| TT Website Interviews -
||Jim Moodie is on of the biggest TT stars around, and at thirty five
years of age, has been there and seen it all. However a win in one of the
Superbike events at the TT still eludes the gritty Glasweigan.
wasn't helped in any way last year after he sensationaly split from Honda
Britian in a well publicised bust up.
We managed to catch up with Jim
for a chat about his TT career and his future plans.
Ok Jim. If I start off by asking
you about last year. You won the British Supersport Championship after famously
splitting with Honda. On the whole would you call it a good year?
I would call it a difficult year with a satisfying outcome.
That's all I can really say about it.
have been satisfying to win another British Championship at this stage in your
Yeah it was but it was unfortunate I had to go through all
the upset earlier on in the season and having to switch teams. I had been with
the Castrol team for two years and Honda for three years. You spend all the pre
season getting a bike ready and set up to your liking to win races on and I had
to jump on a bike at Snetterton and was expected to go out and win.
lot of people really underestimate what we actually went out and done last
year. Strange bike, strange tyres, all that kind of stuff albeit that the bike
V&M gave me was a mega bike. There is no doubt about it that the bike was
capable of winning the championship, but it is still a tall order. After one
day's testing to go out and beat people like Kirk who is world class anyway,
and has been riding the same bike all year, is really difficult.
A lot has been said and written about your split with Honda,
and I have heard many stories about what happened. Are you able to tell us your
side of the story at this point?
No. I would like to because I'm listening to all sorts of
controversial reports about the situation, but I can't comment at all until
it's sorted, you know. I desperately want to tell my side of the story but I
can't. I want to put the record straight, but I just can't at the moment.
Will you one day?
We have touched on the V&M
team already, but I am interested to know what the machines are like to ride?
The machines use for the British Championship were used in
the British World Championship round as well, and we were pole for every single
round except the final one which mattered and I ended up third. They do a thing
called ideal time, splitting your lap up into four parts. On my best lap I was
blocked at Clearway's, but on the times by the time I got there I was up .3
seconds of a lap for pole.
In the race, I led for more laps than anyone
else did in that race, and I feel that I was very unlucky not to win that race.
For a privateer team, which is what V&M are, to be able to compete at that
level was just unbelieveable. I went there hoping to qualify on the front two
rows somewhere and hopefully finish in the top five. I cam away from there
feeling that I had been robbed for pole and robbed for the race win.
The R71 is the most powerful bike I have ever ridden. I don't know if a
500cc Grand Prix Bike would have any more power than that bike. It was quite a
difficult bike to ride at Kirkistown. It would be good to ride it at the North
West or the Isle of Man though. I reckon I could probably lap Kirkistown faster
if I had twenty-five horsepower less because you just couldn't use the power.
Was there never a possibility that you would stay
with the team for this year?
Oh yeah, but after I had this accident, things changed. I
played it down quite a bit, but my ankle has been more of a problem than many
people think. Jack knew the true situation and I think by the middle of
February I wasn't sure if I would be able to ride the bike properly and that's
when they had to try and go and sort somebody else out.
I didn't want
to do a half job after winning the championship and in the end of the day if I
couldn't produce the goods, nobody would be interested that I have very little
movement in my ankle. I remember saying to Duffus once years ago when he tried
to come back from a serious injury to early. Three or four races into his
return I was trying to explain that he had made a big mistake.
come back from injury, you get sympathy for one race, a little bit for the
second race but by the third race, you are expected to go out and win the race.
People that know you might know different, but 99% of the public and the race
teams expect you to win.
So when do you think you
will be back on a bike again?
Well I did ride a bike before I had this last operation. I
rode at Oulton Park on Ian Campbell's bike the day before I went for the
operation because I wanted to see how my leg was.
I rode most of the
day without too much problem, but the problem was that the gear lever had to be
set so low, that it kept grounding out. It would make it really difficult to
race properly. The one satisfying thing was that I ended up going round pretty
much quicker than everyone else that was there on my first time on the bike,
and I was quite chuffed with that because I hadn't ridden for nearly six
months. At lunchtime, I had to go and get another gear lever because I had
broken it by grounding it out.
