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  TT Website Interviews - David Jefferies

David Jefferies is THE number one TT rider. Six wins in the last two years, plus the absolute course record at over 125mph are testament to the awesome force that is the Jefferies / V&M Yamaha combination.

It looked as though the big Yorkshire man was going to miss this years TT in favour of a British Superbike campaign, however, to the delight of TT fans everywhere, the deal didn't come to light, and Jefferies will be back in 2001.

We spoke to him from his home in Yorkshire about last season and his thoughts on what is to come.

David, I would like to talk to you about last season first if I may? It was another great year and you must have been delighted with how it went?
Yeah for sure. We changed the bike a bit from 99 to make it better, and as we proved it did make the bike better because we went quicker. To do the time we did on the Monday night practice at 124mph or something without really trying surprised me.

A lot of people ran out of practice last year, but by Wednesday I'd got about 18 laps under my belt. Every session I was out as often as I could on as many bikes as I could. The whole TT went absolutely perfect; we had no problems with anything apart from my bike blowing up in the Formula One.

At the North West Michael rode better than I did, which is fair enough and in the UK I was really surprised with how it went. Half way through the championship, I thought it was going to be really difficult to win, then Matt fell off at Mallory, which basically gave me the Championship.

You managed to achieve the first ever 125mph lap on the TT Mountain course whilst looking like you were cruising in places and waving to the crowd. Was it as easy as it looked, and how much did it mean to you?
I must admit, I wasn't pushing it that hard. I think I did it to try and show myself what I could do, but I wasn't pushing and pushing to the limits. I just enjoyed myself. The thing I did more than anything was concentrate really hard.

I never set out to do 125mph, but it's nice to be the first person to do it and stuff but it wasn't my ultimate goal in the race. I knew I had a big lead, and I had lost all my tear offs. I used two of them on the first lap and rode the next four laps with one on which I left until the Nook on lap five. Then I thought, riding within my limits, what sort of speed you can do here and that was it.

Is there more left? Can you go even quicker?
I don't know. With the Isle of Man, you treat it with the respect it deserves and in the end of the day that's what I do. I ride at a speed I feel comfortable with.

You managed to record your second 'triple' at the TT in consecutive years but you were broke down in the Formula One race which was by Joey Dunlop? Do you think you could have caught him?

End of story?
Yeah. I think I would of, but putting this on the TT Website, a load of Joey fans will read it and say that Joey would have one it, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I didn't, he did and he was the better man on the day. But it's all hypothetical, but yes, I do think I would have beaten him.

It's not fair to talk too much about Joey in what is your interview, but I personally would be very interested to know about your relationship with him, and what his passing will mean to the sport and primarily the TT?
Well I think I know you better than I know him, and we've only spoken a couple of times.

Yeah. If you totalled up all the times I've spoken to him and said hello it would come to about four minutes. He was a very shy sort of guy and I think he looked at me as the young, new, idiot.

Even his friends who knew him well, he was quite around, so someone who turned up and started doing what I did he wasn't going to be my best friend. He wasn't that sort of person. I respected him as a rider of course. I personally think the Joey 'thing' should be left alone now…

I agree…
He was an amazing rider and the sport is going to miss him, but I don't think that the tribute stuff needs dragging out.

For this season, you were set to miss the TT and concentrate on the British Superbike Championship with Team O2+. As we know by now, the deal didn't actually materialise. Are you disappointed that it didn't happen as planned?
Very disappointed. The problem is now, that I've got a tag as a Road Racer. Yes I am a Road Racer, but I've won the British Superstock Championship against some pretty handy riders. I can ride on short circuits as well and I would like to be given the chance to show it on a competitive Superbike. But I'm going to have to wait for it.

You have teamed up with V&M Racing once more for this season. Other than the TT, what is the rest of your agenda for this year?
The North West again and we are doing a full British Championship in the Superstock Class.

And what about the Ulster?
As far as I know we are, as long as it doesn't clash with anything else. We will definitely be at Macau which I love, because it's great to go and relax and have a race with all your mates who you see all year but in a much more relaxed atmosphere.

At the TT, who do you sight as your main rivals at this years event?
If Jim Moodie gets something sorted he'll be a threat, if Michael Rutter gets something, he'll be a threat, John McGuinness, Adrian Archibald on the Honda's could be a threat. There are loads of people who could be a threat, and it just depends how they go on the day.

