But I still don't know... - Magny Cours 6th October 2013
So here we are at Magny Cours, with all the memories from the many years we've been coming here flooding back to me over the last few years. It's a shame, because in the sunshine this track is beautiful, but the rain has been pouring down in odd spurts, with the temperature still being high so causing a really humid feeling to the whole area.
The weekend started with me making an idiotic mistake, having been concentrating on driving in the dark and the rain on my way down, I forgot to check something quite vital in my car - the petrol gauge. Breaking down on the motorway in France was an interesting experience, to say the least...not one that I'd like to experience again anytime soon, either. Arriving two hundred euros down after paying the rescue service, the weekend couldn't have got much worse!
This weekend has been an incredibly intense one, as some off the championships could be rounded off before Jerez. Barrier defended his title in the European Superstock 1000 championship, a well deserved win from a really lovely guy. The one that we were all focusing on, however, is the World Supersport championship, as Sam Lowes only needed to get two points to be named champion.
And that indeed happened! I have more than likely said it before, but I have been friends with the Lowes twins for ten years now, they are like family to me and, no matter how irritating they can be (which can be often), I love them dearly...so needless to say, I have spent most of today since 13.30 shaking, crying with pride and shaking some more. Nothing can ever beat the feeling of seeing your nearest and dearest lifting a world championship trophy.
I don't even want to say anything else to take away front that amazing moment, so I'm going to keep it short and sweet - still missing Mr Camier and Mr Rea, the paddock isn't the same without them...and finally, continuing from the title - the energy drink sponsor for this round is strangely named, and following our editor's confusion at the Nurburgring...
Who is Iron Brian?
Party in the USA - Laguna Seca 28th Sept 2013
So, by no means am I going to pretend that I have started a whole new adventure and I have never been to the USA before, or in fact California, because I would be telling a big, fat, stinking lie. I have many family members living out here, some in Sacramento, some in San Francisco and some in San Jose, which is just over an hour from Monterey and Laguna Seca. However, I am going to tell you that I have never been to this circuit before, despite having been to the area a few times to visit the amazing aquarium. The track is definitely different to what I’m used to, normally (in Europe) you walk into a World Superbikes paddock and there are trucks and people everywhere, everybody is buzzing past on mopeds and there is a general full and busy feeling to everything. When you walk in here, you are greeted with hills and basically a desert area. The track itself is huge, it would be impossible to walk from the entrance to the paddock without needing a break, and the corkscrew is too incredible for words to describe, with a steeper angle than could ever be shown on TV. If you are ever going to visit a track across the sea, I would highly recommend that you choose this one.
There are a few changes here that I wish were different, however, as Leon Camier is still at home with his broken foot and Johnny Rea is still at home with a broken leg, with Baz also out and injured and Checa out for the rest of the season, there are some huge absences in this paddock which can be felt throughout everybody who regularly works here.
Anyway, I’m guessing you guys want to hear about the racing – the weirdest thing about is this weekend is that the first race was actually on the Saturday afternoon. This was for the TV scheduling so you guys at home could all watch it live without being awake at ridiculous times when you have work tomorrow etc...but it was something that became a bit of, erm, let’s say a kerfuffle. The reason behind this is that not everybody realised that the timetable had changed, so there weren’t as many people here on the Saturday to watch an actual race as there would normally have been. This is great when it comes to people such as myself or the riders, because there’s less of a battle to get where you need to go and there’s room to breathe, but when it comes to all the public events and post race live interviews it all seem a bit null and void. However, it’s pretty ‘awesome’ to be able to walk out into a non-crowded paddock and be only greeted by smiling faces and the greetings of ‘Hi there, you have a nice day now!’ So maybe, after experiencing the American enthusiasm for everything on such a grand scale, it may be time for me to stop taking the mickey quite as much when I get back to the UK – which I’m thinking may be never, considering that I am having such a good time out here.
Sometimes the closeness of these races still even surprises me; it’s incredible how tight these race finishes can be. In fact, Giugliano was on fire today! It was so unusual to see him not in the gravel, and it’s refreshing to see others up on the podium to attempt to keep the championship close.
All in all, it’s been an incredible weekend full of laughs, sunshine and some amazing racing. The views from this circuit are breathtaking, and there are random lizards walking around through some AMA championship sponsors. Really, there are. So all that’s left for me to do is sign out, really, and enjoy the short bit of time I have left in this amazing country. See you all in Magny Cours next weekend and...
You have a nice day, y’all.
Nurburgring 1st September 2013
So, I’m afraid this is most likely going to be quite a short blog – but an important one. It is the Sunday of Nurburgring, and it has been a really, really bad day all due to one event.
First thing I want to say is that everybody involved is alive, thank God. The crash in race one was absolutely atrocious, and one of the scariest moments of my ten year career in the World Superbike paddock. Seeing British riders, and good friends of ours, crash so horribly is something that we never, ever want to go through again here at Motorbikes Today. However, we aren’t overly impressed because the crash should never have happened in the first place.
As we are all more than aware, the job of riding a motorbike for a living comes with many risks, and the incident with Antonelli was another reminder of just how short life can be. However, the weather cannot be controlled, and sometimes the bikes do blow up or the riders push a bit too hard, crashes happen.
However, a risk factor that is not meant to be there is marshalling stupidity. The crash earlier was caused by Sandi’s bike exploding and spitting him off, half a lap earlier. Fifty metres of oil, that all the photographers had noticed and were trying to warn the riders about, was left unattended by the marshals. No warning flags were put out, and two of our best riders were injured due to that stupidity. Thank God that the end results weren’t worse, because that crash could have easily killed either of them, or even some of the photographers and marshals as one of the bikes actually cleared the fencing. So, Johnny Rea, with his first child due in a matter of weeks, now has a broken left leg as a result of this, and Camier had to be taken to hospital to get precautionary checks on his neck. I’ve been told that Camier is fine and soon to be returning to the track, and the second race was red flagged on the penultimate lap, too, due to Smrz dumping oil on the track...but I just don’t understand how fifty metres of oil on a fast corner like the Michael Schumacher ‘S’ can go un-noticed by track staff and officials. Maybe it’s time for somebody higher up to re-evaluate who’s qualified to work as a marshal and who isn’t?
Signing out to go and give my friends a big hug...
3-4/8/2013 and Hello to all of you from a surprisingly sunny Silverstone!
