Current Bike(s): BMW S100RR Sport
Fantasy Bike: I already own the best bike in the world!
Previous Bikes: FS1-E, CB125, RD 350LC x2, GPZ 550 (Worst bike I ever owned), RD 350 YPVS F2, FZR 1000 EXUP, FZS 1000 gen1 and a GSXR 1000 K4.
Preferred road/area to ride in the UK and Overseas: Anywhere with twisty roads and no French gravel!
Age when you first rode a bike and what bike was it: I was 13 and riding my mate’s brother’s RM250.
When and why did you develop an interest in riding a bike: The RM250 taught me balance and throttle control; power wheelies were easy peasy and I learnt to how to bounce well! My first venture onto the road was when I was 16 on a FS1-E. I loved that bike. It was virtually indestructible, freedom wrapped in a cloud of ‘Castol two stoke oil’. They should sell that smell as an aftershave! It was on this bike that I developed my knee down style, then elbow down followed by my crash technique. Thankfully, I haven’t crashed for a long time.
Aside family members, who would you like as a riding companion: To be honest I have no preference in riding partner. As long as I’m on two wheels I’m happy in a group of like-minded people.
Reasons behind joining EAMG and then becoming an EAMG Observer: To be honest, I wasn’t originally interested in the world of advanced riding, I considered myself a good rider who had learnt his skills at the ‘University of Life’. What could a load of old blokes in Hi Viz teach me? How wrong could I be, they could ride and made it look effortless!
A work colleague convinced me to join him at a Group night. We both took the plunge and signed up to become Associates. My assigned Observer, Clive Tooby, quickly gained my respect and taught me the benefits of ‘the System’. His ability to make smooth unhurried progress, whilst I was hard on the throttle and brakes in an effort to keep up during his demo rides was both impressive and frustrating. With his patience and guidance I soon passed my IAM in 2008.
For a number of years, I continued to hone my skills attending Group social rides and joining in with the social side of the Group. When a friend became an Observer I started to wonder if I had what it takes to join their exclusive ranks. I am glad to say I passed the entrance test and, under the watchful eye of ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ and his guidance, I made the cut in 2016, passed my RoSPA Gold and entered the world of observing for the EAMG.
Scariest or most embarrassing moment on a bike; There have been a number of embarrassing moments over the years, but the most recent was on a trip to France in 2016. Stopping to mark a busy roundabout, I glided over to the curbside when, gracefully, the world rotated by 90deg! Once righted, I could see I had run over French gravel with the friction coefficient of black ice. The front tucked and I only had time to lift my foot from the peg when I came to a horizontal rest. Thank God for motorcycle boots; I would have broken my ankle in anything less! Lesson: stay away from French Gravel!
In terms of scariest moments, most have been on track. On my GSXR and my first venture on the Brands Hatch GP circuit, all was well until the third session when bike, tyres and I had warmed up. I started to feel comfortable pushing myself. Flowing through Hawthorns, Westfield and Dingle Dell, into the blind entry of Sheen Curve, late exit but the track drops from view. Catching a rider ahead, I’ve nailed it. Over the crest but way too fast and off line! Through the panic haze I remember thinking, lean, lean, lean and don’t look at the gravel trap! The bike bucked and weaved totally off line as I desperately scrubbed off speed. From there I simply rode like an old lady straight back into the pits to clean my leathers out! It’s is testament to the handling of the GSXR and modern road tires that I didn’t crash or end up in the gravel trap!
Have fun, ride safe, ride within your limits and stay away from French gravel!