Steve Parrish is quite a character. The former motorcycle racer, who won the the European truck racing championship five times, before moving on to a career as a commentator with the BBC, has announced plans to launch a bus racing championship in 2017.

“Finally we have a motor racing series in which the spectators are directly involved,” said Steve. “The passengers will act as ballast, transferring their weight/bodies from side to side to keep the bus stable”.

A recent test at Donington Park had every one of the 40 passengers thoroughly enjoying the experience and has signed up to take part.

Ex British Touring Cars Champion Jason Plato “I’m so excited to be part of the Bus Racing Series, 4 to 6 wheel challenge and fans on board, what more could you ask for! Can’t wait!”

Gareth Bright from Hinckley quoted “That was the most fun I’ve ever experienced and I was very surprised on how stable the bus was!”

Independent Bus Company CEO Grant Palmer from Bedfordshire who supplied the test bus and who will also enter 2 Volvo machines into the series said, “This new and exciting series will be excellent for improving the safety in our industry”

Bob Adams, Donington Parks Sporting Director was stunned at how stable and fast the bus was and is really looking forward to the spectacle and Patrick Allen, boss at Silverstone Circuit has already been inundated with sponsors knocking at the door to be involved in this unique series.

Chris Herring, Motor Sports Director, Circuit of Wales says, “It’s always refreshing to welcome new motorsport ideas and bus racing should provide excellent content for both summer and winter months. I believe there is already interest from two towns in mid Wales looking to enter teams. Fortunately we are designing the circuit with high bridges so it will easily cope with double deckers”

Stuart Higgs from Brands Hatch in Kent is disappointed that Brands Hatch has low bridges, however MSV, which owns four circuits, can and hope to run the double decker series at Snetterton. Stuart says “What a great interactive way for fans to enjoy this new sport”

Parrish is really excited about the series “ I believe it will run throughout the winter when we are normally starved of Motorsport. The fans/spectators will be on board in the warmth and will really play an integral part in the bus racing team, as their performance inside the bus is tantamount to the driver’s ability. We may need to look at the size of the podium though!”

136 thoughts on “Engagement…

      1. With Bernie it’s April Fools every month! Completely lost it. A ballot for qualifying?????

  1. I am reading this on March 31st as an the Dominion of Canada and suspect it may be April 1st in the UK. Nice one Joe, but then again it could have also come straight from the pen of one of Bernies minions!

  2. Interested to see how many commenters “get” this post….! Fab idea, do you know if I need Racing license to be a passenger Joe? At 97kg (dry weight) will I be excluded?

  3. very good one Joe
    at first I believed it, considering there are already races with trailers in the UK, then I wondered about the safety of unattached passengers, then I thought of today’s date 🙂

    1. Not a problem Just install survival cells, like they have on roller coasters. So when the bus corners to the right the passengers all swing out to the left! Genius idea born out of an April Fools joke. God works in mysterious ways!

  4. Now that’s the kind of news I’d like to hear every now and then. Thanks Joe for bringing this to light.

    Hope I’ll be able to catch it online here in India. I’ve had an idea like this in my mind, and I think of something like this whenever I see a bus here. We do have double decker buses here in Trivandrum and I can just about imagine how the spectacle would be…

  5. Brilliant. Presumably we will see the bike racers leaning out of their bus with their knees down. Not sure about the calendar though – one race a year on April 1st seems typical … You wait for a bus and then 30 come along at once…

  6. April fools!
    Tomorrow I’m going to try to convince my granddaughter that it’s March 31 so she can’t do her April fools trick. Then the next day of course I’ll tell her she missed her chance. On second thought maybe that’s a little too mean.

  7. Maybe Bernie and the CVC board could be offered a ride on the top deck around Brands Hatch?

  8. Cannot wait to see a Volvo B11R going sideways around Luffield with Passengers hanging out the windows to shift the weight….and I assume there will be different series for Diesel, Turbo Diesel, Hybrid and Electric….

  9. I really like the idea of this: “passengers will act as ballast, transferring their weight/bodies from side to side to keep the bus stable”. Think of it, a gaggle of double-deckers right on the limit of adhesion going through a sweep of fast esses, with 40 highly-motivated passengers in each vehicle rushing from one side to the other to balance the thing. That, I’d like to see! Very much.

