Toseland returns to stage for TT

Katie Melua and James Toseland arriving for the 2012 Brit Awards at The O2 Arena, London.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday February 21, 2012. See PA story SHOWBIZ Brits. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

Katie Melua and James Toseland arriving for the 2012 Brit Awards at The O2 Arena, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday February 21, 2012. See PA story SHOWBIZ Brits. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

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FORMER World Superbike champion and current island resident James Toseland will unleash his off-track talents in the Villa Marina on Saturday night.

As well as reaching the top of the podium, James, who is due to wed pop singer Katie Melua, has always been a keen pianist and singer.

And this weekend, as part of the special TT line-up, he will delight his fans by performing with his rock band Crash and special guests (is Katie free that night?) as well as holding a question and answer session.

In 2004, the 31-year-old from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, became the youngest ever World Superbike Champion, aged just 23.

He took the title again in 2007 but despite moving up to the MotoGP, the following years were plagued with injury. And last September he officially retired from professional motorsport after sustaining a wrist injury the previous March at an official World Superbike Championship testing session at Motorland Aragon, Spain.

However, far from being down about his retirement from racing it looks as if James, who now lives in Port Soderick, is going to turn to the music he has always had to keep on the backburner.

His band Crash was formed in 2002 with guitarist Paul Grant-Reason also on vocals. The line up is now completed by Warren Odell on guitar, bass and vocals, and Gavin Hall on drums. And over the years James has also performed alongside Ray Stubbs for BBC’s Sport Relief and played a piano set at the British Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

He started taking piano lessons aged eight while simultaneously riding motocross bikes on the coal slag heaps close to his childhood home.

He achieved Grade 6 on the piano but it was not enough for him to gain a place at the London College of Music and so the bikes took centre stage throughout his late teens and 20s.

But now retired from racing he is likely to concentrate on his music - especially spurred on by fiancee Katie. The couple have been dating since April 2011 apparently after they were set up by her keyboard player, a fan of his who spotted him in the audience at one of Katie’s concerts.

It is understood James proposed to the Nine Million Bicycles songstress before Christmas.

Saturday’s show starts at 8pm.

Tickets cost £25 and are available from the Sea Terminal Welcome Centre, the box office on 600555 or online at www.villagaiety.com

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