Manx national treasure The Purple Helmets came out of hibernation to perform the world’s first post-covid motorcycle stunt show last Saturday, it says here, entertaining the Rhumsaa crowds in their own interminable style at speeds approaching 100 miles per hour. With borders still closed the team was down to just 17 men and one pole dancer, but that didn’t stop them performing perennial favourites like The Pyramid, The Longbike, The Wheely Bin and Toilet Races, not to mention half a dozen other spectacles I was laughing too hard to capture.
Crowd safety was assured throughout by the thoughtful deployment of factory face masks (some said they were “ladies things” – no idea what that means) and we were even treated to a diplomatic visit by Methane Man’s colonial cousin, Trumping Donald.
The show was also attended by Her Majesty’s representative on the Isle of Man, and while the Pole Dancer appeared to be a firm favourite with the Lieutenant Governor, Lady Gozney’s expression shows that, unfortunately, some things cannot be unseen.
Speaking of expressions, it’s always worth paying attention to the crowd when The Purple Helmets Are performing because, just as nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse, you can always tell those who keep coming back for more because they know what’s next.
History is mostly silent regarding the origins of this eclectic troupe, who first performed as a side-act to Steve Colley’s stunt show at the 1995 TT. All I know is they’ve been entertaining crowds at every TT, MGP, and many motorcycle festivals in the UK ever since. In their own words:
The Purple Helmets stunt team live on the Isle of Man in ‘Castle Wintop’ near to Injebreck, in West Baldwin. They sleep together in a large round bed and mostly eat twigs and leaves that they collect from local plantations. During still autumn nights they can often be heard singing each other to sleep and the orange glow from their peat fire can be seen from many miles away. None of the Purple Helmets go by their real names; they all have stage names to protect their identities from both women and dentists. Because they live on the edge of a reservoir the Purple Helmets are great swimmers, two of whom swam for the North West of England under 12’s and the whole team have their brown lifesaving medallions.