THREE WHEELED LEARNING CURVE GUY MARTIN
P90 Chris Walker makes promising start to new sidecar career, but says he’s got a lot to learn Guy to ride classic Scottish two day trial 100-PAGE SPECIAL EDITION
“I’m definitely not a natural, but I’m digging in!” That was Chris Walker’s typically honest appraisal of the first ever test of the Santander Salt Kawasaki he’ll be racing in the British Sidecar championship in 2016.
After an epic 20-year career that has spanned BSB, WSB and 500GPS, Walker will make the intriguing switch to sidecars this year. In his first test at the Circuit de Vienne in France, Walker and his passenger, Jed Pilmoor-brady, completed more than 100 laps over the course of three-and-a-half days last week.
Speaking to MCN, the former BSB runner-up and WSB race winner said: “Nothing can prepare you for what it’s like to ride. The corner speed is amazing but it’s been a lot more pleasant than I expected!”
Unlike his last two decades of racing, when Walker has known exactly what to expect when he gets on his race bike, this season promises to be very different.
“Going round left hand corners is a black art! You have to trust your passenger to get into the right position, otherwise you’re not going to make it round! I also didn’t expect the acceleration to feel like a Superbike because there is a lot more weight, but it’s incredibly similar because they have so much more grip and you can open the gas way before the apex – or at least that’s what I’m supposed to be doing!”
His baptism of fire into his new world as a sidecar racer saw him have a couple of off-track excursions, but ultimately take big strides each and every time he went out on track.
“I did scare myself a couple of times – but in a good way! Before this test, I’d never done a lap on a sidecar before, but I was able to get to a pretty good level quickly, although I’ve still got a mountain to climb. I’ve ended up going about two seconds a lap faster each day and while I haven’t embarrassed myself with the pace, I’m a long way off winning races! When Guy Martin’s wall of death world record attempt, live on TV on Easter Monday, is over (see page 22) the Lincolnshire man has signed up for something a little less intense – the forthcoming Classic Pre-65 Scottish Two Day trial. Guy will be the guest of honour in the event for bikes pre-dating 1965.
The event takes place from April 29-30, prior to the prestigious Scottish Six Day Trial for modern machinery.
In a year where Guy has shelved plans to race at the TT in favour of competing in the 2500-mile Tour Divide mountain bike race in America, the classic trial gives him a chance to at least scratch the itch when it comes to motorcycle competition. best around the 2.341-mile track.
“I have learnt loads. It’s helped being out on track with the best in the world. I’ve genuinely enjoyed it and it’s probably been one of my most enjoyable winter tests ever.
“There was one time I thought I was going fast, but then Tim Reeves came around the outside of me. Before he even got to the apex he was smoking his rear tyre and then his passenger waved at me! So it’s fair to say I haven’t reached the limit!”
Walker is planning further testing in the UK before making his sidecar racing debut at the MCE British Superbike round at Oulton Park on April 30 to May 2.
‘I did scare myself a couple of times – but in a