Honda Racing boss Neil Tuxworth has seen it all and done most of it, too
Q1 What are you currently riding?
I’ve got an Africa Twin DCT, a great all round bike, but my favourite bike from everything I get to try at Honda is the Gold Wing. I’m looking forward to seeing the new one next year as I think I’ll have to get one.
Q2 Which living motorcyclist do you most admire?
He may not be alive but I still have to say Mike Hailwood. After just six months of racing he won the 125cc, 250cc and 350cc British championships, was second in the 500s, finished third at the TT and fourth in the world championship.
Plus, he went to Mallory and won the equivalent of a British Superbike race after 11 years in retirement. That’s like Shakey Byrne retiring today, coming back in 2028 and winning a BSB race!
Q3 What is your worst riding habit?
I hate wearing crash helmets. I hate anything on my head. When I raced I was the last person to put my helmet on and the first one to take it off.
Q4 If you could have one riding super skill, what would it be?
To be able to ride like Valentino Rossi. He’s amazing for his age, the fact that he’s been in the sport so long and is still competitive and has the enthusiasm.
Q5 What’s the fastest you’ve ever been on a bike?
I did 179mph through the speed trap on my TZ750 at the North West 200 in 1977. I finished third in the Superbike race.
Q6 When were you last scared on a bike?
When I rode at the TT I would often scare myself. There are a lot of places that frighten you, but Ballagarey… it’s blind over the brow of the hill.
Q7 How many miles have you done in the last year?
I’ve done about 1200 miles on the Africa Twin so far this year. I’ve been on a few rideouts and things like that.
Q8 What’s the most miles you’ve done in a day?
About 400. Down to Norfolk, and then back to Lincolnshire.
Q9 What irritates you most on a bike?
Drivers who don’t pay attention, or see motorcyclists. I look at every car driver as a hazard.
Q10 You’ve got two weeks off, where are you going?
The WW1 battlefields and graveyards of Belgium and France.
Q11 Have you got one tip for new riders?
Always be wary whenever you see a car, they could do anything.
Q12 Ever fallen off in a car park or anywhere equally embarrassing?
At Goodwood Festival of Speed this year, I fell off Joey Dunlop’s TT winning SP-1 in the paddock at about 2mph. I’d moved five yards, turned it on the lock and just fell over. It was so embarrassing. Sacrilege. The bike had come from the museum in Japan specially.
Q13 Do you have one indispensable item of kit?
I always wear my back protector, even on the road.
Q14 Who would you take with you for a Sunday blast?
My friend, ex-speedway rider Steve Lomas. I spend quite a bit of time with him anyway. The second would be Prince Harry. Dave Thorpe is another. He’s such a humble guy and is still Britain’s most successful motocross rider ever. Also Marlon Brando, he’s dead but such an icon.
Q15 Do you have a tool you couldn’t live without?
My Snap-on screwdriver. It’s got loads of different heads, so is really useful for lots of different things.
Q16 Do you adjust your own suspension?
Yes I do. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I know what I want.
Q17 If you could have one of your old bikes back, what would it be?
My TZ750 Yamaha, as that was an iconic machine when I raced it. I really enjoyed that period of my career.
Q18 What bike would you never buy?
I just don’t get choppers. To have the wheel stuck out miles in front of you isn’t my style.
Q19 Which race track would you build in your back garden?
I’ve got one! Cadwell Park – that’s where my career started. Phillip Island is a fabulous circuit, but a lot of that is to do with the setting and where it is. If it was in my garden it wouldn’t be quite the same!
Q20 If you ruled the world, what motoring law would you pass?
That every car driver has to spend at least two years riding a motorcycle.
‘I’d love to be able to ride the way that Valentino Rossi can’
Neil is one of the godfathers of the British racing scene
Tuxworth racing in the 1976 Isle of Man Junior TT More recently, he’s worked with Guy at Honda Racing