An exclusive interview with former grand prix rider Danny Webb, who will make his Isle of Man TT debut in 2014, alongside the Superstock 1000 class in BSB...
So are you finished with grands prix now?

Danny Webb:
For the time being yeah. I'd love to go back but I never really had a big sponsor to carry me through there and I couldn't get a free ride again so it just wasn't possible. It all comes down to budget.
When you say free ride you mean where the bike's cost is taken care of, but you look after everything else?

Danny Webb:
Yeah, everything would be paid for and I'd just turn up and ride and could then just about manage to live off my personal sponsorship. I've had some great sponsors who've stuck by me but it was never what the teams were asking for, it was really just to live off.
So what now?

Danny Webb:
Well we did the World Supersport at the end of last year and I thought things were going pretty well but again we didn't have the budget to carry on with that this year.

Now though I've got the possibility to do the TT and I can go there and ride a motorbike. I race because it's something I need to do and that's going to fulfill that need. I've always wanted to do it but it really is a massive, massive challenge. There's so much learning to do.
But this season you're also doing the BSB Superstock 1000?

Danny Webb:
Yep, I'm doing that as well. I'm doing the season on a Kawasaki ZX10. The testing's been going pretty good but I had a little slip off at Oulton and I've done quite a lot of damage to my shoulder.

I've broken my collarbone in four places and that's pretty unfortunate, it wasn't even a spectacular crash. At least if it's spectacular it's something to boast about! It was just a stupid little crash but that comes with the job.

I have days when it's pretty painful and I've got to say that it's down to the weather really. It's plated and healing but it's not strong enough to put any pressure on yet. Luckily it is one of those injuries that can heal totally though. I've been over to the Isle Of Man in a hyperbaric chamber so can't see why I shouldn't be fit enough for Oulton and then straight to the North West for my first road race.

We didn't do the official BSB testing but did some private ones and also a club meeting which I'm pleased to say I won. It was my first time on the 1000 and it was great fun to get on something with power. I was getting a little bit bored with being on the small bikes and there's only so much time you can spend going round and round on one. I was ready for something bigger.

Also if you learn to ride a 600 or a 1000 you've got so many more possibilities for your career. Admittedly I've got double the learning to do on the 1000 on the roads but you've got to start somewhere. As long as I don't rush it I think I'll do good.
Did you ever feel you had the bike to show your ability on in your career?

Danny Webb:
I was kind of always on the back foot, things were never all there. At Mahindra for example I spent my two years there trying to develop the bike and in my last year the people building the engines simply weren't taking any of the rider's feedback and that made it difficult. We had endless breakdowns and I didn't finish many races so those times were so frustrating. They're great people at Mahindra though and now they've got a different bunch of people building their bikes for them things seem to be working out better.

I didn't take up their offer of another year riding with them so here I am. It is gutting, but what can I do? I've made my choice. We had another possibility of going to Spanish Moto3 but I couldn't see the point in going backwards so I thought I'd do something different by doing the roads.

The choice to do the roads came first and the Superstock came afterwards. The idea was to give me some time on the 1000 to prepare me for the roads but now with the accident that's been knocked on the head.
Do you feel ready for the challenge of riding the roads?

Danny Webb:
We'll, the Superstock was supposed to give me more time on the bigger bike but I'm fully aware of the dangers involved in the roads.

I think it'll all feel a lot faster because of all the objects you're passing by and I'm looking forward to that. We've got the ZX ready and I've just got to get the collarbone OK and then we're good to go.

The big difference with the roads is the sheer amount of learning you have to do. Circuit tracks you get the hang of quickly but the roads will take a lot more concentration and and time. I'm only doing the NW200 and TT for now and possibly also Macau if we get an invite.
Did you go for the TT on impulse or was it part of a plan?

Danny Webb:
No, I've always wanted to do it. Tim Reeves, the sidecar man, took me over there for a charity event. It wasn't even a race weekend but he took me around in a car and that opened my eyes to how special it is there. That put the idea into my head to do it and now that my GP circuit racing career's finished I've got the chance.

Over the winter when it was getting a little political with last year's team the thought came up and I phoned Paul Philips [TT and Motorsport Development Manager] and said 'look I'm interested in doing the TT' and he said he'd try and sort something out. I remember Ryan Farquar said to me a couple of years ago that if I ever wanted to do the TT I should get in touch and that's what I've been doing. I've got good people around me, I've got Ryan, Milky [Quayle] and Johnny Barton so I feel that if I listen to them I can't go wrong.

People often ask me about my ambitions for the year and I just say to ride, learn and have fun. I've got to learn my way. It's got to be seen as a long term thing, the TT needs respect and you've got to give it time.
You see the TT as a long term plan then?

Danny Webb:
I definitely see it as something which will happen year by year. You can't go there in the first year and set the world on fire. Hopefully in 6 or 7 years I can be running at the front.
How many laps have you done of the TT course?

Danny Webb:
I've probably done about 30 odd laps up to now but that's only been in a hire car. I'm going to get out there again before the TT though and spend a couple of days driving solidly around the circuit. It's always best at night when there's no traffic - it's pretty well lit up.
Wouldn't it be better to do it on a bike?

Danny Webb:
To be honest with you, you won't get the proper bike feeling around there when just looking at the track because you won't be going at race speeds. If you're going at 30 or 40 on a bike you may as well go in a car where you can see the road better.

I've also been doing a lot of homework watching videos and on bike footage.
Honestly, does the idea of the TT scare you?

Danny Webb:
Yeah, now it's getting closer I'm starting to shit myself! I think any rider who goes there is going to have a lot of nerves.

I've just got to not put any pressure on myself and concentrate on doing some decent laps and that alone would be an achievement. At the moment I just want to finish, it'll be a thing ticked off and done.

When I originally went to watch the TT I was at Bray Hill and honestly as a circuit rider it made me feel like a bit of a wuss and I feel I'm finally becoming a man. To do something which is so respected is a great thing.

People often ask if I want to do a Josh [Brookes - top rookie] but I'm not aiming at that, if I go well I go well. With Ryan doing the bike prep and taking me round I think I've got the best person to work with. It's a good team but not as high profile as Milwaukee or Tyco so it'll be good to be under the radar a little so as not to get too many expectations.
Thanks Danny and good luck at the TT.

Danny Webb: