Wedding proposals have seen a meteoric rise in quality and extremism in recent years. From getting down on one knee on live TV to involving über celebs and other props, that first step to tying the knot has almost become a competition in some eyes.
From a bikey, burning-a-hole-in-the-ozone-layer, petrolistic hedonism perspective, Bob Collins’ effort will take some beating. It went down on Facebook pretty well, so thought we’d speak to the man himself about ‘that’ day in Cartagena and just how his fiancé, Liz puts up with him.
“Liz had no idea. When we first met, I bought her a trackday in Cartagena for a birthday present, as she had a GSX-R1000 road bike and a 750 track bike. And for our second anniversary I thought we’d do the same, but this time I thought, fuck it, I’ll just propose.
“I put myself under immense pressure to win the fun race, which was on the third day. The race was stopped after a guy flipped it on the start, and he took out a load of others out, so it was restarted. I had to carry the ring in its box in my groin area during the race, which was quite painful, and thankfully I won.
“I did organise it with Tracksense (the trackday organisers) and warned them that I’d do a bit of fucking about, but they didn’t tell any of the circuit staff so the black flags weren’t part of the script. I ended up burning Liz’s leg and she had to go off to the medical centre, which fucked up the whole proposal really, but she said yes thankfully.”
For me and a lot of others, Bob Collins is one of the biggest wastes of racing talent in the UK. If he’s not getting black-flagged for skids and wheelies at a trackday, he’s doing donuts in BMWs and still has a presence at British Superbike races. Bob won the Superstock Cup in 2006. Our final race of the year was on the Saturday and the top-5 Cup riders were invited to race in the Championship class on the Sunday. I awoke hanging out of my bumhole and saw Bob come back into the circuit after a night out partying. He went straight out for warm-up and finished 15th, beating the likes of John McGuiness in the process. Lad…
“I did Superstock for a few years and won the championship, but there was no real stepping-stone for me. There were no teams who said ‘come and ride for us’, well, there were two quite well known teams but they wanted £50,000.
“I wanted to do the roads, so I went off and did the North West 200 and the TT, but I had such a shit time of it that I thought if I ever end up looking like Cal Crutchlow – miserable – I’d stop racing, so I did.
“My boss at the time wanted me to work properly and work proper hours, and offered me a big fat pay rise. And then the classic racing started to come about. The bikes are pretty special, we get to ride places like Spa and race until 11 o’clock at night. One of main my rivals is Mark van der Mark’s dad (world supersport champion) and he’s a lunatic. There’s a load of them who just sit around getting stoned and go out and race, but he’s a real nice guy. There are four teams that pretty much win traces and we’re the only team that hasn’t got a world champion. It’s like going club racing: relaxed, chilled out, smoke fags and drink beer and smash cars up. It’s great.
“I’ve got no motivation to go back to racing modern bikes. I love turning up to a trackday on my road bike, on road tyres, and do some drifting. I rode the BMW and it was gutless, and I was really close to buying a ZX-10R. But I love the GSX-R and it’s got an awful lot of torque that helps it spin out of corners. I spoke to my missus and spoke to my mum, and they both said I should get a GSX-R, so I went and bought another one.”
Quote of the year – “I spoke to my mum and she said get a GSX-R.” Bob, we salute you…