someone you know a Virtual Isle of Man TT Postcard.
|Special ThanksTo My Support Team
|Hubby - Derek
Alf & Bill Peatman
Angie & Dave
and of course my two
Grant & Iain
|Is there anything in particular that you would like to
highlight concerning the sport, the feelings towards women etc ?
|I don't see myself as being a woman when I'm racing.
I'm just another competitor. Although there are a few of my male counterparts
who don't like women competing, but I'm not one to talk about other riders, I
just let them get on with it. If they are not happy, then tough!
|Hey Palmer !
Where's them leathers you promised
|Lisa Ross - Interview
Lisa, the Tartan terror very
kindly talked to us (for more than two hours we might add) about her beginnings
in the sport and provided us with an insight from within, that we are sure you
will find interesting. We hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we did
talking to Lisa.
The Usual First Question that we ask of
everyone, - How did you start off in Road Racing ?
Father Tommy Miller, who raced in the 60's and '70's used to take us along to
spectate after he had retired from racing, It was then that I caught the bug !
I used to watch the riders go by and say to my Dad "I'm going to do that when
What was your first Race Bike ?
My first bike was a 1991 RS 125cc Honda which I bought from
Donny Robinson's Mechanic, Alan Craig.
your First Competitive Race ?
This was at the East Fortune Race
track in April '98
What circuit do you like and
what one do you dislike, and for what reasons ?
I Love Knockhill
as it has a bit of everything. My least liked track is East Fortune as it's
very bumpy, and being only 6 and a half stone, it's not too easy to control the
bike over all of the bumps! I need a really good suspension technician to help
me sort that one out.
Who would you say has been
the biggest influence in your career ?
There have been a few
really. The late Donny Robinson for his total belief in me when everyone else
laughed at the idea of me racing and Don's Family for their continued support
to me in my racing, which must be very difficult for them.
Niall MacKenzie, Stewart Cole, & Dennis Gallagher
for their enthusiasm and commitment to the sport and for their ongoing support.
Obviously my Dad Tommy and my husband Derek, who have both sacrificed so much
to help me do this. Paul Robinson and his Team for their help and support and
their smart, sexist comments !!!
What so far,
have been the highlights of your career ?
It has to be finishing
third in my very first race at East Fortune and then winning my first race at
Knockhill two weeks later. Also racing against Paul Robinson in October last
year was great.
What are you planning for the
next racing season, any consideration for The Manx G.P. ?
Hopefully, I will be contesting the Irish Clubmans championship,
and also the Scottish championship. If I feel up to it and if I can secure
sufficient sponsorship then I am seriously thinking about racing at the Manx
G.P this year. Anybody out there with a load of dosh and ready to part with
it for a wee lady can get in touch !
ambitions would you like to fulfill before you "call it a day" ?
I have too many of them to list and not enough time to do it all
in! Although one of them would have to be that I would LOVE to be a member of
the Purple Helmet display team!
well there's a wee story there related to what colour my crash-helmet should
have been when I started racing, and the fact that I have also done some stunt
riding, so a bit of fun would not go amiss.
would you say has been your single greatest victory so far
Winning the Jack Blyth memorial trophy in '98 was a great
When you were growing up, you must have
had some childhood heroes, can you tell us who they were and why
Wait a minute now, this is going to show my age this question!
I suppose that Barry Sheene was the earliest one as he was in the
newspapers and T.V. ads and he was the first BIKE person I knew to be in the
Local riders Allan
Duffus, Stewart Cole, a fantastic racer who could have been world class had his
circumstances been different. George Linder, for the whitest pair of leathers
I'd ever seen! He reminded me at the time of Buck Rodgers the T.V. Astronaut!
I was a big sidecar fan and I adored Jock Taylor, his death was just
devastating to me, I couldn't bear to watch sidecars racing for a long time
Of course no childhood hero book would be complete without
the Irish riders, Tom Herron and Joey Dunlop respectively.
great friend Donny Robinson, who was a gentleman racer, from whom I learned so
much, he will always be my number one hero.
Later on my hero's were
Niall Mackenzie and Donnie McCleod when they rode for the Silverstone Armstrong
team. I remember going to Cadwell park on a bus with my parents, and it raining
non stop. Enterprising me found a roll of black bin bags and sold them to
spectators for a pound a time to use them as shelter for the rain!
