Road Racing News

Ten Questions Challenge – Mel Gantly

A newcomer last month to the Cookstown 100 and Tandragee 100, Canadian racer Mel Gantly who’s keen to sample in the future the fabled Mountain Course, is the next racer to take part in Road Racing News, ten questions challenge.

Mel’s answers to the popular series of questions, are as follows:

Q1: Favourite National Roads Meeting?

“So far I’ve only done Cookstown and Tandragee, and while I truly enjoyed both, I’d have to say Tandragee because of the challenge presented by a course of that length and that fast.”

Q2: Favourite Racing Bike?

“I’m excited about the new (to me) Yamaha R6 I’ll be racing this season, but I haven’t even thrown a leg over it yet.

I’ve got a special place in my heart for the 97 Suzuki GSX-R600 I used to race, because although it wasn’t pretty, had no instrumentation and was already old when I got it, it never missed a beat, survived crashes very well and it was the bike I was on when I got my first podiums and led my first races.”

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

“I love the completely unique challenge it presents compared to short circuit racing, that feeling of being more on the edge, and the sense of history knowing that I’m racing on the same circuits as my heroes, in the country where road racing was born.

Also, everyone involved really makes you feel like a part of the road racing community.”

Photo by Baylon McCaughey

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

“Out of these three I would still love to race the Mountain Course one day, hopefully the Classic TT. The recently introduced age restrictions meant I’m no longer eligible for the Manx GP, which was a big disappointment.

I’d love to try the Ulster Grand Prix as well, but we’ll see what’s possible and affordable for me. Living over here in Canada always makes things complicated.”

Q5: Most Respected Rival?

“I respect anyone I’m out there with who rides competitively but respectfully. I love having a good dice with someone and being able to shake hands after the race, regardless of who won.”

Q6: Best roads moment thus far?

“That would probably have to be coming across the line at the end of the race at Cookstown, to successfully complete my first real road race.

After dreaming about it for years I was pretty emotional when I came back to the paddock, and won’t deny there was a tear or two in my eye.”

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

“I’d love to see one here in Canada, but I doubt it would be possible due to liability issues and road racing isn’t a part of the community and culture the way it is in Northern Ireland.

If things were different though, we’ve got some great roads here that would produce incredible racing.”

Q8: Who’s your road racing hero?

“Joey Dunlop has always been number one for me, for his racing abilities and accomplishments, but also for his humble nature and his humanitarian service. He was one of a kind. I’m also a huge fan of John McGuinness and Michael Dunlop.”

Q9: Supersport or Superbike?

“I love riding supersport 600’s, but I would love the opportunity to try a Superbike someday.”

Q10: Pole position or fastest lap?

“Fastest lap because that’s something you achieve in the heat of battle in a race, when you’re really pushed to prove to yourself what you’re capable of.”

Words by Stevie Rial

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