    Then I remembered that today is April the first…

    Nice one Joe, that was a belter, you had me going there. The image of those buses with the passengers in overalls and crash helmets giving it their all makes me smile even as I write this.

  10. Joe, punches every ticket for motor sport, Steve obviously conducted some serious market research

  11. Where do I sign up, I can’t think of any way of getting as close to the action without getting a race license and the views from the top deck during a race would be spectacular. F1 take note this is proper fan involvement not just a online poll for driver of the day but something where the fans can really influence the outcome of a race.

    Hopefully BE sees one of the races and sees the potential I am sure he would be able to give it a F1 twist. Perhaps using small children instead of the lead ballast in the cars…. I am sure BE will think of something even better…

  12. It may only be a rumour but I had heard they were going to use variable chicanes of little old ladies with supermarket trollies. Flattening one of them will incur a drive through penalty.

  13. Stavros trialled led this on Top Gear a few years back. The double decker was poor at kerb hopping, but a bendy bus was fabulous round the Lydden hairpin. I seem to remember that the best was an airport shuttle bus. The heavy suitcases in the racks gave a great centre of gravity help.

  14. Joe,

    Great one! Got me as I live in Bedfordshire…..

    Having said that much better idea than F1 qualifying, a race in Las Vegas or Red Bull not having Renault engines.

  15. I’d definitely watch it. What’s Bernie’s view on this potential rival series? I suppose it will be pay per TV only and none of us will get to watch it unless we are lucky enough to be one of the passenger crew. Damn I forgot the date…. !

  16. Good one, Joe. Carry on like this and you’ll be the new head of Bernie’s bright ideas department …

  17. Wish I had a photograph handy of a double decker bus being slid sideways on the large police skidpan outside Pretoria where we used to conduct advance driver training. Buses actually have a very low c-of-g and light (aluminium) superstructure, and hence Steve Parrish’s proposal should be continued into April 2, 2016. There is also a large crop of potentially exciting bus drivers (even though many may be unlicensed) available in developing countries like my former homelands, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

  18. If MSV put a drawbridge on Hailwood Hill they could use the Indy circuit at Brands Hatch.
    Transport for London already has a lot of bus drivers who fancy themselves as the next Alonso!
    (And can I use my bus pass on it?)

  19. I do like this new format. I hope they will also create Junior series, for the age groups 6-9 and 10-15, maybe called the Boy/Girl racer series. It would be great for the sport to turn those kids into racing fans as soon as possible.

  20. Taking the Top Gear initiative one step further I see. Good show! I’ll be tuning in as long as it’s not hidden behind a pay wall… *tongue in cheek*

  21. Steve Parrish is well known for his personalised numberplate PEN 15S. Which is like this story, a lot of cock.
    Happy April 1st.

  22. hahaha…. Very good! A possible replacement for F1 perhaps? One of the best lines I’ve seen from you in a long time: “We may need to look at the size of the podium though!”

    Happy April 1st. Enjoy the weekend Joe. I look forward to reading your thoughts & views in GP+ on Sunday/Monday!

  23. For pit stops they can pull in and swap passengers. Hope BBC gets the TV rights, it could be very popular being road relevant racing.

    Have many great laughs today

  24. In other news…

    CVC reveals one of the bidders interested in taking over F1 to be none other than Elvis Presley. “He’ll put the show back into the sport, Uh huh” said a spokesman.


  25. A very long time ago I was working of the Gunnar Nielson (spelling?) fund raising. Silverstone in mid winter, snow everywhere. We were using a DD bus as the hospitality unit in the paddock. We decided to take it round the circuit with 20 people upstairs having lunch. We got 3/4 of the way round when we came to the bridge so executed a 30 point turn and went back. I believe we have the 3/4 lap record for a DD bus in both directions. Passengers included Barry Sheene, George Harrison and Kenny Lynch so a very memorable day. Not one glass of wine was spilt and no plates ended up on the floor.

  26. You’d spend ages waiting at the chequered flag then three would show up at once. Hang on, that’s more exciting than F1….

