We caught up with This Is England actor Andrew Shim to talk MotoGP, his passion for racing and Honda's troubles at the TT.
Hi Andrew, you alright?
"Hi dude, yeah spot on, I've just been changing a tyre, just sat in the paddock at the minute. How are you?"
I'm good thanks, you're at Cadwell today?
"Yeah, I'm here all weekend and I've been here since yesterday."
What are you doing at Cadwell?
"I'm doing the No Limits race series this weekend."
You're doing a lot of stuff for No Limits recently.
"I kind of help them out with a few bits and bobs and in return race with them so it's all good."
Have you been racing your GSX-R750?
"No I'm on the Gixxer Thou, I still use the 750 though as a wet bike, but at the moment I'm on the Thou and we've been blessed with some half decent weather so far."
It's lovely here as well today.
"Wicked. Whereabouts are you?"
In Peterborough, so not too far from Cadwell.
"Yeah it's lovely, hopefully it lasts until Sunday!"
How have the sessions been this morning?
"Not too bad, not too bad. I'm comfy on the bike, happy on the bike. I just need to find the throttle a little bit more and open it up but other than that we're doing well."
You've been putting some good times in?
"Yeah, not too bad. We'll know tomorrow when it's qualifying where I'm actually at. When you're out in a group of 30 to 40 riders you don't know your pace exactly. You might think it's a good time but compared to everybody else it's not."
How have your races been going so far?
"They've been going well. I was racing the 750 at first and now I'm on the 1000 and they've been going really well. I've had quite a few top 10 finishes, which is good on this grid, the Cup 1000s because it's a packed grid of 40 bikes every race."
That sounds like it would be a battle if you don't start well.
"Yeah definitely. Luckily my starts are always good so even if I don't qualify right up there I get off to a flyer. It was obviously difficult on the 750 against the 1000s but now I'm on the big bike that's making a big difference. It's still not easy because you have to set the bike up properly which is taking a bit of time."
Are you doing it all yourself?
"Yeah it's just me in the back of my Vito."
Are Maxton still teaching you about suspension?
"Yeah. I was riding the 1000 with standard suspension and they've just put a rear shock in which is working awesome. I was struggling a little bit yesterday because it changed the ride height, which made the bike not want to steer properly. It just took a quick call to Rich at Maxton and then five minutes of adjusting and today it feels loads better."
What result are you hoping for this weekend?
"Top 10 is my target because there are some really fast guys here and Cadwell is one of those awkward places where it's hard to pass. You need to get away quick because it's so narrow. If you do come up behind someone you have to get through straight away otherwise it will mess the whole lap up. It's gonna be an interesting one. But a few top 10s will be happy days but that might change, after qualifying I might be saying 'Yeah, top 20 would be great!'"
Clay Hill at Oulton Park is your favourite corner, is that right?
So do you tend to prefer the more old school circuits like Cadwell and Oulton?
"Yeah, definitely. Silverstone is at the bottom of my list, it's just featureless."
Featureless is the word I'd use to describe it. It's just flat.
"Yeah it's like that for spectators as well. Places like Cadwell are brilliant, but Cadwell's probably not one of my favourite circuits because it's just so narrow and there's not a lot of margin for error. I do prefer tracks that are more shaped by nature rather than by a Mac or a laptop."
You've been doing a lot of racing this year, you also raced with the BMB.
"Yeah the BMB, that was brilliant. Probably some of the toughest racing I've ever encountered to be honest. Even though you're only doing about 40mph it's so competitive and so close and everyone takes it so seriously. And rightly so, the talent in that paddock is the future stars of racing really."
Absolutely, and there's people that have dropped down from the BSB paddock.
"Yeah. Chloe Jones she's awesome. And a lad called Ryan Frost. They are going to be superstars in the future, I guarantee it and they're racing round go kart tracks at the moment. You can think it's not that hard but when you get out there with them it's so so difficult. After eight laps racing my GSX-R I'm thinking 'God, I wish they'd put the flag out,' and it's exactly the same on one of those little bikes."