I say surprisingly because we were predicted thunderstorms from Friday onwards – so I’m now sat here in my jumper, jeans and cowboy boots slowly cooking. Not a good look. Anyway, this is going to be a bit of a weird round. It’s always very difficult for everybody in the paddock to come back to normal ways of thinking after the loss of a rider – and we sadly all felt the loss of Andrea Antonelli after the awful crash in Moscow a couple of weeks ago. Tomorrow we will have a big tribute for him on the starting grid; I expect it’s going to be a big turnout. I’ve said it before, and I’ll be saying it again, this isn’t just a work place, we’re family here.
I’m struggling a bit this weekend, due to the fact that my laptop has decided to go bang, and not just a small bang...the kind of bang that you know can only mean a bad thing! So apologies if you do not receive a full weekend blog from this round – I will be back and, hopefully, using a shiny new Mac by Nurburgring (hint hint, Mr Editor)!
So – back to this racing malarkey. As I write this, Superbikes are out for their first qualifying session with 24 minutes left. Giugliano is currently first, which is surprising...mainly because he hasn’t dropped it yet. Sykes is in second and Baz third. Camier, who is to be the birthday boy on race day, is down in eleventh – which is strange considering he was second in free practice this morning. However, there has been a dramatic change in weather since the two sessions, this morning was horrible and muggy and it is now like we’ve been transported to the Sahara. Sykes has managed to get the top spot for the first session, but Camier has pulled it out the bag and finished in second. Not a bad day for the Brits, really, with Rea being fourth, Haslam fifth and Laverty in sixth. Davies, however, is down in twelfth – so we’ll see how he does in tomorrow’s session.
Saturday now – what a hectic day. I decided to brave a dress this morning (shocking news, I know), seeing as I woke up and the sun was shining. I got to the car park and almost flew away with how windy it was...then had many Marilyn Monroe moments in the paddock. It was when it started to spit a bit that I decided to get changed, so here I now am, writing to you lovely readers in a warm and cosy jumper with some leggings. Bliss.
Anyway – I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my wardrobe flaws. Superpole has just happened, now that’s what you want to hear about, right?
A word to sum that session up? INFURIATING. Camier was doing SO well, there was four minutes left of the final session and, literally, a few tiny drops of rain on the crowd and they red flagged the session and declared it as a wet superpole! So all results from the final session were null and void, tyres had to be changed and Camier ended up way down the grid, which sucks because the Suzuki team work so hard and really deserved the results they were due to get. All the riders are fuming, as there was really no need for it – but the call was made and we now have to deal with it tomorrow, and try and get the best results possible. The 600s race is soon, and hopefully it will go by without too much drama. They have another race tomorrow, which is unusual. And there are two Superstock 1000 races. All in all, tomorrow is going to be a very long day...and I will see you then.
Annnnnnd with that, it’s now Sunday! I did warn you that this was going to be a confusing blog, right?
So, the Supersport race has just happened, and I’m...erm...a little angry. The second most difficult thing about my job is trying to stay objective when people that I know and love aren’t doing as well as they should be. That race was horrible, because Sam really, really deserved to win that. In my mind, the result shouldn’t have been left as it was – and Yakhnich have protested, so hopefully something comes out of it. I really think that certain riders should re-visit how they do things. Yes, they’re talented, but playing dirty can result in somebody really getting hurt – and we all know how much that then hurts the rest of the paddock.
Luckily, race two is due to start soon and that should cheer everybody back up again – it’s always nice for a Brit to win at his home round, so there’s quite a few people who are feeling incredibly gutted here right now.
Race two is absolutely chaotic! I am so gutted that they’ve had to red flag it, Camier was doing so well – it’s brilliant to see such a deserving team have a weekend of good results, at last. Fingers crossed al round that Haslam is OK, though. It’s Leon Camier’s birthday today, so that’s another added bonus to those results.
Anyway, lovely readers, I am going to have to leave you to your reading and get back to writing more things for you to read!
Until next time
Donington is always a great round to go to for UK press, the public here are the most enthusiastic and there is a huge sense of pride for all the British riders wanting to do well on home turf. However, the main reason I love the Donington Park round so much is because of the Thursday media events we always have in the UK rounds and just how chaotic they are. The one for this round was ‘it’s a World Superbike knockout’, the video of which can be found on our youtube channel. I have to say, it is definitely worth a watch, it is now three days later and my stomach is still in agony from how much I laughed in that half hour.
The Saturday was great, as Sam Lowes took pole in Supersport and Tom Sykes took pole for Superbikes – obviously having Brits doing well at a British round is even better than it is normally – and it’s normally great, anyway!
It was also slightly different to normal this weekend as the European Superstock championships weren’t here, they were replaced with the British Superstock teams. This was great for people to spot British talent for future World rides, and it was good to introduce some of the guys I work with in the British paddock to my racing family here in the Worlds paddock.
Sunday now – and what a day. I cannot begin to describe to you all how amazing the feeling is when you have known somebody for a long time and are seeing them so happy and successful in their career paths. Sam Lowes won his third race in a row, and has extended his lead in the Supersport championship...and I am not ashamed to tell you all that I had to keep my sunglasses on to hide how much I welled up at the sound of everybody shouting his name. I’ve known the Lowes brothers since we were all thirteen, and seeing them both doing so amazingly is something that I hope will continue for many years to come.
Tom Sykes also did his first double of World Superbikes, so hearing our national anthem three times at our home track...spectacular. I’m a very happy girl.
So, my dear readers, how can I follow that? I’ll tell you how – by seeing you all for more updates at Portimao in June. Hope you had an amazing Bank Holiday Monday!!
So here we are again, at the bittersweet circuit that is Assen. I always get incredibly nervous here after Sam Lowes’ crash in 2011...possibly one of the scariest moments in my career!
For the first time in a while, I ended up coming here quite late into the weekend, driving down from the UK on Friday...I wish I hadn’t! I cannot begin to describe how exhausting it is doing such a long drive and then getting a limited amount of sleep. For some reason, the sound of bikes when I’m tired is like a lullaby! I guess that’s what happens when you spend your entire life around these machines...not that I’d ever change that.
This weekend started off with some difficulty, due to Haslam’s injury. When you’re involved in an international paddock, all of the Brits seem to flock together and form close bonds. I suppose it could be liked to a family situation, so when one of us gets injured or something happens it seems to affect the whole British ensemble here. Qualifying affected the other Leon, as he didn’t qualify for superpole...but the rest of the Brits seemed to be doing pretty well, so hopefully it was onwards and upwards from there!
