MCN’S 20 QUESTIONS
‘I’d have to go in the fast group, just for the sake of my ego’
Q1. What are you riding?
It’s quite embarrassing really – I’m riding a BSA Bantam trials bike.
Q2. Who do you most admire?
Q3. What’s your worst habit?
I find it very hard to say ‘no’.
Q4. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Eternal life! I want to live a bit longer.
Q5. What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?
200mph with MCN at Bruntingthorpe on a tuned Fireblade. Actually it was 199mph and that reading was from the timing lights, not the speedo.
Q6. When were you last scared?
I had a dream just the other night that I was racing at the TT and got both wheels in the gutter somewhere near Bishopscourt but luckily I woke up before I went over the handlebars. I used to pride myself on being really accurate round the TT course and can only remember that happening for real on one occasion, going up May Hill in Ramsey on the Suzuki XR69. Racing was a huge part of my life so I still have nightmares about crashing.
Q7. How many miles have you done in the last year?
Only a few hundred because I only ride trials bikes these days.
Q8. What’s the highest mileage you’ve covered in one day?
Probably just down to Goodwood and back. I’m not a great long distance rider because I get fed up cruising.
Q9. What irritates you most when you’re out riding?
When I’m on the road, bad driving. When I’m out trials riding I get irritated that I’m not as good as I think I am. I still think there’s a world champion in me! I’m beginning to have second thoughts but I’m not giving up just yet.
Q10. You’ve got two weeks off – where are you going?
The bike ride of my dreams would be to ride my trials bike to the top of Ben Nevis. Sammy Miller did it 40 or 50 years ago. I’ve walked up quite a few times and it’s an awesome trail.
Q11. Got one pearl of wisdom for new riders?
Listen to the old farts because we’ve been through it all!
Q12. Ever fallen off somewhere embarrassing?
I won the World Formula 750 round at Silverstone in 1977 and was going round on the my victory lap waving at the crowds when I fell off. I felt such a pr**k but I stood up and bowed to the crowd and they went wild! Wasn’t my fault though – unknown to me at the time I had a puncture and the tyre just jumped off the rim.
Q13. Do you have one essential item of kit?
I always use cyclist’s knee pads under my trousers when I’m out on my trials bike because you land on your knees quite a bit.
Q14. Which four people would you invite on a Sunday blast?
For sheer fun would have to be James Whitham, Steve Plater and Steve Parrish. Oh, and Phil Read because he’s always putting his foot in it!
Q15. Do you have a tool you couldn’t live without?
I’ve got a really good workshop. Time just drifts away in there. I love it.
Q16. Do you adjust your suspension?
Yes, suspension set-up has always been my speciality.
Q17. If you could have just one of your old machines back, which would it be?
My old Velocette which was the very first bike I ever raced and on which I finished in last place in my first TT. I managed to track it down but my wife overheard and said I had enough bikes.
Q18. What kind of bike would you never buy?
I couldn’t see me buying a chopper. I like logical and practical things and choppers are neither.
Q19. Which road (or track) would you build on your desert island?
Oliver’s Mount. Although I would also need Peter Hillaby (of the Auto 66 Club) to organise the night out afterwards!
Q20. If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?
I would make it illegal to be politically correct. In fact, it would be treason.
‘I fell off during a victory lap at Silverstone and felt such a pr**k’