The Road Ahead : June July 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 16 THE ROAD AHEAD JUN/JUL 2014 LIFESTYLE | NEWS IMAGE COURTESY OF DORNA SPORTS, S.L. The first of his remarkable winning streak came in 1994, the defining moment being 1997 with world records for a calendar year in the blue riband 500cc grand prix class: most number of wins (12), most number of pole positions (12), most successive pole positions (12) and most points (340). Just why did all the cherries line up that particular season? "The pressure of '95 got to me, so '96 was a 'win at the slowest possible pace' strategy," he said. 'That caught me out. In '97, (new regulations) changed the firing order of the bike (engine) and the other guys (riders) couldn't handle it as well. I also rode more aggressively and tried to win as much as possible, rather than collect points. It was the perfect year." 1999 was not so. He suffered a broken right leg and shoulder and left wrist in a crash in Spain which necessitated in two plates and 12 screws being placed in his right leg, and a plate in his left forearm. Towards the end of the year, he retired to the applause and admiration of racing fans the world round. In all, Mick Doohan competed in 137 500cc grands prix from 1988-99 for the incredible success rate of 54 wins, 95 podium finishes and 58 pole positions, all riding for the official Honda team. Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi have won more titles, but there are those who argue that Mick Doohan is the best motorcycle road racer of all. I also rode more aggressively and tried to win as much as possible ... It was the perfect year. THE MAN BEHIND THE NAME Born in Brisbane in 1965, it was perhaps inevitable that Mick Doohan would develop a two-wheel mind. His father, after all, owned a motorcycle shop at Zillmere. He began riding at the age of nine and soon took to the track on dirt bikes, finishing runner-up in the state 10-12 years title. His father died when Mick was just 12 and the Doohan family moved to the Gold Coast in 1981, a place he has since called home for all but his years racing overseas. Success racing production bikes during the mid-1980s led to a Yamaha Dealer Team superbike ride in Australia and, ultimately, a signing with Honda internationally. After retiring from racing in 1999 and settling back on the Gold Coast, Mick set about developing a diverse and lucrative business portfolio which includes property, aviation, hospitality and a European-based marketing company involved in motorsport. In 1994, he met future wife Selina. The couple has two children, a boy and a girl. He was made a Member of the order of Australia in 1996, was awarded an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame three years later. For Barry Green's Q&A with Mick Doohan, check out The Road Ahead App. And look out for his motorcycle road safety message to RACQ members on youtube.com/racqofficial.