Mike, on one. Action shot by Kees Siroo
Back in about '97 I think it was, when I was 15 (sorry, Mike), I picked up a copy of Performance Bikes; I bought it for the launch report of Suzuki's TL1000s. I'm pretty sure in this issue there was also a sportsbike test in France, I read every page. One of the guys in the sportsbike test was a guy called Mike Edwards, Mike already had the British Supersport 600 Championship under his belt, and he'd won the Macau GP too, but it was the first time I'd heard of him.
This was an era where PB's road tests were flooded with racers like Ronnie Smith and their opinions were like gold dust to me. I went by every word of Mike's opinions on a bike he'd just ridden. Even though I hadn't yet one, I might add. I hadn't yet discovered the internet either and satisfied my thirst for bike knowledge by reading every bike magazine going. I sold cigarettes and beers to younger years for a healthy profit to fund my bike magazine craving.
I saw Mike in a couple of road tests afterwards but in the era of the two late greats: Ronnie Smith and Gus Scott, no-one else really got a look in.
A few years on, I found myself 'in control' of the rapidly expanding monster that is Visordown and one day I got an email from Mike Edwards. At first I never twigged who it was, but I clicked onto his website: www.no1bloke.biz and realised it was that Mike, the same one I'd first seen in PB all those years ago.
Mike cool and calm before a Euro Supermono race..
So, this being a funny old world, it seems surreal that I ended up working for Performance Bikes, employed by Simon Hargreaves - the guy who wrote that TL1000s launch report I was so keen to read all those years ago. And what bike do I now ride? That's right, a TL1000s..
Si Hargreaves on that TL1000s launch. Note Oxbow sticker below Arai. It's been scientifically proven that Oxbow was never cool..
But it seems even stranger that I had an email from a guy who was an idol of mine. Since that issue of PB back in '97, Mike's been a busy guy. Mike's the only Briton to have won the Imola 200 since Paul Smart, he's raced in World Endurance, European Supermono, KRC Endurance, won the SS600 at the NW200 - he's an official ACU coach and instructs on Racedays Academies. You name it, Mike's done it.
So where does Visordown come into this?
This year, Mike's been competing in the European Supermono Championship, winning at Assen and Nurburgring. On a personal level, it brought a huge smile to my face to see visordown.com stickers on the side of Mike's bike, as he wrestled it around Assen for the final round, but unfortunately, a misfire that had been plaguing the bike for a few rounds rear its ugly head again ands caused Mike to retire, forfeiting possible championship victory.
Oi, Mike! Don't go scraping that visordown.com sticker now..
But, one thing that brought a bigger smile to my face was watching one of many of Mike's videos on Google. I've picked out a classic for you. It's Mike at Ledenon in France, on a stock GSX-R750 in what's called the 'Crazy Old Man' race, a race you can only enter when you're over, ahem, 40. Mike battles it out against Swiss rider Peter Huber. Peter's on a GSX-R1000 with slicks. If you want to see just how fast a GSX-R750 can go, you ought to check it out.
If you go on a Hottrax or Racedays Academy, chances are you'll meet Mike and he'll show you the fast way round, just like he did to that guy on the GSX-R1000!
I'm sure everyone on Visordown with join me in wishing Mike the best of luck for the up and coming season.