1.What was your first motorcycling experience?
Aged 13, hiring a 50cc motorcycle and riding it on the streets of Rimini for an hour without mastering the clutch, but also without crashing.
2.What is your current bike?
I have 7: Mk3 and Mk2 Yamaha Tmaxes; BMW HP2 1200 Enduro; Honda Dominator NX650; KTM 450EXC enduro; Mk1 Burgman 650; Pegram Genesis Burgman-based 650 FF.
3.What bike would you most like to ride/own?
To ride, Urs Wagner’s unique TurboMono 1200 190mph Ecomobile. To own: a production Peraves MTE-150 215bhp, 190mph all-electric Monotracer.
4.What was your hairiest moment on a bike?
In a Quasar at 80mph in the fast lane of a dark French autoroute, with my girlfriend asleep behind me, I saw a Renault 5 on its roof in my dipped beam. I managed to put the bike on its side, so I hit the upturned car with the Reliant Robin gearbox and stainless steel underseat tank, shunting the Renault up the road. We ended up facing back the way we’d come, still in the fast lane. I got out with a few bruises, my girlfriend broke her arm and crushed 3 vertebrae, but lived to ride her own bike another day. The drunk car driver was lucky to survive, having gone through the windscreen.
5.What was your most memorable ride?
Long, on the road: The entire week of the 1988 Monte Carlo Motorcycle Rally on a Honda UK Transalp. Short, on the road: Riding the Gurney Alligator up the Ortega Canyon. Long, Off-Road: The 2006 Libya Desert Challenge on my KTM 450.
Short, Off-Road: Testing the 2WD Yamaha 2-Trac WR450 in Morocco.
6.What would be the ideal soundtrack to the above?
Respectively: Blues for Findlay / Gong; Wasn’t Born to Follow / The Byrds; Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick / Ian Dury; Marrakesh Express / Crosby, Stills & Nash.
7.What do you think is the best thing about motorcycling?
It’s like flying on the ground. Slicing past traffic and leaning through corners is what does it for me. Off-road, sliding on the very limit of control is great when I manage it!
8.What do you think is the worst thing about motorcycling?
The risk of death or serious injury. I’ve been very lucky. ‘Big Brother’ comes a close second.
9.Name an improvement you’d like to see for the next generation?
Affordable motorcycles that are safe, warm, dry, comfortable, practical, efficient… and ‘green’… but just as much fun as anything made today.
10.How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who put his money and actions where his mouth was while trying to change people’s perceptions of what a bike can be and do… Or who at least provided some thought-provoking entertainment along the way!