  27. Shame on you Joe, copying this from Forbes magazine’s motorsport correspondent! He spent hours taking this dictation, er, I mean crafting this piece.

    I suspect the local panel beaters were rubbing their hands when they saw Jason Plato’s name mentioned. All that metal… so many dents…

    Happy 1st April

  28. Got me, until I started to read it again and realised the date.

    But it would be fun, wouldn’t it?

    Where I live they have electrical busses with catenary, it’s not uncommon for the driver to step out and make sure the bus is properly connected again. If we’re building a new circuit, this might be an addition to improve the show.

  29. Confession time. I only got so far as thinking what a reet daft idea. What if the bus overturned (as I used to worry 45 years ago on the AEC RT Greenline 362 and 363 bus between Terriers and Hazlemere, Bucks). Cue embarrassed emoticon.

  30. Joe, you silly bastard!

    Get the gaffe and pull me in the boat, you had me hook line and sinker!!

    Well played sir! 🙂

  31. That’s it – I’ve heard it’s only going to be televised on “BE Pay-thru-the-nose Pie-in-the-Sky TV”, so I’m never going to watch bus racing again despite being a fan for 50 years and always attending the races on April 1!

  32. But seriously – this is a really good way to get fans engaged

    I fell for it like a tree falling in a wood

  33. I sat behind Steve when he hustled a coach full of passengers around Donington a few years back. It was a blast.

  34. Further to my post about our DD bus and Silverstone, if I recall,l Steve Parrish was also there with Barry Sheene and was one of the diners!.

  35. The today’s main question would be: Will the serie runs under the FIA regulations with Jean Todt as chauffeur?

  36. Now I realise why I couldn’t find anywhere on google to book my place.. I believed every word and was really excited!!!

  37. As I understand it, they will have stewards and stewardesses serving gourmet dinners that will be cooked right on the bus to order by none other than Gordon Ramsay. With his solid Audi connection, it’s believed he will bring The VW owned Man busses into the series and word on the street is that they will bring VW ambassador Hans Stuck out of retirement as a race bus driver. It’s also possible that VW may have him drive a luxurious Neoplan. Stuck is quoted as saying “this is fantastic! I can’t wait to get the bus airborn at Pflatsgarten and then the fans will truly experience everything down to the last fart!”
    In addition, the series is also looking into getting those two Scotts who brew craft beer anywhere, to brew beer on one of the busses, which they will call “Brew Bus”. Another interest involved is a Un-named casino in Las Vegas. To let the cat out of the bag, they were the ones looking into buying F1, however they’ve told Mr. Ecclestone that they’ve put F1 on the back burner for the time being, in favor of going into the new bus series. The Las Vegas people are looking at several different busses to enter into the series, all of which will be based with extremely high line luxury American made RV busses, which will include a technical partnership with Haas F1, who will supply them with technical know how as well as machine tools. The Las Vegas entries will have active gambling going on in the bus with high stakes poker matches going on, which will be televised world wide live! One of the Las Vegas entries will be in partnership with Playboy magazine, who will be offering a different sort of poker game altogether, Strip Poker. All of the Las Vegas busses will feature pay for view cameras, with each bus transmitting up to a dozen cameras, four out side and eight inside transmitting live. The Playboy bus will have the added feature of audience interaction. It is widely suspected that by the completion of the first lap, the entire bus complement, driver included, will be naked. The pay for view customers at home will be able to suggest the players next move just by typing it in. Said Playboy representative Harlen Trist “In our bus, the driver is part of the overall experience, so with the customer interaction, they could pair a player with the bus driver during the race. We are designing a very comfortable pillow on the floor right next to the driver for knee comfort. The driver will also have an exclusive camera, with zoom in capabilities that can be activated by the pay for view customer”
    The Italians of course,are not to be left behind here. It is rumored that the blood red Fiats entered will have, my one, but two Ferrari V12 Hybrids, putting out a total of over 2000 horse power. Mr. Marchioness is said to be looking for another team to merge with. Meanwhile, it appears that the series will be excluding any potential entry from France, while Belgium will only be permitted to compete in every other race. Over in Russia they have a bus entered by Vladimir Putin himself, called by its NATO name, The Bulldozer. The tactic of the Bulldozer, with full size shovel in the nose, is to ram into anything that it is capable of catching. It is believed that The Budozer may make many exploritoriy off track excursions into the grandstands leaving many civilian casualties, all of which Mr. Putin will deny ever happened. Ecuador even has an entry in the series. Their yellow,red,green and blue bus will by far carry the most passengers. While the bus is designed for forty passengers, they are expected to have double that crammed inside. They will have an additional forty five on the roof playing wooden flutes and percussive instruments. The driver has been instructed to look for a Cliff.

