Meet WSB Champion Colin Edwards' missus. The feisty gal from Texas may not be the tallest lady on the planet, but Alyssia Edwards packs a mean punch and keeps Colin in check no problem. But we had to ask her: how the hell can you kiss a man who chews tobacco?
Let's get down to it, darling. How can you snog a man who chews chewing tobacco? It must be bloody awful!
I hate it! Let me tell you this, when he's got that shit in his mouth there's no passionate kissing going on and it's a sexless marriage! When we first met, he was so sneaky about it he even kept his stash hidden from me for six months after we met. He used to swill his mouth out before I came around, or before he came to see me. But I got hooked on him before I found out he was a dipper.
It's what we call people who use that tobacco stuff. It's because you dip it under your lip by your gum. He's quit a couple of times but he seems to get back into it when he's had a bad race, because he knows I'm not going to rip into him then. I know who gives it to him as well. It's those suspension guys from …hlins. They get all the Swedish chewing tobacco stuff. I call them the paddock pushers...
So if you hate it so much, how come you've been together for so long?
I think the reason we've stayed together is down to the fact that Colin is just the same guy he was when we met. The nice thing is that I met him when he was just getting into his racing seriously, back in 1991. So I knew him before all this fame thing happened to him. I guess we are childhood sweethearts - I was 16 when we met. I'd just split from my last boyfriend and a mutual friend asked if there was anyone around I kinda liked. I told her that Colin was pretty cute. Eventually he asked our mutual friend about me and it went from there. Ten years later here we still are.
17 or 27 he hasn't changed at all, he still makes me laugh and that's important. The other day he was doing this dance which he called his 'sexy dance' and he looked so stupid, wiggling his ass around like crazy. I was laughing so much, I had to say, "if that's your sexy dance, I'd hate to see the un-sexy one." He's just a normal guy who thinks about sex all the time. Just like any guy anywhere.
Colin's big into golf, so have you become a golf widow?
I used to be, for a while. He'd go out all day, play golf then come home. So I'd want to watch a movie or something in the evening and then the asshole would get out a patch of Astroturf and start practising his swing. And I'd go aarrghhh!! It made me so mad! Then I decided to get into it myself. He'd say: "C'mon honey, come play golf, we need to do something together for when I retire." So I'll go play golf with him from time to time. You've got to do something together. We also do some wakeboarding and go bowling. I even tried to get into riding, a little XR100 dirt bike. I crashed into the only tree for miles around.
One thing we've just got into is rock climbing. Ben Bostrom got stuck on a mountain all night wearing nothing but shorts and a T-shirt, and Colin says, "let's go do it, it sounds great." I'm thinking, 'are you sure?' But we're trying to get into it and it is good fun.
So, if you weren't Mrs Edwards, what would you be doing?
I'd be a vet. I love animals, so does Colin. We've got three dogs at home. Every now and again I'd get a call from him, saying "Hi honey, Iove you. Erm... we've got another dog." It might be one that he's found by the road or something. We even saw a little lamb while we were climbing the other day and he wanted to bring it back to the motorhome. So yeah, I would have been a vet. It's just a shame vets get paid so crap in the US.
Has being a World Champion made either Colin or yourself a bit arrogant?
No way. We're both down to earth. At a Honda dealer opening in the UK a few days before Donington WSB, I met a couple of fans, lovely people, who were chatting to me, asking, "You're Colin Edwards' wife, what do you do at races?" So I told them what I did and where we go after the races, even where we went on honeymoon. They were listening to me talk and I was thinking, 'why are they interested in talking to me? I'm just some girl from Texas.'
Have you done loads of photoshoots like this before?
Well, I did a couple of shots topless once, but that was with Colin with his arms around me covering up my tits and we knew the photographer, so it was cool.
I was a tomboy when I was younger, so I used to run around with nothin' on my top half. Does that count? To be honest, I just don't like being the centre of attention. It must be very hard for some of the riders to cope with, I reckon.
And does Colin find it hard?
Sometimes, but he just never takes it for granted, which is part of the reason why I love him. He is always genuinely surprised when he sees the amount of interest he generates. I've seen so many people in the race business who as soon as they get famous they become assholes or treat people bad for no reason. I could understand behaviour like that if these fans were, like, in their face, but they're not. Colin's not like that.
