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John Reynolds in his own words

Published: 26 August 2001

MCN: Will it be WSB then next year?

JohnReynolds: Oh, we need to win a British Championship first, and then we'll think about it. I know Ben would like to do a World Series.

MCN: JR, What do you think about 1000cc four cylinders joining BSB next year?

JohnReynolds: Well, to be honest, I can see it being a one-make series if these bikes are as good as they say they are going to be. The Suzuki is such a great bike. As Ben says, why should he spend half a million pounds on some bikes when he could spend 30-40 thousand instead? But we'll have to wait and see. I’d like to have a go on some of the four cylinders bikes

MCN: Any chance of letting Hizzy win on Monday as I've got a bet on with my friends?

JohnReynolds: Absolutely no chance, even if you cut me in on the bet!

MCN: How come there seems to be a serious lack of promising youngsters in BSB? It's now dominated by the older riders.

JohnReynolds: That is possibly to do with the cost of the whole deal. I think you'll find team owners go for proven riders rather then spending money on possible riders. When a team costs a million pounds a year to run it really needs to work.

MCN: does it feel different riding in British and World superbikes? Is it a different buzz? Do you ride differently in WSB rounds points aren't an issue?

JohnReynolds: I don't ride any different in any race at all. I ride as hard as I can all the time. The difference in the World series is the bigger depth of the field. There's always someone in front or behind you in World Superbikes because there is just so much talent there. You are aware of the crowds in World Superbikes that's for sure!

MCN: Is Brands Hatch just a bit different to other rounds?

JohnReynolds: Yeah, I mean Brands in one of the best races in the calendar in England and it's one of the best World Superbike rounds anywhere in the world. It's more of a festival atmosphere although it's still hard work for the riders

MCN: Do you think Foggy will succeed at SuperMoto racing ? Does he have the temperament for bar and fairing bashing ?

JohnReynolds: He most definitely does. I’ve seen him on it and he's a good rider. I don't know how serious he wants to take it though. The red mist always seems to descend at the start for him. In any form of motorsport the red mist is always there.

MCN: Could Sean Emmett have beaten you at Knockhill? On a couple of occasions he looked very quick, however as a team player he was No1

JohnReynolds: Sean was conscious that when he did make a move, he wasn't going to knock me off and I think that's what held him up in the first race.

MCN: What does John's think about the recently announced changes to British racing - in particular, about the decision to drop the 250 class completely?

JohnReynolds: I don't think the 250s are a good learning curve for superbike racing. The best way to get into superbikes, is through the 600s, but having said that it's a shame that they have scrapped the 250s because it is a good class

MCN: Who's the best rider, in your opinion, that you've raced against?

JohnReynolds: Mick Doohan, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz. The lot of them. To be the best out of the 500s takes a special challenge, and I think the 500s are harder to ride than a superbike. If it has to be one, probably Mick Doohan

MCN: Doohan over Foggy?

JohnReynolds: Yes

MCN: Do you think Foggy was fair in his comments about Walker and his talent in GP's?

JohnReynolds: Yeah, the difference was that he didn't have the tyres or the bike, but I think there was something else lacking as well which was probably the experience. And that's one problem if they do scrap the 250s, because that would be the class budding GP racers would go into, so it won't give them much of a chance.

MCN: So did Walker make a bad move and do you think he will be back?

JohnReynolds: Yeah, I think he's looking back on it and he'll say himself that it wasn't ideal. If you look at any British rider on a 500 they haven't got the experience and when you're up against the best 500 riders in the world you're up against a wall, but yes, he will be back, but on a superbike I reckon

MCN: Who's your upcoming name for the future champ?

JohnReynolds: Hodgson for the next World Superbike champ I`m sure. And Casey Stoner, in Britain he's a rare talent. Craig Jones as well, although he did suffer a bad crash as Oulton Park I think he's got potential.

MCN: John you almost seem like good buds with Hizzy after bashing fairings in a race after race. Is there any aggro between you?

JohnReynolds: We get on very well. Too well in fact. We are starting to fall out, I can assure you

MCN: Have you got a favourite joke?

JohnReynolds: Erm, yeah but it goes on a bit and there are far too many swearwords in it. Apart from James Haydon saying he's not a crasher!

MCN: Although he's doing well (consistently improving throughout the season) do you think James Toseland has entered the WSB arena too soon? Would he have been better off going 'through' BSB 1st?

JohnReynolds: Well he did. He had a year on BSB last year, and I think he made the right move He's got a good team and a good boss and from what I’ve seen of him, he's improved a lot. He’s a future talent as well

MCN: Do you have a bike that you ride on regular roads - like, for shopping!

JohnReynolds: Not really. Funnily enough I borrowed a 996 Ducati the other night, but I haven't got a road bike at the moment. I’ve just a KDX for going training off road. I use it most for winter training, but Foot and Mouth put paid to that this year

MCN: When did you start racing? What’s you age now, and what age did you start racing, if you doesn't mind me asking? What bike was it on? And what was your route to progress through to BSB now?

JohnReynolds: Well I’m 36 now. I started racing schoolboy motocross when I was 8. I went from there to adult motocross, then Vintage racing. Then it was production racing on a CBR, and I got picked up by Kawasaki in 89 and they took me all the way up to Superbikes. It was my dad's old bike I used in Vintage racing, but my mum didn't want me racing. In the end, my dad thought it would be a cheap and safe way to go racing. In fact it was so expensive and dangerous he lent me the money to buy a 350LC!

