International Road Race Legend from Yesteryear: Donnie McLeod

The international road racing legend of yesteryear, where has he gone, what is he up to now, and how does he view today's road racing sport? In this section, we ask these former heroes a series of (the same) questions. This week: Donnie McLeod.

Donnie McLeod Racing in Assen

Who is Donnie McLeod?

Name : Donnie McLeod
Nickname : -
Born on : 16-06-1955
Nationality : Scottish
Residence: Biggar, Scotland
Start of road racing career : 1976 - Triumph Tiger Club
Active in : 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, and 500cc
Number of titles : 1978 Scottish 250cc champion - 1984 British 250cc champion
End of road racing career : Brazilian Grand Prix in 1988
Current profession : Almost retired, but still running my own management consultancy specializing in quality and environmental management systems

How did you first get involved in road racing?

A friend started racing.

Which rider did you have the best battles with on the track?

Loris Reggiani.

Best motorcycle you've ridden and why?

Dalmac Racing Yamaha TZ250L 1984. Why - because I built and maintained it myself, along with my mechanic Jim Wood. Won every race (6 out of 6) in the British championship and finished fourth in the Grand Prix in Misano.

Favorite Circuit you have raced?

TT Circuit Assen. The unique corners and the crowd!

What is the strangest or most hilarious experience you've had in racing?

During my last Grand Prix in Brazil, I rode a Honda RS500 in the 500 GP for the movie 'Race for Glory'. A different saddle was mounted before the race, and the exhausts burned through the saddle, burning my buttocks! Because I was in a position for the World Championship points, I tried to keep a cool head by standing upright on the straight! Eventually, I had to make a pit stop and got some ice in my suit, after which I was able to continue the race to collect the prize money for finishing!

Do you have a special memory of racing in the Netherlands?

CMSNL is based in the Netherlands

I loved racing in Raalte, especially the big party on Saturday night. I also won the 250cc race in Raalte in 1986.

Carlos Lavado, Niall Mackenzie and Donnie McLeod on the first row in Raalte (1984)

The best thing you've gained from racing

Seeing the world and getting paid for it. Meeting amazing people and, importantly, never breaking a bone.

What did you do after your active road racing career?

I went back to university to get a Master's in Computer Aided Engineering. Then I became a university lecturer. After that, I ran a plastic company with factories in Scotland and Ireland. Then I started my own management consultancy with clients in the UK, Abu Dhabi, and Australia.

Are you still involved in the sport in any way?

I have a 1984 Yamaha TZ250L that I occasionally use for vintage parades. I still regularly ride trial motorcycles.

Which current or past motorcycle would you like to ride?

Seeley G50.

For which current rider do you have a lot of respect and why?

Francesco Bagnaia, especially for his methodical approach.

Who do you see as the greatest (currently active) road racing talent and why?

Pedro Acosta. MotoGP needs a talent that shakes everyone up, just like Kevin Schwantz did years ago.

Who will be the 2024 MotoGP & WorldSBK world champions?

In MotoGP, I'm putting my money on Francesco Bagnaia, and in WorldSBK, Alvaro Bautista.

With your experience, how do you view the current developments within international road racing?

Too much emphasis on the machines instead of the riders.

This blog was written in collaboration with

issued: Thursday, May 09, 2024
updated: Thursday, May 09, 2024

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