KUALA LUMPUR: Sometimes, it takes an arrest or two before die-hard racers learn the error of their ways.
In the case of Mat (not his real name), it took two court appearances before the former street racer decided that illegal racing would lead him down a destructive path.
The 28-year-old from Pandan Indah here said he started learning about motorcycles when he was only 14.
He said back then, his safety and that of other road users were the last things on his mind.
His trusted Yamaha RXZ took him places and introduced him to people who shared similar interests, namely racing and performing stunts on his bike.
"I started learning to do stunts, but I mostly loved speeding.
"I could go up to 200kph on my RXZ. It was also one way for me to promote my motorcycle modification skills.
"I also sought out leaders of biker groups to challenge them to races."
This also led him to organise street races, pitting the fastest bikers against each other in illegal races on streets.
However, life in the fast lane eventually caught up with Mat, who was detained by the police in 2006 for reckless and dangerous driving. He was charged under Section 42(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 and fined RM5,000.
Under the amended law, offenders can also be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for not more than five years if convicted.
Despite being fined, Mat continued to race. But his second arrest three years later forced him to re-evaluate his life decisions.
After some soul-searching, Mat decided to turn over a new leaf.
"I consider myself lucky to have come out of this alive. It could have ended so much worse.
"Some of my friends died because of racing. One lost his arm in an accident," he said.
However, his passion for motorcycles remains strong and he now runs his own motorcycle workshop.
His two-wheeled excursions, he said, were now limited to long-distance motorcycle riding, which he enjoys with a group of friends during holidays.