MCN: Is this years championship any harder to win then last years?

JohnReynolds: It's equally as hard because Steve Hislop is winning anything that I don't, and with two people winning all the time you just can't afford to let anything go. It would be easier with a few more people up front, but the pace this year is definitely quicker with lap records being broken all other the place

MCN:How long does it take for your bottle to return after a big off?

JohnReynolds: As long as it takes me to walk back to the pits and get back on my bike again! We've always go a spare bike, and I haven't had two offs in a row yet…

MCN: If there was one racing decision you've made that you could change, what would it be?

JohnReynolds: Do Grand Prix. Definitely. For the same reason Chris Walker’s doing them.

MCN: Fill us in on your GP experience?

JohnReynolds: I did it in 93 and 94 on a Padgetts Yamaha. The racing part I didn't really enjoy, because I was banging my head against the wall, but travelling the world and making new friends was great. Then again, taking that line, I should have done World Superbikes!

MCN: Clear the myth for us. Is riding a 500 GP bike really that much harder than a superbike?

JohnReynolds: The bikes that i rode were, yeah. I kept losing the front end on it I think the GP bikes now are a lot closer to superbikes than they were when I was there. They used to be very "all or nothing" but now the power is a lot more evenly spread

MCN: What is your No.1 tip for anyone wanting to take up racing?

JohnReynolds: Well have shed-loads of money to start with. Don't go out and buy a flash bike straight away and race something that you can afford to maintain. Always have good tyres on the bike, and have a theory of which way you want to be heading, whether it's GPs WSB, or just to go out and enjoy it and keep your feet on the floor

MCN: Is your 996 identical to Hizzy's? Are we witnessing a competition based purely on set-up and rider skill?

JohnReynolds: Yeah. I’d say so the bikes that we have are pretty much identical. It just seems to be whoever gets the bikes set up better on the day, and if you look at the racing it's neck and neck all the way. Fortunately for the set-up, I`m surrounded by a fantastic team, so if something does go a little wrong, someone will always spot it straight away.

JohnReynolds: He half got the job with Kawasaki this year and then lost it. It's a disappointment for me cos I really rate him as a rider and he will have a ride next year, I’m sure of it

MCN: Do you think that a replica bike is on its way for you as it has been for Foggy, Rossi, etc?

JohnReynolds: Nah, I don't think there will be. They did a limited edition Red Bull bike but to be honest I don't think red Bull would let them do it

MCN: Who would you put (from Britain) on a new 500 GP four stroke?

JohnReynolds: Probably Walker, Hodgson, Reynolds or Hislop. I think we're all pretty much of an equal.

MCN: Any chance it could happen?

JohnReynolds: I’m sure it could happen, but the trouble is at the moment there are a lot of GP riders that could ride four-strokes as well, and there won't be that many bikes knocking about and spare places to fill.

MCN: John who is or was your all time hero?

JohnReynolds: Barry Sheene and Ron Haslam for the way he helped me out when i first started racing

MCN: How do you rate Rockingham?

JohnReynolds: I'm very disappointed to be honest with ya. They didn't really think about bike racing when they were designing it, and they added it as an afterthought. It's a shame they didn't ask some of the racers for some advice.

MCN: Do you think running 'twins' with the four cylinders is fair?

JohnReynolds: I don't think they'll be competitive that's my biggest problem with it that's what I think will happen in England next year

MCN: So what do you think you'll be riding next year?

JohnReynolds: Who knows. It could well be a four-cylinder Suzuki yet!

MCN: Does that mean you think the GSX-R will be the bike to be on in BSB?

JohnReynolds: Yeah, without testing it. It's looking on paper that the bike will be the thing to have. Whether it'll be agile enough, because they're struggling with ground clearance. It'll be the fastest thing in a straight line, but the ground clearance could cause a serious problem

MCN: What's your worst crash or most terrifying experience?

JohnReynolds: The worst crash would be Mallory Park coming out of Gerrard's when I broke my foot quite badly The most terrifying one was at Donington Park going down Craner Curves and being launched at 130mph

MCN: Are you a Rossi or Biaggi fan?

JohnReynolds: I’m a Rossi fan. I just like his style. He's fast and effective and he seems to love what he's doing.

MCN: Biaggi rides with front bias, could Walker have done better on that type of setup?

JohnReynolds: Who knows. I don't really know too much about what happened. I know Chris was struggling with front set-up, and him and Les altered it. He went faster and the Honda bosses made him change it back. There's nothing worse than when you want something to have someone hold you back. And when you are out there on the track, and you can see a problem on the bike, you can come in and tell the mechanics and they can fix it but they say things about "That's how Doohan had it and it was fine for him", that's just codswallop

MCN: What'll be the biggest factor in making you decide to retire, whenever that is?

JohnReynolds: Not being competitive. That'll be the only factor. I wouldn't want to waste anybody's time or money. When it does happen, I’d like to stay involved with the race team if possible. I’ve been doing this for a long time} and it's the only job I really know I am a sign-writer by trade but nowadays they don't use brushes etc anymore it's all done by computer.

JohnReynolds: Thanks a lot to everyone for coming and hope I managed to answer most of your questions I’ve got to go and get the motorhome ready for racing at the weekend

Thanks to everyone and I hope I can do well to reward you all for your support

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