Jeremy McWilliams: in his own words

Published: 23 September 2001

Emma: Just to let you know that Craig Kelly, from Chorley is racing your 1996/1997 Honda GP250 (second bike). He has just come second at the Ace of Aintree championship. He'd like to say it's still pulling well and keep on riding well in the championship! My question is...what do you think of the scrapping of the 250 class. We are all so upset and angry at what the big boys are doing

JeremyMcWilliams: I think it's disgusting. I think it's terrible. I don't understand what reasons are behind it and I don't agree with it.

Alan: What do you think about the future of British Riders in GPs, especially as we have less and less classes geared up for entry to GPs, i.e. 125s and 250s

JeremyMcWilliams: Without the 250 class, there's going to be a severe lack of them. The 250 class was always a stepping stone for people like myself, Adrian Coates, even people like Chris Walker so at the moment, it's looking pretty bleak. With the 500GPs moving to four strokes it looks like that'll be the thing, because British riders will only ever get four-stroke experience so they won't be able to compete in the 125s and 250s.

Jordan: Jeremy, could you please, please, please go to World Superbikes with Aprilia…(if this at all possible). I know a lot of people reckon that GPs are more prestigious, but I have no doubt that you would be world champion in your second year. Think about how many RSV1000's you would sell in your motorbike shop after this!

JeremyMcWilliams: That's a nice thought. Actually it's crossed my mind and I did make an inquiry recently about who is going to be riding that bike next year, so you never know. I would like to ride that bike but my 250 team has asked me to sign again for next year. There will only be enough factory bikes for four externally run teams and we've been offered two bikes so at the moment, unless it all goes horribly wrong it looks like I'll be in 250s. Of course it went horribly worng at the beginning of this year, but anyway

Rgvm: Hi Jezza - what do you think 4strokes are going to do to GP's?

JeremyMcWilliams: Make them a lot more interesting, I think. At first I had some reservations but since I`ve seen the amchinery I`ve changed my mind and it'll be really good especially for the fans. The machinery has been getting more exotic and the engines I`ve looked at won't have any muffling or silencers. So it's going to be really interesting and the racing will become a little more technical with things like fly-by-wire being reintroduced where teams can change and control bike settings from pit lane. It's all going to get a bit more interesting. I don't even understand all that they will and won't be doing but when I spoke to Sauber it all sounded very complicated...even things like launch control where you dump the clutch and the bike takes off on it's own. More to go wrong, but more interesting.

Rgvm: Will it be a case of rider skill or he who has the richest daddy wins?

JeremyMcWilliams: Yeah, sure it's going to be a lot to do with factory support, but with the engines from Yamaha, Honda, Sauber, Aprilia you can get 200hp out of them. But, you can only use a part of it and it's going to be who is best at managing that power, and how rider friendly the bike is. It looks like Honda is investing a lot of money, but they're only gone at the same sort of speeds as the two strokes round Suzuka. Next year it could easily be a 2 stroke that wins the championship or a mixture of 2 and 4 strokes wining rounds. It's whoever has got the most money at the moment anyway, it's the big teams, not the Protons

pmb5: What happened to you getting a 4stroke ride?

JeremyMcWilliams: I asked Aprilia if I could ride the 4-stroke GP1 bike, and the answer was, that they were only going to run one bike. The rider will have to be Spanish or Italian because of sponsorship and it's down to them, so at the moment, no ride on the GP1 unfortunately, but I did ask

Martyn: How does the paddock view Katja Poensgen, and how would you feel to finish behind her?

JeremyMcWilliams: Well... I hope there's never a chance I'll finish behind her. I've got the greatest respect for a girl who can ride GP level and qualify in front of guys and finish races. She's already scored points. She was riding really well in Italy where I crashed, and she was in front of Klaus Nohles, my team mate at the time. I think we all have respect for her, but none of us expect to get beaten by her. I've lapped her a couple of times, and if she's in the way she gets the same treatment as anyone else, but I might treat her differently at the bar at night!

Rgvm: If you had to choose between Katja P or an NSR500 V4 which one gets your vote?

JeremyMcWilliams: No comment.... I mean Katja Poensgen, lovely as she is, she isn't going to further my career so it'll have to be the Honda

Ianw: Hi Jezza, Well done on Assen! Whoi do think will win in 500's this year - Rossi or Biaggi??

JeremyMcWilliams: It's gotta be Valentino. He deserves it. He's probably the nicest guy in the paddock. He's a real star and I think he's probably the best thing to happen to GPs in a long time and he signed my sons t-shirts...all 10 of them. They’re huge Rossi fans everywhere i look there's Rossi pictures everywhere

Rgvm: how did you start out in racing?

JeremyMcWilliams: I started as a hobby at the weekends at my local circuits on a 350 powervalve 350 production class and I won it in the first year of trying so I had to keep going. I was a real late starter. I think I was 23, 23 or 24.

simon555: ok, does anyone still call you 'Muckspreader'...?

JeremyMcWilliams: No only Colin Schiller.

Rgvm: I'm hoping to branch out into F400 Club Racing next year on an RGV - can you give me a couple of tips please cos I'm not that good!

JeremyMcWilliams: I raced an RGV one time and all I can remember is that it kept seizing. So cover the clutch with your fingers Basically the only advice you can give, is start at the level you feel comfortable with, and then if you want to go faster move into a more competitive class. It's like anything. If you play golf with a wally, you'll play worse yourself, play witha pro and you'll raise your game. I came to England as soon as I could because of that

Ianw: Foggy said he would have "kicked Doohan's arse" in GPs - what's your view?

JeremyMcWilliams: He wouldn't. All I can say without being rude is that that's a riders thinking, but in reality it would never have happened.

slim shady: What do you think of Foggy spouting off all the time and annoying all but his most ardent fans ?

JeremyMcWilliams: I think he's just doing it to wind everyone up. He's gotta be, and he's just looking for a reaction, so it's working.

Mast: Are you going to pay me back for the dinner I bought you?

JeremyMcWilliams: Probably not. Thanks anyway though.

Adcd: Jeremy, well done on Assen. Secondly I've scoured the internet looking for your website, or at least one for your shop.

JeremyMcWilliams: There is to be one within a couple of weeks, for the shop, which I paid for about 6 months ago and then forgot all about it and didn't do it cos I`m a lazy get but keep an eye out and it should be running soon.

simon555: What’s the biggest cheat you've ever done?

JeremyMcWilliams: erm. Let's see. Racing a 350 in a 250 race! But it was Robert Fleck who made me do it. I remember winning that race, then racing a 250 in the 250 race later in the day and winning it by even more.

Ianw: You raced at Donington the week after Joey died - was it difficult to keep your emotions in check and concentrate on the job in hand?

JeremyMcWilliams: Not at the time but afterwards it sort of all came back. Of course the whole weekend we were all aware of it, but when you're on a bike you don't really think about anything else. That's why I’ve done ok in racing, I think, because I dial in very quickly. I don't really have any off days where I can't concentrate.

Mattbirt: What affect did Joey's death have on Irish racing?

JeremyMcWilliams: I think everyone still talks about it. It's one of those tragedies of enormous proportions. It hasn't been forgotten about like other riders. Sadly life is life and othe people have been forgotten, but not Joey, and it's international. Every country I go to, especially Germany cos he had loads of fans there. I’m not sure what effect it had on road racing in Ireland but everyone around the world still talks about it

Ianw: How did it feel after Assen to be the first Brit to win a GP after so many years?

JeremyMcWilliams: Mega feeling! Absolutely mega, but very quickly you realise that it's got to be done again and I felt that the three races after that that i should have won again, especially in Germany when I crashed out. So from feeling so jubilant to feeling like a total chump after just a couple of races…it's a bit of a shock!

SeanW: How many years racing do you think you've got left in you?

JeremyMcWilliams: Every year I don't think I’ve got anything left in me, particularly at the end of the year. You get tired. We've got so many countries to go to. It's not easy work. So I’d say 2 or 3 years. I don't really know what I’m going to do when I stop though so it'll be a big surprise.

pmb5: how come the guys on V-Twins in 500's this year aren’t doing so well as you did last year, worse riders or better V4's?

JeremyMcWilliams: Obvious answer there, isn't it? See what i mean about riders? I sound like Foggy! I think the bike I had was pretty good, although Tesuya struggled with it. Biggest disapointment of my career was not having that bike this year, because we could have made it win. There are some places where the times have got a bit faster, but at some places it's minimal and some places Rossi has gone 30 secs quicker. It was just last year we had a good package, and I can't say how much I’m disappointed we haven't been running it this year. I wish they'd resurrect that.

simon555: Do you have a road bike right now? If so what is it?

JeremyMcWilliams: RSV Mille R in yellow ,and I`ve just ordered some twin pipes for it. I had a black one last year again it was an R and it whips my mates R1 not just cos I`m riding it even just in a straight line. It's been chipped by Aprilia

Rgvm: what does it feel like to be cruising along the road and see some 17 year old on a McWilliams rep RS250 hurtling along?

JeremyMcWilliams: It's nice but I haven't seen many in my shop. We've sold a few of the Diablo RS 250s.

pmb5: When you ride on the road do you where all the Jezza replica gear?

JeremyMcWilliams: No....no I don't. I wear an alpinestars jacket and stupidly a pair of jeans. Mostly we don't ever plan to go out to ride as fast as we end up going.

Rgvm: With only Aprilia making a decent road going 2 stroke now (even though its a SUZUKI ENGINE!) do you think 2 strokes on the road have had there day?

JeremyMcWilliams: Unfortunately it's beginning to look like it. That 250 is a great bike to ride. Just super to play about with on the road, but insurance for it cripples it where we live. We sell lots of those RS125s and that's going to be something that's around for a lot of years to come.

simon555: Do you think Leon Haslam is going to be as good as it looks like he could be?

JeremyMcWilliams: I hope he is. I’ve got to say, and I know Leon will admit this himself, but he's gone too much in the deep end he's gone in too soon. I said to him last year, don't ride a v-twin 500 and now he's on the V4. I don't know what the team expected but a rider with his experience is never going to get it up the leaderboard, so let's hope that he doesn't end up walking away or losing a ride because of it. The one thing that puts it into perspective, is seeing people like Chris and leon coming to gps with all their talent. It's hard and I think Leon, coming in, was willing to give it a couple of years but I’m not sure the team were. I have a lot of time for Leon, he's a real good kid

Mattbirt: How good is it that the oldish guys like yourself, Hizzy and Reynolds can still show the young 'uns how its done

JeremyMcWilliams: Experience. Determination. Nothing motivates a guy more than knowing you can beat someone half your age and at the end of the day, we're all making a living out of it so to make a living, you gotta perform.

Ianw: What do you reckon Hodgy's chances are of winning WSB next year?

JeremyMcWilliams: Very, very high. I hope he does. I've known him for years and raced against him in gp and he's mroe of a determined rider now than he ever was he's our next big hope he's the man hope he wins that and comes back to GP Neil knows how hard it is so i would hazard a guess that he'll stay in WSB as long as he can and why not

arrera4: Jeremy, what is your best biking party trick?

JeremyMcWilliams: Just riding on my Supermotard riding round showing off like I did at Brands one year before falling off and breaking my hand. I can wheelie those things for absolutely ever, but anybody could!

zx6man: Would Hodgy beat you then?

JeremyMcWilliams: Do you want a Carl Fogarty answer? I think he would be getting close. Not at GPs, but in WSB he would be, sure, very difficult to beat and I’d be giving it my all, but I’m sure it'd be close racing but I don't think he could ride a 250 like me

Mattbirt: Why didn't you ever race on the roads, was it just too dangerous

JeremyMcWilliams: Yeah. I didn't want to do it because everyone around me did it and it looked like they were compromising their short circuit speed. When they came back from road races they were slower. And I`ve always crashed. I'll hold my hand up and say i crash a lot and it doesn't take a lot of brains to see I didn't want to race at 90%. Plus I promised my mum, that's the real reason!

simon555: Whats your fave circuit in the UK?

JeremyMcWilliams: Er. Silverstone. I got a third there on a Ducati and I was leading the race till my back wheel came loose cos I'd tightened the wheel Myself. Brands as well.I remember at Brands actually, leading the Dash for Cash till I ran out of fuel. So Brands and Silverstone

r1basher: Did you honestly think the twins could ever challenge the vfours overall?

JeremyMcWilliams: Well...set pole position in Australia against the then reigning champion Kenny Roberts and Rossi was a sign that the bike must have been working ok. It was only on certain circuits so it wasn't going to challenge them 100%. It was never going to challenge at start-stop courses. You couldn't really win the championship on one which I guess is why people enter the championship, but we could have definitely won races and I’m sure if we had been racing this year we could have won one or two races already. It worked well at Brno, Mugello etc. Probably 8 of the 16 circuits the bike was good, and then all you needed was a drop of rain at Dongington and I should have won there too

JeremyMcWilliams: Thanks to everyone for the questions thanks for all the support I’ve had.