Formula One car supremo Bernie Ecclestone had two of the best laps of his life at Estoril today, riding the Marlboro Yamaha Team twin-seater behind former GP winner Randy Mamola. Making a surprise visit to the Marlboro Portuguese GP, Ecclestone...
Formula One car supremo Bernie Ecclestone had two of the best laps of his life at Estoril today, riding the Marlboro Yamaha Team twin-seater behind former GP winner Randy Mamola.
Making a surprise visit to the Marlboro Portuguese GP, Ecclestone bravely accepted the offer of a ride, along with his wife Slavica.
"I started my career in motorcycling but I'm glad I didn't finish it on bikes!" joked Ecclestone after his rodeo ride around one of the bumpiest, most tortuous tracks in GP racing. "I love motorcycling, it's a good show, with good people, and the ride was really super, a great experience. I felt completely safe with Randy, but considering the lean angles it's surprising how the bike stays on the road! I've not been in the latest Formula One two-seaters but I imagine the bike is more exhilarating because you're looking at the road a few centimetres from your face."
Mamola, who has been chauffeuring celebrities on the 285kmh/180mph twin-seater since last year, acknowledged some nerves before today's outing. "Bernie is the most expensive cargo I've ever carried, so I had to look after him," joked the American, 13 times a 500 GP winner. "But he was a fantastic passenger, fantastic."
Ecclestone, who started his motorsport career riding a Matchless around Brand Hatch during the Fifties, took his turn after his wife, who rode two gentler laps with Mamola. "I was a bit frightened but Randy was very kind, he kept signalling to make sure I was okay," said Mrs Ecclestone. "The corners were impressive. I'm sure Randy went faster with my husband, though I was a little worried about his heart."
Randy Mamola and the Marlboro Yamaha Team twin-seater will be back in action tomorrow and again at the Valencia GP in Spain and finally at the Phillip Island GP in Australia during October .