At Motor Range, we love keeping things local. So when we heard that Merseyside’s own talented motorcyclist, Stephen Smith needed transport for his GSX-R 600 competition bike, we couldn’t wait to step in. 

Stephen is currently enjoying the use of a Peugeot Boxer HDi 335 L3H2 Professional van supplied from our extensive range of quality used vans to ensure that he and his bike arrive safely at the various different meets of the 2019 racing season. 

“The Motor Range van sponsorship really means a lot,” says Stephen. “It’s great to have the support of such a successful motoring company. Racing is such an expensive game, I appreciate anyone who helps me out. Being sponsored with the van means I can put more of my racing budget into things like tyres, engines and track time.

“It might sound mad, but I actually prefer driving vans to normal cars and this Peugeot Boxer is a great one to drive. The size is ideal. I have to take so much stuff with me for a weekend of racing, having a van with all this room makes life easier, and being able to dedicate it solely to my racing gear is fantastic!”

Somehow, 33-year-old Stephen manages to balance his motorbike racing with his career as a sports nutritionist, research for his PhD in Exercise Physiology and a busy family life. We tracked him down during some rare spare time get to know him a little better. Here’s what we managed to discover…

Stephen Smith on motorbike, number 10, leaning into a left hand bend with left knee close to road.

How old were you when you started riding motorbikes? 
I was young to start riding bikes. My dad started me on trial bikes when I was 4 or 5. I rode for a few years, then had a break until I was about 22. I didn’t start racing until I was about 24, so quite late really.

What was your first bike?
A Yamaha PW50

What made you want to get into road racing? 
I bought a bike for the road and went out for Sunday rides with friends. But the fun soon went out of it as there are so many bad drivers on the roads. And then I watched the TT for the first time and as soon as I saw that I thought, ‘that’s what I want to do.’

What’s your track record like?
I’ve been on the podium a fair few times. I’ve never managed to bag an actual win yet, but I will!

Stephen Smith on motorbike number 10 with competitor close behind.

What’s your most memorable ride so far?
Probably getting on the podium at the Southern 100 in 2017, after a good battle. 

And what would be your ultimate ride?
That’s a difficult question - there’s so many bikes I’d like to ride. I’m ticking off one of my ‘bucket list’ rides this year at the Classic TT where I’ve been offered a ride on a Suzuki XR69. To have a go on a motoGP bike would be amazing, but just to ride a superbike around the TT would be the ultimate for me.

Are your family fans of your racing?
My mum and wife hate it! Well, my wife doesn’t mind short circuits but she’s not keen on the road races. She knows how much it means to me, though, so she doesn’t give me (much) of a hard time! My dad on the other hand loves it and enjoys watching me race around iconic circuits like the Isle of Man.

What's your ambition?
Firstly, I’d love to win the Manx GP. It’s run on the same course as the TT and has the reputation of being more amateur, but the speeds are getting quick now and we’re trying just as hard. After that, I’d like to step up to the TT and also compete in other international races, such as the Northwest 200 and the Ulster GP. My ultimate goal is to be invited to race at Macau in China.

How do you prepare for a race?
I just try to stay relaxed and make sure the bike is right. On the day of a Manx GP race, I like to watch some on-board laps, have a decent breakfast, then just go!

How much does a season’s racing cost?
To do it properly, it’s about £10,000 but all bikers race to their own budget. It could easily cost a lot more if I wanted to do more of the big races, or a lot less, but I’d hardly be on the bike! Entry fees and tyres are the main costs, but there are other expenses, like engine rebuilds, bike servicing, etc. If you race in the Isle of Man or Ireland you also have the price of the ferry crossing to factor in. Motor Range’s van sponsorship has made a big difference to reducing my costs.

Stephen Smith on motorbike, number 59, with front wheel lifted off the road.

Do you do all of your bike race prep yourself?
Yes, I do everything except things like engine rebuilds or suspension work which are quite specialist jobs. I could do it but I’d rather leave that work to the experts.

Who is your racing idol and why?
It might sound cliché but it would have to be Valentino Rossi. He’s been at the front end of MotoGP for so long, and he’s just amazing to watch on a bike. 

What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve seen in your racing career?
Race paddocks are generally quite bizarre places, especially at grass roots level, like Aintree and Darley Moor, and even the Manx GP. You see all sorts of things, from people using shopping trolleys to move their kit around, to whole families sleeping in caravans that need more than a little TLC! After a while you get used to it!

How do you relax outside of racing? 
I like to spend as much time as I can with my family, but I’m not sure that’s relaxing! I like to keep fit with cycling or rowing, but apart from that it’s all about motorbikes!

We’re all behind Stephen as he prepares for his next races. Follow his progress on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to find out if he achieves his ambitions. Or pop into Motor Range’s Liverpool van centre and we’ll let you know how he’s getting on.

In the meantime, check out our new vans page to see what's available from our extensive range.

Good Luck, Stephen!