| TT Website Interviews -
||David Jefferies is THE number one TT rider. Six wins in the last two
years, plus the absolute course record at over 125mph are testament to the
awesome force that is the Jefferies / V&M Yamaha combination.
It looked as though the big Yorkshire man was going to
miss this years TT in favour of a British Superbike campaign, however, to the
delight of TT fans everywhere, the deal didn't come to light, and Jefferies
will be back in 2001.
We spoke to him from his home in Yorkshire
about last season and his thoughts on what is to come.
David, I would like to talk to
you about last season first if I may? It was another great year and you must
have been delighted with how it went?
Yeah for sure. We changed the bike a bit from 99 to make it
better, and as we proved it did make the bike better because we went quicker.
To do the time we did on the Monday night practice at 124mph or something
without really trying surprised me.
A lot of people ran out of practice
last year, but by Wednesday I'd got about 18 laps under my belt. Every session
I was out as often as I could on as many bikes as I could. The whole TT went
absolutely perfect; we had no problems with anything apart from my bike blowing
up in the Formula One.
At the North West Michael rode better than I did,
which is fair enough and in the UK I was really surprised with how it went.
Half way through the championship, I thought it was going to be really
difficult to win, then Matt fell off at Mallory, which basically gave me the
You managed to achieve the first
ever 125mph lap on the TT Mountain course whilst looking like you were cruising
in places and waving to the crowd. Was it as easy as it looked, and how much
did it mean to you?
I must admit, I wasn't pushing it that hard. I think I did it
to try and show myself what I could do, but I wasn't pushing and pushing to the
limits. I just enjoyed myself. The thing I did more than anything was
concentrate really hard.
I never set out to do 125mph, but it's nice to
be the first person to do it and stuff but it wasn't my ultimate goal in the
race. I knew I had a big lead, and I had lost all my tear offs. I used two of
them on the first lap and rode the next four laps with one on which I left
until the Nook on lap five. Then I thought, riding within my limits, what sort
of speed you can do here and that was it.
there more left? Can you go even quicker?
I don't know. With the Isle of Man, you treat it with the
respect it deserves and in the end of the day that's what I do. I ride at a
speed I feel comfortable with.
You managed to
record your second 'triple' at the TT in consecutive years but you were broke
down in the Formula One race which was by Joey Dunlop? Do you think you could
have caught him?
End of story?
Yeah. I think I would of, but putting this on the TT Website,
a load of Joey fans will read it and say that Joey would have one it, and
everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I didn't, he did and he was the
better man on the day. But it's all hypothetical, but yes, I do think I would
have beaten him.
It's not fair to talk too much
about Joey in what is your interview, but I personally would be very interested
to know about your relationship with him, and what his passing will mean to the
sport and primarily the TT?
Well I think I know you better than I know him, and we've
only spoken a couple of times.
Yeah. If you totalled up all the times I've spoken to him and
said hello it would come to about four minutes. He was a very shy sort of guy
and I think he looked at me as the young, new, idiot.
Even his friends
who knew him well, he was quite around, so someone who turned up and started
doing what I did he wasn't going to be my best friend. He wasn't that sort of
person. I respected him as a rider of course. I personally think the Joey
'thing' should be left alone now
He was an amazing rider and the sport is going to miss him,
but I don't think that the tribute stuff needs dragging out.
this season, you were set to miss the TT and concentrate on the British
Superbike Championship with Team O2+. As we know by now, the deal didn't
actually materialise. Are you disappointed that it didn't happen as
Very disappointed. The problem is now, that I've got a tag as
a Road Racer. Yes I am a Road Racer, but I've won the British Superstock
Championship against some pretty handy riders. I can ride on short circuits as
well and I would like to be given the chance to show it on a competitive
Superbike. But I'm going to have to wait for it.
You have teamed up with V&M Racing once more for this
season. Other than the TT, what is the rest of your agenda for this
The North West again and we are doing a full British
Championship in the Superstock Class.
about the Ulster?
As far as I know we are, as long as it doesn't clash with
anything else. We will definitely be at Macau which I love, because it's great
to go and relax and have a race with all your mates who you see all year but in
a much more relaxed atmosphere.
At the TT, who do
you sight as your main rivals at this years event?
If Jim Moodie gets something sorted he'll be a threat, if
Michael Rutter gets something, he'll be a threat, John McGuinness, Adrian
Archibald on the Honda's could be a threat. There are loads of people who could
be a threat, and it just depends how they go on the day.