Superpole was an interesting one – Davies had a technical problem which meant he didn’t actually qualify into the second session, and Cluzel was sadly knocked out of the third session – so Suzuki didn’t have the best of starts to the weekend. The Saturday also started badly for the PTR team in supersport, as in the free practice three of their five riders completely totalled their bikes...and that’s never a good thing.
So, here we are on race day...the superbikes race one has just finished and WHAT A RACE!! It was great to see Sykes win, obviously, but the battle between Rea, Guintoli and Laverty was so intense, and literally from the start to the finish! Wow! I love it when there are constant battles in racing, it’s that heart in your lungs feeling that makes this job so worth doing.
Camier did amazingly, too...he’s the last place on the grid and finished the race in ninth place – that’s having got to tenth from about four laps in. Pretty impressive stuff! Davies, too – he had a problem on the grid and had to start from the back and he’s just finished seventh...we definitely have a lot of talent here.
The supersport race is next, incredibly nerve wracking...I can’t help but feel like there’s a huge lack of crashes today. In fact, apart from Melandri having a technical fault on the warm up lap, there were no retirements from that race. Weird, huh? Anyway, this is a very busy day for me, so I’m going to have to wrap up my blog there. If you want the race results then you know where to find them, on the race report!
Hopefully I’ll get some time to enjoy the rare glimpse of sunshine we’ve seen here today...and hopefully it lasts! I won’t be attending Monza, going to have a weekend off – but I will see you all after that! Enjoy your bank holidays! L x
So here I am, back again (isn’t that a song?) at an incredibly sunny Aragon. In fact, my first thought when I got off the plane was ‘woah, what’s that in the sky? It looks like a big golden ball of gas...or possibly a firefly caught in that blue webby thing up there. What is it?’ (now I *know* some of that was from a film...). My second thought, however, was ‘gosh, there’s actually quite a lot of work to be doing this weekend’, and my third thought was ‘I’m hungry’ – but that’s not important.
After cooking a nice dinner of prawns and chorizo (with the prawns still in the supermarket, having been forgotten in our shopping trip) and a good sleep, the weekend started off a bit iffy on the Thursday – but the less said about that the better. It was soon all sorted and we were back to business as usual, where I was running around the paddock with my phone on record interviewing everybody I could find. Incidentally, interviews with Melandri and Davies are now up and running on the main page of the site. Shamelessly plugging, I know.
So, anyway, the rest of the weekend has been pretty seamless! Sunday morning saw the first crash of the day, between two peds – me being on the back of one of them. Thankfully it was nothing major, just a small bang and all participants were absolutely fine...and, sadly, it was not the only crash of the day. I’m currently writing this whilst the second superbikes race grid forms – and I am not ashamed to admit I had a little cry after the supersport race. Being close with the Lowes brothers is amazing at most times, but I cannot believe how unlucky Sam was in that race. I have just seen, however, that Alex has just finished third in the first race at Thruxton, so I suppose it’s not all that bad. Unluckily for all those involved, racing is full of incidents like that – just today alone we have seen countless bikes breaking down with riders who were looking like they might do well in that particular race. It’s something you either learn to deal with, or you just don’t work with motorbikes.
Race two has been slightly less eventful than the first race, I feel for Eugene though, what an appalling day he’s had.
To be honest, that’s all I can say, really! I am so chuffed for Chaz. He very much deserved the double this weekend after all the hard work he’s put in. Maybe we should interview him more often, as it seems to be lucky!!
I’m very much looking forward to a tapas and glass (or three) of wine tonight, and, my dear readers, I toast to your health!!!
Catch you all at Assen xx
So, unusually for me, it’s a Saturday and this is my first day of the racing weekend. I hate being this late into the events, it makes me feel so unorganised and incredibly out of sorts. It also means that I have a very slim chance of getting interviews with the top Superbike riders, seeing as they are all in the zone for superpole and their two races.
I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this before in my blogs, and I apologise if I have, but I think I’m going to use this little space of internet I have to talk about possibly the two racers I value the most in my life, and they are the Lowes twins. I have no doubt that you have all heard of these famous (or sometimes infamous) boys – they are two of the biggest talents that the racing world has seen. The thing that I love the most about them, though, is their big personalities, approachability and genuine care for all their fans and those involved with them. There aren’t many people who I will swear by and never doubt, but I can give my word that these boys are the real deal. There is never a dull moment with them around and their determination and ambition is an admirable quality which all should follow, whether racing or not.
The reason I’m saying all this is because I have heard a few people, sometimes even my friends, discuss the twins like they’re not all they seem, comparing them to each other and sometimes even having a favourite – this is something which genuinely offends me, I’m close with Sam and Alex and I will always be loyal to them, they make mistakes and have success, the same as every other racer does – just because they have more success than some and a huge fan base that is no reason for resentment.
Anyway, that’s my rant over – as I said from Assen, we need to appreciate these guys for what they do. Even the riders who we all dislike do a good enough job to have got this far, and there is no way we should feel that we have a right to undermine their achievements. It would be like telling Isaac Newton ‘yeah, that apple fell off a tree – so what?’
See you all in a sunny (I hope) Portimao!
Oh how I love the unpredictable weather that England enjoys producing.
That’s pretty much my summary of this weekend!
We decided to not face the Russian mafia at Moscow (plus we have a family wedding that weekend so shall see you in Germany...
Well – as you all know it’s cold and wet here. Miserable is an understatement!
This blog was going to be about our adventures and the funny words that we had come across, we being myself and Melony – who has just come over to Europe on a work visa from Australia and with whom who are we very excited and privileged to be working – and the strange things the Dutch tend to do. However, having seen the catastrophe which this racing Sunday has been and how many riders have fallen off due to the awful conditions, I thought I’d write about something which I feel very strongly about and have tried to hammer into many of my friends' brains after such situations.
What has spurted this little blog is Sam Lowes and his reactions to falling off twice during his Supersport race. Being a nice guy and a good racer he has done nothing but apologise and feel ashamed for not staying on the bike, and seeing him like that made me realise just how much I hate it when I see talented people put themselves down for something which they can’t always avoid.
