Six riders banned after police recover camera footage

Prosecution comes after six men filmed themselves pulling wheelies and riding at speeds of up to 146mph

SIX MEN who filmed each other pulling wheelies and riding at speeds of up to 146mph have been banned from driving following the conclusion of a trial at St Albans crown court.

In April 2014 Matthew Langley (37), Jonathan Wartnaby (31), Malik Blackburn (31), Axel Jones (25), Kevin Saunders (29), Matthew James (28) were riding together from Bedford to Hatfield, with Langley recording the ride using two GoPro cameras attached to his Yamaha R6.

They hit speeds of up to 146mph and were also captured overtaking and undertaking other road users at speed, often very closely.

In the video above, Malik Blackburn is also seen pulling wheelies while stood on the seat of his Honda Fireblade and Matthew James is seen doing a burnout before leaving a petrol station.

After realising that the police had been made aware of their riding, Langley dumped the cameras in the Hatfield Tunnel, where they were recovered by police and used to prosecute the men.

Judge John Plumstead told Langley he behaved like ‘a complete idiot’ and that the mens’ riding was ‘an incredible display of idiocy’ because they ‘treated other road users like they were obstacles in a video game.’

All six admitted dangerous driving and received the following punishments:

  • Matthew Langley (37) was banned for three years
  • Malik Blackburn (31) was banned for two years
  • Axel Jones (25) was banned for 18 months
  • Jonathan Wartnaby (31) was banned for 18 months
  • Matthew James (28) was banned for 18 months
  • Kevin Saunders (29) was banned for 12 months

Alistair Turner, 50 and the driver of the silver Mercedes at the end of the video, was also banned for 12 months.

All will have to take an extended retest and pay £500 in prosecution costs, with Turner also required to pay an additional fine of £2,700.


This is a very light punishment for being a total dicks... What a bunch of idiots.

The dreaded and obscene wheelie! They should be locked up for life for even thinking about doing such a horrible and insanely dangerous thing.

1. the twattish riding....obviously.
2. 146.3mph?...really? From what evidence? Time taken to travel a set distance?...& given the arbitrary nature of that they've got it down to 0.1 of a second? Last time I checked police speed cameras needed a test cert to be valid. These cameras are neither official nor certified. You can say that there's a likelihood they were speeding but there is no proof of what speed they are doing.

There's no way to know the frame times on the camera aren't spot on, but they'll not be far off.

And that's the problem with the police recovering the camera; at least on YouTube you can claim you sped the footage up... Always transcode your videos with some form of "destructive" processing (frame rate conversion, interpolation, motion blur, stabilisation etc.) ;)

They said they worked with some road safety organisation, maybe it was they who did the "calculations". All measured speeds are averaged by definition, which is most likely where the decimal comes in, and is a worrying sign. I'd like to see them present it scientifically and state their margin for error, particularly in respect of identifying reference points within each frame, accounting for lens distortion and the CCD read-out skew (makes the pixels in one part of the frame technically "recorded" at a different time to others). Of course, beyond a certain point, the magnitude of that inaccuracy becomes insignificant relative to the magnitude of the transgression - but they should still state it...

On that note, there's no mention what significance the speed itself played in the sentencing, since the other antics are quite obvious to the naked eye as being inappropriate. The published video is clearly intended to be a "warning" to others, and also a bit of self-congratulation for the Force; a bit of PR all around, which only looks bad on us to the wider community. Of course the convicted's behaviour is a bad example to anyone who might be stupid enough to emulate it.

There's more than one way to prove speed and fortunately the Judge's opinion is worth more than yours as to what constitutes 'evidence'.

So you think that an implicit 0.034% error in the quoted precision of the 146.3 mph figure is correct, or even likely?

More like 10%, minimum.

But "in excess of 130 mph" doesn't sound as impressive.

dudeofrude's picture

Now fair enough they were riding like idiots but at the end of it nobody was hurt, nothing was damaged and if it weren't for the video evidence the police would have been none the wiser.
But what really pissed me off is this sort of riding isnt any more dangerous than a moron in a car/van staring at his phone at 70mph yet they treat these risers like they are the devil personified.

Good result - a bunch of twats taken off the road for reflection time and no-one hurt. What bothers me is that their riding will have p***ed off a lot of drivers whose antagonism towards bikers will no doubt be taken out on the rest of us - like the psycho in the silver Mercedes. (Why didn't he spend time behind bars?). Best step up the polite waves to repair the damage.

LS650's picture

I don't have a problem so much with the speeding, wheelies, etc. However, if you're stupid enough to film it and then even more stupidly let the video fall into the hands of the cops.... LOL.

Perhaps when they are allowed to ride again in two or three years, they'll have learned that if you're going to break the law, don't be stupid enough to record the evidence.

thecert's picture

Extremely lucky that's all they got considering the danger they put themselves and other road users in. I'm all for having a bit of fun but that was pushing things to far.


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