Posted: 17 Dec 2012
During the week Dave Parkes is Service Manager for Tamworth Yamaha, but at the weekend he travels the world as a mechanic for Paul Bird Motorsports CRT MotoGP team! Bike Social caught up with Dave to ask just how he manages to juggle work and MotoGP commitments and also find out some paddock gossip…
So have you been at every MotoGP round this year?
“Yep, every one. Tamworth are great, they let me zip away for the occasional weekend…”
Does that mean the shop’s customers have a genuine MotoGP mechanic servicing their bike?
“Yep, on Sunday I’m working on James Ellison’s CRT bike, on Monday I could be servicing a YBR125 – which is a bit different.”
How did you become a MotoGP mechanic?
“I first started being a mechanic when I left school then did a while in touring cars before getting into bikes. I did race bikes but I quickly gave that up and fixed them instead. I was with GSE for 12 years and we won a quite a few BSB titles (Troy Bayliss, Neil Hodgson, to name a few - Ed) then went to WSB before coming back to BSB and winning again with Greg [Gregorio Lavilla] and Leon Camier. Then I got a call from Birdy to come to MotoGP.”
What do you do on a MotoGP weekend?
“Quite a lot actually. The bikes go from round to round so all the preparation is done at the circuit. We get there Wednesday morning for set-up then spend half of Wednesday and Thursday prepping the bikes. We take the engine out and clean everything – if it was a wet race before we strip the whole bike. It doesn’t take that long to strip a GP bike, the bodywork falls off and the CRT bike is a lovely machine to work on.”
How trick is it?
“It’s a nice bit of kit, a bit behind the Aspar bikes but still trick. We are getting our own frames and swingarms built next year instead of running Aprilia ones, which will be interesting. I’ll be there again with the team.”
Have you poked around a factory bike?
“Oh yes, you always stick your nose in the fairing to see what is there if you get the chance. The Honda is so trick, that gearbox and engine sound is unbelievable. They are all pretty special to be fair.”
When you see James crash what’s you first thoughts? For the bike or James?
“The rider, as long as I see he is ok I then go ‘sh*t, that’s more work for us!’”
Do you keep the broken bits as mementos?
“No, a lot of parts are recycled and used again.”
Are there any good parties in MotoGP?
“The one at the last round was good from what I can remember…”
Is Dani Pedrosa really miserable?
“He is focused, which is mistaken for miserable. That said I’ve never seen him smile… The rest are more laid back and will have a beer at the end of the season – not during the season.”
Who is the best racer you have worked with?
“Troy Bayliss. When he won BSB he would turn up at the track and say ‘what direction does it go? What’s the lap record?’ He couldn’t wait to get on the bike, rain or shine. Top bloke, awesome rider and he’d have a beer with you.”
Any top tips for a home mechanic?
“Bring the bike here, I’ll sort it out!”