Simon Crafar is getting back on a bike and competing in the British Superbike series this year. The New Zealander who fought against greats such as Mick Doohan will be riding a Yamaha R1 and will be keen to show he hasn't lost what it takes to win.

The thirty-two-year-old beat Doohan at the British Grand Prix in 1998 by 12 seconds to take the win. He rode a Red Bull Yamaha YZR500 and despite his successes that year, things were not so good the next season. He left the team after just six races, and for the past year he's worked as an Ohlins technician in GPs.

Crafar talked to Motor Cycle News about what made him want to race again in 2002. "Niall Mackenzie planted the seed in my mind about coming over here to race." said Crafar. "I got talking to him at the Malaysian Grand Prix and he suggested two teams that I should speak to, one was the factory Suzuki team and the other was Yamaha.

"I tried to put the conversation we had to the back of my mind but it just wouldn't go away and I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Two years ago I'd had enough of racing. When you're doing well the GP paddock's a great place to be, but when you're doing badly it's a hard place to live. Now the fire is burning again."

Crafar continues by explaining why he has chosen Britain. "It's a good championship, you only have to look at how well guys like Steve Hislop and John Reynolds have done as wild-cards in WSB to see how tough it is.Also the crowds at British race meetings are fantastic, large and really enthusiastic. Rob (McElnea) and the Virgin Yamaha team have all been supportive to me and also I won't have to spend all my time living out of a suitcase and I'll be able to spend more time with my family. It should be perfect."



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