The Dubai-based, 40-year-old Brit motocross champ braved the challenging Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man
How’s it all going over there? Unfortunately the junior race was red-flagged yesterday because of a serious accident that turned out to be fatal for two competitors.
That must have shaken you up. Yes and no. Racers don’t focus on that; we would have gone back out if we were allowed yesterday. We’re just looking forward to the final, senior race tomorrow.
And the first race went okay… The newcomers’ race went really well, and that was the main aim. We finished 12th out of 51 starters, with an average of 103.8mph. Not bad considering I grew up in the desert and I’m not a road racer by history! [Loud roar of engines can be heard, and Steve laughing]
We hear you’ve trained for more than a year for this. It’s taken 18 months to prepare. The circuit is 50km long, and it’s a public road. There’s something like 260 corners on the circuit. I’ve used everything from books, footage of other people’s laps and the PlayStation simulator to going on a tour of the island with an existing racer, plus gym work and training in the desert.
Do you have a particular song or theme tune in your head as you race? [Laughs] To be honest, because this track is so deadly, I need 100 per cent concentration. If you make a mistake, you don’t go into a gravel track, you go into a wall.
Are you a hero in world motocross circles? Do you have a nickname? I’ve developed a nickname here because I made a mistake on the first day. I left a skid mark three telegraph poles long, so my nickname here is “Skiddy”! The other one is “Portaloo” because I have wide shoulders and the aerodynamics of a portaloo!
Would you ever do Manx again? I don’t think I’m going to be allowed because I’m getting married in December! I’m 40 years old now and the guys I’m racing are in their 20s. I’ll go back to desert racing after this. [Loud bikes scream past] This is the other difference about road and dirt racing – we could reach out from the sidelines and touch the bikers as they go past. You’d be stupid to do that though.
What would be your dream bike and dream journey? I’d love to ride from north to south Australia, riding a VFR1200 Honda.
You didn’t have to think too hard about that. Not really, no! There’s a few things planned for when I finish racing – luckily my fiancée really loves bikes too.
Finally, do you have a day job? I work for the Canyon Group: we look after all types of shipping, but mainly oil tankers on military ships. It has nothing to do with bikes. Bikes are a hobby and the reason I’m bankrupt and injured most of the time. But I wouldn’t change a thing! Steve’s blog can be found at www.circuitprodigital.com. Photos supplied by Darren Rycroft - anysportphotos.com