'Cars versus bikes’ is an argument we come back to at Autocar Towers time and again. We’ve done drag races, track battles, time trials - which you can watch below - but never got into the nitty-gritty details with two racers who’ve lived the subject matter all of their lives.
So do riders or drivers make bigger petrolheads? What happens when you get record-breaking Isle of Man TT rider John McGuinness and ex-BTCC touring car champion Gordon Shedden together? Do sparks fly? And what are the cars – and bikes – that have fuelled their ambitions and careers?
Read on to find out. And be warned: the metaphors chosen in some of these answers are totally unreconstructed, entirely as uttered – and have fairly adult themes.
What’s your earliest memory of a car or bike?
GS: I didn’t get into cars really until I was maybe 12, and I went to Knockhill to watch touring cars with my dad. There’s no family history with racing. It was just experiencing that race day live that really set the fire going in me.
JM: My dad did a bit of motor crossing when I was little. As soon as I was old enough to stand on my own two feet, he kicked me up the backside and told me to go and ride this little ItalJet mini moto around the industrial estate where we had our bike shop. I don't really remember the first ride. I was maybe three years old on stabilisers; four by the time they took ‘em off. I thought I was Evel Knievel.
What was the car or bike that gave you the bug for racing?
JM: Probably my Kawasaki KR1S. Mum and Dad got divorced when I was a teenager. Me and my brother both got something out of the deal, and I got the KR1S. I won a few club championships on that when I left school. I used to go to college on it and race it at weekends. But my big break came with Paul Bird in 1996.