Later on I became a fan and supporter of all the Scottish lads who
travelled "down South". Jim Moodie, Iain Duffus, Alan McDonald, John Crawford
and Steve Hislop, all of whom battled hard to be recognised and gain
sponsorship, they all came back from injury time and time again, and put so
much effort into achieving what they wanted.
A lot of riders these days
just expect to get bikes bought for them, or they have an attitude problem at
having to work from the bottom. Well these guys all started with holes in their
shoes, sleeping in the back of their vans, etc, and it made them appreciate
what they got and where they came from. Something, which in my opinion is sadly
lacking in some of today's young riders.
Which present day riders do you admire and why
Niall Mackenzie although he's just retired, for his
professionalism. You never heard Niall shouting his mouth off at other riders
in public or at the bike, mechanics etc whenever things went wrong. Like some
other "stars" I could mention.
Valentino Rossi for all the fun he's
bringing back into the sport, and his ability to ride whatever is put in front
of him. We haven't had an up-beat rider in G.P's for years, it's all so
serious, so it's nice to have someone who will do something unpredictable once
in a while.
Richard Britton also is another up-beat rider who I admire,
he's always smiling in interviews and seems so laid back about everything. His
attitude is great!
Paul Robinson is another laid back rider who I have a
tremendous amount of time for. He has helped me so much with my racing.
Something else that some riders just don't do anymore is to be helpful to other
riders. I've never seen Paul refuse anybody anything and that's the way we
should all be.
Do you feel you have achieved fair
recognition for your racing successes ?
To be honest I've
received more publicity and recognition than I should have ever had. If I had
been "Jim Smith" next door, no-one would want to know me, but because I'm a
woman in a mans sport I'm treated differently by the press. I feel a bit guilty
at times when I'm interviewed and finished 10th or whatever and the guy who's
won gets nothing from the press at all.
a race, what do you do by way of preparation to get yourself into the right
frame of mind ?
I do lots of stuff, I have a tape I like to
listen to, but most of all I need a bit of quiet to get myself focused on the
job in hand. I'm lucky that I don't work on my own bike on a race day, that's
left up to my mechanic and husband Derek, so that's less stress on me.
I know that if the bike's ready to go, she's ready to go, and I don't
have to worry about the preparation, you need to be 100% behind your mechanic
and trust him or her completely. Every rider has their own "thing" to get ready
for a race, but it's not too easy to put into words just what your thinking
We know that you had a bad
accident two years back. After that did you ever have any serious thoughts
about retiring ?
Yes, I had a very serious accident that left me
out for the whole of 1999. I was practising for the start of the season and was
caught out by a number of things, new tyres, the wet weather and lack of
concentration as the chequered flag had gone out. I lost the front end at
McIntyres bend and landed on the track not the grass, I broke both wrists and
had multiple fractures to my hands and fingers. I also broke ribs and knocked
At the time we didn't know that the accident had caused a
serious head injury, which caused me to suffer extreme headaches at first, then
the condition got more serious. My sight, hearing, speech and motor skills
started to become affected, A bit like the after affects caused by a stroke. If
it wasn't for my oldest son coming home from school and finding me unconscious
on the floor and having the presence of mind to call for an ambulance, I might
not be here today.
Also just after my accident, my friend and mentor
Donny Robinson lost his life at the NorthWest 200, which also made me re-think
my racing career. I didn't want to see another bike again. My world just fell
apart for a while.
That has got to be the most difficult period of my life so far.
So what made you decide to go on
I realised that Don would not have wanted me to pack it all in
and I realised that life was just far too short, so me being the person that I
am, got back on the bike, because I love what I do.
Are there any improvements either on the safety front or
organisational-wise that could be made, on the Road Racing scene in your
I think that the unpaid volunteers do a wonderful
job, without these people there just would be no racing. I'm not just talking
about marshals here, as I know that none of the members from the Kirkcaldy and
district motor club (the club that organise and run short circuit racing events
at Knockhill) get paid for what they do. From the Clerk of the course who's the
big boss man on race day, right down to the paddock marshals.
that there are loads of smaller clubs out there who have the same arrangement.
I don't disagree with people making money from the sport. I think it's
a great way of making a living if you can get it, what I do disagree with are,
the few individuals who are not in it for the love of the sport, but just for
the money. The fact that some of these people make more money than the racers
do, really puts it into perspective. We're the ones out there risking our
necks, and for what ?