It's completely relentless. There are no long straights to rest it's just corner after corner.
"And the racing is as ruthless as I've ever experienced. Some of the moves that they put on you, if somebody did it to you at Donington you'd want to go and find them in the paddock and say 'What the hell are you doing?!' Somehow they make room where I thought there was no room and that's how they race.
There was one guy I tried to overtake maybe 10 times in a 12 lap race and I'd say eight of those attempts would have worked any time on a bigger bike, you know, they would have just allowed you to go because you were passed, but this guy just acted like I wasn't there and went for the apex. You learn a lot racing with them and it's a really well run series as well. Hence the reason why you see people like Billy McConnell and Lee Jackson there. It's awesome, absolutely brilliant. I can't wait to do another one."
Do you prefer that or the bigger bikes?
"I don't prefer either to be honest. As long as it's got an engine and a couple of wheels I'll race it. I don't really have any kind of preference. The speed doesn't really matter, it's more the competition side. I could be racing bloody Tonka toys and I'd still want to win!"
So you'll return to the mini bikes this year?
"I would have liked to have done the Whilton Mill round last week but unfortunately I was a little bit busy, but yeah. Maybe the last round or one more round before the end of the year."
They've got an endurance round coming up next month
"Yeah, Billy actually mentioned that to me and asked me if I'd be up for it. That was obviously before he bust himself up at Thruxton but I'd be interested in doing that. I did the 1000cc endurance with No Limits the other week."
How was that?
"That was hard, there's no doubt about that. We were plagued with bad luck. I didn't know the guys I was racing with because somebody dropped out of their team so I joined them. It was a three man team. We went out for qualifying and they take the fastest time out of the team for your starting position. My time would have qualified us 14th but one of the other guys had an issue with his bike overheating and didn't complete all three laps so they stuck us at the back. So I think we started in 44th."
"I know! So I went out and did the first stint, you know with the running across the track, and I got us up to 18th and fifth in our class, but then the guy who was having problems in qualifying went out. We though we'd sorted the bike and he went out and his bloody gearbox went on the first lap so that it started to go downhill straight away. He had to run back bless him from the back straight at Donington with the transponder so the next rider could go out. We kind of plugged away. We were down to two riders but we thought we could do it but the other bike had problems as well, it kept leaking water. So on a couple of occasions I would fill up, go out and use the full tank which is about 23 laps, come back in, re-fill and go straight back out again. It took its toll on me."
I'm not surprised.
"We worked out that between us we'd do about 85/90 laps if everything went smoothly but by about halfway I'd done about 100 laps so I thought to myself 'this is just ridiculous'. It was just putting miles on the engine and wearing myself. For the safety of everyone else as well I thought it was just better if I threw the towel in so we retired just after half way."
How long was the race?
"It was an eight hour race and I think I did something like 107 laps. I was gutted not to finish but I was happy. Even in my last stint I was still doing the same times I was doing at the beginning. I was doing like a 1m40. Obviously not friggin' fast at BSB level but club level that's a decent time."
Sticking with racing, did you watch the latest MotoGP?
"Yeah, of course, it was awesome. Brilliant. A really good race."
Do you think Rossi still has a chance?
He's 20-something points behind I think.
"24 points. When he was riding with his team-mate. What's his team-mate's name again?"
"Yeah. When he was riding with Vinales and he crashed everyone thought the championship was over, but the championship can change in one round and there's been bigger gaps at this point, you know we're only just over half way and there's been bigger point deficits in championships before and people have still own. The thing is as well there's been bigger point deficits when it's just been two riders who could win, but this year there's four or five that can win, so Rossi's in that mix. All it takes is one DNF, Rossi to be on the podium. Next thing you know he's second in the championship. He can go from where he is no, right up to first ro second in literally one race. It's one of the closest championships yet."
