N°80 Bike RICH ENERGY OMG RACING LTD
driver
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JAMES MARTYN HILLIER

(gbr) 1.8m / 83kg

Hobbies

Just motorbikes!

Sponsors

OMG Racing, Solo Motorcycles, TriAgg, Angus County Windows, Dainese

First participation

2022: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (20th)
2021: Andalucia Rally (15th)
2019: North West 200 (1st Superstock class & Man of the Meeting)
2017: Hard Enduro races: Erzbergrodeo, Roof of Africa
Isle of Man TT regular since 2008, won Lightweight class in 2013
Over 10 years racing in various classes of British Superbike Championship

Interview

“I've always liked going fast”

This will be a first Dakar outing for James Hillier, but the British biker is certainly no stranger to riding under extreme conditions. Since 2008, he has regularly taken part in the famous Isle of Man TT, which involves hurtling around the island's narrow and winding roads at speeds of well over 200 kilometres an hour. Having started with trials as a boy and spent over a decade participating in the world's ‘ultimate road race’, as he describes it, the 37-year-old is now looking forward to his debut at the world’s ‘ultimate offroad race’. James has gradually been drawn to hard enduro and rally raid in recent years, showing his potential by claiming top-20 finishes in Andalusia and Abu Dhabi. The Dakar is a different beast, though -and, as if getting through 15 gruelling days in Saudi Arabia wasn't enough of a challenge, he has decided to compete in the assistance-free Original by Motul class. For a man who has clocked the seventh-fastest lap time at the Isle of Man TT (at an eye-watering 132.414 miles per hour), it won't be easy sacrificing speed to make sure he stays on top of navigation and keeps his bike in one piece, but James is determined to make sure he is standing on the finishers’ podium in Dammam on 15 January.

“I've only done two rallies: the Andalucia Rally last year and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge this year. That was the last time I rode on sand. I'd say those rallies were part of the process of getting to Dakar. Budget-wise, it was either do it malle-moto style or not at all. I'm pretty confident looking after the bike and things. It'll be interesting to ask me at the end if I want to keep going in rally-raid; either I'll be hungry for more or completely over it. I remember watching the Dakar in the mid-late 1990s on Eurosport, and it just stuck with me. My dad had road bikes but never competed. Why he got me into trials, I don’t really know, I've never asked him. I was always keen, always on the pedal bike and it just escalated from there. I've always liked going fast, and I suppose the Isle of Man TT was top of the tree for speed and danger. I can't give you a reason or a moment where I said, 'I must do that', but it was always on my radar from a youngish age. The Isle of Man TT is the ultimate road race and the Dakar is the ultimate offroad race, and to do both is pretty cool. To me the TT isn't that big a deal, it doesn't seem that crazy. You get complacent because that's just what you do. Similarly, I think outsiders looking in at the Dakar think you're some loony riding flat out across the desert. But there's a lot of calculation that goes into every day at a rally. Even in the prologue, what you're going to do is all calculated. But thinking and planning is one thing, you've still got to ride it. I think I've purposely ignored some things. My biggest concern is lack of sleep and rest, because I get pretty grumpy when I haven't slept. I'm like a sponge, I just want to learn as much as I can and soak it all up, be disciplined mechanically and look after myself. I don’t want to be last and I want to get to the finish, then I'll be happy. I could finish in the top half if I got stuck in, but that would carry risk. I'm not under any pressure to perform, I just want to keep the wheels turning. I'll get one in the bag, then try again perhaps."

Vehicle

RICH ENERGY OMG RACING LTD

GASGAS 450 RALLY
RICH ENERGY OMG RACING LTD

  • GASGAS
  • 450 RALLY
  • Rich Energy OMG Racing Ltd
  • Original by Motul
  • Rally 2

Ranking 2023

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