Grid Talk – Glen McMahon | Columns | Gassit Garage | Sport
Race mechanics are often the unsung heroes of a Factory team – but according to Glen McMahon it’s all in a day’s work.
Tell us a bit about your role.
I’m Glenn Allerton’s dedicated mechanic with the Yamaha Racing Team. It’s my responsibility to fuel the bike, make sure things aren’t falling off it, keep it clean, log track of lap times, and take down notes of any setup changes to the bike, such as gearing, tyre pressures, fuel usage and so on. If we’re struggling in any areas I’ll sit down with Glenn and the crew to try and work out what he’s feeling so we can find a solution. Sometimes Glenn maybe loosing time in a sector so if I can see something on track that may help I’ll feed that information back to him and see if we can’t improve his lap time.
How did you get started?
I meet Mark ‘Atcho’ Aitchison when I was racing in 2004. Then halfway through the season Mark’s mechanic fell ill. I was already there around the paddock helping him out, so I got offered the gig. In 2006 Yamaha decided to run a Supersport team to run alongside the Superbike team. Mark was there teammate to Jason O’Halloran. I was lucky enough to go along with for the ride.
So apart from Atcho, who else have you turned the spanners for?
I’ve been over to Europe a few times, with Atcho for eight weeks’ in 2007 when he rode in the FIM European Superstock championship. And to Hockenheim in Germany with Jeremy Crowe the following year when he rode for the Spanish Yamaha team. After that I had Pat Medcalf for two years when he rode the R1 in the Superstock championship and in 2012 I worked with Mike Jones in the 600 class. Looking after Broc Parkes in 2013 was a real highlight for me as he went on to beat Kevin Curtin and win the FX-Superbike championship. After Broc took off to MotoGP the next year I teamed up with Robbie Bugden. That was an up-and-down year. We we’re up against it on the previous R1 but we still had some memorable results. As a team, we never gave up. This year I’ve been working with Glenn on the new YZF-R1M. We’ve formed a good working relationship and outside of the race track we don’t mind catching up for a round of golf.
Is it difficult to please the riders you’ve worked with?
Glenn for sure doesn’t leave a stone unturned. I wouldn’t say he’s hard to please. I have seen it with Wayne [Maxwell] and Cru plenty of times. They can show up somewhere and you can have the engine in the thing upside down, the front wheel in the back and the back in the front and they can’t go any quicker. They might just be having one of those days. Then the second day of a 2-day test they show up get on the bike and it just clicks. As I said Glenn doesn’t leave a stone unturned and he’s always looking for an advantage. That is what you have to keep doing to run with the fast guys. Glenn has shown up on a Friday and could be miles ahead of everybody and have pretty good speed straight out of the box, but then come Sunday he’s getting knocked off for the win by Wayne or Troy or Mike. It’s not always easy out there. Other times we have struggled or things haven’t quite gone to plan in qualifying but we have come away with three race wins because we have had a good race package. Glenn has sure kept me busy at some of the testing and he will admit to that. However I don’t mind. If he is putting in 110% I’m happy to do whatever it takes to deliver him the bike he wants. That’s my job and I enjoy it thoroughly.
Away from the race track, what do you do with yourself?
When I’m not at the race track I’m working as an electrician at a company called Pfizer. That keeps me busy day to day. If you can’t find me there, I’m usually out on the golf course and if I’m not there I’m probably hanging out getting up to no good with Cru or Glenn. That pretty much sums up how I spend my time. And if I’m not doing that, I’m adding to my red wine collection.
By RUSSELL COLVIN