and began slowly releasing the clutch.  

Now I defy anyone to master all three controls on the first occasion. It just doesn’t happen. It’s a million to one chance. 

But the thing about million to one chances is that they usually come right. I’ve seen it on TV and films, I’ve read about them in novels, whenever the chips are down or mankind teeters on the brink of survival, the million to one chance steps in. In fact, it’s more common than a solar system planetary alignment. Or the star of Bethlehem. Off she went. showering me in two stroke exhaust fumes. (She knows the way to a man’s heart) No driving licence! Claiming second gear for her own, third, No Insurance, Oh dear God! No L plates! You see, when Barb was asking questions, she asked me how to make the bike go. And so, I showed her. She didn’t ask anything about making it stop. And I never showed her.  

I began to imagine the worst, after she disappeared around the curve of a bend. She can’t do this, she just can’t. She doesn’t know how to stop or steer. 

I began running up the road and eventually caught her up., having stopped a couple of hundred yards up the road. Credit where its due, she never dopped it.  

To say I was ‘relieved’ was the proverbial understatement. I was ‘relieved’ when it was discovered that Iraq had no nuclear weapons.  

                           Where's has Barb gone now!

A Tale of Two Bikes    by Martin Haenlein