Photos & Musings: Golden State Series

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Heading for California

In 1987 I signed for Honda, racing for John Banks Honda, a new team run by John Banks, former GP winner and father of Mark . As part of the deal we scheduled a trip to California in January and February to race the Golden State series as preparation for the season.

This was an exciting opportunity for me. I had visited California before, and even raced once at Saddleback, but the chance to race the full Golden State series was fantastic. It would give me the chance to prepare and get up to race speed before the season started in Europe, and also avoid the bad weather that plagues the UK at that time of year.

Mark had just hooked up with his new mechanic Ian Browne. Ian, a good rider in his own right, was embarking on his first steps on the mechanic's ladder. He would go on to spend many years as a GP wrench and head technician with Mark and RWJ Honda. He later married Melanie Banks, Mark's sister, and their son Elliot Banks-Browne is now currently contesting GPs with Swift Suzuki.

Helping me with mechanics' duties was Chris Nunn, a friend of Mark's, who relished the opportunity to go to the US for a couple of months.

We flew out just before New Year, complete with as much equipment as we could carry. Bikes we would be arranging when we got there, and gear and other backup was to be provided by Answer Racing, with whom the team had struck a clothing deal with for 1987.

Team JBR Honda, going to California Enlarge image

Chris, Mark and Ian, with, er, hand luggage Enlarge image

Mark Banks and mechanic Ian Browne Enlarge image