The Real Maverick Shows Us How It's Done
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The real "Maverick", Mike Mangold proved how he earned his name buzzing only 25 feet above us at over 500 mph while we were conducting a comparison at Grange Motor Circuit in Victorville, California.
Absolute craziness. That’s how I would describe what transpired today while shredding tires at Grange Motor Circuit
. The occasion that brought us out to this fun little 8/10th mile track located in the middle of Southern California’s high desert was a motorcycle comparison we’re conducting between two shiny new supermoto-style streetbikes: the KTM 690 Duke and Aprilia Dorsoduro 750.
Having just completed a long 30 minute moto we pulled in, put the bikes on their kick stands, pulled off our helmets and gloves then commenced bench racing. So there we are, standing next to the bikes, guzzling water and chatting back and forth about the nuances of each motorbike.
Then out of nowhere we hear this deafening whooshing noise akin to that of a low flying rocket or missile. The kind of sound you’d hear while inside a movie theater watching director Michael Bay’s latest summer action blockbuster. I turn my head and glance upwards towards the horizon and in that split second a red and white painted fighter jet zooms within no more than 25 feet of us (yes you read that correctly 25 feet!) at maximum speed of upwards of 500 mph!
The noise as the plane jet blasted overhead was vociferous, frightening and exciting all infused into one. Out of sheer fear and excitement I started screaming expletives and jumping up and down as if I’d just cheated death somehow not even fully realizing what just transpired within the last second. As the jet blew by us its pilot yanked up on the control stick sending it soaring back into the clouds in an instant. Insane!
I asked the track owner, Jim Granger, if he knew this maverick jet pilot and he started to grin. It was Mike Mangold, the guy who Tom Cruise’s “Maverick” character was based off in the all-time best fighter pilot movie, Top Gun. Mangold currently competes in the Red Bull Air Race
series as well as dabbling in the Reno Air Racing Association’s ultra-dangerous Jet Class. So if you’re ever out riding at Grange and you feel the ground start to tremble and hear an ear-piercing swish you know know who it is.
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