Rider interview – Alex Latham.

17 year old Alex races out of the Steel City of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, you can keep up to date with all his racing adventures via his Facebook page Alex Latham Racing and can get in touch at alexlatham-racing@outlook.com

Supported at most meetings by both dad Stuart and photographer mum Suzanne who always stops for a chat when she spots me trackside he also served up both brilliant racing and great birthday cake last year at Three Sisters where his scraps with Tony Griffiths and Richie Harrison provided some truly spectacular action.

Q1 – Race number? 37, as long as I get my annual membership in early enough to beat anyone else to it, I’ve raced this number since I was 6 years old!

Q2 – Club / Championship? Bemsee (British Motorcycle Racing Club) & PDMCC (Preston & District Motorcycle Club) mainly but I’ve also raced with NG (North Gloucestershire Road Racing Club). They’re all great clubs and it would be very difficult to decide if I had to pick only one club to race with.

Q3 – Class / Classes? F400 & Forgotten Era through 2018/19. For 2020 the intention was/is to do the MRO600’s with Bemsee and the 600 classes at PDMCC & NG if the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Q4 – Debut? On MiniMotos, 2009 ages 6 at Tattershall karting circuit with the, now defunct, NPS. On the FZR400 it was at Three Sisters with PDMCC in the F400 class, May 2018.

Alex showing off his considerable talent and super smooth riding style last year.

Q5 – Honours / Titles? I have a few wins with PDMCC including the lap record in Forgotten Era at Three Sisters, 2nd in the F400 and 3rd in the Forgotten Era championships in 2019. I also took a few 2nd and 3rd’s at Bemsee in the Sub64 class. I was Junior MiniMoto Winter Champion with British Minibikes in the 2013/14 series. I was particularly proud to be awarded the Marshals Rider of the Day at the first PDMCC meeting of 2019, it means a lot to know people are watching and appreciate the effort you put into racing – CHEERS.

Q6 – Favourite Circuit & Favourite corner? Brand Hatch GP is my favourite circuit, my favourite corner is Island Bend and through into Shell Oils at Oulton Park.

Q7 – Boyhood heroes? Marco Simmoncelli. Such a great talent and a sad loss to the sport.

Q8 – Toughest Rival? Up to now Tony Griffiths at PDMCC. He’s super quick off the line which means you have to work really hard to catch him around Three Sisters. He’s a tough opponent so even if you are right with him he’s hard to pass and make it stick!

Q9 – If I could swap places with any other rider? In the motorcycling world, anyone of the top riders in Moto GP, it’s the pinnacle of the sport and it would be fantastic to be there. Even if it was just for a day.

Q10 – Biggest accident? April 2016. Practicing on the pitbikes and I got taken out by another rider, when the marshals fished me out of the pond at Fat Cats I has a dislocated left shoulder which left me out of action for the season.

Alex kept Tony Griffiths very honest in 2019, chasing and pushing him all the way.

Q11 – Biggest influence on your career so far? My Mum & Dad as they have always helped me progress with my riding and put me on a bike as soon as I didn’t need stabilisers!!

Q12 – Rossi or Marquez? When I was younger it was Rossi and I still think he’s a fantastic rider and a great character but Marquez has moved things along, you cannot deny his talent and ability to push a motorcycle right to the very limit. Both incredible riders but in my opinion Marquez has surpassed Rossi’s talent.

Q12a – If I wasn’t racing I would be? Not a clue! I’ve never considered life without racing. I’ve been around bikes since I was born in one race paddock or another. If the current Covid-19 pandemic situation doesn’t improve I think I may need to find another way of relieving Dad of his cash! I was in the England U15’s Lacrosse Academy but dropped out when it started to impact on my racing so maybe, without racing, I’d have pushed harder, stayed with it and maybe represented England on the international stage.

Q14 – Nickname? ALEX, never Alexander!

Q15 – If money were no object I would? Probably be pushing to get to the world stage if I was good enough. You have to go through the ranks though, you need to measure yourself against others and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Build on those strengths and work hard on the weaker points, then improve and progress. That sounds like a lot of hard work, sod it, I’ll just buy the ride!

At the current rate Alex is going to need a VERY big trophy room.

Q16 – Brown or Red sauce, Coke or Pepsi? Both sauces are hideous but I do like BBQ sauce. Coke (unless it’s Pepsi Max).

Q17 – If I could be one person for one day I would be? Never thought about it, I’m pretty happy with my current situation.

Q18 – Cost to race per season? Err I’ll ask Dad! I have no main sponsors so Dad has paid for virtually all of my racing with a small and very much appreciated amount of help from a couple of local businesses, Le Pla Hydraulics and Steve at Fearnie.net, also for this year there’s Holroyd Tyrewarmers who will be keeping the wheels up to temperature before the lights go out and Danewalk Pet Hotel for always allowing Dave the time to come and help us at the meetings. Come to think of it, I daren’t ask him, he’ll probably want me to pay some of it back!

Q19 – Dream bike? Triumph 765 Moto2 spec bike.

Q20 – Training regime (Gym rat or bike fit)? I was in the gym through summer 2019 after completing my GCSE’s until I started my apprenticeship studies with the University of Sheffield (Advanced Manufacturing Resource Centre – AMRC) in Sept, but it’s mainly mountain biking and training sessions for lacrosse that keep me fit. Riding the 600 may mean I have to spend a bit more time in the gym though, I think riding the Triumph 675 may be more of a workout than the F400 was.

Q21 – Dogs or Cats? Dad wont let me have either as he knows he or Mum would be the ones looking after it but I’d have to say dog.

Alex showing off another trophy haul alongside Mum Suzanne and long time friend/pit crew Dave ‘Stacky’ Green.

Q22 – From October to March I can be found doing? Sept to April is the lacrosse season, I’ve played since I was 10 and play for Sheffield Steelers in the Under 19’s and Senior squads now and also coach the Under 16 team. I play in the North of England league which means virtually all the teams are based in and around Manchester so we travel over the peaks every weekend.

Q23 – Dry track, wet track or not fussed? mmmm, up to now racing in the wet hasn’t phased me, in fact I quite enjoy it, it was in the rain at PDMCC where I took my first win on the FZR400.

Alex slashing towards the top step of the podium at a very wet Three Sisters.

Q24 – Best race ever? I’d like to say my first season on the pit bike with Adam Blackwell jumping the kerbs at the Fulbeck circuit or the last race at my second Brands GP meeting in 2019 was probably the most fun riding a sub 64 constantly swapping positions with Connor Swyer for a top ten position against full power F400 bikes.

Q25 – Special thanks to? It goes without saying, Mum and Dad without whom I wouldn’t be racing at all and Dave Green for being an absolute star and trailering my bike to all the races and helping out. The organisers, medics and track marshals who make the event happen and all my fellow competitors.

The new beast for 2020 is ready and waiting for action.

Thanks to Alex, keep an eye out for his results as he gets to grips with the new bike when racing finally gets the go ahead.

Up next is Tom Gigg so it’s once again back to Wales to fire 25 questions in his direction.