Sept 2000

July 2000


Born : 5th August 1968
Place of birth : Lanark Hospital, Scotland
Marital status : Married to Alison with one daughter, Hollie Jane
Lives : Monaco and Spain

What type of road car do you drive?
"A Jaguar XK8, which is a pretty nice bit of kit, but the only problem is that Hollie's baby seat doesn't fit in it. We've also got a Focus, of course."

But motorbikes are more of a passion aren't they?
"Yes, I still get more enjoyment out of riding a bike than I do driving a car. It's the ideal way of letting off steam and they're faster than anything I'm ever likely to drive. The risk factor is a lot higher on a bike - probably why it's more of a thrill! You've got to treat bikes with respect though, a lot more than a car, and I think people forget that sometimes when they see me riding bikes. You don't ride the same as you would drive a car, nor take the same risks - if you make a mistake, it's going to be a lot more painful."

So what bikes have you got?
"My number one road bike, as in the one I use the most, is the Ducatti 996. It's not necessarily the best one - even though it was the most expensive - but I'm still trying to work out whether I like it or hate it. It's completely different from the Japanese bikes; V twin, lots of torque, doesn't rev much but has buckets of bottom end power. Not sure, I can't decide at the moment whether to keep or sell it.

"My most enjoyable bike is the GSXR Suzuki because it's much more like a race bike. This is the bike to take out on a nice night for a bit of fun - nimble, twitchy and much more exciting than the Ducatti.

"But my all-time greatest bike is the Honda Fireblade; it's not necessarily any better than any of the others, but it was the first major bike I bought back in 1993. Even now, it's seven years old and not far behind anything you can buy today."

Was it ever an option to race professionally?
"No, but in an ideal world I'd love to have! To be honest though even I'd have to say they're too dangerous. Anyway, when I was younger, bikes were a complete no-no with mum and even the old man would've copped out of supporting that one!"
What about off-road bikes?
"I've got a couple of Yamaha and Suzuki off-road bikes, more for fun but to a certain degree for fitness. If I'm back in Scotland for a couple of days, Alister and I try and go out with a group of guys who road race professionally. It's a good way of us all keeping fit and, if everyone's around at the same time, there can be about 8 or 10 of us who go out locally in Lanark."
What other things do you get up to?

"I've tried other sports, but I'd rather be reasonable at a couple of things than rubbish at everything. I've got quite a few mates in Verbier and we try and go down there a couple of times during the winter to ski. We're all pretty competitive though and needless to say everyone goes into daredevil mode, and a pretty normal sport quickly turns into something extreme! I've tried bungi-jumping as well, but I'm not sure if I'd do another one or not. It's like everything though, if you're egged on to do it, you probably would. Alister once did a jump off a cable car in Queenstown in New Zealand, it was something like the biggest in the world, and if I was down in that neck of the woods I'd probably have a go. The thing is, if your going to do something extreme, you have to go the whole hog and make sure it really is extreme!

"We've got a couple of jet-skis in Spain - the lifestyle and weather down here are perfect for water sports and I also water ski occasionally, although not as much as I used to."

You've also got your private pilot's license haven't you?
"Yes - let loose in the skies now as well! I've always wanted to learn to fly and it was a completely new and different challenge. Because of rallying I've always been around helicopters and a pilot's license is something you can actually use to your benefit. Being away so much means the time you have at home is precious, even to the point of extra hours with my family. It also means you've got a lot to catch up on and being able to fly means I can now do three things in one day instead of one.

"I bought an Enstrom 280FX in March - it's only a three-seater, but it looks like a proper helicopter, just scaled down. It's currently up in Scotland, although it'll come down to Spain when I have time to fly it here or find someone happy to bring it. I need to get a lot more hours in, but hopefully by the end of the year I'll do a conversion to a MD500. I could use that for travel within Europe, which would save a hell of a lot of time."

So, just sitting around doesn't really feature in your life…

"Sure, most of the things I enjoy have an element of speed involved and playing chess isn't my thing, not that I have anything against chess! But you'll be surprised to learn that two of the things I find really therapeutic are pottering around doing wee jobs in the house and cutting the grass! And yes, it's just a standard lawn mower, although I daresay I could tell you it's top speed!"

The McRae Coat of Arms