    What day is today 🙂

    This was a fantastic way to start the day!

  38. I think you need to add another venue to the potential circuits – the Isle of Man TT Circuit – the 37.5 mile mountain circuit. Steve Parrish knows it well. We have double deckers already on the island, ready to be fitted out with suitable five point racing harnesses for the drivers, and grab rails (like sidecars) for the passengers.

  39. Hmm, bus racing… Nice bit of Parrish counsel that makes a hell of a lot more sense than Roborace.

    And reminds me of the time we went to Unterturkheim with Mercedes in 1995 and the bus driver’s party piece was to take his fully laden vehicle through the banked first corner – with his hands off the wheel…

  40. Good one Joe! Reminds me of a race Richard Hammond and a bunch of BTCC drivers did on Top Gear a few years ago where they were ‘trying’ to find the best bus for London.

    Needless to say, it didn’t end well….

  41. Thank you, Joe. Beautifully constructed as ever (who else would make the effort to begin their April Fool piece with a character study?).

    And that’s my excuse for not seeing through it until the bit about it improving the safety of the bus industry. Well played, I was completely taken in.

      1. I’m imagining the two of you settled into some comfy chairs somewhere with a good drink and possibly an open fire…

  42. Bus racing, using retired school buses, is commonplace at speedways as part of a specialty event. At Legend Cars meets in Charlotte, there is one night reserved for retired school buses to race on the 400m oval, and there are numerous Saturday Night tracks that organise such mayhem. The speeds are slow (barely 100kph) and the drivers are typically celebrities — often school headmasters are the drivers for the affairs that aren’t even ten laps long. But in real life, fans enjoy watching the races as intermission between different division features, with families watching the events (some Legend Car drivers are in events for age — 40 up, and a youth class, Bandolero). When the bus races feature school versus school, the students are encouraged to cheer their headmaster to victory!

    So this actually exists!

  43. The one day of the year that everything makes sense in F1. Down the hole we go looking for the white bernie

  44. Someone should hold an annual one-time event just like this – it seems so ludicrous, yet I’m sure you could find a few hundred people who would practice and take it seriously… the people as ballast thing would be fascinating to watch, they’d need to be open-top buses though 🙂

  45. Joe, you obviously missed the BARC’s announcement on the same day of their rival Bus Championship. It’s typical, isn’t it? You wait for one for ages and nothing comes, then two come together.

  46. And when I got in from an evening at the cinema yesterday I saw a post elsewhere that the boy Button was 3rd in FP. “Doesn’t this clot know that April Fools only runs until midday?” I muttered into my tea.

    Oh, wait…

  47. What a brilliant an innovative idea! Maybe F1 could make all the cars two seaters and hold a raffle before the race for ordinary fans? Good old Steven Parrish. I hope this is not an April Fools joke on your part Joe? Because I think it’s too good an idea to be wasted.

  48. Ok, I am in, where do I sign ?
    I have had plenty of practice, few years back (make that decades) I carried my single seater racing car in a grotty, gutted, single decker bus. I discovered it was (just) possible to overtake cars and other traffic on the A and B roads to Cadwell park. And then certain Mr E. tried to ban my bus from the Silverstone GP support race paddock ! We had to hide it behind some professional teams huge awnings….
    Yes, I know it was 1st April yesterday, but what I wrote is true….!

  49. I was at a talk given by Steve Parrish several years ago, and during it he recounted driving a coach load of VIP’s around Donington Park and admitted going probably too quickly for most passengers comfort!

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