|Some people say you're only as good as you're last race! That may be true, but when you've been out of domestic competition for a full season only to make you're return in World Supersport, that sounds more like a fairytale than reality. But we are talking about Jim Moodie, and that alone explains the above and if anyone can buck the trend, it's Moodie.
As you now know Moodie will be competing in the World Supersport series-riding for the Dutch team Saveko alongside Rob Frost on R6 Yamaha's. Thankfully for all you road fans, Moodie has his options open for some TT races and the NorthWest.
Very few people know what Moodie went through during his non-riding 2001 season and coming from a championship-winning year surrounded with controversy that started the year with Honda then finishing with V&M Yamaha, you would expect race teams to be queuing up for his services. In reality nothing could have been further from the truth "It just didn't happen, said Moodie, and it's not hard to work out the Honda situation didn't help. "When you compound the problem with the end of 2000 season injury as a result from a crash while riding a Ducati in the Spanish championships, things were not looking good added Moodie". I had a few offers especially with Suzuki to compete at the TT and NorthWest. I also had the opportunity to compete nearer the end of the 2001 season but I decided to give my leg extra time as it was taking longer than I first hoped. My final decision not to compete wasn't easy, although I had the offer to ride a Ducati for Ian Simpson at Knockhill".
Asking Moodie what would have happened if there was no competitive offer for the forth coming 2002 season, he said' "I came off a championship-winning year where I took on and beat some of the best, and not just in the domestic scene, but also at world level. In saying that, if no acceptable offer was forthcoming by say late January February 2002, I would have pulled the pin.
I changed the subject and asked Jim about that performance at the 2000 Brands round of the WSS. "The V&M team was superb, as they were from the time I joined and for sure they couldn't have done more," said Moodie. "I could well have had pole, as I was fastest in the first three segments in final qualifying. But I got bulked with a slower rider in the final section pushing me down to third". He added, "I know I could possibly have won the race if not for Karl Muggeridge missing a gear. These things happen in racing, but that one incident lost me lot's of time even though I finished the last few laps faster than anyone else in the race". I could have had pole and even won the race or at least a rostrum position." More annoying to Moodie was the fact that he felt his overall performance deserved more recognition.
Moodie had a short foray into the world of rallying when he finished second in his class at the second round of the British rally championships at Silverstone driving a works Peugeot. The Main turning point for Moodie was when it became apparent the TT and road racing was being hit by the unfortunate foot and mouth outbreak. Moodie seen this as a window of opportunity and took the bold step to undergo a series of five operations by a specialist to gain more movement on his damaged ankle. "I could have raced if things were different, no problem, but with the TT and the likes being cancelled I decided this was the ideal time to get sorted for the better" said Moodie. Other riders could well have given up but Moodie wasn't dwelling on the past, he was already looking ahead to the year 2002 and his goal of a place in the world supersport series.
Only Moodie could have turned the year 2001into a positive. He continued and even upped his rigorous training schedule. "I was in the gym as soon as a couple of days after my operations, sometimes for as much as eight hours per day. It was one of my own way's of proving to myself I really wanted to keep racing and with the frustration of not racing I buried myself in the gym work."
The latter half of the 2001 season seen Moodie take control of the Electrack race team with the young talented Scottish rider Ross McCulloch. Moodie grinned and said, "I know some people thought I was finished when I started to managed Ross, especially the times I was limping around the paddock. I was looking further ahead and it was an important opportunity to keep myself in the racing scene, as was the commentating for Eurosport."
Asking Moodie how the WSS berth first came about, he said, "Eddy Roberts of Pirelli was instrumental in us both coming together in the first place. I went to the September WSB round at Assen, and although we didn't start discussions for another week it gave me the chance to have a look at the team and the bikes."
After this seasons Cadwell BSB round Moodie underwent an intensive course to gain his helicopter pilots licence. "Considering I wasn't racing it was an ideal opportunity and besides it's something I've always wanted to do said Moodie. "A few of my friend's have them including world rally driver Alistair McCrae, it's been the hardest thing I've done in my life. Besides that, it was another way of coming down from the amount of gym work I was doing."
Although Moodie's been out of the saddle for one full season, the first time in his racing career, he was not about to give up hope on his long-term plans. His enthusiasm, determination, belief, and confidence in his own abilities shine through. Very few riders could come through the other end.