For many Silverstone is regarded as a car circuit, operated by car people, but in reality, that is far from the case. MD, Stuart Pringle has been riding bikes for 25 years and his adventures include some epic travels including a BMW K75 across America an annual pilgrimage to the Le Mans 24 hour on a Ducati Multistrada and even a touring holiday around Bosnia, two-up on a Honda NTV650...when the war was on!
MCN caught-up with him ahead of the forthcoming MotoGP race at the British circuit.
What are you currently riding?
My current bike is a 1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. I’ve also got a 1971 Laverda 750 twin. And I’m hoping sometime soon to get a 1927 Sunbeam model nine.
Which living motorcyclist do you most admire?
It’s very difficult for me to choose between Valentino Rossi and John McGuinness. But if I had to choose one it would be McGuinness.
What’s your worst riding habit?
My worst habit is the fact that I don’t ride enough!
If you could have one riding super skill, what would it be?
I’d like to have the confidence to commit into corners, but I don’t ride enough to build it up. When I used to ride more I would find that by the end of the summer I would be much more confident, but starting the following year I always felt rusty.
What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?
I did an indicated 165mph on the Autobahn on the way back from a WSB race in 1998. It was on a 1200 Suzuki Bandit so it shouldn’t have done 165! But it was a long downhill stretch and I was trying to keep up with my mate on a Kawasaki ZX-9R. I was hanging on – that’s for sure.
When were you last scared on a bike?
When I was in Misano for MotoGP. I was on the way to the circuit, it was p***ing down with rain and I was filtering on a Ducati Supersport S, when a car just pulled out straight in front of me. I braked as hard as I could, the ABS was incredible and somehow I stopped a couple of centimetres away from his door.
How many miles have you done in the last year?
Embarrassingly 100s rather than 1000s
What’s the highest mileage you’ve covered in one day?
My biggest day is just over 600 miles on a trip back from Europe
What irritates you most on a bike?
It’s a combination of British road surfaces, badly kept, high hedges which reduce visibility. But the biggest one is the general disinterest towards motorcycling by the British car driving public compared to the continent.
When I was doing over 10,000 miles a year on a bike I was living on the continent where the road surfaces were better, people were more into bikes and mobile phones hadn’t been invented! Compared to that I find the UK roads a rather hostile environment.
You’ve got two weeks off: where are you going?
I’d get the ferry down to Spain, have a great ride through the middle, come back up to the Pyrenees go across the Alps, down into Italy, back across the Alps, into Germany and then back home.
I once went to Bosnia on a NTV650 in 1993 when the war was on. I got as close to the fighting as was reasonably possible. It was a great trip, because the roads were empty especially on the coast because there weren’t many other holiday makers there!
Got one pearl of wisdom for new riders?
Come and do a Silverstone track day where you get top-level training, which will improve your riding on the track and on the road!
Ever fallen off in a car park (or somewhere equally embarrassing)?
Everybody has fallen off in a car park, haven’t they? It’s actually my pleasure to say that I haven’t ever fallen off anywhere other than a car park.
Do you have one indispensable item of kit?
I have a pair of Gore-Tex socks – which are a very underrated item.
Which four people would you invite on a Sunday blast?
The four mates I used to ride with 20 years ago. We were all living in Germany at the time and we used to ride a lot in all different countries – those were ace times.
Do you have a tool you couldn’t live without?
My swiss army knife – it’s fixed all sorts of problems.
Do you adjust your suspension?
No, I don’t.
If you could have one of your old bikes back, which would it be?
I had a Honda CB750F which I bought in America, did a touring holiday on it and then sold it back to the dealer. It was such a massive lump of a bike, but it was cool and I’d love that back.
What bike would you never buy?
That’s a difficult one as I could probably find a reason to buy most things. I could even find a reason to buy a Harley. To be honest, even though I’ve got one, I wouldn’t buy another Laverda! I thought collecting 1970’s Italian sportsbikes, would be such a great thing, but it’s actually such a disappointment.
Which road (or track) would you have built on your desert island?
This might not come as a surprise, but I would build the Silverstone GP circuit!
If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?
I would mandate everyone to ride a motorcycle and pass their bike test. It would mean they would be more observant and appreciate motorcycles more and it undoubtedly makes you a better car driver.
Fast, intermediate or novice group? I might push myself into the Intermediate group…just.
Mud or tarmac? Tarmac
Four-stroke or two-stroke? Four-stroke
Dark visor or clear? Clear
Gloves in or gloves out? Out
GPS or map? Map every time.
Dealer service or do it yourself? Dealer, but not because I’m not interested – just time.
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