20-year-old Simon Andrews progressed steadily through various junior championships before bursting on to the British and European scene in 2002 with a number of podium finishes in the British Supersport Championship, whilst also entering the British and European Superstock championships.

With the official support of Yamaha UK, Red Piranha Racing will run Andrews in the ultra-competitive 2003 British Supersport Championship on a YZF-R6. Here Simon answers a selection of quick fire questions, starting with a series of motorcycle racing 'firsts'...

Q: When was the first time you rode a motorcycle?

Simon Andrews: A QR80 Honda at the age of four.

Q: What was the first motorcyle race you attended?

Simon Andrews: The first race I attended was the British Grand Prix at Donington as an eight year old. I was hooked for life.

Q: When was your first motorcycle race?

Simon Andrews: I had to wait for my 16th birthday in 1998 before I could get my licence to go club racing. Six days later I was racing at Mallory Park. After starting on the front row I kept it together and finished second. For me personally that was a real turning point, it confirmed my belief that I had the ability to get serious about racing.

Q: When was the first time you won any prize money?

Simon Andrews: My first prize money was at Mondello Park, after finishing 15th in 1999.

Q: When was the first time you led a motorcycle race?

Simon Andrews: At a New Era Club meeting at Snetterton in 1999. Led from start to finish.

Q: First time on the podium?

Simon Andrews: I finished 2nd in my first race.

Q: Ever in trouble as a child?

Simon Andrews: I remember my first (and only) experience with the Police was when I got caught riding a dirt-bike on the road as a 14 year old. What really annoyed me was that the bike was totally knackered and I couldn't out run them!

Q: Any big accidents?

Simon Andrews:I was coming out of the Esses at Mallory Park when I went down in fairly spectacular fashion after having the handlebars knocked from my hands by another rider. I flipped the bike on top of the embankment straight towards the marshals at well over 80mph and cart-wheeled across the gravel at least five or six times. Initially, the prognosis was that I had a suspected broken spine and two broken arms. Although I didn't think so at the time, I was a little lucky with that one.

Q: What's your favourite race city?

Simon Andrews: Last year we contested the European Superstock championship and my first race in Italy was at Monza. I loved the circuit and loved Milan.

Q: Favourite race track?

Simon Andrews:In the UK, Thruxton and Brands Hatch. On the European scene it's got to be Monza. That circuit just blows the mind!

Q: What's your most memorable racing achievement?

Simon Andrews: Definitely my first podium in 2002, at Donington Park in British Supersport. May there be many more to come.

Q: Who are your motorcycle racing heroes?

Simon Andrews: Ben Bostrom and Kevin Schwantz.

Q: Tell us about your distinctive helmet design?

Simon Andrews: It's an adaptation of the team's Piranha logo. It's a predator just like me. I have my name in Egyptian hieroglyphics on the back.

Q: What would you like to do after you retire?

Simon Andrews: It's a long way off, but it's pretty important that whatever I'm doing leaves me financially secure and with as few worries as possible. It'd be nice to develop my own team one day and guide young riders through the ranks.

Thinking about it, I'm not so sure running my own team would leave me financially secure and with no worries...!