Definitely. It looked early on like Vinales might run away with it but then he had a couple of bad results.
"That's the thing, everyone was like 'Vinales is gonna win it, 100%' and then all it takes is a little bit of bad luck. Experience goes a long way and that's one thing Rossi has. He might not have age on his side and I don't think he has outright speed over any of his rivals, but he's got a wealth of knowledge. I tell you who really impressed me; Marquez. Apparently, so his mum said anyway. I don't know who the hell spoke to his mum. He set off on wets and very quickly dropped back, like lost five spots straight away and the commentators thought maybe his tyres had gone or he had a problem. He came in, changed and annihilated everybody. His mum said, apparently, that was all intentional so his rivals wouldn't see when he went in. Obviously if he pulled in when he was in first everybody would have followed. If that is the case that is so f*****g smart."
Yeah, incredibly clever but it could have backfired.
"Oh yeah, massively, but he's the boy!"
I don't know if you've sen the news Jack Miller has been announced at Pramac for next year.
"Has he?! Do you know what's happening with Scott Redding?"
I don't, no, but that kind of leaves Redding out in the cold. (We now believe Redding will replace Sam Lowes at Aprilia.)
"Yeah, so at the moment that means Redding's without a ride?"
That's what it looks like, yeah.
"S**t. Looks like a move to World Superbikes then."
Do you think?
"Unfortunately the industry is so cut throat. You could be the coolest, soundest, best looking rider, but it doesn't mean anything if you're not getting the results. I'd love to see Redding stay in MotoGP because he's a real character and I get on well with him but unfortunately he's been plagued with bad luck. Probably some it is down to him but you can't always have just bad luck. When you mix mistakes with a fistful of bad luck as well it looks bad. There's so many keyboard warriors out there who claim to know but you never know until you've been there. I'm happy obviously for Jack Miller, I've met him a few times and I like him as well, but I'll be gutted if Redding hasn't got a ride."
I'm sure he'll find something, he's got bags of ability.
"Yeah, he's really open about it as well. I read an interview recently where he said he'd take anything he could get. If he does take some time out then I think with short racing you can do that and come back and still be on fire. Whereas with roads I don't think you can. Look at Guy Martin. I know Honda had a shocking time. But I think even if he was on the Suzuki or another bike I don't think he would have done very well. I think you have to stay in that zone for road racing."
You spent some time with John McGuinness at last year's TT, filming him. What are your thought on Honda's year after getting to know John so well?
"It's hard to say without potentially really pissing somebody off but I just can't get my head around - and I have to stress it's way above my pay grade, if you like - how a manufacturer can have a bike that works so well for so long and then bring a bike out that everyone's been waiting for - people like John as well - for years when everything else is evolving, and they brought a bike out that just didn't work. I don't know, it's a strange one."
I think if things aren't spot on with a bike they'll be found out at the TT. Look at Michael Dunlop on the Yamaha the other year - he switched back to BMW.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm gutted for Honda. Gutted for John. I'd love to see hime come back. I think he will but I don't know if it will be on a superbike. Maybe it will be back on the Mugen or a 600, but I don't think he's done. I watched the first superbike race with him at Ago's Leap and he just kept saying 'F**k I wish I was out there.' He said it so many times."
Have you ridden the new Blade for your Youtube channel?
"No. I was meant to but the weather's been shocking so I didn't bother. I should have one maybe next week to test. This new Suzuki is something else though."
You're a big fan?
"Oh yeah, it's awesome. It's way better than I am, that's for sure."
Is it the R version?
"No just the standard but it's got all the bits and bobs put on it. It's good, real, real good."
They're nice on the road as well, they have a strong mid range.
"Yeah, definitely dude."
Unfortunately with the final track session of the day just minutes away Andrew had to get his leathers back on and get back out on the bike, and although he could talk about bikes all day, we had to end the conversation there.
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