I had considered, that if it went OK at
Oulton Park, to postpone the operation, but there was no way after riding
there, that I was going to be ready to race properly. I'm not 100& sure
when I'll be back on a bike, because I'm not sure if this operation has been
successful. I don't think it has.
There have been lots of offers for
rides at the TT, but I don't think I would have been able to ride there anyway,
because it still feels very similar to before I had the operation.
If the TT had of gone ahead, and
you had been there also, who would you have classed as your main rivals apart
from David Jefferies?
Well the Honda riders, if they are given the bikes they are
supposed to be getting, should be there. However, if they get bikes similar to
what I was given last year, they won't be. Both McGuinness and Archibald are
capable of winning big bike races if they are given good bikes.
would have been there on the right bike. People seem to forget that Duffus is
still the third fastest rider ever round there. He had a bad year last year,
and he probably suffered more than I did last year with these uncompetitive
Other than Jefferies, I can't see who else would be able to
get in there. Maybe someone like Ian Lougher would be a possibility.
In 1999 you broke the lap record on the ageing
RC45 Honda, proving that you have the ability to win on a Superbike at the TT.
On a competitive bike, do you still think you can realise that dream at the TT?
Absolutely, that's why the situation got so out of control
with Honda. I'm not there to go round and round, I'm there to win you know. If
I didn't think I could win, I wouldn't go there. I don't go to just make up the
As a respected TT rider, I would like to
know your views on the TT as an event?
It is difficult to comment because you have to be careful
what you say (laughs). It could be better. They could definitely move with the
times a bit more. They could probably do with a few younger people in there on
the organisational side but other than that it's still pretty good you know.
Joey Dunlop was killed last year, as we all know.
You have raced against him and been his teammate. I would like to know what
your feelings are on his passing?
I would say it is definitely going to have a massive impact
on the TT for sure. I was his teammate in 99 and 2000. We never said too much
to each other. He never said much, but I don't either but we got on pretty good
and never had any problems.
You are one of very
few 'top' short circuit riders who contest the TT. What is it that makes you
still want to come over to the Island to race?
I don't know
I have different goals all the time. When
you first go there you want to win TT's, then when you win TT's you want to be
the fastest rider ever round there. I haven't ridden a Superbike round there
all that many times. I first rode a Kawasaki there in 96 then I rode the V-Twin
in 97 and 98 and then the Honda's in 99 and 2000.
I was pleased to get
the lap record in what I class as my second year riding superbikes, because in
97 and 98 they were two strokes you know. I have to try and get that lap record
back and I have to try and win a Formula One or Senior Race.
What are your views on the
It's definitely difficult. Seven or eight years ago I made a
suggestion that they should build a short circuit there, which by now would be
hosting World Championship meetings. Roads are on the way out; there is no
question about it. I don't know if it will be another five or ten years, but it
is definitely on the way out.
Just the fact that the TT doesn't get the
same attention anymore particularly outside of Europe. If the had a short
circuit there and tried to get World Superbike there and Grand Prix and stuff,
everyone would still go. A short circuit would be good for the long-term future
and I have thought this for ten years. Roads won't go on forever, and they need
to start looking at an alternative.
I don't think
that will happen?
Yeah but that's what it needs. (laughs) But I agree with you
it won't happen.
You have ridden at the TT for
many years, mostly at the top end of things. Who is the best rider you have
come up against during this time?
(long pause) There are better riders for different classes.
I suppose Philip, who was there in all the classes, would be the one for me.
Steve Hislop was quick obviously, but I never really raced against him. I would
have loved to have raced against Stevie on the same bikes.
Talking of Steve Hislop, you and all the other Scottish riders
of the same era seem to be very close is that the case?
Yeah, me, Simmo, Duffus, Stevie, Nial McKenzie, John
Crawford, Ian McPherson are all pretty friendly.
I interviewed Ian Simpson once and he said you were his most
feared rival. Every time he turned round, he said that he saw your purple
helmet behind him?
(laughs) Ian and me did a season on private Superbikes in
the Superbike World Championship one year. It was really tough, but we
qualified at every race, but I don't think either of us scored any points. We
were racing with Lavillai and these guys. It was a really tough, shit year, but
looking back on it now, and you take the racing out of it, and it was probably
my best year ever.
We were not really that well known and we could do
exactly what we wanted and didn't have to answer to anyone. At the time, I
don't think we realised how much fun we were actually having.
Who was that for - Francis Neill?
Yeah, he bought us these Kawasaki's and we run them. We had
this joke going about going from Mondello to Mugello all the time.
You raced at Skerries once didn't you?
Yeah in about 89 I think. I had the lap record there for a
What did you make of it?
It was all right. I did a few of those Irish Road Races. I
went there in 89 and quite enjoyed it. Andy McGladdery and myself were over to
race at Mondello and we thought we would go to Skerries to see what it was
like. We got late entries and I qualified pole for the Superbike race on my CBR
600. Everyone was like; who the hell is he (laughs).
We went to the
Yacht Bar and all these places. It was a good spot. I went to Mondello the
following day and broke my collarbone (laughs).
Back to the plot - Which TT race
you have ridden in has been the most satisfying?
Probably the first one I won. It wasn't that hard a race
though. Maybe winning the 98 Production TT. I had been dropped by Suzuki the
year before and I hadn't raced at before the North West, where I crashed and
broke my wrist. I then had to go to the TT two weeks later.
paid to ride for Honda, I was paid not to spoil Honda's 90th year party. It was
plainly obvious to see that Ian Simpson and Michael Rutter were the two Honda
riders. I was riding for Mick Grant and Russell Savoy. We just did our own
thing, and kept away from all the Honda razzmatazz.
That should have
been a really good year for me. It was in a way because I won that race which
was Honda's 100th win and I was the first rider to lap at over 120mph on a
Due to the weather things didn't go my way and it
didn't turn out how it might of. I was leading the 600 race and the weather
turned bad and I lost out there, and then I was third quickest in practice for
the Lightweight after three laps of ractice. As we all know the race was a
washout and was really dangerous, so it didn't go right there either. The whole
time I was there that year i was basically riding with a broken wrist. If I had
fallen at Governers or anywhere, that would have been me.
Of all the bikes you have ridden at the TT, which one would
have been the best?
I have never ridden the perfect bike anyway. I really wanted
a factory Honda RC45, because after the 1999 meeting, I went to Bol Dor and did
the 24-hour race for Honda France on a factory RC45. This bike had 35bhp more
than the one I rode at he TT. It was so much easier to ride than the bike I
rode. I still think if one of those bikes went back to the Isle of Man it would
blitz everybody. It was effortless to ride, it really was.
You are thirty-five now, and have achieved most of your goals
at the TT, but how long do you think we will see you riding for at the TT?
You have to have the whole package for the TT and be at the
high level. You really need the package and that is the difficult thing. When I
go to Isle of Man I want to be sure that I have the bike that can win the race.
As much as I want to do the TT, I have to look at the short circuit scene first
because that pays my wages. So it all depends on that.
And how long do you think you will carry on racing?
Well I train with other riders and I know how fit they are.
As long as I can stay fit and get good rides, I'll carry on. If I can't get
good rides, I'll pull the plug on the whole thing.
What would you do then?
I don't know. I have been thinking about a bit of car
racing. I'm too competitive to run a team. I'm more competitive than I have
ever been. As soon as I'm ready to ride again, I'll be going for it and I've
been training four hours a day, you know.
that's all the questions Jim. It has been great speaking to you, and I know I
speak for a lot of people when I say that we all look forward to seeing you
back on a bike as soon as possible.