Interviews// Biking legend Steve Parrish

Posted 29 Jan 2010 17:11 by
Games: MotoGP 09/10
If you've wound up reading this interview because you're a gamer rather than a bike fan, the thing you really need to know about Steve Parrish is that he's a racing vet who's no stranger to winning, the racing equivalent to Murray Walker and a real gent. And he owns his own plane.

In other words, he knows a thing or ten about racing. As he was floating about Capcom's press event for MotoGP 09/10 earlier in the week, SPOnG caught up with him to see how racing in the game compares to racing in real life.

SPOnG: For our readers, who aren't necessarily versed in the world of racing, could you give us a bit of background on yourself?

Steve Parrish: Sure. I started out in racing in 1973, before most of your readers were probably born, and carried on doing a couple of years of amateur racing before I got signed by Suzuki to join Barry Sheen as his team mate, with the Grand Prix Suzuki team. I continued racing motorcycles professionally through to 1986, then ran a team called the Locktight Yamaha Team through to '91, then I continued my racing career racing trucks for a living. That was rather a peculiar way of making a living, but it was good fun and it enabled me to continue racing. I won five world championships for Mercedes Benz and retired from that in 2001.

I am now full-time employed, pretty much, by the BBC to cover their MotoGP series, and I've been doing that now for the last 10 years. So, really, I've gone about 36 years without having a proper job and I don't plan on getting one. If I do, I'm going to have a gap year before I get one. (Grins)

So, yeah, fortunately I started doing something as a hobby quite young and I'm still able to be involved in it. Commentating isn't as much fun as racing, but it doesn't hurt as much.

SPOnG: So, how have you found the game so far?

Steve Parrish: I love it! I must admit, I'm not a gamer. I don't seem to have time - maybe I could make time, but I always seem to be tearing around doing things, and I'm more of a real racer than a virtual racer. But, I must say, since I've been on this I'm a bit hooked, because part of my job is talking about the Grand Prixs we go to and, I'll be quite frank with you, I've not raced on all of the tracks we're at racing on now, because they've changed over the years.

I do get the occasional chance to get out on the tracks on race bikes, but there's one or two of the circuits coming up - particularly here at Silverstone and Hungary - that I've never been round, so I'll be having a go on the Capcom game to learn the circuits before I even commentate on them.

SPOnG: So, will it be genuinely useful to you, then?

Steve Parrish: Very much so, yes. I think I can get the hang of what's going on a lot more with certain circuits that I'm not intimate with, because I don't get out on a race bike as much as I used to. So, it will be genuinely very useful, and it's just quite unique for someone of my age, I guess, to actually get out there on a game that I can actually use for my job, as opposed to just pleasure.

SPOnG: So, from what you've seen the tracks are pretty close to their real world counterparts?

Steve Parrish: Yeah, straight away when I got the game, all the tracks that I knew really well - for instance Donnington Park, Perez where I've done a lot of testing, Philip Island - all those tracks I was considerably faster on than ones I've never been around. So, there's no doubt about it, there's a correlation there between having ridden them and the game. And they do seem very very accurate.
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Games: MotoGP 09/10

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