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Edwards: “The few years I had with Valentino were awesome”

The Texas Tornado chatted on the MotoGP™ Podcast recently to discuss racing memories, his new role with BT Sport and much more!

Colin Edwards, aka the Texas Tornado: a double WorldSBK Champion, 12-time MotoGP™ podium finisher and forever a fan favourite. The charismatic American was competing on the world stage from 1995-2014 before retiring at the age of 40 and at his home GP in Austin, Edwards caught up with the MotoGP™ Podcast to chat about the Americas GP, his new pundit role with UK broadcaster BT Sport, racing memories and retirement.

Q: How’s the Americas GP going for you?

Edwards: “It’s going good, the Texas GP is always busy you know we’re just talking and everyone wants a little piece, friends, somebody with their podcast – but it’s all good, I expect it. It’s just busy, we did a Bootcamp before the GP and a Bootcamp after it, it’s like 12 days of just wide-open busyness but I’ve got a couple of weeks to relax before the next Grand Prix so its just one of those things. I know these 12 days are going to be hectic but they're also fun.”

Q: I bet it’s good as well as crazy busy…

Edwards: “It’s better now that I’m not racing. You’re here trying to do a job and you’ve got everybody wanting to pull you one way or another and it’s like ‘man I’m trying to do a real job over here’ but it’s a lot easier being on the media side.”

Edwards says emotional farewell to American fans

Q: Do home rounds for Americans mean more than home rounds for other riders? What’s it like racing at these home races?

Edwards: “I guess that that’s possible because I think we feel like, being American, the home of Grand Prix racing is Europe based and around that area typically, that’s our feeling. Even though we do Malaysia, Japan, Australian and all that stuff, but let’s just say that’s home base. But yeah let’s say we’re racing in the US and going to Laguna, Indy or here in COTA it was always a little bit special. I mean hell I could get in my truck and drive here, it’s two and a half hours, it’s awesome. That’s the one good thing about it. I may as well be going to Europe if I’m flying to Laguna it’s quite a way away so yeah that aspects good. And friends, family – nobody has to catch a flight, just jump in a car and hop up.”

Q: What do you do now in the paddock?

Edwards: “BT Sport mainly, which is UK based television. I commentate with Hodgy and Keith Heuwen, Gavin Emmett, Michael Laverty, Suzi Perry… I don’t think I’m forgetting anybody but it’s fun, the only pressure is not to say bad four letter words. So that’s pretty hard for me growing up in Texas but I’ve been clean so far. But it’s enjoyable, as far as being on the other side I’ve dissected bikes and kind of know the process of building a bike and making a bike fast and seeing what problems these guys have. So being a little more current on is helpful on the TV side.”

Feature Interview: Up close and personal with Colin Edwards

Q: How did you feel about the media when racing?

Edwards: “I was easy with it you know, that was part of the job. I never shied away from it. Your sponsors want you out there talking their game up as much good as it does for you personally as well, just being accessible and easy going. That was just part of the gig and I saw interviews before I even started racing, like right when I started racing, and I could name a few guys – I don’t want to – but it didn’t matter what track they were at, it was always the same interview and I didn’t know where they were or I didn’t know anything about them. It was just like this blah blah blah blah blah blah you know and I always said to myself if I ever get there, they’re going to know where I’m at, they’re going to know a little bit about my personality in the few words I’m going to say, just to kind of give back a little bit to the public that pay our bill, just to kind of be a little bit more accessible.”

Q: Coming over to the other side, has it changed your perspective on the media?

Edwards: “Not really. I kind of knew what it was, it’s harder work. I thought I was just going to come over here and talk a bunch of BS…but it actually is hard work. What I don’t like is getting up at 6:30 and having to be at breakfast, I’m out on that. But that’s part of the job. But it’s easy enough, just keep the mouth clean and still talk a bunch of BS, but it’s cleaner BS.”

2005 U.S. Grand Prix: MotoGP™ Full Race

Q: Did you ever think you’d be part of the media when you were racing?

Edwards: “I don’t know, I never really thought about it. And honestly, I kind of just stumbled upon it because I was at Silverstone and BT knew I was there and they said ‘hey why don’t you just come in the booth and you can commentate for practice or qualifying’ and I was ‘ok’. So I was just there, went in – obviously Julian Ryder and Keith, I’d know them since Superbike days and we had, I don’t know a twenty-something year relationship and we kind of clicked and got along. It just kind of morphed from there and I’ve got a huge following in England. The Superbike days and Fogarty and all that kind of battle between us, I gained a lot of UK based fans. I mean almost all of them. If you go to Boot Camp, the English that fly over – that’s the predominant, main other country that comes aside from the US. So it’s cool, it’s like a second home.”

Q: What are your experiences of COTA?

Edwards: “I would love to tell you it’s the best and it’s my favourite track in the whole wide world but I can’t tell you that because that would be a total lie. It’s just such a bear of a track and you have to understand that in 2013 I was 39, in 2014 I was 40, so I was old. And it was just so hard, this track…four-inch front tyres as well so trying to scramble a four-inch fronter – which they’re on now, and now they’ve got wings and all the other stuff that makes them not want to turn even more. I couldn’t imagine riding a bike now, but it was just hard work. And that’s all I really remember at this track. So frickin’ hard. If you could reel out five laps you were doing good, by lap six you were like ‘oh my god I’ve got to do fifteen more laps, are you kidding me’, that’s the only real memory I have of this place. As far as the track (is concerned), it’s not bad. All the hard braking is not very motorcycle-esque, that’s more of a car thing but hey it’s still a race track.”

Hayden and Edwards share their COTA knowledge

Q: Double WorldSBK Champion, big success in Grand Prix competition too, what are your best memories?

Edwards: “Honestly I’ve hit my head a couple of times, it’s hard to…but I mean the few years I had with Valentino were awesome, they were fun. The year I had with Sete was fun in 04. And then with Spies I think it was in 2010 – there were just some years that were fun years obviously, that stand out, but it was just a circus. You know and you realise once I got to that age and it’s like ‘alright let’s pack all this crap up and go to the next one’ you know? ‘Alright we’re all done let’s pack up and go to the next one’, that part of it just became more routine. At that time I had three kids so, my wife, so no kids were coming so I was flying out, flying back home, fly out, fly back home and honestly when I quit I was ready. I needed to go back home and spend some time with the kids, and then I decided to get this stupid job so now I’m going again.

Q: What was your wife’s reaction, ‘you’re travelling again’!?

Edwards: “Well you got to understand right. I took my wife out for her 17th birthday, and we’ve been together for a long time and our relationship has always been with this. I go away for a week and come back, I go away for a week or two weeks then come back. If I’m home for more than a month at a time, she wants me to go. She’s like ‘hey, clocks ticking, when’s that next trip coming up?’ It’s a good thing that we have going and it makes us work so it probably makes a lot of people work.”

Hayes Edwards interviews Valentino Rossi

Here’s the link to the Americas GP MotoGP™ Podcast episode Edwards featured on – give it a listen!

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