MOORSIDE motor bike racer Ashley Beech has remained on two wheels during lockdown.
However, the 31-year-old has swopped his BMW S1000 RP bike, with a race speed of up to 180 miles per hour, for a more sedate pace mountain bike.The racing instinct prevails on the paths and trails around Saddleworth.
Ashley said: “I have a friend who is a keen mountain biker and we go out together and I spend my time chasing him.
“It is enjoyable and a case of trying to keep in shape so I am ready for when racing resumes, whenever that may be.”
It is eight months since Ashley last sat on his race bike – that was for the final Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship of the 2019 season at Brands Hatch.
“It is so long that I could well have forgotten how to ride it,” explained Ashley who added this has been the longest period he has ever had off a bike since I have been racing. He began as a six-year-old in mini moto classes.
He said: “I don’t have a road licence so I cannot even have a go on the road.
“All I have is a race licence. I have never ridden on the road.”
Lockdown happened in March, the month Ashley was due to travel to Spain for testing in preparation for the new season.
Ashley added plans for the new season are in limbo, admitting he does not know whether he will have a team while there is no indication whether there will be a season, albeit an abbreviated one.
He was due to ride for the small, privately run NP Motorcycles, from Taunton, who he joined for the 2019 season. Their business has been badly hit by lockdown.
Ashley, who has been racing in the National Superstock 1000 Championship since 2012, said: “I am waiting to see whether I have a team.
“Financially it would not be do-able otherwise as I need a crew and the benefits of being in a team.
“I had a new bike towards the end of last season which cost a fortune. Nothing from my old bike fits so it has been a case of starting to build it all over again which my team does.”
In the worst case scenario and NP motorcycles being unable to run a team, Ashley added his hopes of racing would be reliant on another team needing a rider, usually through injury.
Since leaving Counthill School, Ashley has worked for his family-run Oldham business
Ashley, who also went to Watersheddings Primary, is the third generation to work in the fabrication engineering firm. He works with father Adrian and grandfather Steve Booth.
He added working for the family firm is ideal in terms of being able to take time off to practice and race, flexibility many other employers would not accept.