Riding the Wall of Death.

Have you ever seen a whirling daredevil rider on a motorcycle whizzing round and defying gravity by riding horizontally on a circular, perpendicular wall?

The Wall of Death is a 5.5-meter (18-foot) high by 9-meter (30-foot) diameter wooden cylinder. It has a ring of narrow batten ramps leaning precariously against the inside of the wall, making a saucer-shaped floor.

Round the open-top, on a platform and under a canopy, stand spectators, peering down over the wall. One of the reckless riders kicks his engine into roaring activity with a nonchalant air.

The shattering din of an open exhaust and the smell of exhaust fumes add to the tingle in the nerves of those who are watching.

With a swoop and a deafening roar, he gradually rises round the battens of the inclined ramps. When he is doing over 65 km/h (40 mph), he forcefully takes to the vertical cylindrical wall, the centrifugal force giving the tires a grip on the wood.

Spirally ascending, glued to the floor like a fly to the ceiling, up and up, the daredevil rider climbs, his machine and body parallel to the ground.

As he swoops and dives 5.5-meters (18-feet) from the ground, only the staccato explosions from the exhaust punctuate the awed silence of the onlookers.

The rider reaches a red line painted round the wall 300 mm (1-foot) from the top and is almost within touching distance of the spectators.

Circling this line several times, at times with no hands, he commences swooping gracefully down the perilous descent to the floor.

A faulty plug or some other mechanical failing in the motorcycle is all that is needed to procure a fatality or horrific injury.