Jamie Whitham Column - Nov 03

Compere work and classic racing, all in a month's work for our very own Jamie Whitham

Posted: 1 November 2003
by Jamie Whitham

Been doing a fair bit recently, as it's been the last bit of summer. I did a day out at Scott Leathers' Open Day recently. There were loads of them there - MonsterMob team, the Kangaroo Kid quad bike rider bloke, Craig Jones the stunt bloke. Jimmy Aird from Scott wanted me to compere it for the punters that were there and I had a quick chat with John McGuinness, Shakey Byrne and all them. Jimmy said: "That was excellent James, really good. Just one thing. When you ask them a question you should let people talk and allow them to answer it instead of answering it yourself."

That's my compere's job gone for a shit...

Andrea went to York races on Lady's Day at the St. Ledger meeting, and because she and the three others didn't want to drive they were going to get me to do it. But there are massive queues to get out so we asked our pal Steve Bell if we could borrow him and his helicopter. He loaned it to the girls for nowt and just asked that we paid the replacement pilot Garry for his time. So the girls left from Huddersfield International Terminal One - the grass outside my field basically - well on the way with champagne and wine. They looked immaculate setting off but it was a bit different when they came back. Pissed out their heads. Andrea came in and tipped her handbag upside down on the kitchen table. It was full of screwed up tenners and change - she'd won £350 on the last race. I asked what the name of the horse was and she said: "Hic! I dunno!" She didn't watch one race because they couldn't get her out of the Pimms and Champagne bars.

The pilot Garry was a nice, softish lad, a bit conservative it seemed and not the type of bloke who you would think would be comfortable in women's company, especially when they were all out of control drunk.

When I rang Steve Bell to say thanks for the loan of the helicopter I said to him to pass on apologies if the girls had annoyed Garry or anything. Steve said: "No! He thought they were all mad but he said it was the best day of piloting he'd ever had. If they ever want to go anywhere Garry said he'd fly them for nowt!"

My best man Roughy has decided to go racing and he went to one of our trackdays at Donington on his race-ready R6. I asked him if he had got good tyres and he said he had.

He was riding well, doing OK, then he just crashed, coming out of McLeans, just on the throttle and he lost the front end. Now that is so unusual. I asked him: "I know this is going to sound obvious but you have checked the tyre pressures?" He replied: "Errr, no..." He had 15 pounds in the front tyre instead of 32-35 pounds. So then he said: "Do you think that's it then?" I said:"Errr, YES!"

Last weekend I was down to do the commentary at Assen but it's Niall Mac's job and he could do it after all despite originally calling it off. So I was asked to go down and ride in the Goodwood Classic meeting and it really is a classic race meeting. You can't use a paddock bike unless it is pre-65.

It's mega, the best run thing of the year, all incredibly well done and you get to rub shoulders with some real heroes. I was down for the Sheene Memorial lap and I ended up doing a race on a Walmsley bike with a Molnar engine, a 1961 Manx Norton. So I got black leathers and all that. I didn't know what it would be like but Wayne Gardner goes well on his. He got me in the first race but I was learning how to go on the old bikes all the time and I got my own back in the second race. It was getting competitive enough for me to enjoy it but not silly enough to do anything daft and fall off. They are nice things to ride but you can't get too frisky with them!

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