I first met Ben in April 2010 at a cold and damp Mallory Park. I was at Mallory testing one of the new Aprilia 450 race bikes which Ben was competing on; Ben went on to win the Moto 450 Championship later that year.
Despite the fact it was cold, damp, usual Mallory pre-season weather, Ben was excited, enthusiastic and couldn’t wait to get out on track. No matter how grim the conditions were he wanted be out there, while others were running for shelter and looking to pack up early Ben was still in race leathers.
He was constantly asking questions about MCN and the industry, it was already obvious he was looking to the future and keen to learn. Very professional for such a young lad.
But there was also another side to Ben, you could have a laugh, have a banter like we’d been mates for years. Every time we bumped into each other at tracks up and down the UK, we’d laugh and take time to chat. Mainly it was Ben taking the piss out of me for being old/slow or a hippy but it was all in good nature, I left every conversation smiling.
On track he was blisteringly quick, it was immediately obvious to me he was a huge talent. He couldn’t wait to show an old MCN road tester how it’s done. He blasted past me like I was going backwards on one particular occasion, and comically reminded me of it every time we met.
Ben had a long racing career in front of him and was destined for the top, that I’m sure. But what I’ll miss is the banter with the young lad, his constant smile and enthusiasm around the paddock. My thoughts are with Ben’s family and friends, and the Thundersport GB club, he’ll be sadly missed.