You must be fairly confident though?
I know our package is right, and this is going to sound daft, but I now think I know where I'm going. Even last year I was still learning stuff on the last lap of the Senior. I don't get too cocky, but looking at facts, I know what I can do.

Are there any riders on the horizon you have noticed?
I was talking about this to John McGuinness, and there isn't, which is something that needs to be looked at. There aren't many good young riders coming through to do the TT. I haven't got all the answers, don't get me wrong, but it is a worry.

Your uncle Nick told me that he thinks you will grow bored with the TT soon and move on. Is that the likely outcome?
Well if you want to know what I think ask me and not my uncle. But everyone is entitled to there own opinion but I enjoy the TT. When I thought I wasn't doing it, I was looking at the monitors at the bike shows showing the TT and I was thinking, damn, I'm not going there.

It's all very well Nick saying that, but his career is finished and he shouldn't be going back to the Isle of Man and I've told him that and he still thinks I'm stupid (laughs) but I'm in the middle of my career. You've got Chris Walker going to Grand Prix now and I'm at the point were I can be offered a Superbike ride to prove what I can do.

It all depends where your goals lie, and without trying to sound cocky, with the TT, I've been there and done that. I've won every class I've entered and I'm the fastest man round there, so if I get the opportunity to ride for a top British Superbike team who insist that I miss the TT, it will be a bitter pill to swallow, but I think I would do it.
Now if I hadn't won any TT's it might be a different matter.

Speaking of Nick, I remember seeing you following him in practice quite a lot, when you first came to the TT. How useful was his help when you were learning the circuit?
I didn't follow him that much really. It's a big responsibility when you are doing that, and you are always looking behind and that, and you have to learn your own way round really.

People have different lines. I've spoken to Hislop, and at Hilbray, he's got a completely different line to me. His line frightens the shit out of me. There's no way I would come out of there that wide, but that's his line and that's the way he goes.

With the Isle of Man, my theory is that you have got to learn it yourself. Just take your time. I did follow him a few times to learn the quick bits, but apart from that, I've learnt most of it myself.

You come from a very bike orientated family and I know your whole family get involved with your racing. How important is it, to have that family atmosphere with you at the races?
It's really nice to have the support of my family. There are so many people who go racing because their dad won't let them have a bike or something, which is hard work, so I'm fortunate to have that support and I really do enjoy it.
My dad's my manager; my mum and my sister are my biggest fans, so it's really good.

Going back to the TT, the event and the organisation in particular has taken a lot of criticism of late. Are there any changes you would like to see made at the TT?
No comment.
It is difficult for me to say without getting very controversial, but I think certain decisions made last year when certain races were run in conditions they shouldn't have been run in. That needs to be looked at.

The other thing is that their rules need to be brought into line with the rest of the world.

With the Superstock and Supersport rules…
Yeah that's right. We are running a Superstock bike all year, but for the TT Proddy race, we have to take time out and build a separate bike with indicators and a horn and this kind of thing! It puts a lot of people off. I think it needs modernising a bit.

The TT is steeped in a lot of tradition from years ago. We've moved onto the next century, and I think they could do with doing it as well.

How do you see the future of the TT?
We have got to make sure we don't have another year like last year. I've always said that some of the races in Ireland are dangerous. Yes all Road Racing is dangerous, but you do the best you can to make it as safe as you can, but I think some of the races they are doing in Ireland on bikes that are capable of doing nearly 200mph down roads use by farmers is just a little bit scary.

They have got to try and implement as many safety precautions as they can without ruining the atmosphere of the sport.

This is a question from a friend of mine called Myles, he would like to know which is your favourite part of the Mountain Circuit to ride?
The Mountain. Start to finish. Yeah.

Finally what is your ultimate long-term ambition in your career as a Motorcycle Racer?
To be British Champion on a Superbike I think. And then move on to World Championship competition. I want to show people who say he's too big, he's too this, he's too that what I can do with a competitive team who want to work with me.

I'm not just a Road Racer, and my size doesn't matter. I've proved what I can do on the circuits, but I just want the chance to prove what I can do properly.

Well it's been great to talk to you, and I'm really glad that you're coming back to the TT. All the best for the season.
No problem. Cheers Paul.

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