This is the fourth in a series of Q&A's with those involved with motorcycle 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 do, what is considered by many, a dangerous occupation. 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.
This time it's the turn of Davy Graham, you may already know him as 'Patch Racing'. He's come to road racing only very recently in racing terms, and is presently only doing Irish rounds, but is aspiring to one day get to the Isle of Man and take on the TT Mountain course.
As yet, mine and Davy's paths haven't crossed, so, I unfortunately don't have any photography of my own to show in this article. Davy assures me that all the images used have been cleared with their creators, so thank you to those whose photos I've used.
What do you do for a living? – I drive a forklift and a delivery van for Finlay Foods Ltd. it's a bakery suppliers owned by Jim Finlay who used to sponsor Tom Herron!
Who or what attracted you to road racing? – I've always had an interest in motorbikes, through my dad formerly being a flag marshall and my uncles also having bikes. As for going racing myself, it's safer than being a maniac on a road bike I guess!! And legal!
What would you have replaced motorcycle racing with if you had never become a racer? – Hmm... Well I play football for a local team (Donacloney FC) so either that or get into the coaching side of things!
If you packed racing in today what would you do for the rest of your years? – I wouldn't mind being a travelling marshall or having a kid ride my bike on the circuits. If not then do a bit of flag marshalling etc!
What do you do out of race season? – Work! When I'm not working I'm spending time with my young son Cody and my girlfriend Janine. I also have a lot of nephews and neices who keep me on my toes.
What was the first bike you raced (and have you still got it)? – My first race bike was a pre injection Yamaha Thundercat! But no, I don't own that bike anymore.
What’s the best race bike you’ve ever ridden? – I've never raced this bike... but technically I've ridden it! So... Keith Amors B&W Racing Honda CBR600... I helped the team out for a few years, as Brian and Wendy are close friends of mine.
Which racing bike from history would you like to ride? – Joey's (Joey Dunlop) Honda SP1 without a doubt! I've always been a fan of the SP1 for some reason. Could be because my uncle had one..
Who is your racing idol, and have you met them? – Oh that's Neil Hodgson and Joey Dunlop for sure! I've never had the pleasure to meet them, unfortunately. My modern day race hero would be Valentino Rossi or McPint! (John McGuinness)
Have you ever been star struck (racer / non racer) and who was it? – No, I've never been star struck. We're all human beings at the end of the day. Also meeting the Burnley football team was pretty cool as I'm a huge fan (for my sins!). (SnapChap: Davy's dad lived there for a few years and he has family from there) (SnapChap: Oh, and I won't mention their recent loss to non league Lincoln City!).
Who do you admire (racer / non racer)? – Michael Dunlop and my pal David Haire. Michael because, well... he is a top top racer! David because even though he studies an awful lot to become a teacher and doesn't get to race very often now, he still mixes it at the front every race he does and wins as well!
What’s your greatest achievement so far? – Without a doubt... becoming a dad! racing wise, doing the Ulster Grand Prix is up there.
What achievement are you striving for? – I wouldn't mind getting a podium at a road race to be honest. I'd be delighted with that, never mind a win!
If you had your time again, what would you have done differently? – I would've started racing as a kid. I only got into the sport 4 years ago and I'll be 33 this year.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into road racing? – Definitely think it through before taking the leap. It's not for everyone and requires a lot more patience and thinking than a short circuit race. You can't be diving up the inside of someone during a road race. Instead of running someone wide over the grass, you could be sending someone into a hedge or a wall.
How do you want to be remembered? – As a good dad... anything else that is good is a bonus I guess!
(credit to Kristian Graham - Omnicoverage)
What are you thinking about:
As you walk onto the grid at race time? – That's when I start to relax... I'm a nightmare beforehand. Making sure everything is double checked, I have tyre warmers on and pressures etc are right! I'm surprised my spannerman / uncle hasn't told me to 'do one' yet!
As you come up to the start line? – I think of who's around me and what the first corner is.
As the flag drops and you set off? – No matter what race I'm at, all I can think of at this moment in time is the music that is played at the Ulster Grand Prix starting grid!! (Darude - Sandstorm)
When you cross the finish line at the end of a race? – I kinda thank the bike for not letting me down, shake hands with whoever I've been dicing with, and then im always looking forward to getting the helmet off and a drink!!
