IN summer 2011, Colin Edwards invited us, Hello-style, into his glamorous motorhome. So crack open a Kronenbourg and sink into one of the luxury leather sofas of his 14 metre long gin palace
he sun is shining on the wooded French countryside: Colin’s Castle gleams and twinkles. It’s a Holiday Rambler, 14 metres long and very shiny. It may be 11 years old with 125,000 miles on its 500-horsepower Cummins turbo-diesel motor, “but it still looks current”, says the proud owner, as he looks along the line of similar vehicles in the MotoGP-class motorhome paddock at Le Mans.
Colin had met me and the photographer on the doorstep. “This interview’s a bit different,” I told him, as we sank into the leather sofas within. “In the style of a celeb mag. ‘Colin welcomes our readers into his castle,’ is what we’re looking for.”
“Well,” replies the veteran racer, double World Superbike champ, Yamaha factory favourite and one-time team-mate to Rossi. “You’d better have one of these then.”
He pulls four cans of Kronenbourg out of the well-stocked fridge-freezer, conveniently placed just arm’s reach away: one each for us three, one for his driver Paul.
“Do you know how many riders share a beer with you when you interview them?” I asked.
“Yup,” he replied, in fluent Texan. “One. It’s because there ain’t no rock star riders no more.”
So how does the last of the rock stars live?
This motorhome, and its predecessor, have gone through all the phases: honeymoon suite; grand European tour bus; family living space and crèche, to its present role – an all-male weekend hideaway something akin to a fishing hut. Colin and driver Paul stay in it over race weekend, and Colin flies back home to Texas as soon as possible. Quite apart from wife Alyssia and his two kids Gracie (7) and son Hayes (4), he is overseeing his new Texas Tornado Boot Camp – surely the only motorcycle facility in the world that offers drive-by shooting practice as part of the entertainment.
“At the track, it’s my home away from home. Not many people actually come in here. Luckily Paul keeps it halfway clean – don’t tell his wife. He picks up after me, and she picks up after him.”
Back in the day, it was also a major party centre. Edwards happily recounts times when riders didn’t all rush off to the airport as soon as possible, but would stay in the paddock after the race.
“Last year at Valencia after the race we had a humungous party, with a couple of world cycling stars – but it is so lame compared with early Superbike days. We partied every weekend. When the race was done, nobody had to go anywhere – we were all staying the night. So we’d stay there and get wasted, and Gobert would knock out his girlfriend or something. There was always some drama. There was never any narcotics involved: just tequila and beer and vodka.
“We don’t weigh a lot, most of us riders, and most of us aren’t hard-core in the bar every day drinking a ten-pack. So... a few beers and you’re looped.
“I remember, I think it was 1998, there wasn’t a weekend went by that you woke up and remembered what happened the night before. That doesn’t happen here. Everyone has early flights the next day.
“I wouldn’t call it more professional: the word I would use, it’s more ‘business’. You come here, you do your shit, and you roll. It used to be you lived in the motorhome, you were going to wake up the next morning and drive it to the next place.”
When it was just him and Alyssia, they enjoyed the touring. And also when Gracie was born. “We just dragged her ass everywhere with us – three months old and we just took her to Europe. It was easy.”
Favourite drive? “Yeah. I used to like going from Strasbourg in France to Milan. We’d go through Switzerland across the Alps – through the tunnel, not the pass. Nice scenery.”
Colin quit driving it in 2003, after signing for the Gresini Honda team, based at Misano. “We leased a house about two kilometres from Valentino’s place, and kinda operated out of Italy.” But as the children grew and education became an issue, “we decided I might as well fly home.”
The motorhome is luxuriously equipped. Up front is the living area, where Colin likes to lounge, watching something on the big plasma-screen TV. The Dog Whisperer is his favourite programme, he insists. The front seats rotate to join the party; on the other end is a kitchenette, with a fridge-freezer opposite.
At the back, the master-bedroom, with en-suite shower and toilet. This being Colin Edwards, the inevitable question arises.
“Do you have sex before the race?” He answers with enthusiasm.
“I had someone ask me that at Laguna in ’99. And generally before that... no. Because it’s energy you’re burning up, or whatever.
“So I said: ‘Next race, Brands Hatch, we’ll go there and put this theory at rest.’ So we did that, me and my wife, and the next day I did the double. Won both races.
“I thought: ‘Shit – I’ve been missing all this fun for the last three years ...’ That is the honest truth.”
Words Michael Scott Photos Gold & Goose