Hutchy – slow talker, fast rider.

An encounter with a British racer who would rather let his achievements speak for themselves…

The 2016 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) race was a memorable one, and for a good reason.

Thousands of spectators enjoying the sunshine, pure road racing excitement and, as a special treat for BMW motorcycle fans, world-class riders crossing the finish line with record times and record speeds on their BMW S 1000 RR motorcycles. One of them is the soft-spoken Ian Hutchinson.

Ian Hutchinson, the racer

Ian Hutchinson has stood on the winner's podium many times. The 36-year-old Brit nicknamed "The Bingley Bullet" has claimed an impressive 14 victories at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race. He has also won road racing medals in the Ulster Grand Prix and the Macau Grand Prix. And then there's his 'part-time job' racing on short circuits, this year with Tyco BMW Motorrad. Needless to say, Hutchy is just as successful on the race track as on the road, and he has the medals to prove it.

So it's easy to understand why this soft-spoken man from the north of England is a true racing hero for many Brits. Victories are his thing...

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At this year's North West 200 in Ireland, Hutchy won the first Superstock Race on an almost all stock Tyco BMW Motorrad S 1000 RR and came in second place in the Superbike Race. His performance earned him a whole new fan base overnight.

Hutchy really won over the BMW Motorrad community last June, when he broke new lap and speed records with his DoubleR, winning the Superstock race and coming in second in the Superbike class. His growing fan base in the UK watched with excitement as he worked his way to the front at the British Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship: He clinched second place at the race track in Snetterton on 10 July after his first win in this year's series.

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With both wheels in the air, focused on the next curve.

How Hutchy became a racer with a thirst for victory

Many racers started riding motorcycles because their parents were avid motorcycle enthusiasts. That was not the case for Ian Hutchinson. He first came into contact with motorcycling through friends. They all had off-road motorcycles and Hutchy wanted to join them.
"My parents tell me that I always wanted a motorcycle. But despite constant nagging I never got one. Then I changed schools when I was 14 or 15.
At my new school I met a kid who was the British youth trials champion. That's when I knew I had to have a trial motorcycle. At some point my parents fulfilled my dream."
The young Hutchinson competed in trials until he was 16 and it was time go out into the world and earn a living. He got an apprenticeship as a mechanic at Colin Appleyard Motorcycles.
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"
When I was 17 I got my motorcycle licence and bought a road bike. I start tearing up the roads from that point on.
"

Ian Hutchinson

Catching the racing bug

Hutchy's first road bike was a Yamaha TZR250R SP. That was the motorcycle he took with him in 1997 when he crossed the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man for the first time. It was the first time he and his friends experienced the glamour and excitement of the Isle of Man TT and they were absolutely fascinated. Back then, Hutchinson was no different from any other budding motorcycle enthusiast. Wheelies and high speeds were all that mattered. It stayed that way until he was 21.
"By the time I turned 21, I had four years of experience riding road bikes. Then I started competing in track days with a few friends. Before long we realised that club races were the more economical option. We sold our road bikes, bought cheap 600 cc club racers and off we went. We had no idea what we were doing but since I was a mechanic, we figured we had half a chance. And then we actually did pretty well." Hutchinson had caught the racing bug for good...
"After a year of club racing, I joined Hobbsport Racing. We turned bikes into racing machines and souped up their engines. A customer came in with a Yamaha R1 that we converted into a racing bike. The result was an absolutely fantastic machine. The customer asked me if I wanted to compete in races with the bike. I couldn't turn down the offer.
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Autograph session for fans.
"In my second year of racing, I was 22 by then, I competed in the MRO championships for a year. At the beginning of the season I had a hard time qualifying at all, and by the end I was standing on winner's podium."
A little known fact: Ian Hutchinson was close friends with David "DJ" Jefferies, who was on the way to becoming a racing legend when he died in an accident during practice for the 2003 TT races. "DJ won three races for Suzuki in the 2002 TT," says Hutchy. "He received a GSX-R1000 for each race he won. He gave one of them to me so that I could compete in the British Superstock Championships."
In 2003, Hutchinson climbed to the next level of racing and rode the 600 cc road bike in the newcomers race at Manx TT (a more relaxed TT event, which is often a springboard for competing in the Isle of Man TT). The next year (2004), Hutchinson made his debut in the most important event: the Isle of Man TT itself.
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"
My off-road experience definitely helped me to learn what it takes to ride fast under such conditions.
"

Ian Hutchinson

A long involuntary break.

Hutchinson's career took an unfortunate abrupt turn in 2010. He fell while riding in wet circuit conditions at the British Supersport Championship race. Hutchinson was then struck by another rider and suffered compound fractures to his left leg. After recovering, he broke the same leg in a crash in 2012. But, as Hutchinson admits, this could have happened any other time because of an infection in his leg.
30 operations, multiple skin transplants and the worst pain imaginable weren't enough to hold Hutchinson back and keep him from racing again. Hutchinson returned with a spectacular comeback. But what makes him so obsessed and driven to keep getting back on his bike?
"It's mostly the level of success that I had achieved. I just loved being successful. My racing life was exciting. I could hardly wait to compete in the next race and claim another victory. And the feeling of winning the Tourist Trophy...all that was taken away from me overnight. But I couldn't come to terms with spending the next 40 years of my life without ever experiencing that feeling again. There was only one solution for me: I had to pick myself up and keep going.
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The BMW Motorrad connection

In 2016, Hutchinson changed teams and bikes. "It was probably the most logical decision for me after competing against BMW the year before. I knew what this bike is capable of, and it's why I had set my sights on the BMW machine. It was a tough decision that actually wasn't that tough. You have to think long and hard before switching from a motorcycle you know really well to one that you're unfamiliar with.
"The S 1000 RR is a good motorcycle. We all ride this machine, but how it behaves and how you get the most out of it is very much up to the individual rider. The engine unleashes its power very gently and evenly. It's also very comfortable to ride on long-distance races like the TT, and that can make a huge difference."
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Getting to know each other.

Hutchy and his BMW RR.

Getting to know each other.

Even before he sat on the RR for the first time, Ian Hutchinson knew that people who ride BMW motorcycles have a passionate relationship with the brand. He became a true believer when he attended BMW Motorrad Days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The three-day festival for the BMW Motorrad community is one of the highlights of the year for motorcyclists. Hutchinson was impressed with the atmosphere that is created when 35,000 people come together to share their excitement and passion.

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Ian autographs posters at BMW Motorrad Days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

"The people who build these motorcycles are doing more than just their job; these bikes are more than just vehicles. For these people, it's about something much bigger. I wasn't prepared for the welcome I received when I was introduced to the audience in the party pavilion. It was an incredible reception. I also had time to have a look around the festival, and I saw some amazing custom bikes. I'm gradually developing a real affection for custom builds. It's amazing how much work goes into many of them."

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Hutchy overtaking the competition at the NW200.

With the second half of the 2016 racing season approaching, Hutchy is enjoying his time out of the spotlight for a change and focusing on building the extension to his house. This softly-spoken man who chooses his words carefully has gone through more pain than most people, yet he still has an unwavering desire to win. No wonder people say it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for. That probably applies to Hutchinson more than anyone else, on the road and on the race track.

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