There aren’t many people that I absolutely idolise in bike racing. Valentino Rossi, Carl Fogarty, John McGuinness and maybe Troy Bayliss but above all of them, Ian Hutchinson. The ‘Bingley Bullet’ nearly lost his leg numerous times and undertook every risk possible to make-sure he would be able to ride again. When I got the chance to interview this superhuman, I was delighted. So here it is, an exclusive with the 14-time TT winner himself.
Can we expect an Ian Hutchinson championship win this year?
Yeah, I’m here to try and win races and we are doing a good job. We did a good job last year; last year I wasn’t really in the championship to try and win it so it was a surprise to be where I was. We need to put a bit more effort into being in the championship and to be in a position to win it this year. Unfortunately, we will have to miss a race for the TT but it’s a longer championship this year so hopefully I will gain back the points that I lose.
Do you like the new Superstock 1000 race format?
I think it could’ve been done a bit differently. We wanted more track time across the weekend and it’s something new, if back-to-back races brings in more interest in the Superstock class for the public then it’s a good thing. Either way we are getting more track time so it’s all good.
We’ve seen a lot of riders struggle on the BMW, but you seem to ride it effortlessly – how is that?
Well, I haven’t been on the bike in the Superbike class so that’s completely different but in the Superstock class it’s a fantastic bike and that has been proven by many riders. There’s definitely more challenge this year from Kawasaki and Suzuki, so we are having to work harder trying to improve the bike. On the roads it has a little bit of edge with regards to speed. Every now and then a bike seems to come along and work better in road racing and the BMW is in that position at the moment. I don’t really know what that one thing is because it doesn’t feel anything special compared to other bikes. The BMW has an easier throttle connection and control of power is definitely easier. All bikes are a bit of a handful around the TT with 200BHP so ‘easy’ might not be the word to use there but the power distribution is pretty good.
How do you adapt from Roads to Short Circuits?
My riding style in short circuits is smooth so I don’t make mistakes, so when I go to the roads then I can ride exactly the same as I do on the short circuits. Some short circuit riders are far more committed on short circuits so they might have to change a style whereas I’ve always been able to transfer and do both.
How do you physically prepare for Roads and Short Circuits?
The balance for me is that wherever and whenever you fall off you can get hurt and I don’t want to get hurt. I barely do anything special; I ride trials bike and I do a bit of motocross. I do stuff for fun really, not so much actual training.
How did you get engaged in bike racing?
Just through passing my test at 17. I did some trials riding when I was 15 and 16 and then got into road bikes, and then into racing.
After your crash at Silverstone 2010, did you ever consider your career over?
Yes, definitely. I worked hard to comeback and I had the doubts it would not happen. After 30 operations on your leg and the potential of losing your leg numerous times, then you have to think that it might be over. I just enjoyed winning so much before it and wanted that feeling back. Thats all I race for is that feeling of winning and I don’t like any other positions so that drove me on to be back where I wanted to be.
How are the Tyco team to work in?
They’re great to work with. I dont tend to want for many things but if I do want something they get in straight away. Everything seems to work very smoothly. They’ve been doing the roads and the British championship for a long time now, so they know what needs doing. The team doesn’t get flustered and it is a tiring job doing all the rounds in BSB and the roads. Obviously they do still get tired but they don’t seem to get down about it and if you’re getting the results then that helps as well.
Do you like a rivalry with someone in the class?
It’s all about racing and this year I’ve got Richard Cooper and Danny Buchan in the championship, both ex Superbike winners and podium finishers and both being Superstock champions. It makes it better for me to be beating people of that calibre; it isn’t like I’m just winning a support race, you’re beating people who were podium finishers in BSB last season.
Can we expect more fireworks between you and Michael Dunlop at the TT this year?
The rivalry is between first and second in any race wherever you go. I’m out there to win races and we need to concentrate on what we need to do and what we need to win.
When do you see yourself retiring? We see riders such as Michael Rutter who are in their 40s, will you get to that age?
I never think about it. It could have all come to an end seven years ago when my leg got squashed. I will just take each year as it comes; if I’m competitive and I’m having fun then I will carry on but if I was finishing 15th then I wouldn’t be doing this championship. So I just take each as it comes and if I’m enjoying it, I’ll continue.
Thank you to Gareth Davies of Full Factory Media and Photography for the image. For prints and canvasses, you can contact him here.
Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko