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Exclusive Feature on Paul Watson
This time we take a look at a man who has raced both cars and bikes during his career, Paul 'Grumpy' Watson. Paul started his career on four wheels in the Street class, moving up to Super Gas before moving across to two wheels in 2001. Paul spent 2001 competing in 9.90 Bike where he won the title in his first season in a close-fought Championship. He then spent a year in Super Street Bike before moving on to a Pro Stock Bike for the 2003 campaign. Paul has recently announced that the 2004 season will be his last in competition; we are sure that all of the fans sill join us in wishing Paul well for his final year.
Thanks to Paul for taking the time to complete this feature for us.
Eurodragster: Tell us a little about yourself away from the track?
Grumps: I now own Dynospeed Developments, which will keep me busy and let me hide from the Hyena race team.
Eurodragster: When did you first go to a drag race?
Grumps: I think it was 1976, at Snetterton.
Eurodragster: When did you first take part in a drag race?
Grumps: 1977 at Blackbushe, Street class against Dave Mingay.
Eurodragster: What is your current bike?
Grumps: Pro Stock Hayabusa.
Eurodragster: When did you acquire your current bike?
Grumps: November 2002.
Grumps: Robinson Race Cars and Paul Willis.
Eurodragster: What is the powerplant and who built it?
Grumps: Suzuki 1500 GSX originally built by Paul Willis and Dom, now in the hands of the master - Roger Upperton.
Eurodragster: Approximate BHP?
Grumps: At a guess around 300bhp.
Eurodragster: What drivetrain does the bike employ?
Grumps: It was originally a Vance and Hines six-speed, but now we run an Orient five-speed.
Eurodragster: What is the bike's race weight?
Grumps: 600lbs with rider.
Eurodragster: How the bike has developed since you first got it?
Grumps: Well, we had a hard time with the datalogger at first, and once we sorted that we then had a bogging problem for a few meets! I still feel like I am learning how to ride the bike.
Eurodragster: Best elapsed time/terminal speed?
Eurodragster: Who is your current crew?
Grumps: Kim Sawle (Pixie) and Kev Simmonds: the best crew I've ever had, they are totally dedicated. A big thanks to Dave Beck as well.
Eurodragster: What plans do you have for the future?
Grumps: A paint job would be nice (any offers!?!) and possibly a new Upperton engine. A new datalogger is also planned.
Grumps: Well for this bike it would be the 7.62 pass, but overall it would have to be back when I was racing 9.90 Bike in 2001. At the National Finals I was in a very tight points race for the National Championship with my now best friend Jamie Sneddon, when I came off the bike at the top end during a qualifying run. As I went to get up, from nowhere Jamie was there to hold me down while the medics arrived. Then whilst I was being checked out by the medics EVERYONE in the bike pits came to fix the bike, which allowed me to stay in competition and ultimately I won my first ever Bike Championship in my first year thanks to them all. True friends, all of them.
Eurodragster: What is your favourite story from the pits?
Grumps: Oh my god there are so many, and all of them would get me in trouble! Isn't that right Mr Cooper?
Eurodragster: What do you like most about the sport?
Grumps: The thrill, the adrenaline, the wonderful people, some of whom are like family.
Eurodragster: If you could award a medal to someone in Drag Racing, who would it be and why?
Grumps: Easy, Al O'Connor. From the early days with his Pop in Modified to the great Super Gas days, he always inspired me. He's a quiet man but a great racer.
Eurodragster: Any people you would like to thank?
Grumps: I would like to thank all the people who have helped me this year but particularly Ken Cooper who is always there when I need him and Dave Beck for all his help and encouragement this year.
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