Journalists often find themselves in unusual situations, but eating a Mr Whippy icecream with Troy Mercanti at a Mongols bikie family day takes some beating.
The West Australian’s chief reporter Ben Harvey found himself in that exact spot after accepting an invitation from Mercanti to have a look around the Mongols’ clubhouse in Wangara two weeks ago.
For close to three decades, this headline-making bikie has remained closed off to the media – until now.
At 53-years-old, Mercanti remains a significantly imposing figure.
“I am fitter than I have been in years,” he tells The West, before sharing that he’s given thought to a return to boxing. “I’m fitter in my body and fitter in my mind.”
But it’s not just boxing revealed in this rare opportunity inside the headquarters of one of the world’s most feared bikie gangs and inside the mind of its most notorious members.
Mercanti is incredibly candid, with the State’s most famous outlaw justifying his choice to be a Mongol and breaking his silence on life as a bikie.
Nothing is off-limits, with Mercanti detailing his past, family and even revealing his biggest regret.
“I paid a high price… I lost everything,” he says in one moment of reflection.