I met John at this year’s Bike Show @ the Excel and he very kindly answered some questions for me.
John is the second all-time Isle of Man TT winner with 23 victories, second only to Joey Dunlop and has taken more podiums (47) than any other rider in the history of the Isle of Man TT races. John held the Isle of Man TT outright lap record for ten years (2004-2014), is a six times winner at the North West 200 with 21 podiums and two times winner at the Ulster Grand Prix with five podiums. He won the 2001 Macau Grand Prix, the 1999 250cc British Champion and came third in the 2001 British Supersport Championship.
What is the best feeling about being on a motorbike?
The freedom you get with just you and your bike.
What is the one thing people would never know about you just by looking at you?
That I am a lot heavier than you would think!
What was your most embarrassing moment on a motorbike?
In 2001 when I crashed my SP1 down the middle of the High Street and ended up under a Mark V Escort.
What is the worst thing your mum caught you doing as a kid?
When I was 4 years old I cycled off on my bicycle and had to be brought back to my mum in the back of a police car.
Do you have a lucky thing/ritual before the start of a race?
Yes, on my helmet I have a voodoo doll to ward off evil spirits and I also put a lucky penny down my leathers.
What was the first motorbike you owned?
It was a Suzuki AP50, but the first bike I rode was an Italjet 50 when I was 3 years old.
What is your favourite stretch of road to ride on (not including a race track)?
The road from Morecambe to Devils Bridge.
If you hadn’t been a racer, what would you have been?
I wanted to be a motorbike mechanic but my dad said I had to learn a trade and so I did that in bricklaying.
Would you ride pillion? If so, who with?
Yes, but only with Michael Rutter.
If you got arrested, what would your friends and family assume you had done?
That I’d put red diesel in my van!