When it rains, the ground becomes slippery. If you’re trying your best to go fast and get the best result you can, sometimes you genuinely can’t help it when there happens to be a wet part of the track and your bike loses grip. Nobody can blame a rider for crashing out when they were giving their all and trying their best, especially in the weather which Assen so kindly gave us. I know that there is no chance in hell of me ever being able to get through to any of the riders about not beating themselves up and feeling rubbish about not finishing, but one thing I may be able to do is help make that feeling not last as long by begging all of you, my lovely lovely readers, to please not get angry when they crash. At the end of the day, crashing sucks and it’s gutting when they can’t do as well as we expected, but it’s a big part of racing and the possibility of riders not crossing the chequered flag is part of the excitement. They always try their best and they are clearly talented from how far they’ve got. Please don’t blame them when things go wrong because it can’t always be helped – we should just be happy that they’re up and walking away and take the attitude of "Look, it’s bad luck but at least you’re OK and the next race will be better." I can’t help but believe that, if they got less grief from their fans when they fell off, the riders may start to feel just a little less guilt and start being able to tell themselves that they did their best.
That’s all I have to say on the matter, I don’t know if any of you agree with me but I know that I am definitely going to carry on going to give my boys big cuddles and tell them that I’m proud of them, no matter what the results are. Because I know the feeling all too well of when you don’t let them know how good they are and then they don’t walk away from that one dreaded crash.
Appreciate them for what they do, because they do it for us and for a love of bikes and racing – and crashing is a part of that.
See you all at Monza xx
Hello to our lovely and loyal readers!
So, the end of 2011 is upon us, and what a year it’s been!
It has, yet again, been an honour writing for you all this year and working in such an amazing paddock surrounded by the best people I could ever ask to work with. I hope that we have continued to give you everything you like reading and will continue to do so for years to come. Please keep your eyes peeled for competitions that we are running over the season break and, as always, if you have any requests for stuff that you’d like us to look into or people you would like us to interview please do send us an email and we will do our best to achieve your request.
I also have to say that my favourite interview I have done this year has to be Leon Camier – I was incredibly impressed by the time he made to give us his full attention and the care he put into answering our questions and I look forward to hopefully interviewing him again next season as he puts his championship efforts together with Crescent Suzuki.
Sadly, however, there were some lowlights as well. We have lost some amazing and talented riders this year, the main one for me being Marco Simoncelli. I will admit that I haven’t seen the crash, but I definitely do not want to. The loss of such a young hopeful is truly devastating for the motorcycle community, and having also had the pleasure of once meeting Marco, it was also a shame to lose such a genuine and approachable person. I would also like to mention Ben Gautrey, who tragically lost his life after a crash at Cadwell Park at the young age of eighteen. He is another rider who is sorely missed and will always be remembered.
So, readers, I would like to ask you all a favour. This Christmas and New Years Eve please raise your glasses to the riders we have lost and those who have recently joined them and celebrate the amazing lives they lived.
That’s all I have to say for 2011, but I would like to thank you all for continuing to read our articles, race reports, interviews and blogs. We will have more in store for you next year, possibly with some added surprises. Merry Christmas to all of you and a Happy New Year for 2012, may it bring you everything you could hope for.
Hello blog readers, it’s been a while!
What’s that I hear you chant? Where have I been? Well, go on, I’ll tell you then...
As the busy girlie I am, I’ve been dying my hair (now dark red rather than the wee-me blonde), doing my nails, developing an unhealthy obsession with Glee...oh, and I’ve started going to as many British Superbike rounds as I can!
The benefits of this is that my eyes are now obviously blue with the darkness of my hair, my nails look nice and my iTunes list is ever growing, as are the pile of CDs in my car...but that’s not the stuff you’re interested in, obviously.
So, the reason I’ve been going to British Superbikes is because it looks like we’re going to start covering it next season – isn’t that exciting, lovelies? Obviously World Superbikes takes priority but I think this could be an exciting new addition to our little family, what do we think?
Anyway, moving on from random gibberish...
So this all hasn’t explained my prolonged absence from filling you in on my very hectic life...but the reason is actually because it is *too* hectic! Juggling three different racing series in two different paddocks whilst keeping in touch with the riders and raising the puppy I got for Christmas (I love her, she will eventually become the racing mascot – I’m working on it!) plus blogging just hasn’t worked out well for me, but now I have some time to sit down and chill whilst in the media centre at Aragon I can, finally, get this back on track again! Yay!
Today was pretty awesome in this paddock – Leon Camier qualifying third in superpole and having an awesome start will be brilliant to see, he needs a break after the weekend he had at Misano! Then Sam Lowes (a good friend of mine, not that I’m biased at all...) also qualified third so all’s going well! However Alex Lowes had an oopsy at Knockhill and ended up seventeenth...not the best start for tomorrow’s race but I’m pretty certain he can do it!
Anyway – sadly this blog is my form of procrastination when I do have part one of a race report to write as well as people to see today rather than running around mentally and not seeing them because of having a plane to catch tomorrow! I will blog again! Cue page break...
So, Sunday – summed up in one word: AWESOME!
Firstly, Camier did an amazing first race and finished on the podium, but I am one hundred percent that if he had another few laps he would have finished first – his pace was incredible! Lap times were decreasing dramatically every time he finished a lap!
Secondly, there were two Brits on the podium for World Supersport...
Thirdly, one of them was Sam Lowes!
Very, very happy for Sam – he deserves the amazing results he’s been getting, but Gino Rea is unfortunately having some problems, so not getting the results he should be.
There was a slight dampener on my day when, after being given Sam’s podium flowers, I realised we were flying home with Ryanair and there was no way they’d let me take the flowers on the plane unless I paid them £1000 for the extra weight and put them in the baggage hold (tee hee)...so I returned the flowers to the team co-ordinator, deciding that they were better off going back in the truck than having to be thrown away at the airport. I know you’re all sorry for my loss, but I know time’s a healer.
Sadly, race two didn’t bring as good news – Troy Corser was torpedoed by Maxime Berger at th end of the first lap and has a clean break of the radius and ulna in his left arm, so we’re awaiting the news of if he needs surgery or not and if he’ll be with us for Brno...we will keep you all informed!
And that, my dear and lovely friendlings, is all there is to say!! I now have things to do and people to see, as well as nice people in the paddock to, erm, well – drool over!! So I shall be catching up with you all at Brno, yes, I promise!!
Lots of love and huggles!!!
So here we are, back once more in sunny (ahem) Donington. What’s brilliant about this circuit is that the atmosphere that always comes with it and, now it’s been renovated, it 100% guarantees some awesome racing. Another great thing about this round is that it’s the second one of the season – having this in Europe means that we don’t end up feeling so out of the loop when we get here! Having it in England is even better…!!!!
