Interview: McWilliams on racing an XR1200

Published: 16 July 2010

MCN catches up with former MotoGP man Jeremy McWilliams as he leads the Henderson Harley Davidson XR1200 Trophy....

How is the racing and the season going so far?
To be honest it’s going a lot better than expected. I was unsure at first, it’s a very different bike, new series and all but I’m enjoying it. The team (War’s Harley Davidson) are really committed and professional. We’ve had a test schedule, we got lots of testing done and we seemed to have found a base setting now which seems to work. It’s great to back with BSB and the series is getting some great coverage on the TV.   
Your thoughts on the last round being cancelled due to the bad weather?
We were really up for Knockhill, the team everyone and I like going up there - nice people and a good track. But the weather was a nightmare; there was no way we were going to race without wets. It’s something the series organisers should maybe have looked at because those bikes in the wet on road tyres.. well it was just luck if you stay on.
And how is the bike working, are you impressed with the Harley Race bike?
You have to remember what it is, 235kg Harley race bike! Considering the weight and what it started out as it’s not bad at all really, a surprise. I imagined it to be awful but it’s turned out to be much more fun than I thought it would be. Everyone who has ridden one including you, has had fun. Ground clearance is a little bit of an issue, but really it’s surprising and fun to ride, racing is close too.
So what is the key to a fast lap?
We have a good set up, we work hard with the team, and we already know when we get to a track we are almost there. I have had to change my style a little but it's not too different from a Superstock race bike or road bike. You don’t want to have it on its side for ages, and the less input the better. If you jump around on the thing it starts to weave and move around, you have to be smooth, that’s the key. But as I say, it's much better than I thought it would be.