20 Questions: James Cracknell

Olympic gold medallist rower and very tall bloke

Olympic gold medallist rower and very tall bloke

1. What's the most embarrassing motorcycle you lusted after in your youth?

A Yamaha Virago.

2. What's the worst motorcycle you've ever owned?

A GSX-R1100 streetfighter. It looked nice but didn't handle at all.

3. What motorcycle would you ride if money (or job!) were no object?

I'd have a garage full. A Harley, an off-roader and a nice sportsbike.

4. What's your favourite stretch of road?

A nice stretch as you leave the M4 round the back of Henley.

5. What's the best thing you ever did on a motorcycle?

I'm going on a mad ride in Russia in a few weeks from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Overtaking people through London's congestion is the most satisfying. But I think the best experiences are yet to come.

6. What is the maddest thing you ever did on a motorcycle?

At the National Water Centre in Nottingham there's a two-metre wide strip of road. I went along it on the back of a ZX-10 at 150mph with no helmet and in T-shirt and shorts.

7. What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you on a bike?

Falling off. I had an FZR1000 and came off at a roundabout. I was all right but the bike slammed into a wall. I heard it grinding along the road and I remember thinking, 'that's gonna cost me'.

8. What do you hate in motorcycling?

People who ride white motorbikes with reflective clothing 'cos I think they're all policemen.

9. Who's your motorcycling hero?

Mick Doohan or Rossi for the awesome way they ride.

10. What motorcycle did you first do 100mph on?

Back of a ZX-10.

11. What is the most miserable time you've had riding a bike?

Riding back in the snow, freezing cold and I got stopped by the police. I had a Walkman on which they didn't like. I got out my driving licence and I hadn't signed it!

12. What would you do with your last gallon of fuel?

Use it to get to the next garage.

13. What's the fastest you've ridden?

Just over 160mph when I had an R1.

14. What's the most you'd spend privately on a bike?


15. What's the one piece of essential equipment you need on your bike?

Gloves, as I always have a fear of hurting my hands.

16. Two-stroke or four-stroke, and why?


17. What achievement by a rival are you most envious of?

Natural talent over hard work.

18. What are the trends in your field that are just below the horizon?

Less endurance training and more intensive training - short'n'hard.

19. If you could switch careers, what would you like to do?

Something with an engine for once.

20. How much are you paid, and are you worth it?

A lot of our sponsorship is bonus-related so if we win we deserve it, if we don't, we don't.