Former Olympic and Commonwealth 400 metre runner, Iwan Thomas MBE is best known for his speed on the running track but not on the racetrack. You probably hadn’t realised that Iwan’s passion for motorcycles has spanned his entire life and we’re stoked to announce that we will be working with him this year, as the new Muc-Off Powersports Presenter.
“I’ve been into motorbikes for as long as I can remember” he told us, “it’s my dad’s fault – he used to take me on the back of his bike to watch Spurs. Every second weekend, we’d drive to London on his Yamaha 250” which sparked a passion that’s lasted a lifetime.
By the age of eight he was ripping round the local park on a mini-moto, then at 16 he rode to school on a 50cc Aprilia AF150. When he got comfortable, he swapped it for a Yamaha TZR125 and then after finally passing his test, he beefed up his bike game to a 1000CC Yamaha R1 – a pretty sweet collection if you ask us!
As his athletics career took off, motorbikes were put on the back burner – but after a 10-year hiatus, a new Yamaha R1 was the bike that tempted him back behind bars. After a couple of very risqué 90’s calendar shoots (you’ll have to watch the full interview for those pictures!) and some close calls with the law, he departed from riding superbikes and since then, there has been no looking back.
“My favourite bike that I ever owned would probably be my Ducati 1098, I bought one when they first came out – I got a brand new one and I loved it. I wish I’d kept it” Iwan explained, before turning to his custom Harley-Davidson. The customisation project has been ongoing for the last 10 years but recently inspired to get creative during the first UK lockdown, he decided to start all over again. “Anyone can have a standard bike, and I always try to be different – I suppose the inspiration to not follow the trend is why I’m doing it” and we have to say, it is a beauty!
It’s not just street motorcycles Iwan is interested in as late last year, a self-confessed ‘midlife-crisis purchase’ saw a Husqvarna FE350 join his collection. The FE 350 is the first step into the off-road riding scene and when we asked him what his plans were for riding enduro, his answer? “…just stay upright.”
His passion for life on two wheels is obvious but he admits he is a newbie when it comes to maintenance. “I’m guilty of not being educated enough in terms of what products are out there to protect your bike – it’s not just about cleaning it and leaving it, it’s about cleaning it and protecting it for the future” he told us, as the rust of several components glared back at him, but that’s where we step in.
We’re looking forward to working alongside Iwan in the UK and Europe to create a series of “newbie how-to’s” that’ll not only help him, but you too, as work through the fundamentals of motorcycle care and protection. Not only will Iwan be learning about bike care and maintenance, he’ll also be getting to know our athletes as the year goes on – and might even try his hand in a couple of disciplines he’s not used to. After all, he can talk the talk… let’s see if he can walk the walk!