Interview Manfalken

We have for a long time thought about making a WRENCHMONKEES RACING TEAM. Now it’s reality. Our friend Jonathan aka Manfalken is the first man on the team. He is a better rider and rides more beautiful than we do. This summer he will be attending the DTRA finals and Harley Davidson Hooligan Class on behalf of Wrenchmonkees. Below is a transcript of our chat before he went to the UK to compete.

Edit: This interview was made before Jonathan when to the DTRA finals where he crashed, but he is OK!


When did you start driving?

I grew up on motorcycles. I have been riding since I was 4 years old. It all started with a Yamaha PW80. I was previously thinking that it was my idea to start with. Now I think it was my dad who planned it to get to ride himself.


That is typical dads!

Yes. It got clear as I grow older. I grew up at a farm, so we build a small motocross track on the backside of the stable. Each day when I came home from school I went out to practise. That evolved into racing motocross from I was 8 years old till I was 18.

When you turn 18 everything in life starts to get serious, and you have to either go racing full time, or for me it was to stop completely. It was an all or nothing thing. So I had to stop, but I stayed training kids and teenagers for a few more years after that.


So you were a coach?

Yes. Both at the club and as a private coach for some kids where I travelled with them to races.


So you made a living out of it afterwards?

More like a side cash. I don’t think it was payed enough for what I was doing, but it was so much fun so I didn’t really care. It was more to see someone and how happy they were after the practise. Like a big smile on their faces. It was worth it.


Did you stopped completely riding yourself?

I took my license when I was 18. I just went to the driving school and took 2 or 3 classes and then passed. And then I didn’t ride motorcycles for probably 5 years. I think it was you guys who build a bike, just when you started out, and I started to check out the bikes. I found out that it was possible to make something that didn’t look as a sports bike and didn’t cost a fortune. You could do easy stuff to make it appear more of a usable bike.


Like personalised?

Yes, because I grew on a motocross track, the bike has always been about use and abuse. It has to have some kind of purpose to it. When it gets too bulky or with too many accessories… then it’s more of a car and it isn’t really my kind of thing. I got an XS400. I spend a winter doing small simple modifications to it, and that summer I went on a long trip throughout Sweden. I was hooked and back on it.


Do you still train motocross?

I rode for the first time in 13 years this spring. I knew I had to take it slow in the beginning, and then everything started happening, and I did things I didn’t really know that I could still do.


It’s like learning to ride a bicycle. And like skateboarding. You just know the drill.

Exactly it’s just like your body can take the beats.


And you are not used to use those specific mussels, so your body has to get used to it again.

When you are riding each start of the season is hard, because you haven’t been riding for a few months. You always have a couple of weeks where your body is adjusting to it.


That like that with every practise. Your body doesn’t forget.

To get back to racing. We have a beach race in Lykken in Denmark, and have just finished building a shovelhead. I stayed up till 2am the day before the race. That was the first time I rode it. We loaded the bikes at 5.30 and drove to Lykken. It was just a small competition between friends, but still I could feel how… You got these small tricks when you are in a competition that you do to psych your competitors, and not let them get better than you, and I noticed that I started doing these things without thinking about it. The horns were growing back. When we were on the way home, I knew that I had to find a way to start racing again in something that is not as competitive and demanding as top class motorcycle races. So you can do it and not have to put everything in to it. You can still have a life outside the race. We started going to the speedway track in Malmö. I brought my shovelhead, and the guys at the track welcomed us with open arms. We started doing open days where you can bring whatever bike you have. It was sort of a way for me to get to ride my bike on a track as well as making other people see that it’s not really difficult to get that feeling of adrenalin. I tried to describe it to a friend the other day, and I was like, you are in complete control at the same time as you have no control at all. And you are completely calm at the same time as your adrenalin is fully pumped. Those two things are probably what you feel. The feelings are the same for both beginners and trained people. They can still talk about how it feels because it is the same.


Even though you are at a different level.

You just have to push yourself and get better. You asked if I still train and yes I do. Each Wednesday we are on the track.


I have fallen a few times.

It’s not good practise unless you fall. Then you know that it doesn’t really hurt.


Do you fall often?

Yes, in practise. Never in a competition. I try not to.


But you have been quite close.

Haha yes! There is a video from Greenfield where I’m almost fallen over. I had a plan to cut three people in front of me and get inside of them, but I made a wobble just before that, so I didn’t have enough speed, so he cut in. My front wheel started grinding his wheel, but I somehow managed to pop the wheel outside with a centimetre instead of spinning it. There were quite a few calls at last race. It’s one of those moments that you think why didn’t I fall over this time?


Close, but you had the control of it.

Yes, that’s also the difference. When you are practising you might have fallen over because you would not be all set for it. Your mind is a bit smoother in practise. You don’t have the complete aggression. So you can be too relaxed in practise.

You can follow Manfalken on Instagram here and get your hands on your own Wrenchmonkees Racing Set here.