He could easily be a Hollywood star, rather than a motorcycle racer. But he also has an enviable racing talent.
Californian Mark Miller is the fastest american rider ever on the Isle of Man and winner of a TT. But now he calls it a day and announces his retirement from racing at the age of 46 years old, even if he still looks like a fascinating teenager. He started his career with AMA Championship, to turn it towards pure road racing with his first Macau Grand Prix back in 1998, with a podium in 2000; he was newcomer at the Isle of Man TT in 2006 and won his first TT in 2010 in the new TT Zero class with Moto Czysz.
He has been onboard Aprilias, BMWs, Suzukis and the odd Buell EBR 1190RS. Miller has also a special relationship with Italians, having Roberto Ferlini as a helper for the TT and having ridden for Carlo Gelmi on the electric R6E in 2014 TT Zero (VercarMoto).
We have been in touch with the lovely Mark “Thriller” Miller and asked him more details about his retirement, a news that saddened many in the sport but that we can truly understand.
First of all, an obvious question: why did you decide to retire from motorcycle racing right now? Have you been affected in some way by the latest sad news? I remember you posted on Facebook a very sad message after Shoesmith’s crash: “Today I lost my best friend in the paddock, nothing else matters”.
Hello everyone at RoadRacingCore! As to the question of why stop now, it is a complex answer. When you love something so dearly like I love racing the roads, the only true thing or things that can keep you from it must be cumulative. A number of different factors come into play when you ask yourself, “Have I achieved what I set out to do? Can I do this forever? How many times can I spin the barrel of the pistol when playing Russian Roulette before you land on the only bullet left in the gun?”. The answer is, eventually you will crash again. It’s part of our sport. Humans make errors all the time, it’s part of being human. To accomplish 13 TT fortnights and 17 Macau Grand Prix’s, starting with the Graves Yamaha in 1998, since with next to no serious injuries while good friends around you keep forever altering their health for life or even lose their lives, we must as racers respect that it can and very likely will happen to you if you push your luck too far.
Since I was a very young boy, as early as 6 years old, I knew without any doubt I would race until the day I could no longer race whether by lack of sponsors or interest in my racing or I’d simply grow old enough to no longer have the reflexes or burning youthful desire to push to win. Strangely, my fitness never seem to waiver even at my old fucking age now, ha ha. I feel like I could easily continue on in a competitive way to 50 years old and maybe beyond, not unlike Mr. Joey Dunlop did winning his last race at 49 years old. I’m no Joey Dunlop we all certainly know by on topic my physical fitness did not stop me racing. However my fear I might get injured at this late date in my life made me seriously consider the continuing risks.
After recent injuries and deaths by very close racer friends of mine, like Paul Shoesmith, a louder voice spoke to me to take pause in the permanent nature of his lost to us and mores to his close family. Therefore, knowing over the years that injuries and deaths on the roads have and will continue to happen, at my amount of luck to date to have traveled and raced so many amazing machines from TT Zero to Aprilia to BMW and my latest rides on an American Made Rotax 1200cc twin, how can I not feeling inside to be so very lucky?
Which are your plans now?
I have always wanted a second career in story telling, more to the point, I want to make feature films. Always have and I have always intended on this.
I need to place the gun on the table and walk out that door to a future where I have the greatest opportunity to die from some normal circumstance just like anyone. But fuck it, I’m very happy to have been so fortunate to meet so many amazing new friends around the world — my ultimate favorite memories — including from Italy, my favorite people! I must stop and tell some stories now which I have learned from my life and those around me.
Are we going to see you again at some races?
I hope to continue my long time friendships in the racing paddocks by helping out some of my former teams along the way. Not that they need me, but because they can’t get rid of me. I remain addicted to the love and the fun and the passion and the amazing types of individuals that migrate to these special events. They are not normal, simply the best humans alive on earth.
Thank you Mark, we wish you the best of luck for the future!