So I walked into the media centre this morning and was greeted by two of the best sights I could have had – Michael Hill is back on TV so back in the centre and Sam Lowes first in free practice…I am now convinced that this is going to be an immense season. The new superpole even proved interesting to watch – Laverty had a spectacular crash which, luckily, he walked away from, and there was even some friendly overtaking going on. It looked like Haslam was going to get the top spot but Checa stole it towards the end. I have to say that the weather up here is slightly disappointing, we were promised sunshine earlier in the week and have cold, windy, grey mist instead to deal with. At least it’s not raining, which is good news for the riders.
It’s Sunday now, and race one is due to start in seven minutes and counting! Which means I’m sat with my iPod plugged into my ears and concentrating face, trying to type with crossed fingers – something which I have done for every race since Craig’s accident. Race one was immense! So much excitement crammed into that tiny space of time, I hope the rest of the season keeps up like that. However, Supersport has got me gutted…Sam Lowes was riding so well and up into third but the bike broke on him! Really feeling for him…that boy’s got big things in store for us.
So it’s now around 14.00 and I’m at in anticipation for race two…and craving chips. A lot. There’s always a lot to contemplate when I’m here…main priority is obviously to get the race report written up but it’s also important to keep the blog updated (if the editor uploads them in time) and then there’s also the video blog element to take into consideration now! So, race two saw the first Brit on the podium of the weekend – other than Gino Rea in Supersport. Have to say that I’m chuffed that it was Leon Camier, I can’t believe that he’s racing with glandular fever and still doing so well! Anyway, back to work…not had a lot of play today! Boo hoo! Wil have to party hard at Assen!! Arrivederci! xxx
Well, I’m back in the paddock! It’s strange not having the usual crowd around but I think I’m adjusting well as we have the usual crowd of MBT with us and there are quite a few Brits in the paddock so I feel quite comfortable.
It’s strange, I’ve not even spoken to JT yet when I’d usually have conversations all weekend with him. I even got my nails done with little union flags painted on the tips of my thumbs for our boys!
I was formally introduced to Leon Camier and Johnny Rea on Saturday, I don’t think there are two nicer guys in the paddock! They were a real pleasure to interview.
So here are my highlights of the Sunday:
- The clear winner has to be Johnny Rea’s crash in race one...watching him look for a bike that had totally disappeared brought tears to my eyes as I was laughing so much!
- Hearing that JT seems to be OK after his really nasty crash in race two and that Johnny Rea is also OK.
- Drawing a cartoon monkey, pig and frog on the same paper as my interview questions for Leon, and later on putting them in Johnny Green’s hand as I walked past him whilst seeing the puzzled look on his face.
- The AMAZING calzone I had at ‘Il Vole’ pizzeria, I strongly suggest that anybody who visits Monza tries that restaurant as they are reasonably priced, the owner speaks good English and their food is pure awesomeness.
That’s really all that happened this weekend, apart from our editor and myself learning that if you leave the track almost immediately after the racing at Monza and in the rain that starts immediately after the race finishes...luck or pure evilness on the weather’s behalf? Well, I’m sure everybody has different opinions on that one...but the moral is, leave VERY EARLY if you wish to catch your flight in Monza.
See you all at Misano!
(Editors note. Laura doesn't know that the iPod we recorded her interview with Leon on crashed and corrupted it. So she'll either have to do it from memory or interview him again at Misano... )
Hello and long time no speak!
Apologies for the huge length of time it has taken me to write a blog that makes sense enough to be uploaded onto the website, but what a year it has been!
When tragedy struck a Brands a couple of years ago I found myself drifting away from the biking world slightly and not enjoying the paddock world as much as I used to, but now I am jumping back in with both feet and I’m going to keep you all updated on what it is like to go back to your addictions after the rehab!
The main thing that I have learnt over the last year and a bit is that even when life is full of disappointments there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and whilst I now watch every single race with everything crossed and jump out of my skin every time somebody crashes, I have learnt to make the most of the people I know and love at the races just in case...and that involves taking time out at weekends to go and see them!
The paddock is going to be very different this year, but for once I am not going to focus on the change of riders, but the changes behind the scenes.
Firstly, I’d just like to wish Julian Thomas a very speedy recovery after he fell ill at Phillip Island, I’ve not been back to the paddock yet but I’ve heard that he is not yet there and I can only imagine how different and slightly less organised it is without him! Hope to see you there soon.
Secondly, I’d just like to do a sad little wave goodbye to the people I’ve developed good friendships with who aren’t working in World Superbikes anymore or coming to less rounds. You all make being sat indoors having to do race reports so much more entertaining and I’ve never not been smiling, I can only hope that the new people coming in are just as fun and entertaining and that you all come back and visit us lots of times so it feels like you never left!
Finally, hello to everybody who is there now!! I’m hoping to join you all this weekend at Assen, but as I’m now doubling up as a receptionist at Daytona go-karting in Sandown Park, Esher (come and kart with us!) I don’t think I’ll get the weekend off, but I will be joining you all as soon as possible!
Now back to you, dear readers, as you are the most important people here anyway! I have been going to more British Superbikes lately and made a whole load of new friends there. I’ll be at a few of those rounds too this year as an unofficial MBT writer, so give me a shout if you see me around! My top tip is keep an eye out for Sam Lowes, he’s on it this season! I also think that Tommy Hill’s time has come...so please give me a percentage of your winnings at the bookies! J
That is all I can say for now, as I haven’t shown my face in the paddock I have missed so much yet, but watch this space as I will be back with a vengeance, keeping you updated on the things we’re not allowed to say in the write ups!
Take care and see you all soon!
Well, here we are, finally at my first round back at World Superbikes. It has been a while, I will admit and I apologise to everybody who checks the blogs hoping for updates, there is a backlog that will get put up soon, promise!
So another year, another birthday and the paddock is a great place to celebrate. It’s lovely walking into the media centre and all the people who know you coming up to give you a hug and wish you a happy day. This round is particularly good for me because of the company, as well as the usual team of mayhem of me, Simon, Richard and Dunk with Sharon and Pam sometimes joining us, my other half also joined the team for this round. I can’t help but feel sorry for the paddock, we’re all on form and having a real laugh to finally be re-united after what seems like a decade.
The paddock seems to be the only place where we haven’t heard Michael Jackson all weekend...but luck for stars doesn’t seem to be improving as last race Haga had a very big crash which he broke his neck in, I wish him a very speedy recovery – somebody needs to challenge that American!!!
