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By way of something to do on the second dullest day of the year, here is a tongue-in-cheek, sideways look at who the powerbrokers of British motorcycle racing are. There are, of course, some people in the background who will giggle at it but they're just jealous.
All writs should be sent to our solicitors, Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Runne...
1 Jonathan Palmer - Doctor Who?

Palmer bought the Brands Hatch group of circuits and we held our breath. Palmer is the second smartest cookie in British racing history. He bought the Brands Hatch group from Interpublic, a US ad agency, for around £20m. The smartest cookie was Nicola Foulston, who sold it to Interpublic for £120m.

The purchase instantly bought him the British Superbike Championship, a place on the MCRCB board and a vote on the ACU Road Race Committee. But with great power comes great responsibility.


A sometime F1 driver but a businessman first and foremost, Palmer's agenda, not surprisingly, is to make money. Period. He confessed at the start of his reign that he knew nothing about motorcycle racing and, apparently, still doesn't. But he seems to have subdued his controlling tendencies and is now letting BSB number two Stuart Higgs run the show again. Palmer has upgraded most of the tracks but making money out of racing is not easy.

We will see how Palmer reacts to the economic crisis and how his decisions filter down. A ten per cent increase in track hire has been whispered about which can't be good for anyone but Palmer. Increases like that could be the death knell for small clubs as the crunch bites hard. But it's OK, as The Good Doctor can just sell a helicopter or two if he's a bit short.

2 "Colonel" Jim Parker - Don Corleone

As head of the ACU, and the Road Race Committee, Parker runs a very tight ship. In fact, it's such a tight ship that no-one is allowed to talk apart from him! Parker also sits on the board of the MCRCB and apparently has the power to veto any decisions that Palmer wants to make, but won't as that would be like pressing a very large, red Presidential button. Boom.

As head of the sport's governing body, Parker holds power over all the of the clubs, and the organisation of the TT, plus WSB and MotoGP at Donington Park. Whether that makes him more powerful than Palmer is a subject to debate after Doctor Who?.

Parker has been at the ACU's head since the first big asteroid hit and, despite ill health, seems to have no intention of releasing the reins any time soon. Critics of the organisation say it's time for a change and to have someone under the age of 90 in the big chair...

3 Stuart Higgs - Man of Flags

Occasionally described as 'a bit odd', likeable Higgs has the hardest job in motorcycle racing. As BSB Race Director, it is down to Higgs if anything at all should go wrong at a BSB event. He is legally culpable if a rider is seriously injured, or killed, and civil or criminal proceedings are actioned. Very high pressure.

Over the course of a weekend, Higgs has to marshal more than 200 marshals and medics, is responsible for decisions on all on-track incidents and what action to take, be it yellow flags, safety car, or red flags. One wrong move could result in him sharing a cell with a man called Bubba and being careful about hanging on to the soap.


On top of all that, Higgs is also responsible for the series' commercial activities too which includes attracting partners and sponsors, and being nice to manufacturers...

4 Neil Tuxworth - Bleeds Honda

Tuxworth is Honda's racing man to go to in the UK. Although he runs the HM Plant team, Tuxworth's power also moves around Honda Europe but to what extent is not exactly known. Some say he he is involved in all HRC racing decisions in Europe, and some say he isn't. Some say he also plays the chainsaw in a local Louth folk band.

Whatever, Tuxworth is a proven winner, steering Castrol Honda to WSB Championships and HM Plant Honda to BSB Championships. No mean rider himself, Tuxworth is a TT winner, classic motocross champ and King of the Mablethorpe Beach Race. Whatever that is.


5 Colin Wright - The Riders' Manager

Wright's public persona is very different from the real one. To TV audiences, the Airwaves Yamaha team boss looks like someone you wouldn't mess with on a dark night but, in reality, he is someone you wouldn't mess with on a dark night.

Wright's style of management is very forthright but if you talk to anyone who has ridden for him they will tell you he gives them what they need to win races. A very likeable but private individual, Wright plays his cards very close to his chest. But it seems to work as he has now coached three World Superbike Champions, one current MotoGP rider and more BSB Champions than you can shake a stick at. Once in Wright's inner circle, he couldn't be a nicer guy. Unless it's a dark night...

6 David Kerr - The Satellite Guy

Kerr is the top man at British Eurosport, the company that snaffled British Superbikes away from ITV. How he did it is something that will never become public, but the lure of full, live coverage for hours on end, instead of one live race on ITV4 must have something to do with it. And, unlike football, the MCRCB have to pay around £1m to get it on the telly.

Kerr seems committed to BSB and it must now be the jewel in his domestic motorsport crown as the British Touring Car Championship is, frankly, rubbish and getting worse by the day. He could, of course, pull the plug on BSB's TV coverage at anytime, and ITV's Big Giant Head of Stuff Mark Sharman is still stinging from losing the series in the first place, so BSB wouldn't be welcomed back.

7 Rob McElnea - You're Gonna Need a Bigger Team

The Burly Humbersider has worked some pre-Christmas magic. After fielding a one-man team in 2008, with fairly poor results, Rob Mac has managed to secure Chris Walker, Michael Rutter and Graeme Gowland in a three-bike Superbike team for 2009 with former 250GP kid Dan Linfoot on a 600. Good effort on now having the biggest team in the paddock.

The former 500GP rider cuts a massive dash in the paddock and is not averse to squaring up to other team managers on live television. Hugely likeable, McElnea has recently become a father again, bringing the total to 48... (Only joking Rob. No, put that spanner down...)

8 Andrew Smith - Mr Yamaha UK

Andy Smith is a brave, brave man. Not only will his company be providing a goodly number of Superbikes on the BSB grid this year (five top-line Superbikes), he is doing it when the rest of the world is running for the nearest mattress under which to hide their money.

Smith is a long-time supporter of motorcycle racing in this country and is desperate to get back the firm's late-90s glory days when no-one could touch the Cadbury's Boost YZF750/Niall Mackenzie combination. In GSE Racing, he has picked what is probably a dead cert. Probably.

9 Dave Stewart - The Maverick

Londoner Stewart isn't in this list as boss of ThundersportGB. He is here because Stewart is the man the ACU turn to when they want a big event running. Like MotoGP and WSB at Donington Park. While both series have their own race director, when they land in the UK, Stewart is the man they turn to make things happen. But, like Higgs in BSBm it will be Stewart that carries the can if it all goes wrong.

And he doesn't mind ruffling feathers. Always outspoken, the former BMCRC/MRO top man isn't allowed on the ACU Road Race committee in case he says or does something. Anything in fact.

10 Edgar Jessop - Like The Stig

As any alcoholic worth his salt (and lemon and tequila) will tell you, the best place to hide something is in plain sight. And this is exactly what Jessop does. Team managers, riders, mechanics have all spoken to Jessop this season, as has Palmer, Parker and Higgs, and they didn't know it.

Jessop is an enigma. He decides which meetings he goes too, and has been known to be in a BSB paddock and a MotoGP paddock on the other side of the world over the same weekend. We don't know who he is either. But we like him.

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