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Interview with a Rookie Champion

On a sunny Saturday morning while pottering about the workshop we fielded a phone call inquiring about puncture repairs and if we can squeeze him in on the day to which we replied, ‘no problem’. A while later the very distinctive rattle of a Ducati clutch rolled into our car park, and we were introduced to Aaron Dalrymple.

A very affable chap with a ready smile whiled away the time in our reception talking about his racing escapades. He showed us photos and clips of his recent achievements and it became apparent that Aaron knows a thing or two about race craft. We also concluded that he is no slouch on the racetrack in the Thunder class.

(*) The Thunder class series is based on a power-weight ratio restriction and is aimed at older bikes, or those which comply with class engine limits, plus later hybrids and "specials" admitted at the BMCRC Eligibility Officer's discretion.

While the mechanics repaired the puncture, Aaron entertained them with the retelling of his on-track escapades and the conversation meandered, Aaron discovered that Daran is a bit of a wizard with motorcycle electrics and knows a thing or two about achieving the perfect suspension setup. By the time the rear tyre was repaired Daran was tasked with inspecting the loom on his track bike and dealing with the weight distribution.

The workshop got stuck into this task and when finished the loom had undergone a transformation from a tired house elf to a sleek and sophisticated racing loom.

(*)With total motorcycle weight being a major element of the Thunder class, Daran also set about redistributing the added weight required (to meet regulations) to give the bike a

better center of gravity. It did not solve the weight issue in its entirety and Aaron still had to race with more fuel in the tank than was strictly necessary, but he made it work for him. It must be noted that before the loom and weight rework Aaron did not hang around and made short work of leaving the competition behind in the Rookie class of 2021.

Like everything else in life, this racing season was not without a misstep or two. Aaron regaled us with how he showed up for his first race with himself, his shadow, his trusty steed, and a sleeping bag. The sleeping bag turned out to be a bad idea and Aaron left the circuit earlier than planned because he was fed up with being cold and tired from lack of sleep. He also suffered one or two disqualifications for hot-headedness or some other stupid thing, but Aaron is philosophical about it all and I think it is safe to say that he has endured and came out victorious.

Aaron's racing adventures in stats read as follow:

BEMSEE has not yet published the result for the final race, but we can confirm that Aaron showed up on the day and delivered making him the proud owner of the #1 Rookie Tee-shirt, and Feel that Noise is proud to be a small sponsor of this phenomenal racing talent. If you want to know the full story and have a thing for stats you can visit the Bemsee website for all sorts of juicy information

I invited Aaron for a Q&A with us so that we can have a measure of the man behind the talent and see what makes him tick. With a delightful candour this is what he had to say;

Q1. If you imagine yourself as a bar of chocolate, what would you be and why?

A. A Caramel bar- Simple, uncomplicated but yummy.

Q2 Tea, coffee, or something else 1st thing in the morning?

A. Tea – every time

Q3 Cat or dog person?

A. Dog – Aaron has 2 great Danes and he will throw himself into oncoming traffic for them. I did not ask him his opinion on cats but this could be a conversation for another day.

Q5. Star Trek or Star Wars?

A. Neither, He is more into sports than Sci-fi.

Q6. Rugby or Football?

A. Football.

Q5 How old were you when you discovered that you could ride a motorcycle at the next level and who was your biggest supporter and enabler in the early years?

A. Aaron started racing at the grand old age of 5 and continued to put his body through the punishing pace of motocross for over 30 years. As for who his biggest supports and enabler is, it was and is still his late Dad who sadly died at the tender age of 42.

Q6 Who would you say is your racing idol, and why?

A. Barry Sheen is Aaron’s racing hero along with James Hunt. In his humble opinion, these men raced like demons but did not pander to the media, or portrayed themselves as shiny altar boys to be idolised. They were also both very unapologetic about who they were off-track. There were no airs or graces and what you saw is what you got. Aaron says that he very much relates to these titans of speed.

Q.7 Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to join the world of motorcycle racing and what pitfalls would you warn these future riders against?

A. Motocross takes its toll on your body and bones will break. This is not an ‘If’ but a ‘When’ statement. If speed on two wheels is what you are after, then stick to Moto GP or road bikes – Much more speed and fewer broken bones.

Q 8. (One for Girls) In the late ’70s, 80’s and even up to as recently as 15 years ago, girls wanting to pursue a career in industries traditionally reserved for men received very little to almost no support or encouragement. With the world of motorcycle racing still being very male-centric, do you have any special advice for girls who want to break the glass ceiling and become racing riders?

A. Have thick skin and do not get disheartened by other riders' mean and short-sighted comeback and insults. Believe in yourself and know that, if you are good enough to make it to the starting grid then you are also good enough to be respected as a rider.

Q9. Do you have an opinion on e-Racing, and would you consider racing in this format if given the opportunity?

A. In his humble opinion, the soundtrack of e-racing is worse than nails on a chalkboard and Aaron is an unrepentant gearhead. Riding a bike at high speed is just one part of the full racing experience. The other half is the sound of the exhaust notes as it pops and burbles when you open and close the throttle. E-racing produces squealing tyres on asphalt and that is not a sound that stirs passion.

Q 10 Now that you’ve aced the Rookie class what comes next for you?

A. He does not know just yet. Motorcycle racing is an expensive sport and finding sponsorship is not an easy feat. For now, Aaron will enjoy this extraordinary achievement and dream about what else he is capable of.

FTN only came onboard as a minor sponsor for Aaron in the latter stages of the racing calendar but we feel privileged to have been part of the final journey to the Championship title and we look forward to what comes next.

(*) Sources

Bemsee (British Motorcycle Racing Club) for the statistics and technical information about the Thunder Class and the results of the 2021 racing season

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