THE TWISTS and turns of a motorcycle champion’s life on and off the track is to be chronicled in an autobiography.
Huddersfield-born racer James Whitham won numerous titles throughout his career as a professional rider between 1986 and 2002. His biggest achievement was in 1993 when he won both the British Superbike Championship Supercup and the ACU TT British Superbike Championship.
Now Jamie’s high-octane life, which includes hair-raising crashes and his battle against lymphatic cancer, is documented in James Whitham: What a Good Do!
The book, with pictures from motorsport photojournalist Mac McDiarmid, is released by Haynes Publishing on Thursday, August 21.
Jamie, 41, who was forced to retire from the sport due to the eye disease glaucoma, now runs Crosland Moor airfield.
He also works as commentator for Superbike coverage Eurosport and as a road tester for British motorcycle magazine Two Wheels Only.
Jamie explains why he finally decided to put pen to paper.
He said: “A couple of mates have been going on at me for years to do a book and they finally wore me down.
“As to why I waited till now I don’t really know. In some ways I should’ve done it soon after retiring from the sport. I guess it just took me this long to get off my backside!
“The hardest challenge in my life I would have to say was the lymphatic cancer. I had no problem accepting the fact that I made my living competing in quite a dangerous sport.
“It was a calculated risk that I could’ve chosen not to take at any time. Injuries from racing accidents were an occupational hazard if you like.
“But to be told at 27 years old that I had a form of cancer that as far as we could tell I had done nothing to encourage was a shock. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact.
“The secret of being a great rider I’m not sure about; natural aptitude, reasonable intelligence, determination and a little bit of a loose wire up top may be some of the ingredients.
“A rider with a load of skill but who isn’t prepared to take the odd risk will never go quick enough.
“By the same token one who has little skill but is very brave won’t go quick for very long. He’ll just crash every weekend.”