I contacted Steve and he very kindly gave me the time to have a chat and answer some questions for me.
When Steve was 9 years old his next door neighbour had a Honda 50 Monkey bike and, living opposite a school, the neighbour used to ride his bike round the school field. One day he offered Steve a ride and that was it, he was hooked on riding.
Having begun his racing career in 1994, Steve had a successful career racing until 2013 winning, amongst others, Superteen, Superstock 1000 & Superbike Evolution Championships with the official Honda Racing and BMW UK teams.
The best memory Steve has from his BSB racing days is when he won the British Supersport Championship in 2008 for the HM Plant Honda team, to celebrate Honda launched a limited edition run of 100 Fireblades known as Brogie Blades in the racing livery, each one of which has been signed by Steve. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have one of those!
In 2013 Steve was running his own team and riding too supported by Kawasaki UK, sponsored by Direct CCTV in the National Superstock 1000 which is something he had always wanted to do and which he really enjoyed. Running his own team is something which Steve had done previously when he was unable to get a ride. In 2014 he didn’t ride, he managed the team and they bought in two top riders and although Steve felt it was strange not to actually be riding himself, he really enjoyed the challenge.
Steve has coached at the Ron Haslam Racing School and says that the best pillion ride he’s ever had is going around Donington race track with Ron Haslam!
Steve used to do a bit of work for Triumph Motorcycles mileage testing on track new components and engines where the bike would be ridden for 10 hours per day and he and another rider would do one hour stints just continually riding the bike around the track. That must have been great fun.
Since retiring from racing, Steve set up his own Superbike school. The inspiration for setting up his own school came about because at the time there was another school offering coaching to riders and Steve didn’t like the way the riders were being coached. He believed a lot of the instructors were teaching the wrong way and the pupils were taught incorrect techniques and being charged a lot of money for this privilege! Having previously done both one to one and group coaching, setting up his own school was a natural progression for Steve.
Steve says the worse the rider when they turn up to his school in the morning, the better it is for him as they listen to what is said to them and take the information and techniques taught onto the track and he is proud when he has turned a slow, dangerous rider into a much safer and confident rider by the end of the day.
The superbike school is run in a relaxed way and Steve tries to have a laugh as this way he gets the best out of his pupils and they like to have a giggle when, as has happened in the past to both guys and girls, they’re legs have been so short that they cannot reach the floor when on the bike and they fall off in the pit lane or when a zip busts open on their leathers (oops – too many cakes!)
Nowadays Steve only takes part in one race a year and this is at the Goodwood Revival – the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy race. Steve loves this race and is good friends with many of the riders both on and off the track – here’s a pic of Steve racing at the Revival (Steve is the one turning round giving a hand gesture to Jeremy McWilliams – apparently he was celebrating the fact that he’d exited the corner ahead of Jeremy!)
Steve’s best friend, Dave Callaghan, has been a lifelong friend and taught him that you have to work hard to achieve things in life. Dave encouraged Steve to get involved with biking and feels that the best feeling about being on a bike is the sense of feeling free. Riding a bike is great at de-stressing you – no matter what you have going on in your life, as soon as you put your helmet on and ride off, the stress falls away. I can absolutely relate to that and quite often after a stressful day at work, will go for a ride to unwind!
Last year was a friend’s 50th birthday and Steve’s 40th so they decided to go on a biking holiday – they went from Whitchurch down the South West coast to Land’s End then followed the coastal roads to Southampton then back up to Whitchurch. They had such a great time that they are planning to ride the Scottish 500 roads around the perimeter of Scotland this year – fingers are most definitely crossed that they are able to do this.
Steve has never worn lucky clothing or had a ritual before the start of a race but he does say a prayer to his dad, who died when Steve was 21, asking him to keep him safe on the bike.
It seems that Steve has always been a somewhat mischievous lad – one time his mum caught him playing on the roof of the school and another time he and his mates were playing in a supermarket car park – they were sitting in the supermarket trolleys crashing into each other. Unfortunately the exit to the car park was on a slope and Steve went careering down the slope in the trolley and into the side of a car driving past. Luckily Steve and the driver of the car were okay but he had some explaining to do to his mum!
His most embarrassing moment on a bike was when he was 18 years old, a good friend of his was racing in a club race at Aintree, two miles down the road from where Steve lived. There were some six or seven races and towards the end of the day his friend didn’t want to race in the last two races so he asked Steve to take his place. Steve put on his mate’s leathers and helmet and lined up on the track ready for the start of the race. Somebody got wind of these shenanigans and an official came onto the track, found Steve and pulled his visor up whereupon he was told to get off the track. The start of the race was delayed and a few words were said to Steve!
I wonder if Steve’s two boys are following in their father’s mischievous footsteps …..! Steve also has an 11 year old daughter who lives on the other side of the country to Steve and is very much into horse riding and show jumping but maybe, just maybe is showing signs that she would like to ride a motorbike ….
So what would Steve have been if he hadn’t been a bike racer? Hmm… Steve likes working with his hands and working with tools so he would probably have learnt a trade, either plumbing or plastering.
The burning question we want to know Steve is, if you got arrested, what would your friends and family assume you had done? Oh that’s easy, says Steve, being drunk and disorderly and being brought home drunk!
Thank you so much for your time Steve, it was an absolute pleasure talking to you and I hope to catch up with you at the Goodwood Revival.
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