09 September 2013
“Some riders like to go to these tax free havens but I prefer Leamington” - Tom Sykes.
By Christian Tiburtius
An exclusive interview with Kawasaki's World Superbike Championship leader Tom Sykes, who holds a one-point advantage over Sylvain Guintoli with four rounds to go...
Other riders live in Andorra or Monaco, but you have decided to go for Leamington Spa?
That's correct, yeah. Leamington Spa's a beautiful little town. I'm a bit of a family man; I like socialising with them there. My wife's from nearby in the Midlands and I also wanted to be centrally based for the airports and motorways.
I reckon I've got the best of all worlds there, I've got a lovely town, great countryside and I enjoy where I live very much. Each to their own though, some riders like to go to these tax free havens but I prefer Leamington.
Are you ever recognised there?
I'm a bit of a people watcher, I enjoy relaxing in the coffee shops there when I'm not doing training or DIY. I've been recognised the odd time, but I'm not recognised a lot. That's the thing with motorcycling, you spend half your time in leathers and a helmet and nobody's really seen you. I'm doing well, I'm certainly not in Valentino Rossi's league for being recognised though.
I enjoy it when I am recognised, of course I do, it's great that you get fans who are so supportive and behind you. They sometimes seem to feel a bit embarrassed as if they feel they're disturbing you, but they shouldn't do because I'm someone who doesn't mind giving time to them.
Why do you race with the number 66?
There's no real reason, I used to race with 36 and other numbers, I ended up with 66 because it looks symmetrical and it's kind of grown on me and now it's of great value to me.
Is it true that you tested the Suzuki MotoGP bike before signing for Rizla Suzuki [in BSB for 2008]?
Yeah I did. I think it was just a bit of a gift from Suzuki at the time, something that Paul Denning organised. By the time I'd managed to get a few laps on it it'd gone 5 o'clock in the evening and it was too cold for the Bridgestone tyres for a novice. It was a shame and I would have liked to have got a better opportunity to test it in better conditions. Obviously now I'd like to have a go to see where I stand.
It certainly didn't reflect any offers or plans. I only had about 8 laps, I'd much rather have had a test in better conditions.
Was your wild-card ride in WSBK which got you your first full time WSBK ride?
I was told I was being considered before that but I think it was my performance in the wild-card rides which put me on the map for the full time ride with Yamaha in 2009.
Looking back, how do you think you did with Yamaha?
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