Bri­tish Tour­ing Car cham­pion re­veals his se­cret pas­sion for su­per­bikes

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

You’re prob­a­bly bet­ter known as a car racer, but you’ve got a big love of two wheels too.

I prob­a­bly love my bikes more than my cars, in terms of the whole scene. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the skill in­volved too, be­cause ev­ery­one thinks they can drive a car quickly, and most peo­ple can. But you watch bikes and think ‘that’s just not pos­si­ble. There’s no way he’s ac­tu­ally do­ing that’ – and that’s what makes it re­ally cool!

I’ve had a road li­cence for a while now. It’s some­thing that’s al­ways use­ful to have, and I thought it also would be great fun to have. But even though I’ve got a cou­ple of road bikes, and have had loads over the years, I ac­tu­ally pre­fer be­ing on track. I al­most think it’s safer, be­cause there’s no pot­holes and no buses spew­ing diesel. Track rid­ing is one of the few things that I can do that re­ally fo­cuses my mind.

And you man­age to do quite a bit of track rid­ing?

Yeah I do! I have a Fire­blade – I’ve had it since 2008 and do the odd track­day on it. It’s one of those things that I like to dip in and out of, be­cause I get ad­dicted oth­er­wise. And when I do that, my per­ceived abil­ity be­comes dif­fer­ent from my ac­tual abil­ity – and I fall off!

I love dip­ping in and out though, hav­ing loads of fun on the Blade for a while and then putting it back into the garage un­til I calm down again.

When we do Honda events the bike guys are all into my car and I’m all over the bikes. Honda are the per­fect team to be in for hav­ing that love too – I’m still try­ing to con­vince Havier Bel­tran and Neil Tux­worth to give me a go on the su­per­bike, but ev­ery time I feel like I’m get­ting there it ends up be­ing one step for­wards and two back. I’m still push­ing them though and hope­fully it will hap­pen even­tu­ally.

So are you pretty handy?

I love sports­bikes, but even a 2008 Fire­blade will al­ways out­weigh my ca­pa­bil­i­ties – I’ll never have the ta­lent to get the most out of it. I would love to have the skill – and if I had equal ta­lent on bikes and cars, I’d have loved to race bikes, be­cause the chances to move up are a lit­tle bet­ter.

In car rac­ing, it even­tu­ally be­comes to­tally bud­get-de­pen­dant. But I don’t have that ta­lent on a bike, so I have to stick with be­ing the one who sits on the sofa watch­ing the telly and think­ing ‘how on earth does that work?’

What else is in your garage?

I’ve got a Du­cati Scram­bler – it’s a bit left­field, but I wanted some­thing slow for the roads. Some­thing I can get on in jeans, an open-faced hel­met and a pair of shades that doesn’t urge me to go faster. They’re re­ally cool, too though – re­ally quirky-look­ing lit­tle things. It’s a nice toy to have!

I’ve got a Mon­tesa Cota 4RT tri­als bike which I use for train­ing over the win­ter. I go out a bit with peo­ple like Iain Duf­fus, be­cause it’s good for hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion. It’s a bit of fun, and when the weather is crap in the win­ter it’s still fun, in­stead of be­ing stuck in­doors in the gym.

What’s your dream bike?

I don’t know, be­cause you al­ways want a load of dif­fer­ent things! I’ve al­ways said that I don’t get why peo­ple are so fa­nat­i­cal about Du­catis, and now I’ve ended up with one! I’m at the point now where I say that I don’t get why peo­ple are into Har­leys – and I’m hop­ing I’m not quite a the mid-life cri­sis point of try­ing one out!

‘Beats be­ing stuck in­doors in the gym’ ‘I’d still love to try the su­per­bike’ Car champ Gor­don says it’s bikes that re­ally get him go­ing



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