people power

Kevin's Team Mates, associates and competitors include the key personalities at the top of Grand Prix racing in recent years, so close is a champion to his friends and foes that his development is a product of their interaction. The relationship he has with each both personally and professionally is very different as are his thoughts about them.


Larking around of an evening in the paddock when all but the residents have gone is one of the joys of Grand Prix life and Kevin shares a joke with Mick Doohan, Juan Garriga and Niall Mackenzie.

Rob McElnea "He was great," says Kevin without any qualification. "A lot of stuff that I learned that first year Rob really helped me with, he helped my parents as well. He travelled with us most of the time from race to race, we both had motorhomes and he knew the easiest ways to get around, places to go, things to do between races and he helped me a lot with the bikes, learning the new tracks and he knew a lot more about setting up a 500 than I did, he'd got the experience."

"I could have had a team mate that made Europe seem like a real nightmare. He made it really easy on us, he and Sharon didn't have their daughter Jessica at that stage and we spent a lot of time together. Most of the time he knew exactly how to get to the track, there were a few times that he led us astray but we'd get there in the end."

" '88 was a tough season for every- body. I managed to win Suzuka and a race in the wet but there wasn't anywhere else that we were even in with a chance. Had Rob ridden in '89 when the thing was a bit faster he would have done better, no doubt about it. Because that was what the '88 bike suffered so much from was no power. Himself being the delicate little person that he is the power disadvantage seemed even worse."

"The first couple of times that I beat him he could have just gotten really shitty and said, oh well you can help yourself but he didn't he continued to help us right through the year and became a good friend. He was sure fun to be around... that's where he led me astray

"He used to show me the short way round on a mountain bike and trying to jog with him, that was something in itself. We'd run a lap, I'd be trying to run as fast as I could, then he'd run another one four minutes faster while I was sitting down trying to recover. He could just run forever and go up the steepest hills on the mountain bike. You'd think as big as he is he'd be handicapped pulling that weight up the side of a hill but those legs just kept pumping and up he'd go. He was such a good trials rider that he seemed to find the grip and anything that was a little tricky on the mountain bike he'd just pick his way through."

"He was someone who helped bring my golf game around, or well it actually hasn't come around yet, but he tried to give me a few pointers. We did pretty much everything together. I went and rode trials with him in England at the end of the season. I seemed to convince him that trials riding wasn't a technical sport it was just a case of seeing how fast you could get through the sections. It seemed like what ever I had learned about trials riding didn't fit in with the McElnea way of doing things, 'no no,' he'd say, 'not such a big handful of throttle, you've got to slow down a little, it had been a while since I'd ridden any trials. He was Mr. All rounder, actually there wasn't anything I could beat him at except Grand Prix racing. golf, trials, mountain biking, all those he'd show me the way round."

"I've had some real peachy team mates."


Rob Dan Kevin discussing something. Fine art?


Ron Haslam

Ron and Anne are nice people. Ron didn't talk that much to anyone that I saw, they were a family, with two kids and they did their own family things. It was a different situation to Rob and I for example. Ron was a good team mate, we would talk about the bikes but that was about as far as it went." "Ron had his own little things, his helicopters and things. He did teach me to drive radio controlled motorcycles.

We had a good time that year."

"The bike was really good all of '89. I think it really progressed from a bike in '88 that handled well and didn't have much power to a bike in '89 that was competitive and basically could have won every race. I don't think that there was a track we went to that we weren't in the hunt."

 


Kevin and Rob on best behavior in Macau.

"I think that Ron was one of those that tried to ride the bike and work on it. Not physically but he tried to work out what it needed to fix it. Back when he started racing maybe that was possible, now there are too many things that can be changed and too much can happen."

"It is too tough adjust to ride the thing much less ride it and solve the problems that it has. I don't think he was ever quite able to dedicate himself one way or the other because he was trying to do both."

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