A partially-sighted man took on the challenge of a lifetime and fulfilled his childhood dream by riding a vintage wall of death motorbike - in front of a festival crowd.
Nigel Limb, from Sutton on Sea, fell in love with the wall of death after witnessing the popular sideshow attraction at Skegness as a young boy.
From the moment he saw the biker scaling the wall, Nigel was hooked and his love of bikes hasn’t faded since - despite a serious sand racing accident nearly four years ago, which put him in a coma for 11 days and permanently damaged his sight.
Since the accident, Nigel’s achieved his dream of getting back on the bike. Back in October 2018, he took a speedway bike for a spin.
In the past year, he’s made a triumphant return to sand racing - as well as undertaking a variety of other projects from photographic exhibitions to gaining national 10-pin bowling titles.
However, riding a 1924 Indian Scout Bike on stationary rollers in front of a crowd has been his biggest challenge yet.
Nigel was invited to ride at the Todd in the Hole festival at Stevenage over July 20-21 by Ken Fox, who he knows through a family friend.
Mr Fox, who hails from Skegness, operates and tours a famous Wall of Death attraction around the UK. Nigel told the Leader he felt ‘privileged’ to have been invited to ride.
“Anyone who can ride a motorbike can do it on rollers,” he said, “but riding a bike you’ve never sat on before on rollers for the first time, and in front of an audience, as a partially-sighted man?
“Now, that’s a different kettle of fish altogether.”
Historically, Wall of Death attractions have a rider on rollers stationed out in front with an announcer to warm up the crowd before the main event inside the dome.
“Often it’s a dazzling blonde woman on the rollers, but the people of Stevenage were treated to me instead,” joked Nigel.
“It was an electrifying feeling, being on the bike.
“Almost all motorbikes have the clutch on the right handle and the accelerator on the left - the Indian is totally the other way around.
“So, I had a completely alien bike, no practice, and a crowd in front of me - what could possibly go wrong?”
Despite the odds, Nigel wowed the crowd and put on a real show. It’s inspired him to set up a YouTube channel to broadcast future feats.
Nigel said that although it is daunting, everyday tasks can often be an even bigger barrier. He said: “I feel immensely proud that I caught the train to Grantham and then on to Stevenage myself.
“Little everyday things - catching the bus and the like - are the tasks that really give me anxiety. I think this is something others will be able to relate to.
“When I find myself feeling this way, I just think ‘Come on Nige, you can ride a Wall of Death bike!’. That really helps.
“We all have our mountains to climb, and I just hope showing people that I’m fighting to overcome my fears and limits will help give others the strength to face theirs.
“Life’s too short to allow anything to get the better of you.”
And what does the future hold for Nigel?
He’s been invited to speak at a Wilberforce Trust event in York in September, and hopes to put on another art and photographic exhibition in the near future.
But with his true grit and determination, he’s certainly proved that he’s not a man to be second guessed - we’ll be watching this space.
Find Nigel’s Facebook page by searching for Blindbloke Racing and find him on YouTube at Nigel blindblokeracing.