What typically do you talk about with your team / family before and after a race? – My uncle / spannerman would talk to me about bike set up, where I could go better and remind me not to make a balls of the start! The girlfriend reminds me to bring my ass home in one piece and tries to make me relax... I'm a laid back person but pre-grid I'm a nightmare to be around.
Before each race do you have :
Any rituals? – Yes! left boot and left glove always go on first lol
Any lucky charms? – Not really, no. Kiss the girlfriend before I head off, I guess?
Things you say to yourself or out loud? – "Do NOT make a mess of the start!", "Don't stall" lol
LIFE IN GENERAL
What nicknames do you have? – 'Patch'. I have a birthmark on my cheek and I've had this name since primary 5, hence the team name - 'Patch Racing'.
What three words describe you? – small, witty, laidback
What have you always wanted, and did you ever get it? – I've always wanted to own a motorbike. Thankfully, that happened!
What question are you asked the most? – Hmm... I'm not sure to be honest. maybe "when are you going to stop racing??" from my mom?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? – I'm a very fussy eater. In fact, I'm a nightmare. So, eating strange things doesnt happen! lol
Davy with his distinctive cheek 'Patch' (credit to Jackie Henry Photography)
What’s your current addiction(s)? – A tv show called 'Shooter' directed by Mark Wahlberg, and the gym with my ex-colleague and now personal trainer Matt Currie.
What would be the hardest thing for you to quit? – Racing! I love the buzz of it, and the craic in the paddock.
What’s the nicest thing someone has said to you? – I got told I'm like Conor McGregor (Irish professional mixed martial artist), great at self PR lol So, I'll take that as a compliment!
What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you? – Oh, no... I tried to jump a stream as a kid. Being small... this wasn't easy. I didn't reach the other side and it turns out the stream wasnt a stream but a sewer!!! Not cool... I still get abuse from my sister-in-law, Joanne, about it lol
If you were a crap superhero, what would be your superpower? – I have no idea!!! I wish the nephew was about to help me out here!! My nephew loves the Marvel superheroes like Captain America and Iron Man etc I've adopted 'Thor' as my race logo because of that.
What would be the perfect day? – Winning a road race!!
What’s your greatest achievement? – 100% becoming a dad to Cody.
What’s your biggest regret? – Live life without regrets... It will just eat you up!
What amazes you? – The lads who do the TT... who can't be amazed at that?!
Davy in action at the Mid Antrim 150. (credit to Chris Usal Photography)
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE:
Meal? – Steak, chips, peppered sauce and tobacco onions.
Colour? – Baby blue.
Music genre / band / singer? – Rock! AC/DC or Metallica
Possession? – My phone. lol
Item of clothing? – Race helmet with handprints of my nephews & nieces on it.
BACK ROW: (whose hands appear on the HJC lid), nephews, Thomas, Lewis, Devon & Adam, and niece, Chelsie. FRONT ROW: Davy's son, Cody (striped hoody) and other niece, Zoey.
Place? – I don't really have a favourite place... the paddock maybe?
Pastime / hobby (other than racing)? – I like to play football and badminton!
Circuit? – That would be a close call between Tandragee 100 and Ulster Grand Prix!!
EITHER / OR
Gym or yoga? – Gym
City or countryside? – Countryside
Tea or coffee? – Tea (SnapChap: oh, Davy likes his tea alright!)
Sushi or fish & chips? – Fish and chips
Cake or pie? – Cake
Ketchup or brown sauce? – Ketchup
Davy and his 'better half' Janine.
Restaurant or take out? – Take away
Dogs or cats? – Dogs
Books or films? – Both!! love to read
Twitter or Instagram? – Twitter
Netflix or Youtube? – Netflix
Early bird or night owl? – Both... I don't sleep much to be honest.
Quiet night in or loud night out? – Quiet night in. I'm not really a drinker.
Thank you Davy for taking part.
You can follow Davy on the following links:
Keep your eyes peeled for more Q&A sessions coming soon!
N.B. These articles take time and effort to make, and for it I get nothing in return, so if you've enjoyed this article please consider showing your support and encouragement by liking, bumping, tweeting it or generally sharing it to others. Thank you.
You can follow SnapChap on the following links: