My first road race passenger was Fred Holden, first riding with me in scrambles with the
AMCA when I was 13 years old. After Fred came, Malcolm Lucas, Gerald Daniel, ‘H’ Horst
Beginnen, Rose Hanks, Cliff Mellor, Carol Hanks, Norman Panther, Tom Hanks, Alistair Frame, Vince Biggs, Donny Williams, Tony Derby, Phil Biggs, Robert Biggs, Chris Richards, Julie Hanks-Elliott, Dave Wells, along with many more one-day stands. This is not to say I am hard to get on with, it’s just that I have been racing for 42 years, and to think I started road racing as a passenger.

My first road race meeting was as a passenger to my older brother Peter. After 5 races
and 3 crashes, I decided I could better. “Of course it could have been that I was a crap passenger.” Well, like most things, it is easy to put a passenger down and very easy to upset them. However, in the hope that I don’t upset them I will give my views and beliefs on them. In the main they fall into boxes:

Newcomers. Usually newcomer passengers need to race with a newcomer driver, so they
learn together. A short time later, possibly after a season, they should try a couple of other
drivers, who have been racing for 4 or 5 years, on a stand-in basis. The same also applies to
newcomer drivers, try a couple of seasoned passengers; this is sometimes possible at organised practice days. Once you have made the grade as a passenger, you need to find a driver with whom you blend, and who’s company you enjoy. This may even be the first person you rode with. After making the upper grade, passengers fall into one of four categories:

Group 1 Passengers that get on and hold on, doing very little to help with the steer ability of
the outfit; these are in the main newcomers, but many of them learn and improve
quickly, or realise that they do not have the balance, and it’s not for them, they retire
gracefully and sensibly. Don’t knock them, they tried; remember “I tried”.

Group 2 Then there are the passengers who learn that fine art of balance, using the forces of
gravity to make the job easier on change overs.

Group 3 Are those above who keep on learning, willing to try things that help control and steer an outfit and put all their effort into being good; sometimes these passengers aren’t
the perfect size or weight, but give 100% to be the best.

Group 4 Perfect passenger. (Is there such a thing?) In the main these are usually the right
height, weight and are fit, have a very good sense of balance, don’t drink or smoke,
and do as they are told ? They usually control the outfit on the degree of slide and
steer from the rear. I’ve been very lucky and had such passengers through my many years.

How do you keep a passenger? Make sure they understand how much you appreciate
them, thanking them for all their efforts, and when you run out of superlatives, ‘you were good,
fantastic, unbelievable’, then tell them they were rubbish and smile, they will understand just
how much you are impressed with them. (It’s a driver / passenger thing.)
Out there, there are many very good passengers, some of which I have had the pleasure of

“Passengers” I take my hat off to you all".

Roy Hanks.