Racing at Pikes Peak opened my eyes. It made me realise there is more to motorbike racing that what I was doing. I’m going into my 13th season of road racing and I want to do different stuff. I love motorbikes, but I sometimes forget it. People might think it’s cheesy to say ‘I just want to ride my motorbike,’ but I do.
Everything about Pikes Peak is different. You have to get up at half-past-two in the morning to practice and it’s finished by nine, in time for breakfast.
Then there’s the altitude that does strange things to the fuelling of the bikes. And you only have one timed run at the 12-mile course during the whole week and that’s the one that counts. For the rest of the time you’re practicing on a different section every morning.
I could have raced my Suzuki TT bike and gone well, but it’s an oddball race and I wanted to take an oddball bike.
You can run whatever you like, so I chose to race my Martek, with its turbocharged Suzuki GSX-R1277 engine.
I’d owned the bike for years, but it was in a thousand bits. Racing it in America made me get my finger out and finish it. I’m glad I did, because Pikes Peak is the best thing I’ve ever done in motorbiking.