Biker jailed for 'hair-raising' wheelie-pulling, selfie-taking motorway stunts
Pawel Zietowski was filmed by an unmarked police patrol for 16 minutes as he repeatedly flouted the rules of the road, steering with his thighs and even rummaging through a backpack to find a mobile phone.
The 27-year-old, who admitted dangerous driving at a previous hearing, was pulled over on the northbound M6 near Yarnfield, Staffordshire, on June 3.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court was told Zietowski, formerly of Harlow in Essex but now of Higham Avenue, Warrington, Cheshire, was riding an 06-plate Yamaha R6 at the time of the offences.
The car paint-sprayer, originally from Poland, told probation officers he had an interest in stunt riding and was "practising" on the motorway.
Passing sentence, Judge David Fletcher described the footage of Zietowski's riding as "hair-raising".
"I wanted that to be played in open court because I wanted to be sure that you had seen it," the judge told Zietowski.
"You were showing off," the judge added.
"It was clearly driving which was over a lengthy period of time, involving speeds of up to 117mph, involving you twice removing the backpack.
"You were pulling wheelies on a number of occasions and at one point you were standing up with no hands on the handlebars.
"This was a piece of appalling driving.
"You say you were involved with some sort of group relating to stunt-type driving.
"If that is the case then there are places and times for that sort of stunt-riding to take place, that place is not the M6 at two o'clock in the afternoon with lots of other vehicles on the road."
Opening the facts of the case, prosecutor Robert Price said Zietowski was given a driving ban in a separate prosecution in July after being convicted of failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
Mr Price told the court an officer driving an unmarked Audi first noticed the Yamaha because it was travelling at an excessive speed.
"He followed it for 16 minutes," Mr Price said.
"It seems plain that the defendant probably wasn't aware that he was being pursued by an unmarked police car."
Defence barrister Robert Holt urged the judge to consider suspending Zietowski's jail term, citing the dry road conditions and the relatively light volume of traffic as mitigation.
Mr Holt said: "Mr Zietowski is keen to emphasise that he is a changed man from the time of this incident.
"He offers his genuine remorse to the court today.
"From Mr Zietowski's point of view, he is finished with motorbikes, they are no longer part of his life."
Zietowski, the court heard, arrived in the UK in 2013 to seek "economic betterment" and had formed a relationship with a woman living in Warrington, while he was working in the south-east.
"He made the commute (using the M6) regularly," Mr Holt added.
"He has good prospects with a view to his own business being set up."
Commenting on the case, Inspector Sion Hathaway, of the Central Motorway Police Group, said: "Such dangerous riding will not be tolerated on our roads.
"Zietowski showed a blatant disregard for the rules of the road, and fellow motorists. His antics could have easily resulted in tragedy."