With the roar of the crowd in their ears, the James Bond theme tune blaring out from the speakers, the motorcycle daredevils rev their engines and they’re off.
Jumping over cars and criss-crossing the arena in formation on their dirt bikes, the bikers gear up for the biggest stunt of the show – riding through flames.
Many of you may have seen the heart-stopping feats undertaken by motorcycle stunt teams at fairs, including the HMS Sultan Summer Show, throughout the summer.
The challenges in themselves are amazing, but what’s even more incredible is the motorcyclists are just children, some as young as four.
The Tigers Children’s Motorcycle Display Team and Team Green Rockets perform shows across the south.
They draw huge crowds with their death-defying stunts and are now spending the autumn and winter practicing hard to make the shows even more spectacular.
While the Tigers have been around for almost 40 years, performing at events up and down the UK, Team Green Rockets is very much in its infancy, having just completed their first year of events.
It was set up to allow nine-year-old Harry Morris a chance to be part of the motorcycle team. He has autism and cerebral palsy which means he has limited use of his right side.
To enable him to take part in the shows, he uses a specially-adapted off-road Kawasaki 4x4 to lead the motorcyclists into the arena.
Dad Jason, from Lee-on-the-Solent, says: ‘Harry can be seen transporting Rocket the Bear, our mascot, around the arena during the displays.
‘Harry can be very quiet around people and doesn’t like doing anything new, or doing things in front of others, but despite being very nervous before the first display he was so proud of himself once he finished that he was able to go out and have so many eyes on him during the display.’
Thanks to Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward – a keen supporter of the club – the team has been granted a permanent home to practice in Knowle, Fareham. It’s where they spend every Sunday, come rain or shine.
Jack Bull, 12, has been riding motorbikes since he was just five. And he takes it all in his stride. ‘It’s not scary at all, once you get the hang of it. It’s just really fun.
‘I can do wheelies and jump cars. I go at about 25mph. I can jump over two cars laid longways but my actual distance is three car-lengths. I really don’t get scared. Even on the fire jumps.’
All the children are covered in protective clothing from head to foot, and Jack hasn’t suffered any injuries yet.
Mum Joanne, from Warsash, says: Being a brand new team, we didn’t expect too much this year – but it has been absolutely amazing.
‘It has been far more successful than we could ever have imagined; we’ve had some amazing shows and the team has doubled in size with 10 new recruits.
‘Everyone is incredibly proud of the team and next year is already shaping up very well.’
With youngsters learning how to leap over cars and jump through fire, being part of a motorcycle display team encourages discipline and teamwork between the riders.
‘It’s a very inclusive group in that regard. There’s a place for everyone. Being part of a display team also teaches these youngsters some really crucial life skills. It takes them out of their bedrooms and comfort zones to understand the importance and fun of working in a team.
‘The children have also been able to develop incredible social skills and have a wonderful sense of camaraderie – everyone gets on well with one another and it's great to see.
Joanne adds: ‘I feel so immensely proud when Jack’s out there on his motorbike with the rest of the team.
’Seeing the audience applauding your child as they jump through fire on a motorbike puts tears in your eyes.’
Meanwhile, the Tigers display team has been going from strength to strength.
With a similar premise, but based in Portsmouth, the team has become a firm favourite at shows right across the region.
Stephanie Stares, vice chair of the Tigers Children’s Motorcycle Display Team, says: ‘We’ve been doing a lot of fundraising recently, supporting Wave 105 and Sophie’s Appeal – and have also been able to have a revamp and create a brand new look for the team.
‘Every year we have tryouts for new riders – the new season starts in November with training sessions and show preparation.
‘Children grow up as part of the Tigers, which is just incredible as you watch them turn into a young adult, but it means we’re always on the lookout for new members.’
Stephanie says the experience is key in helping to shape the riders into the people they are today.
She explains: ‘This year we even did displays at some of the children’s schools too. It was nice to get that opportunity to perform in front of their friends and meant that they were fully prepared when it came to performing in front of the bigger crowds.
‘Being part of a motorcycle display team is something that people never forget – and to tell people that you did something like this is very special, so we want it to be around for many years to come.
‘As it get closer to our 40th anniversary we are thinking of celebration ideas – but the performances will always be the most important thing to us.’
For more information about the teams visit tigersmotorcycledisplayteam.co.uk and therockets.co.uk.