EVERYONE identifies me as a skater, which is what I do and what I'm good at, but I see myself in a different light when I look at this picture. It's me, motor racing. It's not something I'm doing right now because of getting ready for the Olympics, but it's my passion. When you put the helmet and overalls on you become someone else - you become anonymous behind all that, other than the number of the car . . .

I'm a bit of a thrill-seeker. At the Olympics in 1984 the bob team offered me a ride down the run, which I did and it was so exciting.

I remember the guy said, 'Keep your head up, have a look around,' so I'm looking around and suddenly this wall of ice was in front of me. I couldn't work out what it was at first but then I realised that it was a 180-degree bend and by that point we were going at about 70 miles an hour: the G-force sucked my head through my knees and by the time I got to the bottom of the run I was totally exhilarated.

I enjoy speed. I once went up with the Red Arrows for a couple of days - maybe it's the helmets, maybe that's what it is because you need one for that, too.

With motor vehicles, I was driving off-road in my dad's car when I was just a kid, and I only took one lesson, then passed the test a week after my 17th birthday.

I had this passion for cars but could never afford them. My first car was an Austin A40 and I remember having to put as much oil in as petrol because it was a ropey old thing; it cost pounds 70 but I had to take out a loan even so. Then I just progressed a little bit more until I started to earn some money through skating and could afford better cars - I used to have an E-type, and I had a Porsche for a while.

I started to get involved in racing in 1986 with some celebrity meetings, then I did six or seven Formula Ford races and quite a bit at Silverstone at the race school. It's a personal thing, just to be in tune with the car, to feel how much grip it has, to know how long you need to brake, how fast you can get round the bend.

When I'm skating I'm in tune with what my body's doing, translating through the blades on to the ice. Maybe you might be able to see your body as the car and the blades as the wheels. You are always challenging yourself, always motion and speed and direction on the ice, and motor racing can be like that.

I was in Australia in 1989 - we'd just finished a tour with a Russian skating company - and I was offered a ride in what they call Oz car races, which are road cars with their engines specially adapted.

I had a training session for a couple of days, which worked out quite well, but then when you're actually racing on that oval track, when you're behind someone and getting dragged along by the slipstream, your car becomes more unsettled and you're not quite sure of the line.

There was a point as the angled bend flattens out with a bit of a ridge, and the car lifted over it. I started going into a big slide and the infield had a brick wall, which I hit at 70 miles an hour.

I saw the wall and thought, 'This is going to be a heavy smash.'

There was a loud bang and I thought, 'Oh God, I've damaged the car quite badly.' I remember thinking that my ankle was quite sore, and my neck.

The crew came and got me out and took me to hospital and it transpired that the main ligament in the ankle had sheared - I could feel it moving as I walked. I had to have an operation and take three months off.

We had just finished the tour, in fact, and we were only doing little things just then so I could just about afford the time, but it was a long, frustrating period learning to walk again, and the first time back on the ice I couldn't skate . . .

After that a lot of people were keen that I shouldn't race for a while. It made me wary, too, for a minute, and what with getting over the crash and then the next tour there was always something else, so there wasn't really time for much more racing.

I bought a motorbike, though Jayne (Torvill) is very keen that I don't get on it any more, especially right now when we're training so hard. Anybody interested in buying a white BMW R100RS please contact me. No, thrill-seeking isn't behind me. I'd have grown old if that was the case. After the Olympics I'll go skiing, if not another bob run.

(Photograph omitted)

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