Ten with...Ron Haslam....................

We catch up with former World champ and rac­ing vet­eran Rocket Ron, to get his take on the world, rac­ing and still be­ing rapid at 61…

Fast Bikes - - CONTENTS -

I haven’t had a bad ca­reer…

I man­aged three World Cham­pi­onships, four British Cham­pi­onships and some solid road rac­ing wins in­clud­ing a record six at Ma­cau thrown in for good mea­sure! I feel like I’ve been lucky enough to ride a mas­sive va­ri­ety of bikes, big and small... and I’m even luck­ier that I’m still able to do it.

I never thought I’d end up be­com­ing a teacher!

When we came back to Eng­land for a bit I re­ally wanted to get a race school go­ing, and both Honda and Don­ing­ton at the time were well up for it. I thought that I would just come along and ride some bikes, but we ended up run­ning it and that was 21 years ago with 17 bikes. Now we have over a hun­dred Hon­das and are go­ing stronger than ever!

I know it’s ta­boo, but his year’s Fire­blade is mis­un­der­stood…

And I’m not just say­ing that! It took me a shed load of test days and two top dogs from Ja­pan com­ing over to the school with data for me to get the thing to work, but we got there. The se­cret is that Honda have built a bul­let­proof road bike you can take on track, rather than the nor­mal pro­ce­dure of build­ing a race bike you can take on the road. Take the Torque Con­trol for ex­am­ple – It doesn’t work like trac­tion con­trol and will only save you once be­fore it re­sets, mak­ing it per­fect for the road and ab­so­lutely fault­less. On the track, you’re bet­ter hav­ing ev­ery­thing off!

As far as rac­ing goes, it’s bet­ter than ever… if not more po­lit­i­cal.

And we all still love to watch it. Whether it’s fol­low­ing our in­struc­tors in club rac­ing or watch­ing Mar­quez and Rossi in Mo­toGP I still love it as much as I did 40 years ago, but things are so po­lit­i­cal. Look at Sam (Lowes) in Mo­toGP as an ex­am­ple, he’s a great friend of us and he’s had a real hard time this year – it’s just so cut-throat even though his times are pretty good. Back in my day you could turn up and have a go at GPs if you had a bike, whereas nowa­days if you aren’t bring­ing in spon­sor­ship it’s nigh on im­pos­si­ble!

Leon’s still got at least five years left in him, but made the right move stay­ing in BSB…

Even though he had a great wild­card at Don­ing­ton World Su­per­bike this year (with a podium), it made his mind up about not go­ing back full time. Un­less you’re on a green or red fac­tory bike you sim­ply don’t have the pack­age to win, and al­though the Yamaha is get­ting closer, chances are it’s still go­ing to be a few sea­sons. In BSB, the rules mean it’s any­one’s game, and Leon would rather be at the front here than fin­ish­ing fifth ev­ery week­end in World Su­per­bikes! Al­though, if the right deal came about he’d be there to­mor­row…

Even with all this, I still miss rac­ing my­self some­times!

Which even led to me en­ter­ing a team in a Thun­der­sport CB500 en­durance race this year. I was in a team with two other guys and we each did an hour! Al­though it’s not quite as im­pres­sive as what Leon did at Suzuka, I had that buzz back and we even man­aged to win it. It does work both ways though, as at the begin­ning of the year I broke four ribs, my col­lar­bone and punc­tured a lung mess­ing around on pit­bikes. You’re only young once, eh!

‘I take it back, your hair is lovely.’ IN­TER­VIEW: PRETTY BOYIMAGES: JAMIE MOR­RIS

Rocket Ron’s the go-to guy for find­ing pace.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.