MCN’S 20 QUESTIONS
‘I was on a Panigale, got it hooked up and hit 198mph’ Charley Boorman p19
Q1. What are you riding?
I’ve got a Triumph Tiger 800 at home and I’m really excited to get riding again on the new Thruxton R. I’ve also got a Kawasaki W650, which I chopped up a few years ago that I’d like to get back on.
Q2. Which living motorcyclist do you most admire?
Ted Simon. He was a huge part of why Ewan and I went on our trips. Here was a guy who knew nothing about bikes but thought it would be a good idea to ride one. His book, Jupiter’s Travels, is inspirational.
Q3. What’s your worst habit?
Smoking on a bike. When I was riding in Africa on some long dirt roads I learnt to get the bike up to speed and let go of the throttle, then I’d get my cigarettes out and by the time I’d got one and put the packet away, I’d be going slow enough to lean forwards and light it behind the screen. I looked over and one of the guys I was riding with was looking at me and asking: “What the f**k are you doing?”
Q4. If you could have one super riding skill, what would it be?
To be as talented as Valentino Rossi.
Q5. What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?
I was in Sepang on a Ducati Panigale and I managed to hook up quite well on the right-hander leading onto the back straight and it showed 198mph.
Q6. When was the last time you were scared on a bike?
As I was flying through the air towards a brick wall last February.
Q7. How many miles have you done in the last year?
Well not many in the last year, but the year before I did about 30,000.
Q8. What’s the highest mileage you’ve covered in one day?
It was on the Long Way Round and we met this American guy in Mongolia, who asked us to deliver this pin to his sister. So we rode 700 miles to get there. It was awful, I’d never do it again.
Q9. What irritates you most?
Q10. You’ve got two weeks off – where are you going?
I would like to do a few more twoor three-day enduros. I’d string a couple together like the Romaniacs.
Q11. Got one pearl of wisdom for new riders?
Just be aware that everyone else on the road can be an idiot.
Q12. Ever fallen off in a car park (or somewhere equally embarrassing)?
I was coming out of Brands Hatch after a BSB round and it was packed. I managed to use my ‘celebrity status’ to park right in the middle of the track in the paddock area, so I walked up with all my gear on and set off with the disc lock still on. I toppled over and I was just lying with my helmet on, as streams of people walked past saying, “Oh, alright Charley?”
Q13. One indispensable item of kit?
Yeah I’ve got some thin deerskin gloves, like American working gloves and they’re brilliant.
Q14. Which four people would you invite on a Sunday blast?
I’d take my friend Roy, Ewan Mcgregor, a chap called Paul Bryce and Dutch from the Bike Shed.
Q15. Do you have one tool you couldn’t live without?
I travel a lot, so I’ve got a little puncture repair kit for plugging tubeless tyres.
Q16. Do you ever adjust your suspension?
I do. Preload, damping. I know it… just don’t ask me to explain it.
Q17. Which one of your old bikes would you like to have back?
If I were to look back, I had an old Honda XR600R that I bought as an interim bike when I crashed my GSX-R750. I totally fell in love with it but I had to sell it to buy another. It was a real bitch to start though. You had to sneak up behind it and jump on it, but if it knew you there… ankle breaker.
Q18. What machine would you never buy?
I had a Kawasaki KLX that I just never got on with.
Q19. Which road would you have built on your desert island?
There’s a road in Tasmania that’s about 200km long and it’s just one of the greatest roads you’ll ever come across. It goes from Hobart to Strahan and there’s not a single straight bit.
Q20. If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?
I’d make it obligatory for people to ride a scooter before they can drive a car.