But he must be hard to deal with after a bad race, like Sugo.
Yeah, but after Sugo he knew it wasn't his fault. Every guy on Michelins was having the same problem, so although he had a shit race, he knew he couldn't have done much about it.
But Colin's had his fair share of little tantrums, too!
Uh-huh, you're talking about NŸrburgring a couple of years back. He crashed on oil left by a Kawasaki which exploded, it was obvious but the marshals never waved a flag, I think he was one of six guys who went down so he was really pissed at that. The camera went on him and he was throwing gravel at the track and going mad at the marshals. He was also giving the camera the bird when it went on him and later he said he was "not fucking coming back to this country." Another time, I think at Monza, he'd asked Pier-Francesco Chili not to spray champagne in his eyes on the podium, then for some reason it got into his eyes and Colin just threw the bottle down and it smashed, glass everywhere. He later apologised on TV. So yeah, he can flip out.
So what do you say to him when he's like that?
I tell him to stop acting like a child and a jackass! Most of the time he's fine and you just have to be supportive after he's had a bad race. He'll come in to the motorhome, I'll help him out of his leathers and he'll sit there for about 20 minutes and then say something about the race, that's when I'll speak about it.
Sounds a bit stressful.
It's never normally stressful, but last year when he won the Championship it was. It was the whole Noriyuki Haga thing with the drug test which hung over the results for so long. I'm not into the politics of racing, but for that to carry on for so long was bad for World Superbikes. I started celebrating after the penultimate race in Germany, but Colin wouldn't until the announcement at the last race in Brands Hatch. So, we had final confirmation while sitting in the hospitality at Brands, which isn't the time and place to celebrate. I'm just glad that Colin won by enough points to leave no doubt in anyone's mind that he should have been Champ. He also got real tired last year. So many races, flying around. He wasn't the same guy, no jokes or anything like that at all. He just sat around feeling so tired. You could see his results suffer.
And what about when he crashes, how do you feel then?
Immediately I see him crash I'm thinking 'Oh my God, is he okay?' Then he gets up and I'm really pissed, thinking 'Why did you do that? We need those points, man!'
I'm not the type to be on the pit wall like Michaela was with Carl Fogarty. She's happy to do that, but I prefer to hide in the garage and watch him race.
Sounds like you get really into his racing though...
Yeah, a bit sad, huh? The other day Chris Vermeulen came past the motorhome and just made a comment to me about what a nice sunny day it was, but that it was a shame it wasn't hotter. I said to him, "No, we don't want it any hotter, the Michelin tyres don't work so well in the heat." Poor guy was only trying to pass the time of day, but my mind was on Colin's performance.
And what about the women out there who want to find out about Colin's performance?
There are always women around in this business! In the States you'd get all these busty girls in bikinis coming up to him and showing off. Hell, they'd do it even if I was standing next to him, they just didn't care! I prefer Europe as girls are less pushy over here. The American girls are just so aggressive. Hey, and you don't have the climate for the girls to flaunt what they've got so much over here!
Even since we got married Colin still gets the girls after him, though. At a function on the Thursday before Donington some girl just came up to him and grabbed his ass. I don't mind too much as long as he tells me, because when he stops telling me I need to worry, right? Besides, I can't follow him around all the time watching his every move. At the end of the day he's my best friend, so I have to trust him. I see a lot of other couples bicker and fight, but we don't do so bad, despite being cooped up like rats in a cage in the motorhome for months on end.
Not such a shabby cage, though...
Yeah, but being away from home is a pain sometimes. A couple of friends have recently had kids and they will be half-grown by the time we get to see them. Colin sees his mom about once a year. But the paddock is like a home from home.
Do you get to see the world being a WSB racer's wife, or just the inside of various race paddocks?
Well you get to eat the best food all over the world, for sure. But sometimes the customs and hand signals are hard to work out when you're in a foreign country. You know when you guys in the UK stick two fingers up at people when you're pissed off? Well, me and Colin didn't know which way around you do it, so we're sticking two fingers up in the paddock at fans who are waving to us, thinking it meant victory or somethin', and yet we had our fingers the wrong way around, so in reality we may as well have been saying "fuck you..." So if you saw us, sorry about that!