Gough gets up close at the TT

Posted: 04 Jun 2013

Darren Gough at the TT

Last Sunday was no average day for England cricket legend and TalkSPORT presenter Darren Gough (‘Goughie’). As a keen biker, Bennetts has promised to fulfil a series of Goughie’s Biking Dream Challenges this summer, one of which is to ride the TT’s Mountain Course on a sports bike. 

As a sponsor of this year’s Isle of Man TT, Bennetts thought it was an opportune moment to fulfil that dream! It was a day to remember. Goughie was given the ultimate ‘access all areas’ TT experience, including: a lap of the famous 37 ¾ mile Mountain Course on a Yamaha Fazer8 under the guidance of TT star Milky Quayle; up-close viewing of the World Superbike TT race with a grid walk; a place at the very best race vantage point at Bray Hill; and a ‘closed lap’ of the Mountain Course in the official course inspection car! 

We caught up with Goughie to get his reaction.

For an up-close TT experience, could that be bettered?!

No chance! It was an amazing experience and not at all what I expected. The buzz and excitement gripped me from the moment I arrived.  

You normally ride a Triumph Explorer, so how was it to get onto a sportier bike to tackle the Mountain Course?

It was very different as you’d expect. I’m used to being more upright in my riding position so it took some getting used to. To see what these bikes can do through Milky was enough to tempt me though to edge nearer to sports bikes, perhaps a Triumph Speed Triple which sits somewhere between a sports and adventure bike.

Did meeting Milky give you an insight into the mind of a TT racer?

Yes, he’s mad! No, seriously, what surprised me is his pure out-and-out passion for biking. I was amazed by it. I saw him in various interviews and it’s infectious. He lives and breathes biking and, as for the TT course, he knows every single bump. In the car, he talked me round the course and he was spot on every time. Out on the bikes, he came into his own yet further, especially over the top, pulling away on a few occasions to show me how he’d take a corner if in race mode.

The TT is the oldest motorcycle race in the world. We take it you hope it’s here to stay?

Absolutely. The TT needs to stay in the sporting calendar and a living tradition. Very few bike events can capture the interests of both hard core fans and people like me. I’m glad the likes of Bike Social is now a sponsor of the event because it helps to keep it alive and, let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like the TT for ‘talk-ability’.    

Your TT experience was all part of the Bennetts Biking Dream Challenges which you’re fulfilling. We take it you’re enjoying them?!

What’s not to like?! So far I’ve been doing my further bike training with the Institute of Advanced Motorists and just completed the last test with strong scores, ones and twos. The TT was like no other experience and I’m certain to be coming back to the Isle of Man to soak up some more of it.   

Next up is your Ashes biking challenge. A slightly different challenge to the TT?

It’s going to be the complete opposite. I think I’ll be on a Triumph Rocket III which will take me between all the Ashes Test cricket grounds in a day. It’s around 300 miles in all so no easy feat but I love biking so I’m looking forward to it.

We can’t let you go before asking you for your thoughts on the Ashes. Who’s your money on?

I’d mark out KP as a vital man for the series. He’ll be fit and I think England will have enough to hold the off and win it 2-1. I also think Root will open the batting over Compton and I’m going for a big series from Cook again. When he comes up against the best, he pulls out his best performances.