Whether it’s on two wheels or three, Chris Walker shares his love of speed

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

How did you first get into bikes?

My dad and grand­dad both had bikes, so I was given my first bike at three years old – a lit­tle au­to­matic Ital­jet 50. It was Ital­ian so it lasted 10 min­utes.

So your par­ents al­ways ap­proved of you rid­ing bikes?

Yes. I did my first 100mph when I was three years old, sat on the fuel tank of my dad’s Kawasaki Z900, and from that day on I was addicted to speed.

Did you get your road li­cence as soon as you could?

Yes, as soon as I turned 16. I had a Kawasaki AE50 and man­aged to slot a Kawasaki AE80 en­gine into it. My school met­al­work teacher re-stamped the en­gine num­ber for me to make it look like a 50cc. I could do 70mph on that bike – it was epic! It was snow­ing on the day I passed my test but I still man­aged to do about 300 miles on the first day of hav­ing my li­cence. Me and my mate set off at one minute past mid­night, rode all night, skived off school the next day, and kept rid­ing un­til about mid­night the fol­low­ing night!

What was your first crash?

It was on the AE50, in Ri­p­ley Mar­ket Place. I was fol­low­ing traf­fic and saw a cou­ple of girls that I fan­cied from school so I peeped and waved, not re­al­is­ing that the Rover 200 in front of me had stopped. The next thing I was ly­ing on the car’s boot and the girls just looked the other way and an­other door was closed to me!

What do you class as your great­est achieve­ment in rac­ing?

I’ve had such an amaz­ing time through rac­ing and had amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that I would never have got as an un­e­d­u­cated lad who left school at 14. I’ve trav­elled the world, been to Ja­pan, de­vel­oped bikes for fac­to­ries, de­vel­oped tyres, and just seen so much – and that means more than any sin­gle race re­sult. I left school with­out a sin­gle qual­i­fi­ca­tion to be a bike me­chanic and spent eight years on the span­ners. Now I’ve come full cir­cle and own my own mo­tor­bike shop and that wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out my years in rac­ing.

Do you still own bikes?

I’ve got a new Kawasaki ZX-10R on or­der for when I do track­day tuition, and I’ve got a Kawasaki H2R that I ride on the few oc­ca­sions when it’s pos­si­ble – again mostly track stuff. It’s so noisy that there aren’t many places where I can ride it.

Do you still have your BSA Gold Star?

No, I moved house re­cently and have much less space to keep bikes so had to sell it. I get to ride so many bikes through the shop now so it’s not that im­por­tant to have one spe­cial bike any more. I’ve al­ways got a few dirt bikes in the garage and a KR-1S too, which I ab­so­lutely love. I would still re­ally like a Du­cati 888 be­cause I had one back in the day and I’d also love a Kawasaki ZX-7R be­cause that was my last road bike be­fore I started rac­ing.

What’s the best bike you’ve rid­den?

As a race bike, it would have to be the Honda RS250. It was ab­so­lutely amaz­ing – you lit­er­ally looked where you wanted to go and it went there. The steer­ing and the stop­ping power were un­real. The Honda NSR500V I rode in Grand Prix was a hideous mon­ster though – it was like try­ing to ride a shark!

Have you tested the side­car yet?

Yes, just last week for the first time. It was a full-on bap­tism of fire be­cause it’s not like rid­ing a solo and it’s not like driv­ing a car. On right-han­ders (with the side­car on his left) it’s al­most like rid­ing a bike, but with a sta­biliser, and on left-han­ders it’s like go­ing round a cor­ner in a car with a wheel miss­ing! At this stage, it’s much harder to go left than right but I’ve got work to do in both di­rec­tions. I don’t think I’m go­ing to em­bar­rass my­self first time out, but I also re­alise I have a moun­tain to climb.

Four bikes for go­ing the dis­tance on in 2016

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