Pre '2001 Career Overview

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Starting my career in 1982 on a 250 Suzuki X7 competing at Aintree Racecourse, it was only a year before I was to get my first race win but first I was to have to upgrade to a 250 LC Yamaha.

In that first year I was to meet up with a great friend Charlie Williams former muti TT winner. He tuned my 250 LC and purchased a 350 LC so I could enter both 250, 600 & 1300 Aintree Championship races, by the end of 1983 I had won the 250 Prody Championship. During 83 I had a few outings at Oulton Park, Cadwell Park, Snetterton, and Malloy Park, which was and still is the major stomping ground for most club racers.

1984 saw much the same but also a few National races and a realization that I would have to pick-up my pace to go National racing.

In 1985 Charlie bought me some new bikes to help me 'pick up my pace', a 250 Gamma Suzuki and a 350 YVPS Yamaha. I had now competed at a few more tracks though out the UK and was starting to become known as one of the boys from the Northwest to watch!!!

1986 was to be my last season at Aintree going out on a 250, 600 and runner up in the 1300 Prody Championships.

Both Charlie and I knew that I had to move on so for 1987 he bought me a Yamaha TZR250 to contest in the Yamaha TZR Championship, and also now I was working at Bill Head M/C (a top Honda Dealer from Preston) he also was impressed and put up a Honda CBR600 like wise to contest in the Honda CBR Challenge.

It was my first time on a four stroke so it took me some time to get used to the Honda, but I was at home on the TZR winning the first three rounds!

And when it all seemed to be going so well at Knockhill (Round 4 TZR Championship) while leading I crashed badly breaking my left arm. This was a major setback missing the next four rounds, but I was determined to finish of the year with some more wins and managed to win the final round at Brands Hatch taking third place overall in the TZR Championship, I managed a few good rides on the Honda but I was only just getting to grips with it when I broke my arm.

In 1988 a new Championship came along that had my name on it, and using an old TZR Challenge bike acquired once more by Charlie I did in fact win it and became British Junior Stock Champion, by winning 9 out of 12 rounds.

In the same year on a Honda CBR600 sponsored by Bill Head of Preston, I contested in the Honda CBR Challenge, with some success getting on the podium on a number of occasions but no wins! Yet!! I had now started to attract the attention of one or two people that were to become future sponsors and some good friends.

1989 was for me a major jump in profile, Belstaff (the clothing manufactures) set up a team to contest in the all-new 600 Super Sport Championship and the 1300 Production Championship, and my teammate was to be a 'new kid on the block' by the name of Rod Knapp, from New Zealand.

He and I were to have a dig-dong battle all year in both Championships, He was runner up in the 1300 Prody Championship and I was runner up in the Super Sport Championship (I lost the 600 by just one point). 1989 was also the first year that I was to go on the Continent racing, after a few test runs on Steve Wynn's (Sport M/C) 888 Ducati we went to Assen in Holland and won the Dutch Annual Ducati weekend meeting having never been there before and setting a new lap record!

1990 with help from Belstaff, Charlie Williams and others I had a similar seasons racing to 89 this time I was runner up in the 1300 Prody and 3rd in the 600 Super Sport.

1991 I stepped up to the Superbike class for the first time. Peter Robinson and Bob Tillston of Tillston M/cs Peter approached me and put together a couple of bikes and a lot of support, for me this class was tough, very tough with works teams and good riders it was a real steep learning curve! After a rocky start I started to get in the top five regularly and from time to time qualifying on the front row, also doing the North West 200 Super Bike Race finishing 5th first time there, but the season ended early after a big crash at Mallory Park breaking my right wrist. Bugger!

1992 Honda and Belstaff approached me and to run a RC30 750 and a CBR600 in a team to be called 'Magic Wheels', my teammate this time was Steve Ives, he was to ride a VFR400 NC30.

It was apparent from the start to me that the RC30 was out dated in comparison to the competition, even though it was the latest model full factory engine machine. I completed several races but was finding it hard work to even get in to the top half of the field.

Steve's season got off to a terrible start breaking both wrists in his first race, so Honda asked me to take over riding the NC30 (400) for the rest of the session.

From the first time on the bike I knew it was going to be good, it was with me winning the British 400 Super Sport Championship.
It was also a good year on the 600 finishing 3rd in the 600 Championship.

1994 brought me together with V&M

 Jack Valentine and Steve Mellor.

Jack and Steve put a team together this time using Yamaha FZR600s and a new teammate by the name of Tim Smith, he was Super Teen Champion the year before. It was the first 'Proper team' I was to be involved in, with me basically only having to turn up and ride! The best way for sure. I had competed in the North West 200 road races in 91,92,93 and this year I won the 600 Super Sport race, battling all year with Ian Simpson and Iain Duffus, we had some fabulous races, Ian Simpson went on to win the British Championship that year with me as runner up.
New for 94 was the chance to try 24Hr racing with Phase One riding a Kawasaki ZXR750 at the Bol D'or, nothing like jumping in the deep end! It worked and the team and I finished 2nd! Fantastic.

