‘I’m a rebel but they know I know what I’m doing’
Dave Stewart is the Director of Thundersport and has done wonders for British racing safety ‘It all started when I ended up running Bemsee – by accident’
I’ve been running race meetings for 22 years now and it all started when I ended up running Bemsee – by accident. I was elected by all of the other riders to be the representative for the club and then we had the Maltese Fiasco in 1995. Bemsee organised a race meeting in Malta, which went horrendously wrong. The club lost all of its money and had nothing left to run the 1996 meets. It probably cost a quarterof-a-million quid. My fellow directors were looking at winding the club up but I wasn’t prepared to see that happen, so I went and borrowed the money myself. It’s thanks to a friend of mine, Lawrence Barry, who was willing to lend it to me to bail the club out.
I’m very big on safety; I was seeing people go racing and getting injured because they didn’t know what to do. People just sent off for a licence and that was it, so I made it a rule that you had to do a race school if you wanted to race with us. Our accident record improved dramatically and the number of incidents reduced by 50%. The insurers of the ACU came to look at my club and then made the ACU introduce my Competitive
Training Course (CTC), which has
now been in effect since 1998.
I’ve had a fractious relationship with the ACU over the years. I’m a rebel but they know I know what I’m doing. I’m a pain in the arse for them because I want them to improve all the time.
Creating Thundersport has been great. We are ruthlessly efficient and incredibly friendly but importantly, I am lucky that I have an incredible team of volunteers who want to work together to make racing safe, without them it can’t work. Volunteers are the lifeblood.