I regularly have riders asking me “Hey Si, we’re surprised. You have raced at the top of our sport on the best machinery all over the world, but its obvious you still enjoy trackdays and you’re enthusiastic about teaching us! Why do you still do it?”
I want to explain my answer to everyone in a way I am sure all motorcyclists will understand…
When I was 10, it took me one year of pestering my Dad for him to get me a bike. With my Dad its horses or Rugby (he’s a Blacksmith/Farrier). I started off going to motorcycle races on the weekends with my parents, or with friends that were into bikes. The atmosphere on the way to the events, during, and on the way home was brilliant. I was doing what I wanted to do more than anything else in the world, riding my bike with other people that wanted to ride their bikes.
After a few years, sponsors started to pay for my bikes. Brilliant! My Dad and I no longer had to pay (Mum even paid for two of my bikes). After a few more years of chasing my dream I found I was riding for a full-on race team, travelling the world, riding all the famous circuits with the guys I’d seen on TV. Awesome!
A few years later I was sitting on the start grid at an amazing circuit in Italy. I looked over the pit wall at my team of 15 plus staff and thought about the two articulated trucks at the back of the garage, the two beautiful and crazily expensive bikes I ride and the money I am paid to do it. I thought of the other riders asking my team everyday for my job and the sponsors that wanted results. Finally, I thought to myself, “this is not fun anymore, it’s a serious job”. I looked at the guys on the grid with me…. Results were all that mattered.
Now riding has come a full circle for me. I drive to events that I have chosen to do, at tracks I want to ride at, and I ride with and instruct people that have paid to be there because they love riding their bikes and want to ride them better. I have figured out for myself that this really is motorcycling at its best. We have a blast on track and I do my best to put across the things I learned the hard way in an easy to understand language. Hopefully the guys I instruct have big smiles at the end of the day and they shout me a beer at the bar and we share a few laughs while they tell me about their side of motorcycling. Many tell me how doing trackdays helps them switch off completely from the job that pays for it. Most of these guys and girls are very nice and I feel extremely lucky that I can make them happier that day, and I pay some of my little family’s bills doing this!
I have absolutely no regrets that I chased my dream of racing, it was something I had to do, it was the most important thing in my life. It taught me a lot and gave me some wonderful opportunities.
Now I’m in my 40’s, I prefer motorcycling.