Jean Pierre Goy
Number-one motorcycle stunt rider Jean-Pierre Goy was originally a trials rider. From his earliest days riding in trials competitions to his latest stunts on the big screen Frenchman Jean-Pierre tells us all with the good humour and candour that are in his nature.
You’ve become well known, thanks to your stunt riding, but you started on a trials machine. Can you recall for us your twowheel history? I started riding on a cycle at my father’s sawmill. A trials machine came later during the 1980s and during this time I started to compete in local, regional and then national and finally riding international events. It all went pretty well until one day I discovered indoor trials which rapidly became my favourite playground. In addition to winning events I gave a small show at the end just before the prize presentation. It was this experience that gave me the idea of creating a real show.
I became a factory rider for Fantic in 1983. From that point onwards things just fell into place. I went to an event in Japan where I made a large number of television shows and rode at some other important events.
It seems incredible but true that along with Jacques Martin we did Auto Moto, Paris-Bercy super-cross, Le Mans 24 hours, Bol d’Or 24 hour and the Moto GP scene. It was around this time I started to get involved with stunt riding on camera. I was Jackie Chan’s double in Operation Condor and Yves Renier in Commissaire Moulin.
In 1993 thanks to BMW France I realised my dream. This was to produce a spectacular stunt show with big machines that were perhaps not ideal for the job. In 1997 I was asked to be Pierce Brosnan’s double in the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” and in 2008 to ride the Batmobile in the latest Batman film. As you can see I didn’t have much time to get bored!
You were a top-level trials rider; why did you stop? I don’t really know why I stopped, maybe because I was good enough. What interested me was to ride the sections how I saw them. Other riders from those days unnerved me and they had a tendency to criticise me with my unusual lines.
I was just 20 years old and everything that I invented back then with my freestyle riding is being used by the top riders today. What annoys me the most is that I have had no acknowledgement of the riding level I achieved and how far ahead it was at this time. Yrjo Vesterinen, a great champion that I consider as my teacher, told me in 1979 that I was one of the best he had ever seen. We tend to forget that even before Spaniard Jordi Tarres it was you that modernised trials! Rear-wheel jumps, flicking the back end round, reversing, how did this all come about? All from my over-active imagination which is still the same today. I have hundreds of ongoing projects in my mind. After all the years of being a stunt rider working with Remy Julienne you were pushed into the public eye thanks to your stunning stunt in the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”; was that a dream comes true? No, I never gave it a thought. The years with the Juliennes are a mixed bag of experiences, some good others very bad. I did however have some great times with Michel Julienne. With the Batman film in 2008 you made the longest stunt ride in the history of cinema. I suppose the Batpod was a horror to ride? Was this your biggest challenge? No, actually it was pretty easy to ride the Batpod. I was more impressed riding the machine through the streets of Chicago dressed as Batman! James Bond, Batman... successful films, I suppose you are rich now? When you work hard you get paid well. You have mastered all types of machines, what’s your secret? I don’t have a secret, it’s just natural talent. How many shows do you do a year? Between 20 and 25 but it’s not my main work or my biggest motivation. I’m always a little perturbed by the description of what I do as a “stunt” as this doesn’t reflect well on the image of a motorcyclist or the safety angle. Which factory do you ride for? I ride for Jean-Pierre Goy! Now I can ride without the aid of a factory. My principle sponsor is Wunderlich, which is a manufacturer of top-end accessories for BMWs. They have been with me for quite a few years now and Christine and I have distributed the accessories in France and the French overseas territories. We have a shop at home where clients can come and have their parts fitted in the workshop; we also supply mail order. Other than that in the near future I will ride brand new BMWs Tell us about your riding school? It’s a trail riding school where we give confidence to riders to go off-road. We have two areas. One is 36 hectares and the other is 10 hectares with a lot of sand and some pretty tricky tracks. Next year we will have road-race course. We have another base in Morocco with a dozen BMWs near Marrakech. I teach many BMW owners who are participating in some of the rally raids organised by the factory in Mexico and Australia. I’m not just married to BMW; Christine and I welcome every rider that has the desire to enjoy themselves at my side – what could be easier! You accept all sorts? Everyone that calls themselves a biker – offroad, trail, road racer etc, is welcome. I can also rent them a BMW. In 1993 you had already talked of a school so why did it take you so long to realise your dream? I didn’t have the time or all the skills I needed on the bike. You also have a B&B, is it open to anyone or just riders at your school? The priority is the rider, but after that anyone. For a while you had a motorcycle shop and you imported clothing, your shows, and films. That must have been tricky to organise? Do you always live in the fast lane? During that time it was more relaxed than today... My shows, films, riding schools, my Wunderlich distribution as well as the B&B is more hectic.
Your wife and daughter, how do they cope with your transient lifestyle?
They love it. Unfortunately Christina cannot come so often to filming; she’s really busy with Wunderlich. Melanie attends a correspondence school and has a teacher at home.
Has there been a stunt that you have refused to do as you considered it impossible?
No not really, I have always found a way to give them what they want. More probably their limited imagination restricts me.
Have you had many injuries?
One arm, a few ribs, foot, Scaphoid, knee and numerous sprains and dislocations. A bit of everything you might say.
One rider that I tend to compare you against is Julian Perret who is also a great rider and showman. Do you know him? If so what do you think of him?
I don’t understand why we must always compare ourselves against another; everyone is unique. I start with the principle that I am beyond comparison, I am the first and there will never be another Jean-Pierre Goy. All the others, even if they are really nice, came after me.
How long do you think you can keep up this work? Is your riding school to help you make the jump?
I have been changing since I was 16 years old when I left school. I haven’t even thought about retirement at all; even if I have the right, I’ll never retire.
Tell me your best and worst riding experiences?
I don’t have bad memories even if sometimes it was more than a little complicated. My pleasure is to find solutions.
When you see the prowess of riders such as Bou or Raga with their techniques brought from cycle trials what do you think?
Nothing it leaves me cold. I try and watch Eurosport especially the indoors and I like it when you tell the history of trials and its riders but even so I’m never sufficiently interested to watch until the end. I find this style of riding not very spectacular.
Do you follow modern trials at all and will we ever have the pleasure of seeing you riding a competition just for the fun of it?
I watch Eurosport from time to time as I said, but as for a return I very much doubt it.
Have you any advice for our readers?
They should take the greatest pleasure from what they do, and be true to themselves.
At his father’s saw mill with a nice looking Ducati.1981: Practising for Kickstart in the UK.
1982: An early stunt show.
1980: Competing on the Fantic.
Riding high on the front cover of Moto Journal.
1982: I think they like the show — France.
1982: A Fantic factory rider in the ‘80s, Jean-Pierre quickly made his name thanks to his innovative technique and his sense of the spectacular stunt.
Jean-Pierre on the Batpod during the longest stunt in cinema history – a real event!Still loving his life on a trials machine. Jean-Pierre mastered the art of rearwheel riding like no other. He is renowned the world over.
Teaching at the adventure schools.