HIS students don’t know it yet, but PE teacher Mr Wareham is about to take part in the most prestigious road race on the motorcycling calendar – the Isle of Man TT.
Donning his leathers this weekend, 28-year-old Steve from Caldecote will ride as passenger to Dave Wallis in the sidecar races around the historic circuit where even the bravest of the brave have tried and failed to put their name among motorcycling’s elite.
Steve has revealed his secret weekend identity to his fellow teachers at Fulbrook Middle School in Woburn Sands, but admitted his pupils aren’t aware of his high-octane second career away from the playground.
“They don’t know I’m a racer,” Steve said. “They don’t even know I’m off next week! The staff are aware and ask how I got on at the weekend, but it’s not something that the kids are aware of.”
Starting his sidecar career after finishing university, Steve has racing in his blood. With his dad taking part in championships up and down the country, Steve soon grew hungry to get out on the track and saw sidecars as a cheap way of going racing.
Riding as a passenger to experienced driver Wallis, it’s Steve’s job to create stability and downforce through the corners to increase lap times. And it requires nerves of steel – the 600cc bikes can travel up to 160mph with the passengers holding on in the sidecar.
And while the TT is the pinnacle of road racing, Steve knows the risks are much higher on the island as everyone takes that extra bit of risk to add their name to the list of winners.
Last year the sidecar pairing of Bill Currie and Kevin Morgan were killed in an accident in one of the free practise sessions ahead of the main event.
But like every motor-racer, Steve puts fear to the back of his mind as he goes out and performs to his best.
“Of course there are some nerves,” he said, “But it’s the pinnacle of road racing.
“It’s the one everyone wants to race in, everyone wants to watch and the one everyone wants to do well in.
“You put the risk to the back of your mind. You never think ‘it’ll happen to me’ and why would you? If you thought like that, you’d never go racing.
“People come from all over the world to take part and I cannot wait to get out there. I’ve been learning the track for a long time, knowing where I need to be on the bike to make sure we can get around as fast as we can. I’m confident.”
And looking ahead to the race, Steve admits he hasn’t set himself crazy goals by dreaming of winning, but would be satisfied with a respectable finish for his first time.
He added: “I haven’t got many expectations from the weekend, but if we come out of it with a top 10 finish, there will be a big smile on my face.
“We will see where we go from there. I’d obviously like to do this for years to come, but also move on up through the classes and come away from my career in sidecars as a British champion one day.”