This is the seventh in a series of Q&A's with those involved with road racing; grid girls, marshals, photographers, journos, and the racers themselves. Through these Q&A sessions the answers will hopefully help you, the reader, dispel any myths, confirm your suspicions or generally give some insight into who these people really are and what drives them to be involved in, what is considered by many, a dangerous sport. Should you want to take part and tell your story (or if you know a racer and can cajole them to take part), drop me a line through my Twitter or Facebook page and we'll sort something out.
If you follow road racing, there's every chance you saw last years TT footage of James having a lucky escape from a scary looking crash at the 11th milestone in the 2016 TT Superstock race.
James had lost the front end of his BMW S1000RR in the later stages of the race, hitting the barriers and bouncing back into the road, narrowly avoiding going under the wheels of fellow competitor, Horst Saiger. Horst’s on-board cameras showed, that despite the tangle of barriers, bike, banner and James himself, all skating across the road, how Horst was able to negotiate it all and for James, fortunately, to be able to walk away from the crash relatively unscathed, was almost a miracle.
James is back for more this year, showing good form in the early seasons races at Tandragee, Armoy and currently the North West 200 (today! - watch it live on BBC Sport NI, or watch the highlights over the coming days).
Keep in mind that James was the first English rider to be awarded the coveted Duke Road Race Rankings trophy, which is considered to be an accurate barometer of the most successful dedicated real road racers, the previous winner being one Michael Dunlop. That's some good company. With a podium at the TT on a Supertwin already under his belt, keep an eye out for James, he's another rising star and very much one to watch over the coming years.
James, as I'm sure you can appreciate is a little bit busy this time of year, so we've got an abridged version of the Q&A for now, I'll try and persuade him to finish off the rest at a later date.
But for now, in your own words, James, take it away...
James coming through Church on the Southern 100
What do you do for a living? – Self employed joiner and builder, with my dad.
Who or what attracted you to road racing? – Well, road racing is something else! The fact of having everything close, trees, grass, walls, I love it! It makes me feel right at home, and I get a good sense of speed and makes me feel comfortable!
What would you have replaced motorcycle racing with if you had never become a racer? – Is there anything else?!
If you packed racing in today what would you do for the rest of your years? – Back to motocrossing, or probably run my own team.
What was the first bike you raced (and have you still got it)? – First bike I road raced was a Honda RVF400 which took a hammering. Yes, still got her, it's for the front room !
James, sat in parc ferme at a Southern 100 practice session.
What’s the best race bike you’ve ever ridden? – Well, I thought it was a Honda Fireblade, but the new 2017 ZX10RR is something else!!
Which racing bike from history would you like to ride? – I've ridden some bikes but I'd like a go on an RC45.
Who is your racing idol, and have you met them? – John McGuinness is some boy [and I'd reckon JC will have met JMcG at some point].
Who do you admire (racer / non racer)? – My dad, all I have done and doing would not have happened without him.
What’s your greatest achievement so far? – Greatest so far, probably 3rd at the TT on my supertwin.
James, with his dad on Glencrutchery Rd.
What achievement are you striving for? – It's got to be a top step on the mountain course, hasn't it!
If you had your time again, what would you have done differently? – I'm not that far in really, so, hard to say, things are quite good !
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into road racing? – Don't rush at it, let it come to you.
RACING ON THE TT MOUNTAIN CIRCUIT - WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT:
When you land on the Isle of Man to go racing? – I hope to have a good safe racing and go home happy.
As you walk through the gate from parc ferme onto Glencrutchery Rd. at race time? – Do what you can, bring her home safe !
As you come up to the start line? – Bring her home safe !
As you set off down Glencrutchery Rd? – Bloody hell, I don't remember it being this fast !
When you cross the finish line at the end of a race? – Coming over the finish line is some feeling, that you have achieved some endurance, and better still, if you get turned into winners enclosure.
What typically do you talk about with your team / family before and after a race? – Before, we recap things we have changed and then after we debrief on what the bike was like, and then "what's for tea" ha!
BEFORE EACH RACE DO YOU HAVE :
Any rituals? – I like to put my right glove on first.
Things you say to yourself or out loud? – I normally tell myself to go steady and bring it home safe. This came from my first ever race on my 400 at the Manx, that I won by 6 mins!
James coming through Church on the Southern 100
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE:
Meal? – Hmm, I love food, but spag Bol is good, anything with meat, really.
Colour? – Red, all the way!
Music genre / band / singer? – Not a particularly musical person just like good catchy tunes in general.
Possession? – Does a bike count, cos my 400 Honda means a lot!
Item of clothing? – I do get attached to comfy clothes, but nothing special.
Place? – I really like my home village, Kilham, to be fair. [SnapChap: It's in the East Riding of Yorkshire, near Scarborough]
Circuit? – It has to be the TT, and the Southern 100 course is mega too!
James waits patiently on Glencrutchery Rd
EITHER / OR
Gym or yoga? – Neither really ! But gym
City or countryside? – Countryside
Tea or coffee? – Tea!
Sushi or fish & chips? – Fish & chips
Cake or pie? – Cake
Ketchup or brown sauce? – Ketchup
Restaurant or take out? – Restaurant
Dogs or cats? – Cats
Books or films? – Films
Twitter or Instagram? – Twitter
Netflix or Youtube? – Youtube
Early bird or night owl? – Early bird
Quiet night in or loud night out? – Depends... I like a good night out!
THANK YOU James FOR TAKING PART.
YOU CAN FOLLOW James USING THE FOLLOWING LINKS:
Search for 'James Cowton Racing' on Facebook
KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED FOR MORE Q&A SESSIONS COMING SOON!
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YOU CAN FOLLOW SNAPCHAP USING THE FOLLOWING LINKS: