Current Bike(s): BMW 1200 GSA, Suzuki DRZ400SM, Yamaha R1, Norton Dominator and Velocette Venom (I have a very good wife!!)
Fantasy Bike: I love each of my current bikes for different reasons. If I could add anything, it would probably be something like a big Vincent or Brough Superior. If it had to be a more modern bike then I’ve always loved the looks and sounds of the MV F4s. When we lived in Switzerland, I test rode one with Arrow exhausts taking it through the 1km Tunnel from the airport back to town; it sounded gorgeous!
Preferred road/area to ride in the UK and Overseas: I don’t like motorways or dual carriageways but as long as I’m on my bike, I am happy pretty much anywhere. Overseas, I’ve ridden with John Tipper when he ran Reveiller Rides and there are some really great roads; I particularly liked the mountain passes, the scenery was breathtaking.
Age when you first rode a bike and what bike was it: I was 10. I used to listen out for my brother coming home on his combination.
When and why did you develop an interest in riding a bike: My elder brother went to University and came home with a Morgan three-wheeler as well as an old Matchless 500 single with a platform instead of a sidecar. When I heard him I would run to the end of the driveway and he would let me ride from the road to the house - that was until one day I forgot which way to close the throttle and careered at full speed into the lean to with him on the back. After that, riding was limited to jaunts around the local fields on the Matchless until, for my 17th Birthday, my brother bought me an old CZ125. I remember I could only afford third party insurance but went all over the place on it.
I used to own a 500cc Arial Red Hunter single that was tuned by Lawrence Hartley. It was my first “Big Bike” and I completely stripped it down and re-built it. Like most British bikes, it was very loud and used to pop, bang, drop oil and bits everywhere we went but I loved it.
You’re a long time dead; as long as I can still ride safely and continue to enjoy it, I’ll carry on as long as possible.
Aside family members, who would you like as a riding companion: If I could keep up, I think it would be Guy Martin; he is an absolute nutter but I think it would be hilarious.
Reasons behind becoming an EAMG Observer: When I first got my R1, I soon realised that if I didn’t get some training, I would end up a statistic. I took my IAM test back in 1998 and then moved to Switzerland with my job for a couple of years. I stayed in touch with the club and went on a couple of tours with other Members and was enjoying my riding even more than before. While we were away, I spoke to couple of the other Observers and decided that I really should put something back. I took my trainee test and failed first time, I was too eager to show just how good (in reality bad) I really was. A couple more rides with SOA’s for some pointers, and I sailed through my re-test. I was allocated to John Tullett who helped me become an Observer and, with the additional help of Phil Reader, get my Rospa at Gold on my first attempt.
Scariest or most embarrassing moment on your bike: I had just come back to biking and bought a bright red 900cc Ducati. I had the obligatory matching red and white Dainese leathers and thought I was the dogs… I was enjoying a “brisk” ride and took an overtake at speed that wasn’t really; not least as there was a white Escort van coming the other way. Fortunately he braked and swerved so I made it through the gap with inches to spare. I was absolutely astonished that I had got away with it and pulled over to gather my thoughts. Soon after, I joined EAMG!