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I think I may have mentioned that in the early `70's I found myself learning how to control a police traffic motor bike. I was sent to Stafford on a training course. I had been riding BSA 650cc motorbikes in Leicestershire but Staffs police were using ex- patrol Triumph Bonnevilles to teach we `rookies` how to ride to their exacting standards.

We used to ride in formation - four `rookies` and the instructor who took second place in the lineup so he could watch the progress of the one trainee in front of him with the other three trailing behind.

Well my time came to lead the `rat pack`, and I was told we were going to head for the town of Stone, where we would stop for a cuppa. I set off, eager to impress the tutor with my prowess as a motorcyclist. The idea was that you had to obey every speed limit, except the National limit of 60 or 70 mph, which we could ignore for training purposes.

We set off from Stafford and into the countryside, where we were all doing 70mph plus. I was really enjoying the ride, so when we reached a totally straight part of the road, apparently for miles, I saw the opportunity to show off my talent. I opened her up and must have been travelling about 90mph when I hit the hump back bridge, that I had failed to see the warning sign for.

As I've mentioned the bikes we were riding were ex patrol bikes so the radio equipment that would have normally sat on the petrol tank in front of me, was missing. All that was left was the raised metal lidless box which would have contained the radio.

As I hit the bridge my bike leapt into the air, and I departed from my seat by about 3 feet. I desperately tried to control my bike, but this was somewhat hampered when a particularly sensitive part of my body landed on the petrol tank with its protuberance. It really made my eyes water - but having established that I had regained control and was relatively OK, my colleagues eyes were watering with uncontrolled laughter as they observed my predicament.

I wasn't quite so amused - but later even I had to admit it did have its funny side.

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