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Nick Harris: 35 years in motorcycle racing

Nick Harris, a reputed journalist and author with extensive experience in broadcasting media, has been known largely as a TV and radio commentator and host for the past 35 years.

As a commentator for 18 MotoGP-2010 races, Nick was the voice of MotoGP last year for viewers in Great Britain, Australia, North America, Africa and the Far East. During the winter, Nick provides commentary on football matches on The BBC. He's also provided voiceover for various Duke Marketing and Castrol commercials.

On top of all that, Nick acts as a host for numerous international conferences, and conducts Dorna news conferences on MotoGP weekends. Last year, Barry Sheene’s biography, co-authored by Nick Harris and Steve Parrish, made it onto The Sunday Times’ bestsellers list. Nick also co-authored a history of the TT race and a biography of Freddie Spencer, and released. various publications on Formula-1, MotoGP and the WSBK.
Read the interview to see Nick’s answers to a few questions from Motonews.ru.

How did it all start? You couldn’t have known right from the outset that your whole life would revolve around motorsports, could you?
I certainly did not know that I would have been so involved in Motorsport for the last 35 years. I was and still am involved in many sports and especially football. I started to get interested in Motorcycling watching Scrambling (Motocross) on the television and it went from there. I went to my first road at Mallory Park to watch Mike Hailwood and was hooked for life.

What was your first race as a commentator?
It was at RAF Gaydon at a North Gloucestershire Club meeting in 1974. I did it on the telephone from the Sergeants mess for BBC Radio Oxford.

Do you have any favorite riders, or do you like to remain unbiased towards them all?
I try to remain unbiased while commentating but sometimes get carried away. I think you look further back for favourites. Mike Hailwood who came from my home town Oxford is probably my all time favourite with Barry Sheene and Jarno Saarinen.

Do you – or did you – ever ride a motorcycle yourself? What kind of bike was it?
I rode many motorcycles for many years starting with a BSA Bantam and finishing with 550cc Suzuki before I moved to Motorcycle News where I rode bikes the whole time. I even went off road and bought a 250 cc Kawasaki

What do you think motorcycles will be like 20 years from now? What about championships?
It’s difficult to forecast but I was very impressed with the speed of the Electric bikes at the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca last month but we need some noise.

What changes would you make to the championship if one word from you were enough to change everything?
Continue to try and increase MotoGP grid size and think about all aspects of the one tyre rule.

What do you think MotoGP ultimately is – a show or a sporting event? Or something else altogether?
It’s a combination of both that makes it so special. I’m on my way back from Brno and when I witness such great racing in front of a massive crowd, even after so many years, I still get that special buzz.

Have you ever been to Moscow, Russia?
I’ve been to Moscow twice. The first time on the way back from the 1979 Russian Motocross Grand Prix in Leningrad which was an amazing experience. I returned in 1995 to a very different City with Damon Hill. I was press officer for Rothmans Williams F1 team and we were on a World tour with Damon who went on to become World Champion.

Russia is playing host to one of the WSBK rounds next year, so it is quite possibile that MotoGP will sooner or later be held in Russia as well. What do you think about that?
I would love to think so but obviously the circuit has to be safe and with a good infrastructure. I think it’s crucial to find new venues and markets for MotoGP to expand.

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