Simon Reid: Following in the wheeltracks of a world champion dad and appearing in a Rihanna music video

Simon Reid
Simon Reid will compete in the British Superstock 600 series for the second consecutive year in 2020

Simon Reid readily admits that following in the wheeltracks of his famous racing father has its benefits but can at the same time be a burden.

The Reid name has been synonymous with motorcycle sport in Northern Ireland for decades, with Simon's dad Brian winning successive Formula Two World Championship in 1985 and 1986.

Among the Banbridge rider's other achievements during a distinguished career were five Isle of Man TT wins, nine Ulster Grand Prix victories and a North West 200 success.

"I have learnt to deal with it. I'm racing because I want to race and it can be helpful having some of my dad's friends and sponsors who want to support me but equally people think 'he only gets that because of his father'.

"Ultimately it's me who has to go out and ride the bike and get some results though," said Simon, who will compete in the British Superstock 600cc series for the second year in a row in 2020.

Brian Reid and Lee Johnston
Simon's dad Brian congratulates Lee Johnston after the Fermanagh man won a race at the Ulster Grand Prix

Racking up titles and recording with Rihanna

At just 24 years old, Reid junior has already made a major mark on two-wheel sport himself, collecting Ulster, Irish and British youth motocross titles, an Irish Supertwins short circuit crown and a CV that also takes in a series of achievements in freestyle BMX - including appearing in a music video featuring American chart-topping pop superstar Rihanna.

"Rihanna was over in Belfast and her people contacted the BMX display team I was riding with. They wanted to take some footage of us on our bikes in the BMX skate park so we were doing our thing in the background while she was singing in her video," explained Simon.

"It was the 'We Found Love' video which she recorded in Northern Ireland and although they were doing their thing and we were doing ours, I did get to speak to her briefly.

"We travelled to music festivals and different events and shows to put on displays all over the place. It was fun at the time."

Music superstar Rihanna recorded her 2011 hit 'We Found Love' in Belfast
Music superstar Rihanna recorded her 2011 hit 'We Found Love' in Belfast

Injury interrupts motocross career

Simon's hugely promising motocross career was halted when he suffered a cruciate ligament injury at just 14, followed by a serious back injury, thereby channelling him down the BMX route, where he again won national titles.

"Motocross just wasn't the same for me after that so I got involved with the BMX Freestyle team and travelled a lot doing loads of cool things in countries like Spain, Portugal and England.

"As well as the Irish titles I competed in world and European championships. It was a bit less serious than racing and had a different vibe about it with less pressure - more like having fun with your mates."

But it was engine power rather than pedal power which was always going to hold the greatest attraction for Simon given that he rode his first bike at the age of three and began competing aged six.

Going back to racing

"I enjoyed the BMX but it just wasn't the same as riding a motorbike - the smell, the noise, the adrenalin and the buzz that goes with it.

"I always wanted to go back to racing and I wanted to give the tarmac a go.

"I won the Supertwin championship in my first season and the next year I was third in the Ulster Supersport Pro and Cup classes despite suffering a broken collarbone in the middle part of the season.

"I won every Supersport Cup race I finished, taking 12 victories in all," recalled Simon.

Simon Reid
Simon will again compete as a satellite rider for Silicone Engineering Racing this year

'Steep learning curve' on British circuits

Last year Reid moved across to the ultra-competitive British championship, competing as a satellite rider for the Silicone Engineering Racing team which fields Dean Harrison in the major international road races and BSB series.

"After two years on the Irish circuits I knew it was going to be a steep learning curve as I had a lot of new circuits to learn and was competing against some of the fastest riders in the UK.

"It was the toughest thing I've ever done in motorbike racing but we have learnt more about the bike and got a new mechanic on board who has brought a lot of knowledge to the team.

"It will take me more than one season to show my potential and what I'm capable of but I'm confident in my ability so hopefully we can take another step in the right direction this year."

And is there any chance Simon might follow his father down the public roads racing route in the future?

"I would never say never, possibly, but my goals and main focus at the minute are in BSB," he said.