Very few journalists can claim to be an editor of a publication, let alone an editor for 20 years, like Road Racing Ireland’s Leslie Moore.
In his time as editor of RRI, he’s interviewed a who’s who of road racing, reported on an abundance of groundbreaking moments within the sport, plus has worked closely alongside the legendary Joey Dunlop.
Reflecting last Saturday, on his career in journalism, it was interesting to gain Leslie’s thoughts on how the industry has changed, in comparison to when he first ventured into the roads reporting scene.
“Everybody now has instant access, now people can watch everything live, they can get results from Japan, New Zealand and America online, beemed to their mobile phones.
Same with the information at the likes of the TT, which you can follow the whole TT race now on laptops and stuff, were as years ago, you had to listen to it on the radio.
The change is immense, journalism is so different, everyone has become their own editor, there own journalist. In the olden days you had half a dozen real top class journalists, like Norrie Whyte, John Brown, people like that, everybody listened to their every word.”
When asked about his opinion, on the current standard of pure road racing journalism, in comparison to that of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, he said:
“Oh no its gone down, erm nobody tells you anything nowadays. Everybody is reading off everyone else’s PR thing, and they pass it on, even when it’s wrong, they still copy it, cause they don’t know what’s right and wrong themselves.
So if someone provides the wrong information, everybody produces that wrong information, cause nobody knows the difference, everybody’s become lazy, nobody checks it out, and once everybody has read the PR piece, everybody has been seen it, so it’s not new.
One of the reasons I have to keep Road Racing Ireland different, when I’m at the TT or at the North West, our magazine might not be out for three or four weeks. I have to reproduce it all, it’s a lot harder for people like myself, to keep things fresh.”
“But to go back to your originally question, the standard of journalism has definitely gone down. But what I do see is professionals, and their standard wouldn’t get a job 30 years ago.
And apart from yourself there’s very few genuine enthusiasts, there’s nobody enthused, there’s people who do it because, even photographers, they want to take photos, just cause they want to take photographs and become millionaires.
Everybody wants to become a journalist, they move onto something else, there not motorbike people, there not into motorbikes, there in motorbikes for a stepping stone to something else. There not sticking with motorbikes, and therefore the enthusiasm is not there.”
Adding his thoughts, on some of the legendary racers, that he has interviewed, Leslie candidly stated:
“Strangely the most knowledgeable person of the whole lot, was Joey Dunlop. Joey would decide when he would have an interview with you, and it wasn’t an interview it was a friendly chat.
But Joey could tell you especially at the TT, he could look at a photograph and tell you what lap he was on. Cause he knew he had changed visors, the exhaust pipe was bent over etc.
He couldn’t name one corner on the Isle of Man, you had to work out where he was, but he could explain in detail what was happening, he was out of shape here, which affected the next corner down the road, he knew when the bike wasn’t right, he knew when the bike was perfect, he knew he was in with a chance, when he got to Glen Helen.”
“All the riders now, there all excited, there all hyper, but they don’t tell you anything. Riders now, some riders now don’t know how to start a bike, it has to be started for them.
They can ride the bikes brilliantly, but they don’t have the brains to work with the tyres, engines, the whole lot and portray that to the press. They cant tell you as to what right, as the bike is right, how the bike feels, how the race will work out, Joey could think this all though.
He knew, even through TT practice week, always remember him years ago, he would set the bike up, but never done would you would call a flying lap, so people didn’t know what actual speed he was doing, and I remember Roger Marshall his Honda team mate, was lapping at 114.
Joey was lapping at 109, and oh Roger was rubbing his hands, he’s going to win his first TT. Out at the first pit board at Kirk Michael, he was -6 seconds, he was brainwashed, so Joey could out think the riders as well.
So from that point of view, Joey was the most thinking, knowledgeable rider, yet he always acted like he didn’t know what he talking about, he knew exactly what he was talking about.”
Words by Stevie Rial