Also that year I started to race the love of my life 'Singles', I don't know why I just do.  Dave Pearce from Tigcraft contacted me and asked me to race the new works MuZ he had been commissioned to build, and so it came to pass the bike worked and I set lap records and had many race wins, finishing second place in the Championship due to a few mechanical let downs.

 

Because of my NW200 Results Mike Trimby (Who runs the Macau GP) had noticed me and as a result he gave me a start in Macau on one of Serge Rossett's Works ROC 500s. First time there and on a GP500 bike, a bit nerve racking but it went well with me finishing runner up to Steve Hislop!

 

I've always liked riding big prody bikes and as a prelude to a new Championship, Triumph had an inaugural race at Donington Park with their Speed triple. Qualified pole and won the race looked good for next year!

1995 again with V&M this time with Hondas riding the 600 SuperSports and 900 FireBlades.


Also for Hi Peak Racing I was to ride their Speed triple and for Tigcraft their Harley Davidson VR1000 Super Bike. Phew, looked like a busy year.

 

It started very badly with the first outing in America at the Daytona 200 on the VR1000. The bike was dog slow with its stock engine but still managed to qualify in the top group for the main race, but after the 'Factory Kit' was fitted to the motor things started to go wrong. It lasted 4 laps of the Bears race before going pop! This made me miss more practice and for the next practice I tried to hard and high sided and broke my collarbone.

 

Not a good start to the season with Donington only being 3 weeks away. Once again Phase One asked me to ride but it was an up and down sort of year with reliability problems and a few crashes it was tough riding 24hr for sure!

With new team mate Iain Duffus the V&M team kept me busy and we both had a good year with competitive bikes and a good field of riders.

 

I enjoyed a tough year, and with all the bikes to ride but after some of my most memorable races it panned out like this:

  • Won British 600 Super Sport Championship

  • Runner up in the Production Championship

  • 3rd place in the Triumph Challenge

  • Won the Macau GP.

Not a bad year!

1996 once again with V&M riding Honda 600 Supersports and 900 Fireblades. But this year as defending Champion and an additional team mate, things in the team where quite stressed, and with some great rides there was some disappointments also!

I had the chance to ride the German Works MuZ at World Championship level; it was good to get back on a single again. Winning both UK rounds and leading at Monza until the motor popped! (Bugger) but it was a good year.

With Phase One we started the year quite well but we finished with the death of one of the sports most likeable riders and a great friend at Spa. Lee Pullan was signed up for Spa because of his top class ability particularly at that track. But because a marshal crossed the track (without a yellow flag being displayed) his family, friends and the sport was robbed of a great rider!

With Hi Peak I rode their Triumph Speed Triple again with a few wins and a few crashes I finished 3rd in the Championship. Macau wasn't so good this year, I led from the line but ran on at the first corner, rejoining the race at the back and riding like a man possessed I caught the 2nd and 3rd place riders but crashed. Made a really good video!

1997 was to be a good year with a new team; I signed for Hi Peak riding 600 Super Sport and Production along with backing from Michelin. But the first race was to set the precedent for the rest of the year. At Donington on the second lap I high sided coming on to the back straight braking my back, causing me to miss the next 3 rounds!

On returning at Brands Hatch I qualified Pole but the bike expired in the race! 

On the Production bike I set some lap records but missing so many rounds I was playing catch-up all year, things became stressed within the team so I decided to leave before the end of the season.

 

I finished off the year with a ride at the last round, Brands Hatch on the Dutch G. Ten Kate Honda. Unfortunately after qualifying on pole I crashed in the race on the second lap breaking my back again! Bugger.
This ended the season on a low note, but on the bright side I would make a full recovery and a new team approach signalled good things ahead.

1998, once again a new team with a new sponsor, Team Revolution UK (Importers of Moriwaki tuning parts) and the holiday group Club 18-30.

Things looked like a bed of roses!

Honda was to supply machines and tuning, Club 18-30 the finance. But as the season was due to start with testing 18-30 pulled the plug on the finance, leaving Revolution UK to foot the bill.

With all the will in the World, they were not in a position to do what had been initially  planned. So we started just riding Super Stock racing, not Super Bike, as we would have liked.
Unfortunately the Honda VTR1000 was totally unsuitable for the class and after the first round I decided to not ride for the rest of the year.

 

Just as the year was coming to an end I had the chance to compete in the last round of the German Pro Superbike Championship on a Kawasaki ZX7R, due to a lack of practice and forcing the pace a little I crashed while in 3rd place, not a bad showing in what is Europe's number one Championship.

1999 was a slim year with only two outings. Firstly on Jim Blomley's Moto Guzzi 1100 at Cadwell Park winning 3 out of 4 races and setting fastest laps in a BoTT race meeting. And in Europe in the German Pro Superbike Championship at Panonia (Hungary) once again crashing, due manly to the Pirelli slick tyres just not working (That's my story and I'm sticking to it) 1999 was one of my worst years to date.

 

2000 I had the chance to get back into Endurance racing, albeit right at the end of the year in Estoril's 8Hr Event for Steve Burns Team Motomax. Riding a Yamaha R1 alongside Roki Read and Gus Scott. I was consistently the fastest rider in the team. For the race we were in 3rd place right up to the end, but then had to stop for a quick fuel stop dropping us to 4th place in our class.

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