MOTOPOLO AT THE MALLE MILE 2017
Robert Nightingale – October 2017
In typical British fashion; Malle invented a new sport ‘Motopolo’ and got beaten in the first championship finals. It was undoubtedly the best sport I’ve ever played – lots of motorcycles chasing each other around in absolute chaos, what’s not to love!?!
Moments after the final whistle blew, looking across the pitch that was strewn with bits of broken motorcycle from the previous bouts, a thick cloud of dust covered the entire field, with ten very sweaty riders trying to catch their breath, what a scene…you couldn’t help but smile.
Motopolo is similar in nature to Afghani ‘Buzkashi’, but played instead on motorcycles and with less need for the severed goats head! It’s a fast paced match, two teams of five players (one substitute), you use only your feet to control the large leather ball and the two teams then battle it out in a game of two halves. Playing for ten minutes each way, trying to score as many goals as possible while dodging the whirlwind of bikes. It’s fast, it’s chaotic, it’s very dusty and you soon learn that skillful passes, nimble turns and breaking on point reign supreme over speed.
The first Motopolo matches were played at The Malle Mile in London (the annual custom motorcycle race/festival). After the qualifying matches between Royal Enfield, Hedon and Malle the final match was Malle Vs Royal Enfield.
The Malle team took the lead early and being on smaller, lighter motorcycles, I have to admit I thought we had it in the bag… but the 500 Enfields could break away quickly across the pitch to receive longer shots from their team mates and suddenly it was 4-4 and no one was going to let this game finish in a draw. This “gentlemanly and non-contact” sport had suddenly gotten very serious, bikes were sliding in faster with more adrenaline fueled desperation, teeth clenched and elbows up, Royal Enfields bumped into each other, with bent levers and one missing a headlight the Enfield riders jumped back on and headed into the mix with even more vigor.
Half a second before the final whistle, a long cross came in from the Royal Enfield team, a Malle defender rode in to deflect it away from the goal, he over shot it and two Royal Enfield players skidded in with a glorious two-touch goal and the final match was over – Malle 4 – Royal Enfield 5, the 2017 Motopolo champions. Until next year that is!