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Julie Hanks-Elliott Interview

Julie, the daughter of Roy and Rose Hanks has very kindly talked to us and here we hope you will find out a little bit more about her.

Daft question as it may seem, but how did you start off in Road Racing ?

My husband Paul brought my Cousins (Tom Hanks) TZ 350cc Windle and this is what started me off.

What was your first Race Bike ?

As I haven't done any other type of racing the TZ 350 was the first bike.

Where was your First Competitive Race?

This was the Boxing Day 1995 Plum Pudding Meeting at Mallory Park where I was passenger for my dad, Roy.

What are your most favourite and least liked circuits, and why?

My favourite has to be Mallory Park because it's a short circuit and it only takes us 45 minutes to get there. The least liked I suppose is Croft because it's where I first fell out. I don't really like the complex and it takes us 3 hours or more to get there.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career?

Without a doubt I would have to say it has been my dad.

What have been the highlights of your career?

So far, it has to be winning the Best Newcomers at Southern 100 in 2000.

What are your plans for the next racing season?

At the moment we are planning to do the TT and the Southern 100 as well as the MRO Championship.

Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions concerning motorcycle racing that you would like to achieve before you "call it a day" ?

The TT has to be the one. I think every roadracer has that ambition as it is the ultimate accolade.

Which has been your single greatest victory ?

Well as I haven't been in the sport too long competitively, it has to be winning best Newcomer at the Southern 100 in 2000

Who were you childhood heroes and why?

Jock Taylor because he was the best at the time and also my dad of course.

Which present day riders do you admire and why?

I really do admire Wendy Davies because she was the first woman to compete in the TT as a driver of a sidecar.

Also Sandra Barnett because of her achievements in a male dominated field of riders.

Do you feel you have achieved fair recognition for your racing successes?

I do not take part in the sport for recognition. I do it because I enjoy it. If I get recognised then that is a bonus.

How do you get yourself into the right frame of mind for a road race?

I don't really get myself in to any frame of mind. I am usually very nervous, but once the lights change or the flag drops I forget my nerves and I just get on with the job in hand.

Have you ever had any serious accidents during your career, have you ever seriously considered retiring at any point?

Fortunately so far I haven't had any serious accidents, mainly just rolling out of the chair going through chicanes.

Which has been your worst accident/incident ?

My worst accident would be the day me and my dads passenger(Phil Biggs) took my dads outfit with a brand new paint job round Mallory Park to run in the engine. We got to Gerrards and someone spun in front of us so we went into the gravel trap. Unfortunately someone was already there and we hit them flipping my dads bike over and landing upside down on his nice new paint job Oops.

That wasn't the worst part, that was when we had to phone him and tell him what had happened. I was not popular, as usual the driver always blames the passenger and in this case there was two of us.

Do you have any views on improvements that could be made to the Road Racing scene, either safety wise or organisational wise?

I feel that before you go out for the race you should be placed in grid order in the assembly area and stay in that order for the warm up lap, so that when you get to the start line you don't have to sit there for ages while people sort out where they should be, by which time the engine starts to over heat.

If you were to retire from the sport would you remain associated with the sport or make a "clean break"?

I would definitely stay associated with the sport, as it has been my life and enjoy it immensely.

Road Racing is a notoriously dangerous sport; if your children were to take up the sport, would you encourage or discourage them?

I would most probably encourage them, as if I did discourage them I would be a bit of a hypocrite.

Road Racing is a seasonal sport, so what do you do for a living in the close season ?

I do the same thing in the close season as I do in the race season for a living. I work at the Legal Service Commission as an IT person. Unlike some people I have to work to be able to race, as at approx. £300 a month it takes a large chunk of your earnings.

Do you as a Road Racer feel "hard done by" risking your life for very little financial reward, when say, most BSB "stars" are on a comparatively high salary?

Believe me if we did the sport for the money we would be on skid row. We do the sport because we enjoy it, admittedly it's an expensive sport but when we do win money it's a bonus.

Julie, thanks very much for taking the time to talk to us, and all the very best for the forthcoming season.

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