Speaking of the American, how good is Spies?! First season in this series and he’s doing the double again and again and again...it’s just an American Bayliss. There’s some speculation saying that maybe Toseland, Vermeulen and Edwards might be returning to SBK next year, which I personally think would make it the best series yet! It’s all a bit too serious now, there aren’t as many personalities around the high-fliers of the paddock and you don’t tend to see as many people joking around...that is excluding our little clan, of course, I don’t think we’ll ever grow up.
Tonight will be spent on the town with Michael Hill (informally known as my honorary big brother) in Leicester, which I think will be another experience for my other half!! As if the poor guy hasn’t had enough of an experience with our foul jokes and messing around in the paddock...
I should now be at more rounds, so will update this blog more often as things are now calming down in the life that doesn’t include the racing! Hope you all had a good day whether you’re in front of your TV or sat in the grandstand and worrying about those looming grey clouds ahead...I think I’ll get my burger now before they advance any further!
Take care x
So I figured that a new season was justification for a new blog, so here we are!
It’s been an incredibly long few months without much bike action…I am an expert at dealing with withdrawal symptoms now.
It’s always strange when there are no races to go to, it’s a bit similar to that feeling of leaving the house and knowing you’ve forgotten something but instead you’re out at the weekend and convinced that you should be somewhere else.
But please don’t get me wrong, I’m no workaholic! It has been nice to take a break and not have to worry about getting up at dawn, but there’s just something about that smell of petrol and sound of engines working as hard as they can.
AND something about those people. They are truly some of the most amazing people I will ever meet and I think last year I learnt to make the most of having them around instead of taking it for granted as one who is used to the atmosphere would probably usually do.
So, back to what I’ve been doing with my free time. Sadly, I didn’t go to the MCN Live weekend at Butlins last October, CRASH weren’t playing that weekend and it was just so far away, plus the prices had all gone up! I did, however, go to the Burning 2 Learn auction night in memory of Craig Jones. Burning 2 Learn are an amazing foundation with whom MotorbikesToday have worked for many years now, they feel that it is wrong to give some of the younger generation labels such as ‘mentally-disabled’ or ‘trouble-maker’ and bring them to the races to treat them all as equals. It is inspiring to see how much they change within the space of a weekend just because somebody is treating them like human beings. This night helped to raise money so that Burning 2 Learn could continue doing its work and also named Karl Muggeridge and Troy Corser as its ambassadors. It was nice to see everybody pulling together to celebrate the life of such a wonderful person and ensure that the races continued to be a place which the younger generation could learn from…it also gave us an excuse to dance Hairspray style as the band hired specialized in music from the 60s!
I also took some time out with a friend who also works at the races, but in the British Superbikes paddock, to be a tourist around London. Even though I live in the area, I never seem to tire of just having a stroll around Westminster or having a day in the tourist attractions. Natalie and I had originally planned to go to Madame Tussauds and London Dungeon, maybe on the London Eye and then to the West End. However, major oversleep time from maybe having a bit to drink at the Burning 2 Learn night on the night before meant that we only had time for London Dungeon and the West End. Imagine two biker chicks, all hardcore and up for anything, clutching each other’s arms, hair, shoulders, anything because we were screaming so much and scared out of our wits!
However, you don’t want to know about my experiences of London Town, you want to know about the bikes and what we’re doing this season. We’re not working with Pro Ride Honda anymore, in fact, we’re currently not sure if we’re working with a team. We might be doing some PR with Tommy Hill or, which is more probable, start covering British Superbikes. I’m really happy about that because so many people have moved to the British championship, including our close friends MIST Suzuki.
So we will know in the next couple of months what we are doing and I will keep you all posted every step of the way!
As you may have now noticed, we have comment pages at the end of each article or report or blog, so if you want to leave any comments or ask any questions then feel free!
Hope you’ve all had a good break from racing filled with motorbikes going very fast but only in safe ways!!!
5/10/08 - Magny Cours
Once again, the French made it as difficult as possible for us to have a smooth journey here. Some fishermen went on strike which resulted to ‘operation stack up’ on the M20 – meaning that we missed our scheduled shuttle and, as the schedule has gone tits up because of the fire, we were scheduled to take the 21.50 shuttle out there. This would have meant that we would have been at the hotel at about five in the morning...but luckily we managed to get onto an earlier shuttle and got to the hotel at 2.15am. Still pretty late/early considering that we were eating breakfast at 8.30 and leaving for the track pretty soon after that...
I have said it before and I will say it again – “oh the glamour of being a journalist’.
Anywho, moving on to Sunday – it was a colder, then warmer, then rainyish but not quite raining, warmer, very hot media officey type day...
And it involved speaking a lot of gibberish and making affectionate(ish) pokes of fun towards a rumoured to be gay rider on the grid...no names no law suits. I personally don’t even believe that he IS gay...but I should probably shut my fingers up when it comes to this topic and remain...erm...professional.
It’s 17.45 at the moment and I have finished my race reports for the day, which is nice! Although I now have that awkward time where everyone else has their heads buried in their laptops and I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs – but I have Tetris on my phone to keep me entertained! Whey hey!
Troy Bayliss and Andrew Pitt both won their championships today, and following Valentino Rossi’s eighth win last weekend and Shakey Byrne’s success in the British Superbikes (and signing for World Superbikes next year – yay!) This is a bit of a championship winning month! I’m finding myself getting more and more excited for next season. There are some events from this season that I just want to put behind me and live and learn from, and I feel that would be easier to do when this season ends. Also, the team I am working with are re-vamping and we’re going to pink, purple and green polka dot colour schemes and are renaming ourselves “MotorbikesToday Honda”. We wish.
But it should be good though!
Anyway, I hope you managed to make sense out of my extremely random ramblings of fun and cheerfulness...it always feels like the end of season here so I’m happy that it isn’t because it’s horrible and thumb twiddling in the time between seasons and I get easily bored (it’s something that us special people require, to be constantly entertained). See you later alligators!!! xx
21/9/08 - Vallelunga
It’s cold! I know I say that often but it’s Italy and it’s cold! Everybody is walking around in their T-shirts and shorts and I’m sitting here in ugg boots, jeans and a jumper and yet still shivering. I hope this doesn’t mean that I’m starting to get ill as none of us have time for illness!
Superstock aren’t here this round so it’s just Superbikes and Supersport, which feels strange as the paddock is literally empty...although if I’m going to be picky then the paddock is spread everywhere in different fields over bridges etc. on this track. It’s not my favourite, fair to say.
