At the track with Eric Bana

Recently Michelin caught up with actor Eric Bana at the Australian MotoGP™ to talk bikes, cars and making genuine connections with fellow enthusiasts.

So we thought we would share with you, since it’s not just Mr. Bana who has a need for speed and a love for the open road.

 

You’re well known for your passion for bikes and cars and have raced both. What is it about motor racing that you love so much?

Eric Bana: Weirdly enough, it’s not the adrenaline – I just feel really comfortable on the track. It’s not a place I feel scared. While someone might like yoga or meditation, to me, having a helmet on, it’s the same sort of feeling. The minute you put your helmet on, you know you’re doing something special. It’s a clear delineation from the stuff you normally do or that stresses you – they just disappear. I remember when I went to get my motorcycle licence 25 years ago, one of the instructors said there needs to be a mental switch that occurs when your helmet goes on, and that’s something I have never forgotten. I never take it for granted, even if I’m just riding to work or going to the Aussie rules football.

Tell us about your fascination with bikes and cars.

Eric Bana: I’ve always had a really personal relationship with any mechanical thing that I’ve owned. Whether it’s my old Falcon Beast that I’ve had for 30 years, my first bike… everything I’ve owned that I’ve fiddled with or raced or ridden. I don’t buy and sell stuff, I don’t trash them and then move them on. The longer you have them, the more of a relationship you end up having.

2

So, what, for you, is the difference between racing a car and a bike?

Eric Bana: The beauty of swapping from four wheels to two wheels and back again is that it really makes you appreciate both. So, if I’ve been on the bike and I go back to a GT3 car, it feels quite ridiculous. You feel completely invincible because you’ve got so many safety measures working in your favour – you’ve got your fireproof suit, your HANS device and your roll cage. Hopping back on the bike, you feel really exposed, really at the mercy of your skill and other people’s skills, and there’s something nice about that. Feeling mortal is part of the joy. I’m still buzzing for at least seven days after I’ve been out on the track.


Do you find yourself talking about cars and bikes much in everyday life?


Eric Bana: 
I will inevitably end up talking cars and motorcycles rather than films with the vast majority of the people I run into. They’ll know that I ride or race cars, and that will be what we talk about before, “What was it like doing the sword fighting in Troy?”. It takes the conversation away from work. Having that passion and that knowledge, it’s something that we can relate to and have common ground.


And what happens when you meet other car and bike enthusiasts?


The connection is on another level. It’s a very genuine connection. They can’t relate to me as an actor and I can’t relate to them in their profession, but we can connect as fellow enthusiasts and we will end up having a 15-minute conversation about a tyre or a bike or a road, and the film thing just disappears completely. It’s really nice for me to have that genuine connection with people. Motor racing and bikes really help to facilitate that.

3

So, what is it about MotoGP™ that is so appealing?


It’s easily my favourite form of motorsport. It’s the best spectacle in the world. It’s a well-run category, the personalities of riders from every era are amazing, and this current era is too good to be true! We’re clinging on for the Rossi era to keep going and going! I just have so much respect for him, still competing at this level at his age – awesome! And the championships are so highly respected and so evenly fought; it’s not like a category where you have one dominant manufacturer.


Are you a regular at the Phillip Island circuit?


I come here a lot, not only for private use but for MotoGP and World Superbikes. I was coming here in the 90s, back in the days of Fogarty, Slight and Gobert. That period of Superbikes, here at the Island, was absolutely fantastic. There’s something very spiritual about this track.

What, for you, is the difference between racing a car and a bike?

Eric Bana: The beauty of swapping from four wheels to two wheels and back again is that it really makes you appreciate both. So, if I’ve been on the bike and I go back to a GT3 car, it feels quite ridiculous. You feel completely invincible because you’ve got so many safety measures working in your favour – you’ve got your fireproof suit, your HANS device and your roll cage. Hopping back on the bike, you feel really exposed, really at the mercy of your skill and other people’s skills, and there’s something nice about that. Feeling mortal is part of the joy. I’m still buzzing for at least seven days after I’ve been out on the track.


Do you find yourself talking about cars and bikes much in everyday life?


I will inevitably end up talking cars and motorcycles rather than films with the vast majority of the people I run into. They’ll know that I ride or race cars, and that will be what we talk about before, “What was it like doing the sword fighting in Troy?”. It takes the conversation away from work. Having that passion and that knowledge, it’s something that we can relate to and have common ground.


And what happens when you meet other car and bike enthusiasts?


The connection is on another level. It’s a very genuine connection. They can’t relate to me as an actor and I can’t relate to them in their profession, but we can connect as fellow enthusiasts and we will end up having a 15-minute conversation about a tyre or a bike or a road, and the film thing just disappears completely. It’s really nice for me to have that genuine connection with people. Motor racing and bikes really help to facilitate that.

4

So, what is it about MotoGP™ that is so appealing?


It’s easily my favourite form of motorsport. It’s the best spectacle in the world. It’s a well-run category, the personalities of riders from every era are amazing, and this current era is too good to be true! We’re clinging on for the Rossi era to keep going and going! I just have so much respect for him, still competing at this level at his age – awesome! And the championships are so highly respected and so evenly fought; it’s not like a category where you have one dominant manufacturer.


Are you a regular at the Phillip Island circuit?


I come here a lot, not only for private use but for MotoGP and World Superbikes. I was coming here in the 90s, back in the days of Fogarty, Slight and Gobert. That period of Superbikes, here at the Island, was absolutely fantastic. There’s something very spiritual about this track.

 

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markmunroe

markmunroe

Founder, CEO at Addicted
I’m ADDICTED to great travel, amazing food, better grooming & probably a whole lot more! Mark Munroe is the Creator and EIC of ADDICTED.
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markmunroe