THE LEGACY ‘We went out to dinner & there was a pic of Dad on the wall’ Barry SHEENE
Exclusive interview SHE Y AR EN E’ RS S E FI V R I S N T A I T R L A E E 4 ANNIVERSAR Y Y 0 40-YEAR - - 0 Y 4 E E 1976 A Special L R T I A N T I RS VE FI ’S RS SHEENE ARY •
Barry’s son Freddie was only 14 years old when he tragically lost his father to cancer. He’s now 27 and lives in Australia, although he did live in England with WSB and Moto2 stars Alex and Sam Lowes between 2011 and 2014. He is a partner in a car export business, has tried his hand at racing, and still takes part in parade laps in tribute to his dad, sometimes on one of his exrace bikes. We asked him what it’s like to have such a famous father.
When did you realise that your Dad wasn’t just an average everyday bloke? I was quite young when Dad passed away but I went over to the UK with him in early 2000 and he had a bike over there so we’d ride around and go to different cafés and stuff. We went to one really famous restaurant – though I can’t remember the name – and there was a picture of my Dad on the wall and everyone was crowding round him and there were cameras going off everywhere. I guess that’s when I realised he wasn’t just a normal bloke. In Australia we didn’t get anything like that. Would your Dad have cared much that it was the 40th anniversary of his first world title or was he not fussed about stuff like that? He would probably just have been pissed off to realise that it was so long ago and that he was 40 years older!
Does it make you feel very proud when people like Valentino Rossi cite your dad as one of their heroes? Yes, of course. When Dad passed away Valentino won the race at Phillip Island and then carried a flag with my Dad’s number on it on his slow-down lap. Valentino had made it from a bed sheet in his hotel. That was really nice to see. When you see the impact Dad had on the racing community it really does make you think.
Are you doing much riding these days? I’m not, to be honest. When I was in the UK I was riding all the time because it was so easy. Donington Park was just down the road as I was living in Derby and I had my own Yamaha R6 and a Honda 450 flat-tracker. But here in Australia there’s not many tracks within easy distance and it’s a lot harder to get parts for bikes so I don’t ride at all in Australia. In fact, I don’t even own a bike now.
What about racing? Did you ever try your hand at that seriously? Not seriously. A guy asked me if I wanted to ride his bike in the Spanish Championship but I was on a stock 600 in a combined class with Moto2 bikes and the performance difference was huge. It was quite intimidating to be riding 10 seconds a lap slower than the Moto2 guys, so it wasn’t ideal. I enjoyed it a lot but I never thought about it as a career choice – it was just a bit of fun.
Will you be involved in the movie that’s being made about your Dad? Yes, the producers have been in touch with us and we’re helping as much as we can but it’s up to them now to try and get the funding in place.
Are you still surprised by how much love there is for your Dad out there? I never knew the full scale of how much my Dad was loved in the UK. But going to Goodwood in 2010 I was so overwhelmed by the amount of people asking for my autograph and I just couldn’t understand why! And hearing all the stories from racers like Kenny Roberts and Wayne Gardner, I really started to realise how much of an impact he made on the racing community.
‘At Goodwood I started to realise the impact he had made on racing’