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RIP Keith Flint: The dirt bike fan

Motocross and motorcycle road race fan Keith Flint, singer in legendary band The Prodigy, has died at his home in Essex age 49, his band confirmed today.

Band member Liam Howlett said on social media: “The news is true , I can’t believe I’m saying this but our brother Keith took his own life over the weekend, I’m shell shocked , f**kin angry , confused and heart broken ….. r.i.p brother, Liam.”

It’s a very sad day for the man who was an iconic singer but a massive lover of all bikesport, racing himself and running his own road race team as well as riding dirt bikes for kicks.

In his honour, check out the interview we did with him at the Dutch GP at Valkenswaard where we took this iconic photo of him with the CLS Kawasaki big rig of Tommy Searle, Max Anstie and Ben Townley. Read on..

Keith Flint at the Dutch MXGP

Keith Flint may be the tattooed, wild-rocking front man with top British band The Prodigy, but away from gigs he gets his kicks on bikes.

Flint, who burst into the public’s psyche with his performance in the Prodigy’s smash No1 Firestarter, not only does road racing but is a fan of dirt bikes, too.

He’s got his own off-road track, goes to spectate at local races, rides a KTM enduro bike and says he’s not talented enough to race!

He was special guest of Monster at the Dutch GP at Valkenswaard and gave his only magazine interview to MOTO.

MOTO: So you’re into motocross then!

Flint: This is the first motocross international I’ve been to. But I’ve been up to Wakes Colne, my local track, many times for a ride out and to watch the racing. And I also go to watch some local grass track clubs. I’m in Essex so Wakes Colne is easy.

Over the way from there is a pit where I have a 4×4 and smash around. It’s all serious, I take it there on the back of a lorry and go smash around the pits.

MOTO: Do you ride off road?

Flint: I do some green laning on a KTM 250EXCF four-stroke. I used to have an old MXer that I used to go out on. A farmer nearby had some land that he used to let us on. It was farmland with a few trees, but the lads slowly shaped it into a home-made track.

MOTO: When did you start riding?

Flint: Like many of us, I started on modified mopeds with the mudguards ripped off at 14 years old. Just scraping enough money to get a litre of petrol. Then I moved onto some cobbled-together dirt bikes.

I have two older brothers who dragged me along using their dirt bikes and riding on the back of their bikes.

MOTO: Where do you ride now?

Flint: I have a small flat track in my back garden with a little tabletop jump. I have some mini bikes fitted with road tyres so for my circuit riding it gives me extra practice sliding around.

On Sundays we text some local mates and see who’s up for a trail ride. Up to four or fives of us go for three or four hours at a time. My KTM is an ’09 bike, I had two-strokes in the past.

Actually, my motocross bike was sold to me on the back of it being an ex-Kurt Nicoll bike. Whether that’s right, I don’t know. I’m sure I believed it at the time and I’m sure I thought I rode better because of it.

MOTO: Are you allowed to race by your record company?

Flint: The record label has nothing to say about it! We are solely in control of ourselves. But I have to make sure I’m insured. If you have shows on and you don’t turn up someone has to pay. You can’t leave yourself open to that type of jeopardy. Insurance is the hardest thing.

I’ve done road racing for a few years. I have my own little team called Traction Control. I ride in three-hour endurance races. We’re doing Snetterton, Oulton Park, Mallory Park and Brands Hatch.

We were third in the championship ‘til last week then we totalled and scored no points at all.

MOTO: You used to do club road racing though?

Flint: I did it in 1998 for a couple of years then went away for a while. To be honest I’m really into track days. So the next progression was to do some road races.

It’s all about enjoyment. I enjoy the paddock , hanging out with the people. Like being here, if you’re into bikes it’s nice to be in as many environments as possible.

I went to the TT last year, I really want to see the Ulster and some of the big road races. I want to just experience the North-West 20o, get my face around and suck up some of the different bike scenes as they really do all vary.

MOTO: That’s enough about road racing!

Flint: I like being with people who have the same kind of passion for bikes.  You can see how a lot of the motocross boys can transfer over into road racing. To have that sort of control of a bike is why they’re good. For me, that’s why I ride the dirt. Not at any kind of level like the GP boys, but it’s good for your riding to have a bike that’s alive underneath you.

On slicks and 16.5in rims on an EVO-spec Suzuki, you’re pretty much planted on the track until it goes shits up. It’s nice to learn to cope with that.

Out first race at Brands this year was wet then dry then wet. Awful conditions. But to have the bike sliding out, the MX helped me. Just to have skills that takes that jumpiness out. You can judge it a little bit better.

MOTO: Who impressed you the most at the motocross?

Flint: When you see lads like here today, it’s a different level. It’s amazing and you just have to have huge admiration for them. To be honest, I’m fresh out of the blocks I couldn’t even see who was a slow guy against the fast guys as they are all on the money. The guys are on a different level.

I’m also impressed with the bikes, for something that has to go through so much shit, they’re so refined. They made me buzz. And if I see the right person I’ll be tapping them up for one!

MOTO: Do you fancy doing some off-road racing?

Flint: I couldn’t race MX. I’m way too underskilled. I should have started 20 years ago. But I know what level I’m at and for me it’s all about the enjoyment. We all watch MX GP riders and would love to be out there. But you have to realise these guys are elite level. I have loads of respect for them.

MOTO: And what about the band. Are they into bikes?

Flint: Liam has passed his bike test and used to have a FireBlade. I’m too loyal to my mate to put his riding down. But he’s a good rider considering how long he’s been riding. We’re all petrol heads. I sway towards the bikes, Liam towards the cars…And Keefy loves his cars. That’s evident in the music. We enjoy things that thrill!

Godspeed Keith.

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