This is the sixth 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.
Having had a successful Manx Grand Prix back in 2015, having won the Super Twins, Rob was looking forward to continuing his good progress in 2016 at his first time competing in the Isle of Man TT. However, it wasn't to be. Rob was troubled with niggling engine issues during practice week, but things improved when he set a 120mph lap on his Superbike. Unfortunately, his practice week fast lap couldn't be translated into success during race week, as an electrical issue forced retirement at the end of the second lap. Finishing 14th in the first Supersport race, raised spirits, but was dashed on a technical infringement with the spare 600cc engine that was brought in to cure the issues experienced during practice week, resulting in a disqualification. Rob's Lightweight race didn't fare much better, and with thoughts of the earlier races rattling around in his head, he carried too much speed into Ramsey and came off, signalling the end of his part in the race. With suspension woes troubling his GSXR 1000, Rob and the team decided to bow out of the Senior. Despite all the issues, a 122mph lap under his belt and being ahead of many a seasoned racer in the first Supersport race, Rob has plenty to take forward to the 2017 season, and he should definitely be on your 'one to watch' list.
Rob, in your own words, take it away...
Who or what attracted you to road racing? - Dad has always done it and I wanted to do something different to circuits. A good decision.
What would you have replaced motorcycle racing with if you had never become a racer? - I played Rugby league 'when I were a lad' so I'd like to think I could have made a living at that!
If you were a full time racer and packed racing in today what would you do for the rest of your years? - I'm not a full time racer, but if I packed in racing I'd probably concentrate on work more and setting my own business up. May even have my own house and a fancy car! (If I'd never raced)
What do you do out of race season? - I've recently bought a trials bike (Scorpa sy 250) so have spent a lot of time on that this winter. As well as working on trying to get a plan for this coming season.
What’s the best race bike you’ve ever ridden? - BMW S1000RR was easy to ride for a powerful bike, and Honda RS125 / Yamaha TZ 250 reverse cylinder are purpose built for racing and do everything they should for the job, the engines just seize up a lot! (Taught me a fast clutch response)
Which racing bike from history would you like to ride? - A Rotary Norton.
Who is your racing idol, and have you met them? - don't really have an idol, I always liked Joey Dunlop, Steve Hislop, and of present day John McGuinness, and yes I've met John.
Have you ever been star struck (racer / non racer) and who was it? - Don't think so?
Who do you admire (racer / non racer)? - Anyone who has the courage to give the Manx GP or TT races a try. Ian Hutchinson for his racing career. Michael Dunlop for his NW200 250cc win after losing his dad.
What’s your greatest achievement so far? - Winning a race around the TT course. Having people wanting to be involved in my racing.
What achievement are you striving for? - A TT win would be nice, I'd also like to win the TT privateers championship. Become a paid racer.
If you had your time again, what would you have done differently? - Sold my Honda RS125 GP bike sooner, it was a money pit for 3 years, and racing lost a lot of its enjoyment.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into road racing? - I'd say Just remember the stone walls and telegraph poles won't move if you hit them, build up slowly.
How do you want to be remembered? - for any of my achievements, don't think many people can say bad things about me, so I'm not fussed really!
Rob, head down, tucked in as he passes the Southern 100 grandstand back in 2016
For those who have raced on the TT circuit - what are you thinking about:
When you land on the Isle of Man to go racing? - Hope we can get set up before it lashes down with rain! Then it's usually full on getting ready for first practice.
As you walk through the gate from parc ferme onto Glencrutchery Rd. at race time? - Just want to get the race underway!
As you come up to the start line? - What a lonely place it is, all preparation is done, it's just me and the bike.
As you set off down Glencrutchery Rd? - As soon as the clutch is out from the start, I'm thinking about the top of bray hill, and the lap has started. Any nerves have gone straight away.
When you cross the finish line at the end of a race? - A sense of achievement, yet desperate to know where I finished!
What typically do you talk about with the team / family post race? - How the bike felt suspension wise, discuss the pit stop, any issues, wildlife struck etc...
Rob awaits the gate to be opened for practice at the Southern 100
Before each race do you have:
Any rituals? - Helmet strap must be at the perfect adjustment. Must ask mechanic/helper if the tyres pressures have been checked.
Any lucky charms? - No.
Things you say to yourself or out loud?- No.
LIFE IN GENERAL
What nicknames do you have? - none really, I have plenty offensive nicknames for other people though!
What three words describe you? - Not very serious. (Unless we're riding bikes)
What have you always wanted, and did you ever get it? - I always wanted a mini moto since the age of 4 when I first seen them at the TT in nobles park, I've now got one, but don't ride it...
What question are you asked the most? - is it Hodgson? (There's no G, it's HODSON!!!)
Rob soaking in the atmosphere of Glencrutchery Rd before the 2016 Supertwin Iom TT
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? - Sausage & Baked bean Pastie (Pound bakery) that's strange, but alright.
What’s your current addiction(s)? - (Tetley) Tea, 1 sugar, no milk. (At work only)
What would be the hardest thing for you to quit? - Never riding or watching motorbikes ever again.
What’s the nicest thing someone has said to you? - I received a supportive hand written letter at the beginning of last year from someone who sponsored me. That was nice. Also a lot of kind words were said after the TT last year.
If you were a crap superhero, what would be your superpower? - I'd have the power to switch gravity off (handy in a bike crash)
What would be the perfect day? - Winning a senior TT then to find out my lottery ticket was a winner would be ideal. Steaks & beer would be on me!
What’s your greatest achievement? - on paper, winning a Manx GP race and setting a new lap & race record at the same time.
What’s your biggest regret? - Only winning the one Manx GP race.
What amazes you? - A lot of things, mainly technology.
Rob in a quite moment away from the TT course last year
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE:
Meal? Steak, chips, crispy onion, half rack BBQ ribs, peppercorn sauce and a cold Peroni.
Colour? - Ford imperial blue.
Music genre / band / singer? - Difficult to say, I use SoundCloud to find a lot of stuff I like.
Possession? - My phone is the most used, but I have my favourite trophies and awards from racing.
Item of clothing? - Wigan Warriors Rugby clothing is comfortable (No, I'm not a salesman)
Place? - I.O.M, most of it is nice.
Past-time (other than racing)? - Trials riding, Superbike Sunday's, watching Rugby, Spend a fair bit of time with Kim (My girlfriend)
Circuit? - TT Course, Billown Course, Cadwell circuit.
Rob enters the pits during the 2016 Supertwins IoM TT
EITHER / OR
City or countryside? - Countryside
Tea or coffee? - Tea
Sushi or fish & chips? - Fish & Chips
Cake or pie? - Pie.
Ketchup or brown sauce? - Ketchup
Restaurant or take out? - Restaurant
Dogs or cats? - Dogs (allergic to cats)
Books or films? - Films
Twitter or Instagram? - Twitter
Netflix or Youtube? - YouTube
Early bird or night owl? - Night owl
Quiet night in or loud night out? - I like both, in moderation...
You can follow Rob using the following links:
THANK YOU Rob FOR TAKING PART.
KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED FOR MORE Q&A SESSIONS COMING SOON!
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