‘I DON’T HAVE A ROAD BIKE LI­CENCE – IT’S A BIT WEIRD’

Bri­tish Su­per­bike cham­pion who walked away from the sport at just 26 talks about rid­ing round fridges, al­most dy­ing… and fail­ing his the­ory test

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

How did you first get into bikes?

Me and my brother used to ride BMX with two broth­ers who also did mo­tocross so we went along with them one day and that was it – I got a Yamaha PW50 and my brother got a 100cc Kawasaki. I was six years old!

Did your par­ents ap­prove?

Yeah, it was just seen as a bit of fun. We used to go to this lo­cal track that had dish­wash­ers and fridges com­ing out of it ev­ery­where. Then I got Perthes Dis­ease in my hip so my bones started to crum­ble be­cause they weren’t get­ting enough blood sup­ply. I took a bit of time out and then had an­other go and ended up do­ing school­boy mo­tocross.

What level did you get to?

Just school­boy Bri­tish stuff but we raced all over the coun­try and won quite a few cham­pi­onships.

So how did the in­ter­est in road rac­ing come about?

Well, I al­most lost my life at 14 af­ter I crashed and punc­tured my lung, broke ribs, punc­tured my spleen, rup­tured my kidney... That’s what made me and my par­ents think we should take the safer op­tion and switch to road rac­ing! Yeah, let’s go ten times as fast!

So you never rode on the road?

This is go­ing to shock ev­ery­one but, no, I never have. I’ve done a lot of rid­ing tuition since I re­tired in 2012 and I’d be giv­ing talks on body po­si­tion and rid­ing style and pupils will ask me what bike I ride and I say “None! I don’t have a bike li­cence!” It’s a bit weird.

Have you tried to sit your bike test?

I sat the the­ory test a few years ago but failed it first time and was gut­ted. I did it again and passed so was all ready to do my CBT but never got round to it and now my the­ory test has lapsed. I’m gut­ted that I have to do it again.

You must have some dirt bikes in your garage though, right?

Well, I did do un­til a few months ago but I sold my Yamaha YZF250 mo­tocross bike be­cause I was get­ting re­ally p*ssed off that I wasn’t faster than I was. My mind was telling me I could do it as well as I’d ever done it but my body had dif­fer­ent ideas! Af­ter four or five laps it was say­ing “No, we can’t do this any­more!” It was go­ing to end in an ac­ci­dent so I sold the bike and bought a go-kart in­stead. I still own a cou­ple of tri­als bikes though – a Beta 250 and a Sherco 290.

What would you con­sider to be the high­light of your rac­ing ca­reer?

Win­ning the BSB ti­tle at Brands Hatch in 2011 when I beat John Hop­kins by six-thou­sandths of a sec­ond.

And your low­est mo­ment?

2007 when I snapped my tibia, fibula, fe­mur and arm in one crash. I was in a wheelchair for ten weeks af­ter that.

Is run­ning your e-payme team even more stress­ful than rid­ing?

Yes, it’s 100% more stress­ful! I look af­ter the parts, the so­cial me­dia, the web­site, the tech­ni­cal side, the bud­gets, the rid­ers. I’ve def­i­nitely got a few grey hairs com­ing through now!

If you do fi­nally get your li­cence, what sort of bike would you own?

Prob­a­bly a cruiser or a clas­sic racer like a Manx Nor­ton. But I’d trick it up and paint it matt black and do some­thing a bit quirky with it. I’ve spent all my life around sports­bikes so I’d want some­thing I could just ride for fun.

Hill says run­ning a team is way harder than rac­ing

FIRST BIKE Yamaha PW50 ‘I was six and we never looked back’

BSB CHAMP Swan Yamaha R1 ‘I won by six-thou­sandths of a sec­ond’

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