‘I WAS HANG­ING OFF UP­SIDE DOWN, STILL GO­ING FOR­WARDS’

Honda Rac­ing’s BSB boss de­scribes a mis­spent youth off-road­ing in the woods, rid­ing too fast on Fizzies and how he’d love a go on an RC213V-S

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

When did you start rid­ing?

It was when I was about eight years old. My first bike was a Cot­ton Minarelli 125, a great lit­tle ma­chine. I lived on a farm with my par­ents so I’d just ride all over the place. Af­ter that I had var­i­ous other bikes from an SS50, SS70S and 90s and we’d just ride around the farm.

When I was a bit older we moved to an area near a lot of wood­land and I’d go rid­ing in the woods with my friends. I had an AJS 250 mo­tocross bike and we’d ride that to wher­ever we could get to. All my mates had bikes too so we’d have a real laugh.

There was this one time where we nicked my mate Danny’s XT500 and I just re­mem­ber rid­ing through the woods think­ing ‘oh my god, what fun is this?’ and re­al­is­ing what rid­ing a more modern ma­chine was like.

My first road bike was a Yamaha FS1-E DX, a great lit­tle bike and I had some scary times on that! I re­mem­ber crash­ing go­ing off on a road to­wards Stroud. When I look back now, I went far too fast into this chi­cane, ran in way too quick, just got around the next bit but was go­ing so quick I ended up go­ing off up the bank and into the bushes!

Af­ter that I had a few close friends die rid­ing on the roads and that hit me a bit, so I de­cided to fo­cus on track stuff and mo­tocross, but I think I had more de­ter­mi­na­tion, anger and grit than skill!

Wish you’d kept any old bikes?

I had so many bikes when I was younger and I re­ally wish I’d kept them all, but real­is­ti­cally you can’t do that. I wish I still had the AJS 250 though, it was bril­liant. It had a good old big car­bu­ret­tor on it and if you’d let it nearly stall it would back­fire and run the other way. It was an ab­so­lute weapon, re­ally trick and tidy.

What’s the best bike you’ve rid­den?

Easy! I rode Aaron Slight’s RC45 at Phillip Is­land. It was a jour­nal­ist test and at the end of the day they of­fered us me­chan­ics five laps. It was fan­tas­tic. I re­mem­ber com­ing down the front straight and rolling off the throt­tle at the bridge as all I could see was the sea! At that speed, well the speed I was go­ing, I was think­ing where am I? It was an un­be­liev­able ex­pe­ri­ence. I then got to ride Colin Ed­wards’ SP2 at Sen­tul a few years later, but I think I had more fun on the RC45 be­cause of its V4 power, the sound and ev­ery­thing.

What was your most em­bar­rass­ing crash?

It goes back to my mo­tocross days. I was at Ri­p­ley and went way too fast up a hill and man­aged to loop it! I was hang­ing off the back of this bike up­side down and still go­ing for­wards in the air… I ab­so­lutely de­stroyed the bike. I had a lot of scary mo­ments on the road think­ing I had more skill than I ac­tu­ally had!

What’s your dream bike?

I know this sounds like a cop out be­cause I work for Honda, but hon­estly I would love to ride an RC213V-S on the road. It’s a spe­cial bit of kit. I hope I get a chance to ride one some day. There are some old mo­tocross bikes I’d love to have. I’d love to ride the old CR500S – they were phe­nom­e­nal ma­chines and I al­ways wished I could have rid­den them. The power and set-up would have been way out of my league. As I get older I find my­self start­ing to look at more tour­ing-styled bikes – the Africa Twin ap­peals to me quite a bit as get­ting out on the road and thrash­ing a sports­bike wouldn’t be my cup of tea any­more as I’d just want to ride out of my abil­ity.

Honda Rac­ing’s Beltran has been around bikes since he was eight years old FIRST BIKE Cot­ton Minarelli 125 ‘I rode it all over our farm as a kid’ DREAM BIKE Honda RC213V-S ‘I hope I get the chance to ride one’

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