His dad used to joke about him running away to join the circus – and now Mat Coombs is about to do just that.
Mat, 24, of Hessle, has been interested in freestyle motocross (FMX) for about ten years and has performed in a number of shows, so when he saw the circus was coming to town, complete with a motorbike stunt-riding act, he offered up his services.
Now Mat is set to appear with Planet Circus as one of the fearless OMG FMX team – and he can’t wait.
“I’ve been part of a few things like that in the past, doing stunt stuff on motorbikes, and I saw Planet Circus was coming to Hull and got in touch with them, it just went from there,” said Mat, who is an electrical engineer by trade.
Not only is he going to be appearing in the Big Top while Planet Circus is visiting Bilton next month, he is also planning to travel with the performers as they tour the UK.
“My dad always said when I was younger, ‘you will run off and join the circus one day’, as you do when you joke, and that’s what I’m going to do.
“With my job, my shifts fit in quite well, and when it comes to my personal life, there is only me, my partner and our two dogs.”
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Mat said he already had an organised set-up for travelling around with his bikes, so it would be just a case of his partner, Paige Whittle, joining him on the circus tour when she could and also bringing along Patterdale terrier Archie and German Shepherd Jet for the ride when it was suitable.
“They’ll be living the best life,” he said.
“The OMG FMX team will be largest of its kind seen in the UK. Some of do know of each other because of our shared interest.
“It will mean performing in front of the biggest audiences I’ve encountered but it will be a case of helmet on, zone out and get on with it.”
Freestyle motocross calls for bikers to jump between ramps and perform daring acrobatic moves in mid-air.
“I’ve got mixed emotions really, I’m a bit nervous but it’s all new, it’s exciting and I can’t wait,” said Mat.
A spokesperson for Planet Circus said: “Mat will be joining us and taking part in the show doing FMX stunts with the Peter Pavlov Team.
“He will be attempting a flip, that he’s not done in public before, for the first time in Hull. He asked us if possible could he join our tour when we leave.”
The Pavlov family of entertainers are based in Lincolnshire and perform their Globe of Speed act as part of the Planet Circus show.
Peter Pavlov was the youngest ever rider in the Globe when he was just eight years old; he is now inspiring his three-year-old nephew Pedro, who already has his own stunt bike and performs impromptu “shows” for circus-goers outside the circus tent.
The tot aims to beat his uncle’s record by performing in the Globe of Speed by the time he is four next year.