Charlie Cox and Steve Parrish - An Appreciation

Since Murray Walker stopped commentating in 2002, the motorsport world has been lacking a commentator who can really grab the viewers attention. James Allen simply doesn't hack it for me. Perhaps the four-wheeled world should take a look at someone who they seem to have dropped - Charlie Cox.

Charlie Cox, born in Sydney on the 10th October 1960, was a competitor on four wheels before hitting the commentators trail. He moved to the UK in 1990, and in 1993 was competing in the National Saloon Car Cup, winning five races in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth, as well as the Willhire 24 Hours. He stayed in the series for 1994, before moving to the British Touring Car Championship Independents Championship in 1995, in a Ford Mondeo. His season was curtailed at Thruxton, when he barrel rolled out of the race in a rather major way.

After the accident he raced occasionally in the British GT Championship, sometimes in a Porsche 911, sometimes in a Ford Saleen Mustang. However, he started commentating for the BBC in 1996 alongside John Watson on the BTCC, before moving on to the BBC's coverage of the Le Mans 24 Hrs. When the coverage of the BTCC moved to ITV, Charlie started commentating on World Superbikes, followed by Moto GP for 2003.

Cox's sidekick on the Moto GP coverage is Steve Parrish. Born on the 24th February 1954. By the age of 14 he was competing on motorbikes, and in 1977 he came 5th in the 500cc World motorbike championship for Suzuki. He won the British GP Championship in 1978, and the British Superbike Championship in 1981. He retired from riding in 1986, and managed the UK Yamaha Superbike team, winning three titles.

In 1984, Steve started truck racing for Mercedes, and won the European Championship in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996, as well as occasionally racing a Caterham. He first commentated for the BBC in 1985, commentating on motorbikes for radio, before moving to TV in 1990. He moved to commentating on World Superbikes in 2000, and later joined the Moto GP team.

Cox and Parrish together are reminiscent of Walker and Hunt in Formula 1. One is the ex-competitor expert, while the other is an enthusiast. What really kicks it off is the dry humour of Cox, especially his use of strange similes and metaphors. They are amusing when edited, but to hear him at his best, you have to watch a live transmission, as some of his metaphors stetch what is allowable on afternoon television.

Murray Walker had web-sites devoted to him by the dozen, but Cox and Parrish have yet to have this honour. I think they should, so lets get started. This is an appreciation of their commentary, and what follows is a list of memorable quotations. If there are any that you think should be added, please either mail me at, or log on to, go to the Motorsport Forum, and post your quote there.

"Tommy Rustad will be writing home to mum, 'I've just passed Alain Menu, the defending champion, and I nearly lost it in the process!'" - Charlie Cox on Rustad in BTCC at Silverstone, 1998.

Hes got such bad luck that if he fell in a bucket of boobs, hed still come up sucking his thumb. , said by Charlie Cox about Superbike racer James Toseland at the Assen GP. 3rd September 2003.

Cox commenting on a picture of Ruben Xaus talking to a mechanic: "Please can you give me a new motorbike as I did this to the last one and I broke it." 6th June 2004, Gran Premio d'Italia Moto GP round.

"It's like a Darwinian theory...... Natural selection is coming into play" - Cox commenting on Rossi, Gibernau and Biagi being 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the end of the 6 lap restarted race 1, as they were when the race was stopped. 6th June 2004, Gran Premio d'Italia Moto GP round.

"It's like dropping a Porsche engine into a Reliant Robin, comparing how much power you have to the tyres" - Charlie Cox trying to describe what 240 bhp through one back wheel is like, Catalunya GP, 13th June 2004.

"Can you imagine what he [Mick Doohan] will have to say to Mr Honda tonight? 'Well, it was like this....'" commenting on factory riders Nicky Hayden and Alex Barros both crashing out of the Czech Grand Prix at Brno, 22nd August 2004.

"This circuit is like snakes and ladders - you climb all the way up, and then slither all the way down again for 3 kilometres," commenting on the Brno circuit, 22nd August 2004.

"... he is a hard charger, but he does hop off a lot before the race finishes," commenting on Ruben Xaus' propensity to crash, 22nd August 2004.

"It can be calm one minute, and blowing your dog off the chain the next," commenting on the weather conditions at Estoril, 5th September 2004.

