Rider Of The Week looks at a famous rider and with Motorcycle Live 2017 coming up, we thought we’d take a look at the host of the Black Horse Stage, James Whitham. James Whitham might be retired, but he’s made a name for himself as a talented rider. During his career, he won the British championship twice and was voted ‘Man Of The Year’ in 1991 and 1996 by readers of Motorcycle News.
Whitham was born in Huddersfield and the first motorbike he owned was a Raleigh Wisp. In 1994, he took his learner test with a Suzuki X-5 200 cc sidecar outfit, which he’s admitted to being embarrassed about.
Whitham was successful in his racing career, winning the 1986 British 80 cc Championship and 1988 1300 cc Production British Championship, 1991 MCN TT Superbike Challenge and 1993 British Superbike Championship Supercup.
Whitham was also known for his partnership with Ducati teammate Carl Fogarty. The duo raced together in the 1994 Superbike World Championship, winning a race at Sentul and finished seventh in the event overall. He returned to the British series in 1995, but contracted Hodgkin’s Disease mid-season. Fortunately, he recovered enough to become the runner-up in the 1996 British Superbike Championship.
In 1997, Whitham raced for the Harris Suzuki team in the World Superbike Championship and finished in eighth place. He won at Donington in 1999 and competed in the Supersport World Championship from 2000 to 2002.
In 2002, Whitham won at Silverstone, but chose to retire at the end of the year. This was likely due to his past chemotherapy treatment.
Since his retirement, Whitham has become a TV analyst for Channel 4, Eurosport and ITV. He’s also worked as a road tester for the motorbike magazine Visordown. Whitham is also very active on the motorbike event circuit, with him being a host for the Black Horse Stage.
The Black Horse Stage will feature a variety of events and interviews, such as the Road Test Cinema and Stronger for Longer competition. Whitham will be talking with a lot of famous riders, so if you want your question asked, be sure to tweet him with #AskWhitham.