I know were not all in this for the money, but
you show me another sport where the competitors have to pay to entertain the
crowds ? It's about time that more money was put into the sport for the
"farther down the field" boy's. (And girls) If you don't encourage the youth of
today there will be no tomorrow, and no wage slips for the fat cats, but by
then, these people won't give a monkey's as they have already made enough to go
and live quite well off for the next thirty years.
As for improvements
and safety, well as I see it you can only do so much and then it's up to the
rider to survey that particular track and treat it with the respect it
deserves. Your never going to get a perfect track where no-one falls and hurts
themselves, it's all down to the individual in my opinion.
When you eventually hang up your leathers, do you want to
remain associated with the sport or do you think that you will make a "clean
I would definitely put something back into the sport,
it's my life and it always will be. I think I would make a good official as
I've done most of the jobs at the racing anyway and I've also raced, which is
something that makes a difference.
I get ticked off at being told what
to do by someone who's read all about racing in a rulebook and not actually
experienced the racing for themselves.
encourage or discourage your children if they were to take up Road Racing ?
I would encourage them, but also make them help pay for the
racing too. My father wouldn't buy me a bike to ride on the road or to race. He
said that if I was determined enough to do it then I'd find a way, and then he
would help me. So I suppose I would be the same with my children.
Road Racing is a seasonal sport, so what do you do for a living
in the close season ?
I cook, clean and slob around the house in
my pyjamas! It's great! I can eat cream cakes, get fat and watch day time T.V.
and do absolutely nothing but be a wife and mother.
Do you feel "hard done by" by risking your life for very little
financial reward, when say, most sports "stars" are on such high wages ?
I think the guy's at BSB level deserve every penny, in fact they should
get more money for what they do!
Look at the publicity these guy's
generate, it's great for ALL of us, from the club racer to the T.T. winner. If
it gets more people off their comfy chairs on a Sunday and through the gates of
a circuit then more power to them.
Look at how much your premier league
footballers make in a week, the world's gone mad ! There's David Beckham in the
paper last week, wanting his wages to go up to over a hundred and twenty
thousand pounds a WEEK! What for, for kicking a lump of dead cow around a field
for ninety minutes!
Don't get me started! I could be here for a week on
I think the reason that racers don't bother too much
about how little the prize money is, is because at the end of the day we're not
in it for the cash rewards, there's not one rider out there would say he or
she's in it for the money. We do it for the enjoyment, that's why we don't go
on strike for better wages, we see it as a great way to play and have fun, and
if you get enough to cover your costs then were almost ecstaticl
Mind you though I have to add, it would be nice to
have a bit of cash and not have to starve the kids for six months out of the
|With Thanks To Those Who Help
|Husband Derek Ross
Laurence Ewart and staff at Advanced Stairlifts Scotland
Willie Moore :Moores Tyre Services Ballyclare.
Bob Grant and
staff at Grant Motorcycles.
and staff at Bike Paints.
Andy Bateson and staff at
at Freuchie precision engineering.
Alf and Bill Peatman.
|A Special Message From
|I would like to thank the
following people for their help, support and encouragement. (People only
usually thank their sponsors but these people are just as important to me, if
not more so.)
The Scottish Motorcycle Marshals Association,
medical staff at Knockhill racing circuit,
Alex Campbell and family,
Steve "crasher" Ellis,
Jim "JK Tyres"
George Clark, Martin
& Linda Jowett,
Agnes & Sandra The Scottish Classic club,
and Lianda Barnes,
Everyone on the Bulletin Board
who's supported me and everyone else too numerous to mention, who have done
stuff for the team.
Last but not least Sandy Berwick, my "journeyman"
who's been there, got the t-shirt, and is passing all his knowledge on to me,
cheers for that "Superstar"!
Lisa it has been great talking to you, and all of us here at
TTwebsite wish you every success for the next season, we look forward to
meeting up with you when you come over, and of course we wish you every success
for many more years to come.
A detailed map of the Isle of Man TT Course
all bends, corners are listed.
|What do you think of The T.T. ?
|I would do the T.T if my Manx G.P. experience went
well! I think I'd like to walk before I can run though! I'd have to make sure
my lap times were reasonable before I went to the T.T. as I wouldn't want to be
in anyone's way or that slow I'd be a laughing stock. I take great pride in the
fact I'm not just out there to make up the numbers, or that slow I'm a mobile
chicane, I'm not the fastest person to come out of Scotland, and I've never
claimed to be anything spectacular, although the press like to make me out to
be quicker than Mackenzie at times, but I'm definitely not the slowest