STUNT man Matt Mingay has travelled the world with his stunt show (Stuntz Inc) and is a feature on the Aussie motor racing circuit. He has featured in many TV adverts.
Last year he and Harley-Davidson nutted out a deal to do stunts on the iconic Harley Sportster.
Matt went about making some modifications to a Nightster.
“I loved the challenge,” said Matt. “I tried to keep the modifications to a minimum. I didn’t want it looking as if I had to modify crap out of the bike to make it do what I wanted it to!”
The Stuntster was fitted with bigger brakes on the front, an extra brake caliper on the rear, Moto X handlebars and heavy duty shocks front and rear. Matt welded a couple of freestyle pegs in strategic positions so he can jump around the bike; and most importantly, he fitted a remote idle adjuster.
The Stuntster was a massive departure from the previous Honda CBR600RR and Triumph 954 Matt had been using for his stunts. The weight difference took some getting use to. The previous stunt bikes weighed around 150 kg; the Stuntster weighs in at around 250 kg. Matt says the Stuntster’s weight has got him the fittest he has been in years — every time he takes the Stuntster out it’s like a full-on workout!
Getting used to the bike didn’t take as long as Matt expected. He rode the bike last year at the Sydney Motorcycling Expo for its debut performance after only one day’s practice. Modest Matt said it must have been okay; it seemed to impress everyone!
Known for his 180 stoppies and rear wheel on the wall stoppie (particularly on racing track walls), and having cracked a couple of world records with stoppies, ironically, the stoppie is the only trick from his large repertoire he has trouble with. He can do them if the surface is perfect and conditions are right. If the ground is a bit shinny the front wheel locks up. Matt finds no problem with any of the other tricks and can even perform some tricks on the Stuntster that he couldn’t perform on the old bikes. Matt just puts it down to a little bit of give and take!
Matt has a philosophical view to the Stuntster. “The Harley is not only a wicked machine, it is a motoring icon as well. To the young blokes out there who think Harleys are for middle-aged blokes going through a crisis, cruisers and doctors, this bike blows that theory out of the water! On practice days there will be maybe 20 — 30 riders and the Stuntster makes many of them look ordinary and has gone a long way to changing the point of view for many of the other riders about Harley-Davidsons!”
This past year has been the busiest for Matt’s long career. With 30 odd events under his belt for the past 12 months, things are going great and there is no sign of it slowing up. The highlight of the year being hired for the sultry songstress Pink for her Australian Tour, as well as her hubby freestyle legend, Carey Hart, for his Hart Hungary Tour, and getting to hang out with the couple.
Next year Matt also has a couple of large hot rod shows which he says he is looking forward to. “The Harley ties in well with the hot rod scene.”
Matt’s other major sponsor is Holden and stunt driving is Matt’s other passion. This often means he finds himself performing stunt driving and then jumping out of the car and mounting the Stuntster for some stunt riding, and then back in the car. Matt does this Superman feat at 15 of the V8 events throughout the year.
Matt’s movie stunt work in the past year has taken him to Dubai, Kuala Lumpa and Bollywood India. He has also done a couple of local ads here in Australia and says it’s great seeing your commercial come on, saying to onlookers, that’s me!
So deep is his love for stunt work and Harley-Davidson, Matt had his idol Evil Knievel’s signature tattooed on his left forearm.
Matt’s other baby is Stuntz Inc, a clothing line named after his stunt bike team, dealing in everything from T-shirts, hoodies and hats to DVDs. With the line getting bigger and bigger, Matt has been able to put the profits back into the business as well as sponsoring some up-and-coming jet skiers, BMX riders and skaters.
You can check out some of videos and merchandise at www.stuntzinc.com
Words & pics by Chris Nilsson