Jimmy Barnes thought he was about to pose for a photo with one of his heroes. But he was a violently shaking mess when he met Wayne Gardner.
Jimmy Barnes thought he was about to pose for a photo with one of his heroes. But he was a violently shaking mess when he met Wayne Gardner.

Hell ride that left Barnesy ‘shaking’

Even the memory of a bone-shaking, nerves-rattling joyride on the back of Wayne Gardner's motorcycle is enough to give Jimmy Barnes the shakes.

As he recalls in the second episode of the Story Time with Jimmy Barnes podcast this week, the rocker was a huge fan of the Australian motorcycle champion but terrified when Gardner pressured him to go for a spin around the Phillip Island track.

The rocker met the rider trackside ahead of the 1990 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and his own headlining gig ahead of the final.

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Jimmy Barnes on a spin with Wayne Gardner at Phillip Island. Picture: Supplied/Killing Time
Jimmy Barnes on a spin with Wayne Gardner at Phillip Island. Picture: Supplied/Killing Time

"I like flying by the seat of my pants and I've been known to take risks but going around the track with Wayne Gardner was one of the most frightening things I've done in my life," Barnes said.

"There were sparks coming off the handlebar and the foot pegs, he was hammering it. He had no fear at all that man, absolutely no fear.

"I couldn't even undo my helmet, I was shaking (so hard). It was so embarrassing."

Their encounter in front of the media pack - who could smell the fear when Gardner goaded the singer into the ride - also features in the chapter called Warp Speed Wayne in Barnes' upcoming book Killing Time.

Barnes challenged Gardner to join him on stage as a guest singer that night but the champion rider was a no-show.

The infamous lap has inspired a new song penned by this week's podcast guest Chris Cheney, frontman of The Living End.

Cheney wrote Won't Let You Down, which Barnes recorded for last year's solo album My Criminal Record, after reading the Working Class Man book.

The Living End singer and songwriter is also a motor racing enthusiast and worshipped Gardner when he was a boy.

The Living End‘s Chris Cheney and Barnes became good mates – despite the young band knocking Chisel off the top of the charts. Picture: Supplied
The Living End‘s Chris Cheney and Barnes became good mates – despite the young band knocking Chisel off the top of the charts. Picture: Supplied

 

Barnes and The Living End have recorded together over the years. Picture: Supplied.
Barnes and The Living End have recorded together over the years. Picture: Supplied.

"My dad raced motorcycles when he was a young man so I grew up being taken to Mount Panorama and every GP, beginning with the first one at Phillip Island which Wayne Gardner won," Cheney told Barnes.

"Gardner was a bit of a hero to me as a kid. I wrote him a poem when I was at school in Grade 5 or 6, this three-page poem about how he won that first GP and sent it to him.

"A few weeks later, I get a package back in the mail of a signed poster, a little letter, photos, the whole bit - I couldn't believe it."

Barnes and Cheney also reveal during the second episode they are working on a rockabilly-inspired record with legendary Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom.

Originally published as Hell ride that left Barnesy 'shaking'



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