Former cricketer Darren Gough has teamed up with Bennetts to help raise awareness of British bikers.
I caught up with him to talk about the campaign and why he got involved as well as looking back over his career and looking ahead to what he has coming up.
- You are currently working with Bennetts on a new campaign to get biker related question on the driving test so can you tell me a little bit about the campaign?
Bennetts have launched a national campaign which is trying to guarantee at least one motor-bike related question to appear in every driving theory test to help raise awareness of British bikers.
What they’ve done is get an e-petition which needs 100,000 signatures to get to the House of Commons and hopefully get the driving test changed for the better for motorcyclists!
It has been running all year and is now in its last week before it closes on 23rd June- I think we’re currently just over 60,000 and need to get to 100,000 so every signature really helps.
- So how and why did you get involved with this campaign?
Riding a motorcycle and owning my own bike is something I always wanted to do when I retired from cricket but there was one condition from the family, which was to make sure I was safe and passed all the qualifications so I could be the best sort of biker.
I signed up with Bennett’s after I did my advanced test, like I said because safety is important to me and I really wanted to help raise awareness for motorcyclists on our roads and this petition is a great way to do so.
I’ve got a triumph explorer which is a fantastic bike- I’m now up to the big boy bikes!- but I started on the baby ones, having a Kawasaki Versys 650 to begin with and then working my way up to bigger bikes as I didn’t want to go straight into it like most people probably have because as I said, safety’s been a big part of my riding experience.
- Why should people throw their weight behind this? And if people want to add their name to the petition how can they get involved?
At the moment there isn’t a compulsory motorcycle question on the driving test which is staggering and being a keen biker myself this needs to change which is why I’m promoting it.
You can sign the petition on www.bikerpetition.co.uk or alternatively on the Bennetts website, www.bennetts.co.uk; we need 100,000 signatures so I would plead everybody to go onto the website and get signing now!
- Away from the campaign what have you been up to recently?
I’m going to to the Euro 2012 with TalkSport, where I have my drive time show from 4-7pm every weekday, which we’re incorporating with a little bit of a road trip around Europe.
I’ve also been the ambassador for a couple of other companies including cheese company Collier’s which is fantastic!
- Obviously you are known for your cricket career so how would you sum up your career when you look back on it now?
I would say I had a decent go of it I think, I really enjoyed it I just had too many injuries. I mean if you look at my record on its own with the amount of games I played I think it’s a fantastic record and the biggest regret I have is some of the serious injuries I had.
I got struck down at my peak which was never something I had anticipated to happen.
In 2001 I had a routine knee operation, which usually takes 6 weeks to recover from but unfortunately for me it didn’t work that way I didn’t play for a two years overall.
Eventually I got fit again, played two test matches but decided I couldn’t do it anymore (Test cricket) and retired.
But I would say I’ve had a pretty good career. I’m still the leading wicket taker in one days and I’m still in the top ten test matches so I would say pretty good
- You have been away from the sport for a few years so how much do you miss it?
I’m involved with it because both my kids play - they play county level cricket. My older boy is on the NCC youth cricketers at Lords so he does it as a job.
My younger boy is at school but plays for his county so every Saturday and Sunday.
I don’t play anymore but I’m watching my children play every single weekend which is great. I have got in to golf however, the old man’s sport, is golf, but it keeps me fit and I love playing it.
- England have retained the Ashes and become the #1 test side in recent years so what do you think has been the key to their success?
Consistency in selection is a huge thing and having such a big selection of players when you look now at England at all the bowlers they’ve got. It makes such a big difference and when you’ve got world-class spinners as England have got.
- The Ashes will also be defended in 2013 so what is it about this tournament with Australia that is still so special?
It is just the history isn’t it? Every young boy who is in to cricket grows up wanting to play in the ashes. It’s the same with the Australians, when they see their team beating England.
The likes of Shane Warne, Glen Macgrath, Dennis Wheatley and Geoff Thompson; the history is so strong and it would forever be the biggest series England ever play and it’d be the biggest series Australia ever play. And the fact we used to send them all over by boat back in the day I think is fantastic!
- Now that you have had a few years away from the sport how much is coaching something that you would consider in the future?
To be honest coaching wasn’t for me when I retired - I got plenty of offers. I think at some point I’d like to do it.
I think the IPL is the only place really that has tempted me and the reason for that is because it’s only 6 weeks.
The problem with the cricket season in England is it lasts for such a long period. I like working youngsters in cricket because they listen and they appreciate it.
I do a cricket academy at Stowe school on a voluntary basis coaching the kids once a week in the summer. I do it as a hobby rather than as a job, I don’t charge I just do it because I love it.
- Finally what's next for you?
Well I want to do a bike trip, hopefully with Bennetts who put these kind of trips on regularly as I’m desperate to do one this year as I did one a couple of years ago to South Africa and it was incredible!
The dream trip for me would be New Zealand from the North to South Islands, or the Melbourne to Sydney leg- we’ll see, I’m waiting for Bennetts get in touch!
Darren Gough has teamed up with Bennetts to campaign for the inclusion of compulsory motorbike-related questions in the driving test.
With more than 60k signatures to date and just over a week to go, sign up before the 23rd June at www.BikerPetition.co.uk to help reduce biking casualties in the UK.
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw