Not on a full stomach


Hell Riders

Imagine a wooden drum. 18 feet high. 32 feet in diameter.

Then imagine pulling 3 G for five minutes or more as you ride the drum at 40mph.

Your body weight has increased threefold. Your blood is doing its best to fill your boots.


Welcome to the dizzying world of Ken Foss’s Wall of Death and his family of Hell Riders. Today there are just two generations of the Foss family on the wall. But the tradition crosses four generations and dates back to the beginning of the Great Depression in the late 1920s. It was then that Ken’s grandfather saw visiting riders from the USA perform their Wall of Death feats. Hooked, he joined them to learn his trade and eventually started his own travelling show.


Almost 90 years later little has changed for the Wall of Death rider. They still ride the original Indian Scout bikes as favoured by the U.S. motorcycle cops of the time. And they still spend over six months a year travelling from venue to venue, attracting thousands to enter their mini big top and see them perform.

Such is their fame, they have recently attracted the attention of Guy Martin; TT racer, lorry mechanic, TV presenter and a man who is generally up for anything that involves the need for speed. And a thrill or two along the way.


Inspired by Ken Foss and his wall, Guy has got his eye on setting a new speed record for a Wall of Death ride. Only trouble is, he’s going to need a bigger wall. Much bigger.

…they have recently attracted the attention of Guy Martin

As Ken, who is training Guy, explained to NGKTorque.

“If you tried to hit the kind of speed Guy has in mind on a standard wall, you’d be pulling something in the region of 9-10 G which, even for a fighter pilot in a (anti) G- suit would result in them blacking out. That, trust me, is not a good idea on a Wall of Death.”

So the solution is to build a wall with a larger diameter. They reckon around 120 feet should make the 90mph that Guy has in mind achievable.

“At that speed Guy will still be pulling anything up to 5 G, so that’s why he’s undergoing special training to get him fit for the attempt.”

The date has yet to be set, partly due to Guy’s latest racing accident which has somewhat delayed things, but we’ll let you know as soon as we know!

For now the Hell Riders are taking a well-earned break and will restart in the new year. Meantime, for a taste of the dizzying world of the Wall of Death, check out our video above.

Then think of Guy Martin. He’ll be travelling roughly twice as quick when he makes his bid…

Personally, we wouldn’t opt for the “full english” on that particular morning.

Tags: , , , , Published on 7th November 2015