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