959 & 1299 Panigale in road war
He’s the man behind bike kit giant RST, and an incurable trackaholic
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?
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 ?
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?
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