MCN’S 20 QUESTIONS
‘We need to get rid of that silly speeding law don’t we?’ Simon Pavey, Dakar star
Q1. What are you riding?
I’ve got a BMW GS Rallye that I use for the BMW Off-road school. Last year I was using the 800GSA. Everyone knows the 1200GSA is the daddy but I really enjoyed the 800 as I’ve had a few back problems the last couple of years and it’s quite a bit lighter.
Q2. Which living motorcyclist do you most admire?
I’m such a Dakar fan that it has to be Toby Price. I know Sam [Sunderland] won it this year, but Toby is such a fantastic all-rounder. He’s won so much stuff in so many disciplines.
Q3. What’s your worst habit?
Losing the keys to my bike.
Q4. If you could have one riding super skill, what would it be?
I wish I’d grown up riding trials. When you see the guys who are good in every discipline, they always started in trials. I started in motocross, so I just don’t have those technical skills of hopping the wheels around.
Q5. What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone two wheels?
120mph off-road. That must count for something.
Q6. When were you last scared on a bike?
Last week actually – I was in a tankslapper just before I faceplanted into the ground. I caught a little rut in the ground and the next thing I was upside down. I’ve just had the stitches out.
Q7. How many miles have you done in the last year?
I don’t know. Off-road we count hours, rather than miles.
Q8. What’s the highest mileage you’ve covered in one day?
That would be on the Dakar in Africa – in the early days we used to have 800-mile stages.
Q9. What irritates you most?
Nothing. One of the great things about motorcycling is that it takes all that stuff away. The irritations are the things that stop you riding.
where are you going?
Portugal. The riding is fantastic and we’re still discovering new trails every year.
Q11. Got one pearl of wisdom for new riders?
Be patient and let the learning come to you. Don’t expect to be able to do everything straight away.
Ever fallen off in a car park (or somewhere equally embarrassing)?
Dakar in 2003, when it was still down through Europe before you got to Africa, you’d ride down the French roads, The French loved Dakar, so every time you went under a bridge or toll there would be thousands cheering for you. Anyway, I pulled into a toll on my Dakar bike, lost my footing and fell against the booth, which trapped me under the bike and jammed the horn on. The guy had to come out of the booth to get the bike off me.
Q13. Do you have one indispensable item of kit?
My Klimakomfort waterproof is essential in Wales. People forget that when the weather is s**t, if you’ve got good kit, you can still enjoy riding.
would you invite on a blast?
One of the things I’m very lucky to have is the chance to ride a lot with my son Llewelyn. In fact, I’m lucky to have the whole Off Road Skills crew, so it would be those guys.
Q15. Do you have a tool you couldn’t live without?
I have a little 1/4in drive socket set that has been my go-to toolkit for every Dakar I’ve entered. I’ve changed an engine in the middle of the dunes with that kit.
Q16. Do you adjust your suspension?
Yes, but I’m not super-pedantic. When you’re an off-road guy, the base settings are vital for getting the bike to handle properly. That said, I’d take an ESA bike any day – we all like to think we’re smart with that stuff but those guys have spent one million hours testing it.
Q17. If you could have one of your bikes back, which would it be?
Fortunately that has just happened. The very first Dakar I did was on a Honda XR600 and I got it back a few years ago but it’s just been in a box. I had to go back to Australia as my mum was poorly and Evan the mechanic surprised me by booking me on the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride for when I was back. I thought I had nothing to ride but on the Saturday night he presented me with the XR fully running and restored to exactly how it was at Dakar.
Q18. What would you never buy?
I had a love-hate thing with my old CCM. I rode for CCM in the 1999 Dakar and it was my best and worst year in a lot of ways. There were two of us riding for CCM that year and although we won the manufacturers’ award, we spent more stage hours working on the bikes that we did riding them. Sadly, it’s the only one I haven’t got, so if anyone out there knows where it is…
Q19. Which track would you have built on your desert island?
In that situation I would have no track because the best riding in the world is when you go off-piste, there’s no track and you’re making the line.
Q20. If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?
We’d get rid of that stupid speeding lark for a start, wouldn’t we?
‘The best riding in the world is when you go off-piste’
Pavey is a multiple Dakar finisher. Here he is in 2013 Off-road instructors don’t come much better than Pavey Pavey would think nothing of stopping here and changing an engine