I’d bury my bike in the sand-trap but I should’ve jumped off. You don’t realise what speed you’re doing; it just flung me into the wall. I actually died at the scene. I was lucky that Lyn Jarrett, head of A&E at Nottingham University Hospital, was on duty that day. I owe my life to him. The crash happened in September and I was in hospital until February. In March I went testing with Loctite Yamaha, which went really well. I won the last two 1989 BSB races, but then lost my ride.”
And what did he do next? He became a test rider for Triumph. “We did a lot of riding in Spain: me, Keith Huewen and [TT winner] Steve Tonkin. We started out with the Speed Triple and the Sprint, then I helped out with the start of their first 600, doing all the chassis stuff at the Pau circuit in France, using a Kawasaki 600 donor engine. I learned a lot because when you’re developing a road bike you’ve got to keep the price down. I’d tell them the Öhlins shock was better, but we’d have to make a cheaper one as close as possible to the Öhlins because it’s no good if the bike is too expensive.”
What’s he up to now? In 1999 he bought a disused Little Chef on the A46 outside Lincoln and converted it into a motorcycle clothing shop, selling kit for road riders, road racers and motocross riders.
Didn’t he have a funny nickname? Yes, people called him ‘Captain’, after his namesake Captain Mark Phillips, of Princess Anne’s first husband fame. Legend has it that Prince Charles’ nickname for his brother-in-law was ‘Foggy’. Nothing to do with King Carl; the Prince thought that Phillips was ‘thick and wet’.