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GRID TALK-Michael van der Mark | Columns | Gassit Garage

We find out why Michael van der Mark, the 2014 World Supersport champion and former truck driver – who finished seventh in his WSBK debut in 2015 – hates clowns

AMCN: What do you like most about racing bikes?

MVDM: Girls? No, no, seriously the adrenaline of speed – this excites me every time I get on the bike. The bike itself is not something that I’m really interested in. I also love travelling and that’s a part of it.

AMCN: What would you be doing if you weren’t racing?

MVDV: I never really had a plan B, but most probably I’d be a truck driver. Before I started racing professionally I worked for my father driving a truck and most probably I’d be working in a company there. I was driving the biggest trucks and we delivered so many different things – like engine parts and food for big ships. I did it for almost three years.

AMCN: Do you have a motorcycle licence?

MVDM: No – I did one lesson and I was scared of all the people on the road and I decided not to get the licence. I still want a licence, but I’m just too scared.

AMCN: What bike were you on?

MVDM: Too slow!

AMCN: Your first bike?

MVDM: It was my racing bike – an Aprilia RS 125. The bike didn’t go faster than 170 (km/h), but I was still pretty happy.

AMCN: Any funny racing-related stories can you share with your fans?

MVDM: There’s been way too much that can’t be told! With all the teams so much stuff happens on Sunday night and I’m still embarrassed about everything that’s happened. I’m pretty sure if I ever write a book with my team we will go to jail and will have to pay for a lot of stuff!

AMCN: Tell us something most people don’t know about you.

MVDM: I don’t like clowns. I don’t trust them. There’s something creepy about them. I felt like this since I was really young.

AMCN: Anything that keeps you awake at night?

MVDM: No – I always look at stupid mistakes as something you learn from and something better will happen.

AMCN: What’s your main aim for the 2016 season?

MVDM: To get more podiums and to win more races. The bikes are so strong this season and it’s pretty clear the bike we have (Honda CBR1000RR) is not the best – so our aim is to get the bike better with Nicky and make it a race winner.

AMCN: What are your earliest motorcycle memories?

MVDM: I had great fun riding around on a quad which my father bought me. I was about six years old when we were on holidays in Spain and I had a go on a minibike at a go-kart track. It was my very first time on a bike and I surprised everyone by being so comfortable and fast on the bike. By the third lap I was already sliding it into corners. My other big memory is sitting on Valentino Rossi’s bike when I was 11 years old. It was at that moment that I looked at my father and told him I wanted to go racing and had this strong feeling that this is what I wanted to do – nothing else.

AMCN: So in a way Rossi got you into racing?

MVDM: You could say that. He’s been a huge influence because he’s such a special racer. I remember watching him racing when I was young and being blown away by his skills. My father – who has always been behind me – has also been a major influence. We did everything together and he’s still a big part of my life. He comes to all the races just to enjoy.

Van Der Mark, U.S. WSBK, 2015.

Van Der Mark, U.S. WSBK, 2015.

By Oscar Kornyei