Q: Simon are their any pieces of advice you would give a young up and coming racer other than the techniques of riding.
A: I have thought about this many times. Following are pieces of advice that I believe are crucial but universal, so useful for all riders no matter their style, situation or nationality….
-‘Make every lap count’. Don’t let yourself be lazy andcruise some laps. Push to better yourself on every lap you have available…. or someone else will. The man that did that in my era was Mick Doohan. I learned this and many other things from him. Its not ‘practice that makes perfect’, but –‘perfect practice that makes perfect’. If you push yourself to be better every lap, you will have more quality laps than if you don’t.
-I believe that many top racers never reach their potential because they choose a better paying ride in a lower championship over a ride in world championship for little or no money. Of course this is fine if your goal is to be a national championship rider.
I am proud of the fact I turned down more money than I had ever seen at the time to stay a second year and ride a national Championship with a manufacture team. Instead I went home and waited for an opportunity to ride World Championship. That was in October. In February the following year I got an offer to ride World Championship in a private team, for no payment. I jumped at it. I believe this move, and one or two others like it, allowed me to keep moving toward the top of my sport and also helped keep my motivation up, which I think was very important in helping me progressing as a sportsman.
When I finally secured a ride in world championship that paid well, it was much better than was possible at National Level. Sure I wasted some money on toys like young people do, but I think that I was lucky that I came from an upbringing that placed little importance on nice clothes and cars, and a big priority on owning your own house and land… the really wealthy guys where I grew up wore old work clothes and drove a Toyota Landcruiser. They owned the land.
So I brought a second hand V8 Mercedes not a new one, and spent almost everything else I earned on a house. Then when that was paid off I brought the neighbours house too. Now I look back, houses have made me as much money as bikes have. If I’d have brought cars- which was a big temptation- it would all be gone.
So young racers….
1: ‘Make every lap count’.
2. ‘Don’t worry about the money, worry about the results and the money will come’.
3: ‘When the money comes don’t buy cars, invest it wisely’.