20 Questions: Mark Wilsmore

Mark Wilsmore, managing director of the legendary Ace Cafe on the North Circular in London, chats over a brew

Mark Wilsmore, managing director of the legendary Ace Cafe on the North Circular in London, chats over a brew

1. If you were a bike what would you be?

A GSX-R1127 in a featherbed frame, short Manx polished ally tank, monoshock and USD forks

2. Describe yourself in one word


3. What's the most embarrassing bike you ever lusted over?

Norton F1 Rotary

 4. What were you riding when you first topped 100mph?

Yamaha RD250. My first bike, followed by my first hospital stay!

5. What should the speed limit be on a clear and empty motorway?

No limit! If only...

6. What's the fastest you've ever ridden on the public highway?

Flat-out on a Honda SP-2

7. What's your favourite road?

North Circular, with California's Pacific Coast Highway second

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

A fool and his money and all that! Whatever the amount available I can very easily spend it, hence threadbare carpet and six bikes...

9. Who do you admire in biking?

John Bloor

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

Set a new lap record at the TT

11. What bikes would you own if money were no object?

GSX-R Harris, Brough, new MV Ago, Vincent... The list is endless

12. What's the maddest thing you have ever done on a bike?

Riding a Suzuki off-roader at speed off a 30-foot escarpment without checking the landing area. The front wheel dropped into a hole, I broke my collar bone

13. Have you ever spent a night in jail?

As an ex-cop I can say yes - and I had the keys!

14. What's on the horizon in your field of work?

We've just got planning consent to bring the roof into use as a terrace

15. What are you reading at the moment?

They Called It Passchendaele by Lyn Macdonald

16. What's your proudest achievement?

Seeing so many people enjoying the re-opened Ace

17. Do motorcycles inform your work and, if so, in what way?

Yes they do. The cafe is like a bike - you have to continually check it and be aware of what's going on around it to get the most enjoyment from it

18. If you could switch careers what would you do?

Teach history to 14-16-year-olds

19. Are you paid enough?

No, but who is?

20. What would you like your epitaph to be?

He tried