This year I was worried about the amount of track time I would get. My mate Blue and myself went to Aragon for two days and Valencia for two days in March. Aragon was superb – a beautiful track with just about everything you could want. I had upgraded the bike with BST carbon wheels and a full Akra Ti system with a Power Commander. We lifted the power from 192 to 198 at the wheel and lost a lot of weight. Needless to say the bike was a bit more lively. I also booked day two at Aragon with Simon Crafar. A lot of money but very worth it, the guy is a great tutor and I learned a lot. Valencia is a really impressive setup, very compact track and fun but featureless and flat. I wouldn’t go to Europe just to do it again. But we had one and a half great dry days and then the last afternoon was perfect wet weather riding. I got 3 hours on the deserted GP track on the BMW and learned a lot.
During the summer I only managed one day at Brands GP before I was at my first race (another day at Snetterton was ruined by work). Apart from the two race weekends at Donington and Cadwell, I have done nothing. I have one day at Rockingham and then three more days at Aragon in October, then it is season over.
It has been a tough year for my biking friends. We met Spanish champion Antonio Maeso at Aragon and agreed to be his pit crew for the NW200 this year. It was a terrible meeting and Antonio went off to the TT hoping for better weather. Unfortunately he had a very serious accident, catching his leg on a stone wall at over 150mph. He is still in bed 4 months on, hoping to put weight on his leg for the first time this month. Another friend Duke stalled on the line in Northern Ireland and had another rider plough into him, leaving him in a back brace for 10 weeks. The other guy was lucky to make it – he had to be revived at the track side, but was out of hospital a couple of days later. Then my mate Blue had his S1000rr throw a main bearing leaving him off track and with a big bill. That was followed by him coming off on spilt oil a couple of weeks later and fracturing his kneecap, leaving him in an immobiliser for 6 weeks. Then to add insult to injury his work contract was terminated abruptly so he has had to pull out of Aragon.
All that should probably be enough to put doubt in my mind about racing – but it hasn’t. I can’t wait for next year…