You must be fairly confident though?
I know our package is right, and this is going to sound daft,
but I now think I know where I'm going. Even last year I was still learning
stuff on the last lap of the Senior. I don't get too cocky, but looking at
facts, I know what I can do.
Are there any riders on the
horizon you have noticed?
I was talking about this to John McGuinness, and there
isn't, which is something that needs to be looked at. There aren't many good
young riders coming through to do the TT. I haven't got all the answers, don't
get me wrong, but it is a worry.
Your uncle Nick
told me that he thinks you will grow bored with the TT soon and move on. Is
that the likely outcome?
Well if you want to know what I think ask me and not my
uncle. But everyone is entitled to there own opinion but I enjoy the TT. When I
thought I wasn't doing it, I was looking at the monitors at the bike shows
showing the TT and I was thinking, damn, I'm not going there.
very well Nick saying that, but his career is finished and he shouldn't be
going back to the Isle of Man and I've told him that and he still thinks I'm
stupid (laughs) but I'm in the middle of my career. You've got Chris Walker
going to Grand Prix now and I'm at the point were I can be offered a Superbike
ride to prove what I can do.
It all depends where your goals lie, and
without trying to sound cocky, with the TT, I've been there and done that. I've
won every class I've entered and I'm the fastest man round there, so if I get
the opportunity to ride for a top British Superbike team who insist that I miss
the TT, it will be a bitter pill to swallow, but I think I would do it.
if I hadn't won any TT's it might be a different matter.
Speaking of Nick, I remember seeing you following him in
practice quite a lot, when you first came to the TT. How useful was his help
when you were learning the circuit?
I didn't follow him that much really. It's a big
responsibility when you are doing that, and you are always looking behind and
that, and you have to learn your own way round really.
different lines. I've spoken to Hislop, and at Hilbray, he's got a completely
different line to me. His line frightens the shit out of me. There's no way I
would come out of there that wide, but that's his line and that's the way he
With the Isle of Man, my theory is that you have got to learn it
yourself. Just take your time. I did follow him a few times to learn the quick
bits, but apart from that, I've learnt most of it myself.
You come from a very bike
orientated family and I know your whole family get involved with your racing.
How important is it, to have that family atmosphere with you at the
It's really nice to have the support of my family. There are
so many people who go racing because their dad won't let them have a bike or
something, which is hard work, so I'm fortunate to have that support and I
really do enjoy it.
My dad's my manager; my mum and my sister are my
biggest fans, so it's really good.
Going back to
the TT, the event and the organisation in particular has taken a lot of
criticism of late. Are there any changes you would like to see made at the
It is difficult for me to say without getting
very controversial, but I think certain decisions made last year when certain
races were run in conditions they shouldn't have been run in. That needs to be
The other thing is that their rules need to be brought into
line with the rest of the world.
Superstock and Supersport rules
Yeah that's right. We are running a Superstock bike all year,
but for the TT Proddy race, we have to take time out and build a separate bike
with indicators and a horn and this kind of thing! It puts a lot of people off.
I think it needs modernising a bit.
The TT is steeped in a lot of
tradition from years ago. We've moved onto the next century, and I think they
could do with doing it as well.
How do you see the future
of the TT?
We have got to make sure we don't have another year like last
year. I've always said that some of the races in Ireland are dangerous. Yes all
Road Racing is dangerous, but you do the best you can to make it as safe as you
can, but I think some of the races they are doing in Ireland on bikes that are
capable of doing nearly 200mph down roads use by farmers is just a little bit
They have got to try and implement as many safety precautions as
they can without ruining the atmosphere of the sport.
This is a question from a friend of mine called Myles, he would
like to know which is your favourite part of the Mountain Circuit to ride?
The Mountain. Start to finish. Yeah.
Finally what is your ultimate long-term ambition in your career
as a Motorcycle Racer?
To be British Champion on a Superbike I think. And then move
on to World Championship competition. I want to show people who say he's too
big, he's too this, he's too that what I can do with a competitive team who
want to work with me.
I'm not just a Road Racer, and my size doesn't
matter. I've proved what I can do on the circuits, but I just want the chance
to prove what I can do properly.
Well it's been
great to talk to you, and I'm really glad that you're coming back to the TT.
All the best for the season.
No problem. Cheers Paul.