Belfast Telegraph

Doctor is acting the goat

By Billy Weir

The word 'legend' is bandied about far too much in sport these days but when one man can upstage Brad Pitt, AP McCoy and Willie Thorne then it is a pretty open and shut case for me.

BT Sport was at Silverstone last weekend as the British MotoGP came to town with nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi level on points with Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo at the top of the table, a real battle of good versus not so good.

It was a script fit for a Hollywood blockbuster, hence the appearance of Pitt, who narrates a new film entitled 'Hitting the Apex' which focuses on the sport and was sponsoring the day's action for BT Sport.

Despite that, he was a little surprised to be pounced on in the pits by a strange, bearded Irishman in Craig Doyle, although a little relieved that he didn't ask him if he wanted any double glazing.

Clearly smitten, Doyle, who, it had to be said, has a more convincing Irish accent than Pitt, couldn't take his eyes off his new pal as he paid a visit to Lorenzo's garage, where he keeps the oil, presumably.

"I tell you something, Brad's a good looking lad, seriously," he simpered.

"He's handsome," replied guest pundit for the day, former racer Colin Edwards.

"He's a handsome lad, that's for sure," added Doyle, but thankfully Edwards nipped all this in the bud as Rossi mounted his machine and he referred to the man known as The Doctor's pre-race routine.

"He always gets on from the right side and once he's pulling out of the pits he'll stand up and pull the leathers out of his… err, cheeks!" he revealed, but thankfully a burly rugby player turned up to bring a bit of decorum, in the shape of Welshman George North, fresh from seeing off Ireland the previous day.

"You don't want me, you want Brad again, that's who you want," said North, and then regular pundit and former World Superbike champ James Toseland got in on the act.

"That must have been a tough interview for an Irishman after yesterday's performance," he said and Doyle, fed up with life, ran away to look for Brad and handed over to another racer in Neil Hodgson who now prowls the grid looking for people to talk to.

There was clearly something in the air, as he pounced on British hope Cal Crutchlow, asking the man sitting on a motorbike in motorbike leathers on a grid before the start of a motorbike race, "what's going on?"

Crutchlow paused, gathered his thoughts and replied: "Not too much, other than I'm really pleased to be seeing you on the grid, Neil, you're looking very handsome."

It was Hodgson's turn to go a bit giddy - or should that be giddy-up? - as he stumbled towards our own Eugene Laverty and bumped into a small man.

"It's AP McCoy, it's AP McCoy, 20-time champion, I can't believe it, you're as fit as a fiddle, what brings you here?" he gasped.

"I'm a neighbour of Eugene Laverty," came the response. He'd obviously jumped over the fence to complain about the noise and while there was no sign of his twin, Tony (I am contractually obliged to use that joke), there was an even bigger legend waiting as the rain started to fall.

"We never get this at the snooker, it's always nice and dry, no rain," revealed Thorne, although give it a few months and Barry Hearn will probably have outdoors snooker, accompanied by scantily-clad young ladies holding up the scores and players bedecked in leather dinner suits. I feel ill, is there a Doctor in the house?

The rain led to a delay in the action getting under way but just as we waited for the off, Doyle made a pitch for everyone to be patient and stay tuned for the Doctor.

"If you're a sports fan then this place is absolute gold - Silverstone," he said, and he wasn't wrong, with Rossi showing his class by making light of the weather while others tip-toed round or ended up nose deep in a puddle.

"If he wins his 10th World title this year, he surely will be confirmed as the goat," said commentator Keith Huewen as we wondered if too many fumes had seeped into the commentary box.

This, he explained, meant Greatest Of All Time, which is a frightening prospect as it means Shaun Goater has overtaken the likes of George Best, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Ralph Milne for that particular footballing crown.

"The Doctor has self-medicated a victory and a 12-point lead in the championship should have him feeling healthy again," concluded Doyle, but let's face it, if a Doctor can't win a GP then there's something wrong.

Belfast Telegraph


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