959 & 1299 Pani­gale in road war

He’s the man be­hind bike kit gi­ant RST, and an in­cur­able track­a­holic

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents -

Q1. What are you cur­rently rid­ing?

I am rac­ing a Kawasaki in Su­per­twins, a Honda CBR600RR in Su­pers­port and a Suzuki XR69 clas­sic racer – plus a CBR600RR on the road, as well as a CBR150 I keep in Cape Town. Off-road I ride flat-track for fun on a TTR125. Bit of ev­ery­thing re­ally!

Q2. Which liv­ing mo­tor­cy­clist do you most ad­mire?

I ad­mire so many past and present: Valentino Rossi, Jonathan Rea, Cal Crutchlow, Ian Hutchin­son, Fred­die Spencer, Niall Macken­zie – to name just some!

Q3. What’s your worst rid­ing habit?

It would have to be falling off, and miss­ing apexes!

Q4. If you could have one rid­ing su­per skill, what would it be?

I would love to master stylishly back­ing a race bike into a cor­ner. Suc­cess­fully!

Q5. What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?

On a race­track, I’ve been over 300kmh (186mph – Ed).

Q6. When were you last scared on a bike?

A few weeks ago rid­ing the last round of the Euro­pean clas­sic en­durance se­ries, we were on pole po­si­tion and I was des­ig­nated rider one. A car had lined the whole lap with a foot-wide oil slick on the rac­ing line. We had one warmup lap to suss con­di­tions, and I was ter­ri­fied of holeshot­ting and hav­ing to be the first rider to run over the ce­ment dust. I pur­posely made sure I was third into turn one and stayed in line un­til the track im­proved! It was hor­ri­ble for 10 laps and you couldn’t re­ally see for the amount of dust. Not en­joy­able!

Q7. How many miles have you done in the last year?

15,000 plus.

Q8. What’s the high­est mileage you’ve cov­ered in one day?

I do a lot of en­durance rac­ing so a few hun­dred I would say. I re­cently did a three-hour on the Brands Indy cir­cuit, and my team-mate crashed out on lap one so I did the whole thing on my own: 2 hours and 55 min­utes round a 49-sec­ond lap – it made me dizzy for days.

Q9. What ir­ri­tates you most ?

Cold tyres.

Q10. You’ve got two weeks off – where are you go­ing?

Some­where warm that has cool tracks!

Q11. Got one pearl of wis­dom for new rid­ers?

Ride for love not im­age. Make friends with other bik­ers and share your pas­sion, it’s al­ways bet­ter with mates!

Q12. Ever fallen off in a car park (or some­where equally em­bar­rass­ing)?

I once crashed on track and bent a bar, came back into the pits and fell off again in front of ev­ery­one be­cause I had no steer­ing lock thanks to the bent bars! The sec­ond crash hurt more than the first.

Q13. Do you have one in­dis­pens­able item of kit?

My race suit. No ques­tion!

Q14. Which four peo­ple would you in­vite on a Sun­day blast?

My four best mates!

Q15. Do you have a tool you couldn’t live with­out?

Tyre pres­sure gauge.

Q16. Do you ad­just your sus­pen­sion?

All the time!

Q17. If you could have one of your old bikes back, which would it be?

My first bike, which was a Yamaha RZ50LC.

Q18. What type of bike would you never buy?

A cruiser.

Q19. Which road (or track) would you have built on your desert is­land?

The IOM TT course, with An­gle­sey track in­side it... Iron­i­cally both tracks are ac­tu­ally on is­lands!

Q20. If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?

That ev­ery 16-year-old had to spend a year on a mo­tor­cy­cle. I would love ev­ery­one to ex­pe­ri­ence that and see if they fell in love with a life with bikes the way I did. And if they didn’t, at least they’d see things from a rider’s per­spec­tive once they get be­hind the wheel of a car.

‘I’d love to master stylishly back­ing a bike into a cor­ner’

Con­quer­ing Cad­well’s moun­tain on a Kawasaki Su­per­twin Tow­ers with cy­cling hero Mark Cavendish Tow­ers in clas­sic en­durance ac­tion on an im­mac­u­lately turned-out Suzuki XR69

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