Tony started riding motorbikes at the age of seven. Encouraged by his dad and elder brother he was competing in local trials by the time he was eleven. This meant that he was competing on the same routes as adults and was nicknamed ‘Nipper’ because he was the youngest at these events.
Tony and his dad toured the UK taking part in trials across the country. He competed in nationals, local events and also the Scottish Six Day Trial (SSDT) at Fort William.
With the start of the new millennium Tony took up a new challenge – enduros, which are long-distance cross-country competitions. For ten years he competed at both national and local levels. But 2008 saw Tony back up in Scotland for the SSDT at the age of 40. He had made a promise to himself and he completed the trial, despite not having competed in trials for a number of years.
Diagnosis of MS
In 2010 problems with vision, together with some balance issues, led to a diagnosis of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Twelve years previously Tony had had some difficulties, but nothing had been identified. Following the death of his father and with this diagnosis he decided to go back to trials. Competing at a lower level than previously, he is still able to ‘twist a throttle’. Tony is currently having a relapse with double vision so is using an eye patch to help him maneuver through the markers.
During this time Tony continued riding on the road. With a group of friends he’s spent a number of holidays exploring the winding bends of the French Alps. Also, with his very understanding wife as pillion, a trip through scenic France to the Pyrenees visiting the famous Col de Tourmalet.
Currently Tony has five bikes, a variety of on and off road, all of which are being ridden. He has a Ducati Hypermotard, Montessa 4RT 260 and a Gas Gas EC300. His 1972 Ducati Scrambler is an ongoing renovation project, but is also a great local ride with 1,000 km on the clock this year. He also has a Honda TLM 260R, which is a work in progress – Tony has sourced many original parts and continues to compete at local events on this bike. He enjoys perfecting his bikes, making titanium exhausts and spindles, taking as much weight out as he can.
Following a dream
Everest has been a lifelong fascination for Tony. He has explored different ways to visit Base Camp, but with the difficulties of Tony’s MS, trekking wasn’t an option. Finding Extreme Bike Tours is a perfect solution. This year’s trip will be a chance to realise a lifelong dream and show that life doesn’t stop with MS. It will also raise funds for the MS Trust, who provide help and support to people with MS.
“None of this would be possible without the support of my wife, Fiona” said Tony. “We are a great team and to be able to go to Everest Base Camp, on a Royal Enfield, with Fiona as pillion is fantastic.” Tony and Fiona met in 2004 and married in Dubai in 2008. Fiona has always been interested in bikes, riding pillion with her dad, but never a rider herself. Her grandfather was a motorcycle courier in World War 2. Tony said, “I would also like to thank Zander from Extreme Bike Tours for his help and support with helping me to achieve my lifelong dream.”