One cannot help but be impressed by motorcycle road racers. Whether it’s MotoAmerica, World Superbike or the pinnacle of the sport- MotoGP, the level of physical skill and sharpness of mind these riders possess is simply sick. But what impresses even more is a team of road racers if you can imagine it, who are all physically disabled. Even more amazing than that, is Team Talan Racing– whose racers actually became disabled from motorcycle crashes.
Having given up on traditional TV networks and eventually cable altogether a few years ago, I discovered a film titled DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE whilst surfing Hulu. This film was actually released back in 2016 and when it began I almost could not believe what I was watching. It was way too counterintuitive to see crippled riders being hoisted onto modified race bikes. To then see them compete at a high level on track? Well, that was just plain surreal.
Although I hope to do a track day myself this season with Stephen Margey from East Rutherford, NJ’s Blarney Station, the closest I’ve ever gotten to the intensity of road racing was when I pit crewed for a friend years ago in California. That hot and windy day at Willow Springs saw my buddy (after not heat cycling his new brakes pads properly) high-side hard and break his collarbone. He got off easy compared to the members of Team Talan Racing…
Talan Skeels-Piggins was paralyzed from the chest down in 2003 when a car sideswiped him and he and his bike were thrown into oncoming traffic. He was told that he only had a 30 percent chance of survival and would never walk again if he lived. In DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE, Talan and three additional disabled teammates strap themselves to motorcycles and race against able-bodied competitors in what is certainly one of the most death-defying sports on the planet.
This gripping 96-minute documentary follows the remarkable journey of this team as they embarked on their first season together and made history as the world’s first disabled motorcycle race team. The other Talan racers in the film include– Steve Jones (Paraplegic), Louis Bartlett (right, above-knee amputee) and Will Swift (right leg amputee). As you might imagine the main message of the film is to never give up and never, ever surrender. As one person in the film remarks regarding the attitude of the riders, “It’s a fantastic one finger up to fate!” Some folks might call these guys crazy, perhaps even gluttons for punishment but I am sure those people do not ride. Personally I feel that life is a short ride for us all and I applaud anyone who lives it to the fullest as these gents clearly do.
These days the Talan Racing Team is made up of two disabled motorcyclists, both paraplegics– Talan Skeels-Piggins (who incidentally became the world’s first paraplegic motorcycle racer in 2012 and has gone on to become an ACU Race Instructor as well as the 2015 & 2018 600cc World Champion) and Andy Houghton, who is also GB’s #1 Para-Rower for the arms-only category. Andy aims to represent GB at the 2020 Summer Paralympics.
www.talanracing.co.uk’s quote puts it best: You have the power to achieve. Each racer knows that the power to achieve lies inside everyone. Whilst life can throw all sorts of challenges at you, there is resilience inside every person which can enable them to overcome even the highest of mountains. Trust in yourself and make the choice to move forwards every day
DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE is available on Amazon Prime Video, Sky Store, iTunes, Hulu & DVD.
MotorMouth condolences go out to the family and friends of AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Arlen Ness, who passed away on March 22 at age 79. Arlen was best known for his innovative, wild, low-slung custom motorcycle designs and his custom parts business. He was often referred to as “The King of Custom Motorcycles.” Long live the King!