As he flew off jump bases, fans rushed for a better view in the gathering dust, others were hands-on-heads not sure Cooke will come back down safely. The riders he went past and those he doubled would – awed – turn and watch him effortlessly eat them up.
For every 20 minutes and an extra lap of each heat Cooke completed, he parked his bike, stepped out of his protective gear and took his place in his tent before Uganda’s best – Blick – and whoever was second to him arrived at the finish line. Inside his blue tent after the second heat, Cooke, who was now only in shorts – his right waist and arm revealing heavy tattoos, sat relaxed, not a worry in the world.
Fans that had breached security rings looked on 10m outside his tent – amazed – at the parked old bike Cooke rode, then to Blick’s more powerful 450cc 2010 model, in wonderment. “The bike is normal,” one fan said, “Look for the rider.” Others had mobbed the tent to just have a glimpse of the man inside the mask of a helmet, the man who had turned the skies into his best friend. But just what is going on in Cooke’s mind as he is up there defying gravity?