Saturday qualifying hasn’t been good for our team so far, both our riders got black flagged as their bikes let go and started billowing smoke...so I’m a bit nervous to go and speak to them about the problems as I expect the boss is a little unhappy about it!! So I shall sit here twiddling my thumbs until four when I can write up Superpole. It’s strange because this is the time where I’d usually be being hassled by the superstock riders but they’re not here to entertain me!
What is also strange about this round is that it’s colder indoors than it is outdoors...after a walk around the paddock I found myself feeling rather warm and not needing the jumper anymore. Is anything logical in Italy?
Saturday night was spent driving back to the hotel whilst singing along to Bon Jovi with my editor...but changing ‘Living on a Prayer’ to ‘Shagging on the Stairs’ – it has to be done! Then as soon as my head hit the hotel room pillow I fell asleep, even forgot to turn the light off!
So now it’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself as my nose is all blocked and it’s still cold!
7/9/08 - Donington
I shouldn’t really be surprised that it’s raining here at Donington, but I am! You’d think that maybe after the foul luck at Brands the UK would pull its finger out and give us a bit of sunshine, wouldn’t you.
This round feels a bit stranger to me at the moment...there is a noticeable difference to the atmosphere without one of the biggest personalities having gone with Jonesy. It’s nice though because Chris Walker has a little English flag with ‘Jonesy’ written underneath it under his main number and Leon Haslam and Cal Crutchlow both have a small 18 under their numbers. It’s amazing to see how much of a family the racing world is, to lose someone has affected so many people and now everybody is riding in Craig’s glory and trying to win the race for him.
But let’s not make this a depressing blog, and on the plus side we have three British wildcards in World Superbikes! Woo! The young Tom Sykes is making a comeback from Brands, Pocket Rocket Leon Haslam is also making his first appearance in Superbikes since three years ago, and Cal Crutchlow who I know nothing about except that he’s a lovely guy.
Wet Superpole just happened with a load of crashes. Every time somebody falls off we all jump about ten feet into the air and then breathe a sigh of relief when they get up and walk away. I have now finished writing up all of the Friday and Saturday stuff so have the rest of the day to chill out and do whatever I please! So I’m just looking out of the media centre window, day dreaming and being poked by people who come over to say hello. It’s nice because I’m starting to appreciate how much everybody looks out for everybody more now.
So Sunday and it’s very wet!! I just got back off the grid for race two after holding an umbrella for Matt Lynn when the heaven’s opened, and being a dutiful grid girl I got absolutely SOAKED! To top it all off, the rest of the guys in the media office found it hilarious!
It was a great Sunday though, a good couple of races and some giggles with some of the other journalists. Hope you all didn’t get too soaked and got home safely!! X
3/4/08 - Brands Hatch
Well, what can I say? It’s raining. A lot.
The weather’s actually been incredibly indecisive this year, which is strange as this is usually a warm British round. Jamie Whitham was saying earlier that it’s good when it rains, because that’s what the foreigners expect and we wouldn’t want to let them down.
This round is always my favourite, no matter what the weather. It’s close to home so I get to sleep in my own bed, and, despite the early mornings, everybody is always smiling.
This is also the round for some incredibly strange questions to be asked. So far this weekend I have been asked if my chest is real or if I paid for it, and if my friend who I am with is bisexual. But we take it in good humour.
I’m afraid it’s not all fun and games at the races...as I was writing the last bit of that entry Craig Jones, a good friend of ours, crashed his bike and was knocked out cold on track. He was air lifted to hospital and we’re not sure of his state – but that is the only part of this job I don’t like, watching my friends crash.
Because of that I’m going to make this the last bit of the Brands Hatch blog...I will update it another time.
(Editor's note: Jonesy sadly died the morning after his crash. We miss him every day)
Well, so much for this being the quiet round. Fair to say, Brno has developed in the two years that we have been away. Last time we came here all we could find was a strip club and a KFC...but that doesn’t matter now anyway as we have our hospitality loyally feeding us!!
The weather forecast has let us down for this round and instead of the promised rain we have sunshine and unwelcome warmth! I say unwelcome because I have jeans and boots on – and would like to have a jumper on too...sometimes you just need the comfort of clothes!
Superpole is on right now, and Troy Bayliss has just taken pole from Troy Corser – so I’m hoping that Smrz does his home crowd proud to keep tomorrow’s races interesting. I must admit that I will miss having Troy Bayliss around the paddock next year, I’m just hoping that no more of my friends decide to leave because it’s not the same without them – it was bad enough when Toseland moved up!
It’s very strange actually, because even though I work around them, when people move up to Moto GP from here it’s strange because they all seem so much more distanced. Not just with James, but with Chris Vermeulen as well. I suppose that’s because it’s a whole different form of racing really.
Anyway, back to what’s happening now. Smrz has failed to beat Bayliss so it looks like we have the two Troys taking first and second – unless Biaggi keeps his fastest lap times up. This circuit has three sectors for Superpole. The first one is very long and bendy, whilst the second and third are relatively short, how it works is that riders are timed through these sectors and you can estimate a guess to how fast they are going to go. Biaggi has just secured fourth place on the grid.
Sunday now – and I’m close to desperate to gag my editor and photographer as they are going on about some very crude things and coming up with all sorts of strange euphemisms to do with sausage. Honestly, you don’t want to know.
I’m currently racing for race two to start, so you’re going to get more rambles from me about what I do! At this point I sit and laugh at people’s grid stunts – Josh Brookes always makes me laugh when he’s on the Supersport grid because he does a different stunt every time...today it was gold headphones and a samurai hat. Bless him.
In between race one and race two I try to get some interviews done, and today it was the SBK press officer’s turn...that will be uploaded on the site soon!
Right, so race two is about to start and I probably won’t be writing again until the next round – BRING ON BRANDS HATCH (I love that round it’s my favourite every year).
So, rule Britannia and I shall see you soon!! X
Well, I knew it would be sunny this weekend for Misano, because it never rains on my birthday. Apart from last year in England...and Saturday morning. But that’s not the point.
So, as you probably just gathered, it is now the Sunday of Misano World Superbikes 2008, and it was my birthday yesterday. It was a lovely day, very hot and involved a lot of messing around. Then again, it was the same as any day at the races! I did get a little birthday party thrown for me by the Alto Evolution Honda team, which was very nice of them.
