Fletcher’s motorcycle experience and his influence on youths in the industry
Marlon Fletcher, a motorcycle enthusiast, has been riding since he was nine years old. Like many others in the industry, he grew up seeing several of his relatives engaged in this activity, but it was more of a means of transportation for them. “Both my mother and father used to ride, my grandfather and all my uncles. However, I was the one that took it to another extreme.”
Growing up in a Jamaican household, children would be scolded by their parents if they didn’t conform to the traditional professions such as nurse or lawyer, and Fletcher was a victim of that. “I used to get a lot of cursing, that I won’t live to see this or that, if I venture into a motorcycle, but I was the only one in the family that took it to a professional level.”
Though Fletcher has retired from stunting, he is an avid motorcyclist who has had an overwhelming experience in motorcycling because over the years, he was fortunate to work with movie stars and artistes such as Jay Z and Nick Cannon.
He has ridden in several Caribbean islands and foreign territories, which helped him to develop his craft and become a better motorcyclist. “I have ridden in Trinidad, Barbados, Canada, and the United States professionally, so it has really been a wonderful experience for me, and I have no regrets entering the profession of the motor cycling industry,” he said.
Stunt riding is something that fell in Fletcher’s lap, but he started from basic wheelieing until he eventually practised consistently. However, when he started, stunting wasn’t a thing in Jamaica as there was more motorcycle racing and drag racing. “When I started stunting, they hired me to do lunchtime performances. So when the race is on a break, I would entertain the crowd until stunting took on a whole life of its own, where there were a lot of events or motorcycling shows dedicated towards motorcycle stunting.”
He used to find an empty parking lot to practise until late hours in the morning just to get a particular trick right for an upcoming event. This took a lot of sacrifice and money for bike repair because sometimes they got wear and tear during practice. “It took a lot of dedication and motorcycle parts because I would break one bike part five times trying to master one trick.”
With all the attention Fletcher garnered as a motorcyclist, several youths used to gravitate to him for training. “A lot of youths used to gravitate towards me because stunting was new, and I was one of the few people stunting in Jamaica, and they were eager to learn the skill.”
This resulted in him starting a club called Crazy Bikers, which has been going strong for over 20 years. However, he shared that it is no longer a motorcycle stunting club, but a motorcycle riding club. “We have handed over stunting to the younger generation, and in this case, I would go out on a limb and say, hand it over to the yeng yeng man dem.”
Among the youths he taught was Daylight, a popular motorcyclist in Jamaica, who has been making a tremendous impact. “I taught him everything he now knows, and he is, basically, the star of Jamaica now, and until this day, I am still giving him advice,” he said.
He advised Daylight about being on and off the motorcycle when he came to visit him at about age 15 to steer him on the right path. “Now, he has exploded into something great. He has even surpassed what I used to be back in the day even popularity-wise.”
Fletcher continued, “When I trained the youths, some were a little scared and some were too brave, so I had to slow them down because their ego got the best of them, and stunting is something you have to practice.”
One of the most fundamental pieces of advice he has given young racers is to do all the training before they go on the track. “I tell them not to practise at shows. So practise before shows and perform at the events. Do not try a trick if you have not mastered it at 110 per cent because the shows are informal in Jamaica, and it is easy for a motorcycle to get out of control and mow down two or three people,” he mentioned.
“So do all the dropping and allow the bike to get away from you in practice, and then when you think you have gotten it to the T, you can perform it.”
How has riding a motorcycle impacted his life
Though motorcycling has always been a part of his life, that is not what he wanted to do, but his fondness for the sport overcame any doubt he had towards it. “I always tell people that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life, and I love motorcycle, so I turned my passion into a paycheck.”
While riding motorcycles has contributed to who Fletcher is today, he is also part of the motorsport industry since 1995. “I’m one of the most rounded bikers in Jamaica. I’ve raced at Dover and drag race at Vernamfield. Drag racing is something that I really loved, but it never blossomed into the level of professionalism I was looking for in Jamaica. Hence, I turned to stunting, so racing was more for fun and less for business.”