| TT Website Interviews - Ian Simpson
All pictures kindly
supplied by Bill Snelling of FoTTofinders
Ian Simpson has been there and done it all, in the
world of Motor Cycle Racing. Three TT wins, two Ulster Grand Prix wins, five
North West 200 wins plus numerous British Championship successs are just
some of the impressive statistics Ian has on his CV.
But now at the age of
31, due to a serious accident at the start of this season, the likeable Scot
has had to hang up his leathers for good.
We spoke to him from his home
in Dalbeattie and asked him to reflect over his career and asked him about that
awful accident that brought an untimely end to his career.
Ian, thank you for taking the time to speak with us first of
So thats it,
you have finished racing for good?
Aye, Im finished really because of my right leg.
Its twisted and it needs another operation to straighten it up and
its about an inch and a half shorter than my left leg as well. It would
be too hard to get the strength back into it, I mean I would still love to
race, but I always said that if I wasnt going to be quick enough,
Id give up.
Tell us about the accident. Can
you recall any details of what happened?
Aye, I can remember all right. We had a few silly problems
with the bike and Id only qualified in eleventh and I was so mad with
myself for being that far down. I started getting through them, but I could see
Jim Moodie and Kirk McArthy pulling away and I was getting really frustrated
getting held up by a couple of guys in front of me and down I went.
If you hadnt have crashed do you think you
would have been in with a shout for the Championship?
Definitely, I would say so. I always have been before.
And what about your injuries, how serious were
Well I broke the bottom of both legs and the top of my right
leg. I broke my legs in 92, 95 and 99 so its the fourth time its
Has the rehabilitation been difficult
Yeah, my right leg will never be right again now because like
I said before its nearly two inches shorter than the left one and
its rotated 45 degrees as well. They did a brilliant job of putting it
back together at all, because they were going to amputate it at one stage. I
dont really like talking about my injuries too much
All right, youve had a
wonderful career albeit shorter than expected. I would like to ask you more
about the old days if I may? When did you start racing?
I started when I was sixteen in 86 and I went British
Championship racing in 88.
Obviously with your
father, Bill, being a successful rider before you, it must have been hard to
resist the temptation of starting racing yourself?
Yeah I always wanted to race.
Who were your Motor Cycling Heroes when you were
Joey was probably my biggest hero. He was the boy. But people
like Rob Mcelnae and in the later years people like Niall
Your Isle of Man TT and North West 200
victories must have been some of the highlights of your career, but which race
in particular is your most memorable?
Err, there are races people probably wouldnt remember
except myself but I can remember a British Championship 600 Race at Oulton Park
in 91. That was the hardest Ive probably ever rode a bike I
Who were you racing against that
I won it, second was a dice between Carl Fogarty, Jim Moodie,
Phil Boorley and Mark Farmer. It was a good race because I ended up winning it
by about 6-8 seconds and broke the lap record, which was 1:40.4 at the time,
wasnt beat for a good few years. I mean if you look at 600s going
round Oulton now, theres people on much better bikes with 25 Horse Power
more on better tyres still not doing 1:40.
I can remember that day
losing the front and then the back on just about every single
On the subject of the TT, the future
of the event is looking under serious threat at the moment. What are your views
on the situation?
I would say definitely because, I mean I would never slate
the TT. Ive had the most enjoyable times riding bikes at the TT.
Its an incredible buzz and incredibly good fun, but its so
dangerous and Ive lost friends, very very good friends who lost their
lives there and Ill never forget that.
As far as the date clash
goes, I think its absolutely scandalous that the clash has occurred with
the British Championship. Whether youre a TT fan or not, and I obviously
am, I think its down to pure greed. Its the only explanation. The
TT only takes up two weekends, so Im sure they could organise it so there
was no clash.
And its not just a problem for the riders; there are
the spectators, marshals a hell of a lot of mechanics from the short circuits
that help out lads at the TT. Then theres the teams like V&M and
Honda Britain and Vimto that do both plus Michelin, Pirelli, Dunlop, Regina
Chains and Padgetts, just about everyone does both.
these decisions obviously doesnt know the first thing about bike racing.
If you dont know any better, you may think short circuit racing is one
thing and road racing is another, but its not like that. Its all
the same people really.
It baffles me. How can they even contemplate
clashing the dates like that?
Can I ask you about
Joey Dunlop? You raced against him many times during your career and Im
sure you respected him an awful lot. What sort of impact do you think his
passing had on the sport and what were your views personally?
Well the TT isnt going to be the same again. When the
news got through I was really really sad. I think its all been said
before. Motorbikes can be a hell of a cruel thing and I think thats what
Im honoured to say that Joey was my friend. We
had some good laughs together and that.
Joey, which rider that you have ridden against do you respect the most?
Well Ive had a million dices with Jim Moodie over the
years. Every time you get your head down and ride as hard as you can for about
ten laps and then you look over your shoulder and that bloody purple helmet
would still be right up your arse.
You must be
quite close with Jim. Do you know if hell be at the TT next year?
I dont know. His contract will be for the British
Championship so that will come first and the TT second. But like Ive said
theres no need for that to happen.
changing the subject slightly, tell us what you are up to now. I believe
youve opened a shop?
Aye, Ive got a wee shop. It sells stuff like
Quicksilver and Oxbow sports gear. Its called Sport 22 and its in
Michael Street in Dumfries.
And what about the
Ive had rally cars for about five years now. I just do
a few rallies in the winter for a laugh. Ive got a mark 2 Escort with a
16 Valve Vauxhall Engine in it.
John Crawford is into it as well.
Hes got a Sunbeam with the same engine as me in it. Its really good
fun with no pressure.
And what does the future
hold for you Ian?. Are you going to continue to be involved with Motor Cycle
A couple of teams have spoke to us about running a Supersport
team. I cant really talk too much about sponsors etc but I think my dad
and me will be back involved with the sport next year.
Excellent. Well thanks for speaking to us; its been a
No problem I love talking about Road Racing. Im like
you, I love it and its great to watch and people who slag it, and have
never seen it, well, I dont think they realise what theyre missing.
The Atmosphere at Road Races is second to none.
Yeah, Im born and bread Manx but I love Ireland myself
for the racing. Its so accessible over there.
Yeah Irelands the best place Ive ever raced. The
atmosphere and the people, the Irish are so knowledgeable about the
They certainly are. Anyway, like I said
its been wonderful talking to you
My pleasure anytime
And I hope well see you at Skerries sat on the hedge next
(Laughs) Maybe, Maybe
Paul Phillips. Special thanks to Kev and Col from