"He's got the absolute ducks' guts of motorbikes," talking about the latest factory Yamaha at Estoril, 5th September 2004. A novel twist on the phrase "the dogs' bollocks"!

"He needs that like a third armpit," on Capirossi overtaking Bayliss for the second time, Estoril, 5th September 2004.

"Tamada is starting to turn the wick up on the bunsen burner," on Tamada catching Rossi, Estoril, 5th September 2004. Cox, seconds later, requested that people didn't write in, as he remembered Bunsen Burners from school times.

The following are all from the BTCC Masters event, 26th September 2004:
Stand well back and turn your collar up, this is gonna get nasty.

They're bubbling round like lotto balls, all trying to be picked.

You coudn't get dental floss between the pair of them.

Castinette time, the cars slapping together.

Jason (Plato)'s in a hurry to get home before his local calls last orders.

All you can see is dust in the distance, it's like the cavalry coming down.

"As wet as an otter's pocket," - Steve Parrish on track conditions at Shanghai, 1st May 2005.

"There's a strip there, and they are like dogs on lino on it," - Parrish describing a fish-tail by Rossi at Shanghai, 1st May 2005.

"It's like a scene from Master and Command - you can see something in the distance but you don't know what it is, or whether it is hostile," - Cox on the spray at Shanghai, 1st May 2005.

"That track looks like it has much grip as the front step of my pub at 11 o'clock at night," - Cox on track conditions at Shanghai, 1st May 2005.

"Just think how aerodynamic a latex body suit would be" - Cox on aerodynamic advantages during the Catalunya Grand Prix, 12th June 2005.

"A nightmare in a bubblecar for Nakano," - Cox on Shinya Nakano being taken out of the Malaysian GP by Sete Gibernau, 25th October 2005.

"At least that stops him from falling off again" - Cox on Sete Gibernau's mechanical breakdown in the Valencia GP, 6th November 2005.

"That puts a dent in the cool coefficient" - Cox commenting on Melandri letting his bike fall over after doing a celebratory tyre burn-out, Valencia GP, 6th November 2005.

"He's gone through the field like a pig through hot strawberries" - Cox on Rossi's progress through the field late in the race, British GP (Donington Park), 2nd July 2006.

"He looks as happy as a bucket of sand" - Cox on Danny Pedrosa's face when on the podium, British GP, 2nd July 2006.

"I'll say it in my best Spanish. I'm effluent in that." - Parrish talking to Susy Perry after Toni Elias didn't understand the question from the BBC interviewer. Portuguese GP, 15th October 2006.

"If he fell in a cess pit he'd come up with a salmon on his head." - Parrish talking about Valentino Rossi's luck in previous years. Valencia GP, 29th October 2006.

"An electrical problem - the piston went through the engine and smashed the spark plug." - Parrish talking about De Punier's Kawasaki blowing up in smoke, Portuguese GP, 16th September 2007.

"As useful as the bottom half of a mermaid." - Cox commenting on De Punier after Parrish, Portuguese GP, 16th September 2007.

"Stay off the white line, as it will be as slippery as a Rolex salesman at a car boot sale." - Cox on Colin Edwards during the wet German GP at the Sachsenring, 13th July 2008.

"It was so high that it looked like a fly-past." - Cox on Jorge Lorenzo's lap 1 high-side, US GP at Laguna Seca, 20th July 2008.

"They know all about soft suspension, what with some of the backsides I've seen around here this week." - Cox on wet weather settings at the Indianapolis GP, 14th September 2008.

"It's like strapping a Chihuahua to a space rocket." - Cox on Dani Pedrosa's weight compared to Nicky Hayden's on the Honda at the Japanese GP, 21st September 2008.

Steve Parrish is also known for his practical jokes......

From "Hizzy", the autobiography of Steve Hislop.
"Macau...Steve blew up a brothel with a huge bomb made out of fireworks. Steve knew some of the riders were inside the brothel being 'treated' so he thought he'd surprise them. The bomb was far more powerful than he'd imagined and the whole joint was practically wrecked in the explosion. Steve was chased out of the country by the police and just avoided being captured as he fled to Hong Kong. The authorities impounded his hire car and charged him for it and he's still banned from the country to this day."