Lee Sidebotham is a promising, young journalism student studying for his degree at Salford University.
You can follow Lee’s words of wisdom on his blog at http://leesidebotham.co.uk/
There is nothing that we at Vapor-Tek like more than passion and drive, and as both Ben and Lee have both in bucket-fulls, We took Lee down to the Dyno Centre to have a chat with Been after his return from the 2019 Isle of Man Classic TT
Ben Rea – Motorcycle Racer for the Future
For a man of his age, Ben Rea’s rise to an established motorcycle racer makes his achievements that more impressive. The twenty-seven-year-old from Clitheroe already has a number of accomplishments to his name, standing on podiums with the likes of Guy Martin in the past. Ben is also the proprietor of REA-Racing, based in Whalley, Lancashire. The leading North West Dyno Centre offers a wide-range of both technical and mechanical services. From race preparation and custom tuning, to routine services such as MOTs.
I had the opportunity to interview Ben about his career so far, and more importantly where he sees himself and the team in the future:
Thanks for taking the time to speak to me, Ben. Firstly, I’m interested to learn when and who inspired you to get into motor racing?
“I’ve always been involved around Bikes in general through my dad. He started racing back in 2006 while I was still in school. Then it came to 2010 which actually marks nine years today (20th September) that I competed in my first race at Anglesey. Once my dad got involved, it was something I wanted to get involved with.”
Forgive me for asking, but is there any relation to Jonathan Rea?
(Laughs) “No, and you’re not the first person to ask! Our family are originally from Northern Ireland, but no relation.”
I see that you have your own garage where you can work on the race bikes, how hands on are you and is there anyone from behind the scenes you’d like to credit?
“Of course, I do all of the preparation myself. I pretty much do everything under the roof that I want to do. There’s Jacob in the work shop helps me prep the bikes and obviously, my dad who helped out at the Classic TT this year. My good friend John Duggan helped me with 350 I ride. Jim Smith at SteadPlan Racing and mechanic, Dale, who helped work on the bike as well. A lot of the time it’s a big team effort.”
You’ve had a lot of success over the years, including a recent podium finish at the Skerries 100 back in July, which included Guy Martin.
“That was my second time down in the south of Ireland, not far from Dublin. I took the SuperSport 600 and the Honda 500 Classic. I think we qualified just half a second behind Guy Martin in 4th or 5th, and went on to finish 3rd behind Guy and Richard Ford who is well established on the roads in the classic races as well.”
And would you class that race as your biggest accomplishment to date?
“Nah, my best one would have to be winning the Newcomers Manx Grand Prix in 2013. Then again, I’ve had many good results on the roads in Ireland and on many short circuits around the UK… It’s nice to get good results wherever you go really.”
“I just want to keep bettering myself really, I’ve got some personal goals.”
So how much does it come down to your skill as a driver and the ability of the bike?
“Don’t get me wrong, you need a good bike underneath you. But at the end of the day you could have the best bike on the grid but unless you ride it properly there’s no point in having it.”
What’s your pre-race routine and are there any nerves on your side before a big race?
“I just try and chill out really. The best results, especially around the Isle of Man recently, have come from having a sleep ten minutes before setting off. Just because you’ve not had chance to think about what could go wrong.”
Finally, what are your plans for the near future and where do you see yourself and REA-Racing in the next five years?
“I’ve got a couple of small meetings towards the end of this year. But the big plan is getting established in the classic racing game, especially over in Ireland. Then there’s a few big classic European meetings we might plan on doing next year, one of them being Spa in Belgium. I especially want to do the Isle of Man again and chasing lap times.
“I just want to keep bettering myself really, I’ve got some personal goals. Until it comes to a point when you think you’re doing the best and you can’t do any better, that’s when you stop. I’ve got years in me still.
I still want to get involved in more Nero bike stuff and upgrade some Dyno software. We’re still quite a new team being six-year-old and I’ve got a few more plans in place. I just want to better the same things I’m doing at the minute. I’ve always had a dream to own my own swanky new unit, but just doing the same work I’m enjoying right now.”
From my morning spent with Ben, his passion for everything motorcycles and racing were clear. Whether he’s out on the roads or working on the bikes back at base, he is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. This won’t be the last time you hear the name, Ben Rea.