360° GARAGE

Elder states­man of UK rac­ing, Mike Ed­wards, rolls up the shut­ters...

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS - Words Jon Urry | Pho­tog­ra­phy Paul Bryant

In­side the ship­ping con­tainer head­quar­ters of vet­eran racer Mike ‘Spike’ Ed­wards.

TO SAY MIKE ‘SPIKE’ Ed­wards is a Bri­tish rac­ing in­sti­tu­tion is an un­der­state­ment. Hav­ing started rac­ing in 1981, Spike has held an ACU li­cence ever since – a to­tal of 37 con­tin­ual sea­sons on track. And now, even at the ripe old age of 56 years, he is far from ready to hang up his leathers.

“I’m ac­tu­ally one of the few ACU li­cence hold­ers in the UK who has just four dig­its in their num­ber – 3219 – most have six or seven num­bers nowa­days,” he laughs. “And I don’t have a rac­ing age, ei­ther, al­though some of the guys I started rac­ing with some­how seem to be far younger than me...”

Still rac­ing a TZ350 in the In­ter­na­tional Clas­sic GP se­ries, Spike has a tro­phy cabi­net that is groan­ing at the sides, hav­ing won (to name a few) the Ma­cau GP (rid­ing a fac­tory ROC 500 Yamaha), Bri­tish Ju­nior­stock, Bri­tish 400 Su­per­sport, Bri­tish 600 Su­per­sport and Su­per­mono se­ries, as well as the North West 200. He was also the last Brit to win the Imola 200. “I’ve also had a plethora of sec­onds and thirds over the years, but no one re­mem­bers them...” he adds as we talk over his list of vic­to­ries. “But I’ve never done a GP. I nearly rode that Brough Su­pe­rior in Moto2 but they said I was too

old as I was over 50. Mirac­u­lously, Jeremy McWil­liams was un­der 50; I’d like to see his birth cer­tifi­cate...”

As well as rac­ing, Spike also im­parts his huge wealth of knowl­edge to those learn­ing their craft, as an ACU-cer­ti­fied coach. He does one-on-one track in­struc­tion all over Europe as well as his own range of DVD and down­load guides to Euro­pean race cir­cuits. “I’ve al­ways had some kind of in­de­pen­dent job along­side my rac­ing,” he said. “Al­though I have been paid to ride, I have never been a pro­fes­sional racer as I never wanted to feel like pulling my leathers on was go­ing to work – I just wanted to en­joy it as a sport. And I’ll keep on go­ing un­til the phone stops ring­ing as there are rac­ers out there who are in their late 60s!”

PB vis­ited his garage in Har­ro­gate, which due to the queen own­ing a green belt around the town and re­fus­ing plan­ning per­mis­sion to ev­ery­one, is a ship­ping con­tainer lo­cated on a self-store yard.

“Al­though I’m lucky enough to race for teams who sort the bike out for me, I still get my fin­gers greasy as I look af­ter my own bikes,” Spike told PB. “I run my track­day bike, own a few old favourite race bikes of mine and have even re­stored a cou­ple of bikes in here. It may be small, but it has ev­ery­thing I need.”

Gla­dys the race trans­porter‘This is a for­mer Welsh am­bu­lance that I bought for £3000. It is ba­si­cally a mo­bile of­fice and garage. I carry spares and tools to get cus­tomers back on track if they tip off – lever, rearsets, fi­bre­glass kits, etc – and spare fuel/oil for my own bike. Be­ing an am­bu­lance it has tons of stor­age, is built like a tank, has a ramp to get bikes in, and even has a winch!’

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