Grand National - Aintree Racecourse
The first time I tried to do the Grand National was in 1995. I was at home, on the morning of the race, in the bathroom getting my posterior painted red. I also had the words ''RED BUM'' written across my back when there was a knock at the door ... It was the C.I.D. who had come to arrest me for ''non-payment of fines''.
It turns out that word had got out that I was going to do a streak and the police decided to lock me up to stop me "performing", using ''non-payment of fines'' as an excuse.
So the following year I was determined that there wouldn't be a repeat performance and stayed in a ''safe house'' a couple of days before the race. I couldn't do RED BUM again as RED RUM had died that year and it would have been in bad taste.
I decided to have ''RAWHIDE'' written across my back instead and wore a kiddies cowboy hat and toy gunbelt with cap guns and a large droopy moustache. I got in OK and made my way to where the horses parade out. I was a bit worried that I might not get on the course as there were security guards every few yards along the edge, but I got this far I had to give it a go!
When the horses came out for the parade before the race I quickly took my clothes off, put on my hat etc. and scaled the fence. As I jumped over, the security just stood and stared at me, so I ran through them and started to lead the parade.
Then I saw people running at me with blankets so in true streaker fashion "I legged it" along the course, imitating as though I was riding a horse. After about a furlong down the course, three or four policemen came at me from the front, as well as the half dozen behind me with blankets, so I decided to make a stand and drew my guns and started to "shoot" at them. First I "shot" the people with blankets, but they ran past me! (It turns out they were trainers and the blankets were for horses, not me). So then I turned to the police and started to "shoot" them but none of them fell (here's me thinking they would join in !), so I thought it was time to try and escape. Again I ran through the statuesque security and climbed over the fence and into the cheering crowd.
I thought I had got away and was quickly trying to decide how to get out without any clothes on, as I didn't have a clue were my stuff was, when a handful of police suddenly grabbed me! I was then put into a police van and taken to the station and locked up for a few hours until the meeting had ended, charged and eventually fined £250.
For making 70,000 people laugh, I consider it money well spent !!!
The next time I did the National was in 1998. I wanted to do it again as the atmosphere and buzz on that day is unbelievable. This time I had ''MAIN RING'' written across my back with an arrow pointing to my bum. Again I climbed over the fence and again the security didn't come after me, which I'm not too happy about as being chased is part of the buzz and gives more entertainment value for the audience! Anyway, I started to do an aerobics workout in the middle of the course. After a short time, I went over to a security guard and said ''Come On! Chase me!", but he turned round and said ''Leave me alone will you!?'' with a worried look on his face!
Then as I turned around, I saw two policemen running at me and thought ''here we go'' and started to leg it. At this point the crowd are screaming and when I looked behind me the police were only yards away. Then, from heaven knows where, I found an extra gear and shot off; much to the pleasure of the crowd! As I got to the winning post (I won by a length by the way !) there were another three policemen waiting for me and that's when you start to play the ''dodging game''. After a few dodges I gave myself up and was consequently given the best seat in the house; in a police van on the winning post, as the race went off.
After the race I was taken to the same station as last time and the desk sergeant said to me, ''You again Mark! What's it going to take to stop you streaking?'. To which I replied ''Are you going to bring back hanging?''. H said he didn't know what to charge me with anymore, so I suggested 'impersonating a female' as it had been cold that day! Again I was locked up until the meeting was over and eventually fined £200.
The following year I was on a local radio station, 'Radio City', when one of the policemen who chased me that day rang in to say it was one of the best laughs he'd ever had and that I wasn't doing anyone any harm and that I should keep on going! I tried to do the National again. I heard on the local radio that the police were on the look-out for me as they had heard that I had ''threatened to make an appearance'', which was news to me as I hadn't thought about doing it that year. So I decided to see if I could! I tried on lots of disguises but eventually settled on just a black curly wig and a pair of seventies star shaped sunglasses, and even put on a squeaky voice for good measure !
The disguise must have worked because I got in with a friend and headed for the usual place by the County Stand. I even got a bit cheeky and asked a few policemen directions, who duly gave them to me. About 20 minutes before the race we went to meet a friend and as we were waiting for him a policeman came over to me and asked my name. I thought to myself 'not now, not just before the race ', and so I told him a name I had just made up. Then he took me over to a group of policemen and told me to take off my wig and glasses. He then said ''your Mark Roberts aren't you!'' which I denied, stating the name I had just given him. Then he pulled out a photograph of me and held it next to me and again said ''You ARE Mark Roberts aren't you?''. I carried on denying it until one of the other constables asked me to roll up my sleeve to reveal my tattoo! I couldn't deny it any longer and held my hands up and was arrested on ''suspicion of going to make a breach of the peace''.
I was hauled off to the same station again, by this time being on first name terms with the desk sergeant (lets just call him "Bobby"), who informs me that all police on duty that day had been briefed about me and everyone had been extra vigilant on the look-out.
When he asked me to empty my pockets, I said to him ''you may as well see this'' and took my t-shirt off to reveal a cape I had been wearing under my clothes and ''CAPT COCK'' written across my chest. All the police in the station had a great laugh at that but still put me in the "stables !".