Just call me Dr Whitham says biker Jamie!

ACE biker James Whitham swapped his leathers for a gown and cap as he was honoured by Huddersfield University.

ACE biker James Whitham swapped his leathers for a gown and cap as he was honoured by Huddersfield University.

And a top engineer was also honoured – at the age of 73.

Whitham, the former World Superbike racer was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the university yesterday.

He said: “I’m dead chuffed. I have three sisters who all worked their guts out to get a university award the hard way, so they’re not too happy!

“But it’s a great honour, especially because I’m a local lad.”

Whitham, 42, had an award-laden career in superbike racing.

He won the 1986 British 80cc championship, followed by the 1991 MCN TT Superbike Challenge with Suzuki.

In 1993, he picked up the British Superbike Championship Supercup and the ACU TT British Superbike Championship crowns.

Despite contracting Hodgkin’s disease halfway through the 1995 season, he battled back to finish as runner-up in the 1996 British Superbike Championship.

Between 2000 and his retirement in 2002 he won four World Superbike Championship races and gained 12 podium finishes.

Whitham, who lives in Netherton, now works for a motorcycle magazine, commentates for television and owns properties.

University vice-chancellor Bob Cryan said: “One of the things we are trying to do is inspire our students and that means honouring people who have excelled in their field.

“It’s important that there’s a link to the university and James is a local lad who has done exceptionally well on a local and national level.

“There’s a lot of talent in Huddersfield and we should do our best to recognise it.”

Among those celebrating yesterday was 73-year-old Mick Crabtree.

Mick, an electrical engineer, was awarded the University’s first ever Master of Science by Research award.

The award was set up in January to help those in employment study while working.

Mick said: “This really is the cherry on top of the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake.

“You don’t really expect an honorary degree and to actually earn an MSc at the age of 73 is incredible.”

Mick’s thesis was a compilation of over 30 years of working in engineering.

The father-of-three joined the Royal Air Force at the age of 16 and was involved in systems integration for 10 years.

Later he edited a South African monthly electronic engineering magazine.

He now travels all over the world from Alaska to Angola training engineers in automation and control.

The South African pensioner now lives in Wales.

He said: “It’s important to keep your mind and body active.

“My wife Pamela and I are both in our 70s and we cycle 20 miles a day.”

Mick is now thinking about continuing his success with a PhD.

 
comments powered by Disqus

Journalists

Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Val Javin
Features Editor
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent