Road Racing News

Ten Questions Challenge – Alun Thomas

Uniquely since 2016 a Sidecar passenger, solo racer respectively at the TT, Manx Grand Prix, versatile Welsh Mountain Course competitor Alun Thomas is the next racer to take part in Road Racing News, worldwide popular ten questions challenge.

Holder of a racing CV which includes five top 15 Sidecar TT finishes, plus a very respectable 19th place finish within the second Lightweight race of this years Manx GP, his answers to the popular series of questions are as follows:

Q1: Favourite National Roads Meeting?

“The TT for excitement, riding the course with the top teams, and the Manx GP for the simple unspoiled fun of racing the Mountain Course.”

Q2: Favourite Racing Bike?

“An Ireson Sidecar with any engine, I’ve been a passenger on so many I should have an Ireson part number.

As for solos, I enjoyed the Drixton Honda 500 and the XV650 mini-twin I rode this year, just for the fun of racing through the tricky corners in the glens flat-chat and tucked in.

I also did some testing on the R&DE TT Zero bike this year, now that is fun to ride, a whole new game.”

Q3: What’s the best part of competing on the roads?

“Racing on a natural road with bends, hills, cambers and surroundings that have evolved rather than designed, on a long course.

If you think you can get round Gerard’s a bit faster you only have to wait 50 seconds to try again, if you want to try Cronk-na-Mona a bit faster you might have to wait a day or even a year.

The continental road circuits are fun because the circuits typify the region. Hengelo, Chimay and Gedinne represent their region perfectly.”

Q4: TT, North West 200 or Ulster Grand Prix?

“I have to say The TT because it has the Premier Class, Sidecars. Sadly the Sidecars have gone from Irish road events.”

Q5: Most Respected Rival?

“A rider of my modest ability doesn’t have rivals. I have a high respect for every road racer.”

Photo by Nick Wheeler

Q6: Best roads moment thus far?

“Qualifying for the Sidecar TT in 2011. It was the 4th Sidecar TT Keith Walters & I done together.

In practice week there had been red flagged sessions, bad weather, we had changed engines 4 times, we got tangled up in someone else’s crash and gone over the edge at Brandywell.

We spent Thursday night and Friday repairing the fairing and changing the engine for a borrowed ‘old spare’ engine. We got to scrutineering with a minute to spare and managed to get out early in the session, by the good will of others.

An hour or so later we had got in three laps and qualified for the race the following day. Tough TT but the best.”

Q7: Is their one place or country in the world, where you would like to see a roads meeting held?

“I’d like to see it legalised in Wales. It’s a shame that the Welsh Road Race has floundered this year, it is still realistic as closed to club event.

I’d like to race on road courses in Spain, Andorra and Italy, there are some fantastic roads I have ridden on the road bike.”

Q8: Who’s your road racing hero?

“Anyone of my generation has to say Joey Dunlop. Alan ‘Bud’ Jackson because of his perseverance and he’s done events that I do.

But I have to say Dan Sayle, he rides solo & Sidecar and is very good at both. Until recently the fastest three Sidecar drivers around the Mountain Course all had Dan as passenger.”

Q9: Supersport or Superbike?

“I’ve enjoyed both but too quick for me now.”

Q10: Pole position or fastest lap?

“Pole is good but fastest lap is a nice surprise afterwards.”

Words by Stevie Rial