Cycle News

Cycle News 2011 Issue 50 Dec 13

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 160 of 167

CN III ARCHIVES P160 BY LARRY LAWRENCE THE MAN WITH THE DREAM JOB Alan Cathcart being interviewed by Rich Chambers after winning an AHRMA Supertwins race at Daytona in the early 1990s. P ity poor Alan Cathcart. One of the preeminent motorcycling journalists in the world, Sir Alan has to clock in every morning, put on his racing leathers, strap on his helmet and test the most desirable, often unobtainable, motorcycles in the world. As they say, it's a tough job, but someone has to do it. If ever there were a person in the motorcycling industry who just about everyone envies that would be the jet-setting Mr. Cathcart, but alas his life is not all fun and games. There is the sitting down and writing part, but I think everyone reading Cycle News will agree that Cathcart has one of the greatest jobs in the world. And to top it all off he has a multitude of fans around the globe who love to read his writings. Before you turn too green with envy, understand that Cathcart left a very successful travel business he co-owned in the early 1980s, to become a motorcycle journalist. To this day he thanks his wife Stella for reconciling herself to her husband's new, and considerably less lucrative profession. "We went from driving a very nice Jaguar to a second hand Fiat 127," Cathcart laughs. "I did it for 160-161 Archives.indd 160 love and I haven't looked back. I'm still in love with my job." Classic Bike magazine was founded in 1978 and after the first issue Cathcart wrote in suggesting they feature track tests of classic bikes. The editor, Mike Nicks, thought it was a wonderful idea and asked Cathcart to do it. "I thought, 'What me?!" Cathcart remembers. "Staring at a blank sheet of paper, as it was in those days, and having to fill it with words? That seemed as daunting as going around Paddock Hill Bend at Brands Hatch in a race for the first time." The first reviews Cathcart did were bikes in his own collection. He had some of the classic racing machines of the 1950s, mainly, he says, "because when I started collecting they didn't cost anything. I had a Manx Norton that I bought for 400 pounds, that's about 700 dollars. My G50 Matchless, which I have to this day, cost me 500 pounds!" So Cathcart began his moto-journalism career just as something fun to do and an easy excuse to get his classic machines on the track. But on a business trip to Australia, he went to an Australian Superbike race at Oran Park, met Mike Hanlon, owner and editor of Australian Motorcycle News and was asked to be that publication's European correspondent. Cathcart found himself with a growing list of publications he was contributing to and when his travel business suffered a downturn, he made the decision to pursue motorcycle journalism full time. Cathcart knew he wanted to be a freelance writer, something in those days that was very rare in motorcycle journalism. He audaciously decided to pursue interviews with company CEOs and lead designers and test the most desirable motorcycles, racing and otherwise. "I will pat myself on the back a bit for deliberately going out to get the stories that no one else was getting," Cathcart says. 12/9/11 3:20 PM

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