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The moment I decided to race I knew my dad would have loved to have been involved, he was the reason I got into bikes in the first place. He'd been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in 1990 and knowing that the condition would effect him physically, in 1995 he decided to buy a Harley Davidson from Stadium Motors in Walthamstow, which had not long opened. My father had been a keen motorcyclist in the 1950's owning various motorcycles including a Sunbeam and an Indian. He had originally thought about getting a Sporster, but when he saw the second hand Low-Rider Convertible the choosing was over. He loved the bike and the attention it drew where ever he rode it, but, in his usual generous fashion he said that if I did my bike test I could ride it whenever I wanted to.

I had done some trials riding in my early teens but never did my test as my dad always felt the road was a dangerous place for a young inexperienced bike rider. But now, at nearly 30 I was given the opportunity to ride a Harley on the road, so in January of 1996 I did my CBT and in April I did my dad proud and passed my test first time, straight off the 125 and straight onto a 1340!

Dad enjoyed lots of relatively short rides on the bike, he liked to go to the tea hut at High Beach in Essex where he could look at all the other bikes and talk to their owners. He liked nothing more than exchanging stories of motorcycle adventures with other keen owners, over a mug of tea and a piece of cake. Unfortunately the disease progressed and as time went on my father had dificulty with the size and weight of the Harley, so during 1999 he took the difficult decision to get rid of the Harley in exchange for a Triumph Thunderbird. However it was not that long before his condition made it far to difficult for him to ride the Triumph and in September 2000 he had to give up biking for good, and the bike went. My dad's biggest fear with the disease was the loss of quality of life, giving up his motorcycle was one of the hardest things he'd had to come to terms to thus far. Subsequent to this he had to stop gardening, his other great passion, and his pool table. His voice failed him and he found it very difficult to be understood, here was the king of the one liner banished to near silence at parties.

Just being around people and chatting was something my father loved, combine this with motor vehicles and he was in his element. I know my dad would have loved to have been involved in my racing, helping me with my bike, and my nerves, chatting to all the riders in the paddock and eating egg and bacon sandwiches from the nearest chuck wagon would have been bliss for him. This is why I am racing under his initials JHC, John Harry Coleman. By the time he died on 3rd April 2003 my attendance at track days had made it into double figures but the disease had made it too difficult for him to travel any distance and he never saw me ride at the track. My passion for fast bikes and all things mildly dangerous, which I definitely inherited from him, grew too late for him to take an active role. While he can not be with me at the track in person to help with his wise words and calm assurance, he will be with me in spirit and in name on my bike.

In memory of John Harry Coleman 3rd July 1931 to 3rd April 2003