20 Questions... James May

Top Gear co-presenter and self confessed Guzzi fanatic

Posted: 24 October 2007
by Mark Shippey




Top Gear co-presenter and self confessed Guzzi fanatic



What's the most embarrassing bike you lusted after in your youth?
Garelli 50cc sports moped

What's the worst motorcycle you've ever owned?
A Honda CB750 K2

What motorcycle would you ride if money (or job!) were no object?
A new California or Jap muscle bike

What's your favourite bit of road?
The old A40 between High Wycombe and Oxford. Nice scenery and a cafe called Chris's that does a 'Bacon Badger' that makes you fart horribly

What is the best thing you ever did on a motorcycle?
I rode from London to Verona on a Speed Triple to go to the opera

What is the maddest thing you ever did on a motorcycle?
I tried to re-build the electrics on a Ducati 888 after a rectifier failure. It never worked again

What's the worst thing that ever happened to you on a motorcycle?
I rode off with the disc lock on and fell off in front of a meeting of the London Cycling Group

What is the most miserable time you've had riding a bike?
Riding back to London on the 888 that broke down 'cos of wet electrics. Tried to bump it down a side road, it back-fired and snapped the chain, wrapping it round the rear sprocket. It was still pissing down so we just carried it to the side of the road and left it there. I walked home

Who's your all-time biking hero, and why?
Rocket Ron for his answer to 'What is the secret to getting in a really good lap?' Ron answered 'You gotta get it reeete over.' Rocket Ron with his big sideburns had cracked it

What would you do with your last gallon of fuel?
Set fire to the DfT

What motorcycle did you first do 100mph on?
CB500 twin on the A40, and I was very frightened

What's the fastest you've ridden?
I saw 125mph then bottled it

What's your pet hate in motorcycling?
Bike sectarianism. It's better if bikers just stick together

What's the most you'd spend privately on a bike?
£10,000 if it was really fantastic

What's the one piece of essential equipment you need on your bike?
Sat nav. And more bikes need clocks

Two-stroke or four-stroke? Why?
Four-stroke. Two-strokes are fun but they nip up, so terrify me

What achievement by a rival are you most envious of?
Richard Hammond getting the cylinder head of his 1150GS down.

What are the trends in your field that are just below the horizon?
In cars, a renewed interest in comfort and style over substance. In Top Gear I'm afraid still no bike as I can't persuade Clarkson or the editor we should do it

If you could switch careers, what would you like to do?
Airline pilot or surgeon

How much are you paid, and are you worth it?
I'm paid reasonably well considering most of the time I'm just having fun, so too much and no is the answer


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