1981 Laverda Mirage

The bike that did my wrists in.

! paid £1,200 for it in the late 80's with about 8,000 on the clock. I'd had it about 6 months, was on the way home from Wales going rather faster than I should have (I was investigating a misfire that only happened in the top 15% of the rev range), overtaking two artics on a dual carriageway... and then a Transit popped out from between them. Slamming on the brakes (and my foot just changed gear, ahem), I locked the front, released, and locked it again (copper afterwards said he measured the skid at 150 yards and a couple of months afterwards I saw the skid, with gap in the middle, still there). Anyway, while the accident was happening, I tried to minimise what was rapidly starting to look like serious damage. I looked to right and left of the van but both options were distinctly less appealing than hitting it - left would have involved the wheels of the rear artic, right was all about crash barriers and oncoming traffic. So I hit him, at about 75mph - I guess he was doing 40 max. And I pushed him off the road. The driver came to hospital with me (shock, they said - hah!).

Remains of the bike sat in the garage for a few years, 'til a copper bought it off me (£375 - a snip!) and eventually got it on the road. Whereupon it became famous as the lowest mileage Mirage in the country, and even appeared in a (now long defunct) magazine, as the piccies show (tho' the text is wrong - the Transit was NOT oncoming). Those shocks, incidentally, are Marzocchis I'd bought a week before the prang and hadn't got round to putting on. But, despite the prang, a good bike. Right foot change which contributed to the prang (and I won't ride a right foot change bike now because of that), a bit top heavy, but stacks of grunt. Fine on fast sweepers, rubbish in the slow stuff, good for a genuine 135mph. After the Jota, the muscle bike to have in the seventies.
Ah, but look at the wrists...