Some of the day was spent mucking about with Josh Brookes, some with the Alto Evolution team and some with MIST Suzuki – so I got lots and lots of work done J naturally.
So the birthday was a good day, and there were no catastrophes finding the hotel or flying out – so I’m not really sure what I can complain about Misano wise! Valentino Rossi has even flown out from a race yesterday to be able to turn up here today! It’s just amazing here...
There are a few *insert expletive here* people who decided they are going to come into the media centre without a pass and just stand in the way of everything so I can barely see what’s going on and do my job. That did get on my nerves a little. Enough to swear at them in typical English and ask them to move...they only understood the sweeping hand gesture.
I’m writing this as the second SBK race has been red flagged, waiting for it to re-start so that I can get on with my job and then play hard! I must admit, I do miss the Italian way of announcing JT...‘Giacomo Tosserlande’...It’s not my place to dispute that!!
Anyway, so I’m not going to finish off this race and hope for the best that it’s not starting from the beginning again or I may scream...and then I will muck about whilst our editor does the pictures and then pack up until Brno! So until then, arrivederci x
If you read an earlier blog, you will read about me absorbing lots of water at Brands Hatch last year and see a picture of me looking rather wet. Well, revenge is sweet
There’s always a problem with Monza...
Last year when our team came to the Monza round of World Superbikes, the editor and I had our fair share of problems trying to find our way around – we ended up in Milan and when asking where ‘Parco di Monza’ is we got the reply of ‘in Monza’ – and we then almost missed our plane and dented the steering wheel of our rental car with rage.
But that was last year...things have changed since then and we were all geared up for an amazing weekend with no trouble, and everything prevailed for us. NOT.
Firstly, we get to the airport to find that our plane is in Bournemouth when we are at Gatwick. We then wait for the plane to arrive at Gatwick and get ready to board only to hear an announcement that informed us that the cabin crew had finished their hours and therefore a standby crew had to be called and there would be a further delay of two hours.
So two hours later we get on the plane and start flying to Italy, only to find that when we get to Malpensa airport there has been an emergency landing and we have been diverted to Bergamo. We land at Bergamo and are all prepared to leave the plane and somehow return to Malpensa when the pilot then says “we are flying back to Malpensa now as they have opened another runway”. However, some passengers decided that they would actually rather hold up the flight back even more and got off the plane onto the tarmac, refusing to get back on the plane and demanding to have their suitcases taken off with them. After some debate as to whether or not this was possible, some of the more well built men on the flight went to the front of the plane and made threatening faces, which caused most of the passengers to come back on board which allowed the plane to be refuelled and us to fly back to Malpensa.
Sadly this was not the end of our trauma. Having already been delayed from landing at nine we had now landed at Malpensa at two...and to our dismay the car hire place was shut. So we ended up taking a taxi to the hotel, and another one back in the morning to pick up the hire car, only to find that the tom tom was broken and we had to navigate our own way back to the circuit. We finally got to work at around midday...so not the best start to a weekend!
I then spent a great deal of time waiting around for my pass, then realising that this year I have been given a yellow pit one instead of my normal green track one – but that shouldn’t prove to be a problem as I don’t usually find myself trackside unless I’m grid girling. As I write this on the Saturday I am desperately hoping that nothing else happens to put us off ever coming back to Monza again...well to put us off more than we already are put off, that is.
8/5/08 Well, here we are again!
It’s Monza this weekend and I’m finally getting back into the racing routine. I look forward to seeing everybody but not so much to having to crawl out of bed and revise for my modules on the Monday morning…oh joy.
I am currently writing this and enjoying the sunshine of what is supposed to be a week of heat wave, and if this is global warming then BRING IT ON! It has always been my opinion that this is the best kind of weather to dig out your bikini and sing along very loudly to your favourite songs…or dance around to songs from your favourite musical. Not that I do that. Ahem.
I seem to take after JT in the sense that I’m very much into both the bikes and music – my friends have often called me their own personal jukebox as I am constantly singing along to some form of music and I expect it sometimes gets on our editor’s nerves when I know every song that is played in the car whilst we are driving to the race tracks…I suppose I’m a less irritating version of the girl in that film “Heartbreak Kid” but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
I spent a considerable amount of my last summer at SBK avoiding water fights, and the one time I failed to do so was at Brands Hatch when team MIST Suzuki’s rider Matt Bond and the team boss Mike Edwards decided to gang up on me with their two litre bottles against my fifty millilitre bottle. Fair to say that I lost. But luckily it was the next day I was doing my photo shoot so I had time to steal a jumper and dry off!
And I now leave you with this note: go on amazon.co.uk and type in “Track Days for Virgins” and order the book! It’s a worth while read and is written by our editor, so
I can guarantee that it will help you with your
trackday needs as he does tend to know what he’s talking about!
Take care xx
Hi Everybody! (Yeah, you may reply with “Hi Dr Nick” if you wish!)
So yeah, welcome to my blog! It’s here that you’ll be able to read about the up and down sides of being a journalist, the relationships I build up with the people I work with and the little jokes that get thrown around.
You haven’t heard from me since the end of last season, as I haven’t been at any rounds yet to do the write ups, but I promise that I’ll be around more often now…and as there’s nothing to write about my experiences from this season yet I will fill you in on what mischief I’ve been getting up to since the Superbikes final at Magny Cours in 2007.
Right, so let’s start where it all kicked off – the after party. There were three girls in the team at Magny Cours, so by the time we’d all got ready and come back to the track the party was well underway and everybody was well and truly drunk. Especially James. Then again, you can’t blame him – he had just won his second championship at the still young age of 27, and it was his birthday weekend.
Sadly I didn’t manage to join in the drunken celebrations, it wouldn’t have been fair on our editor to have to drive a car of drunken people back to the hotel, and there was no alcohol left. (Wonder which one of these had the most bearing on her choice... - Ed) I ended up watching James and his best friend Matt skipping Morecombe and Wise style and being slightly confused as to if I was seeing things or not.
So party ended and it took a long time to say bye to JT, not because there was a queue, but because he was in a very emotional state and was being very nice and cuddly and thanking me a lot, although I’m still not sure what for. We were going back to the car when we saw (No names, no lawsuits - Ed) looking very out of it and leant against a pit truck, so we ended up taking him back to his hotel whilst he dived on the three girls in the back of the car so that he could fit in, which I think he might have enjoyed but we didn’t enjoy it as much!
Next day we had a relaxed breakfast and drove back to the land of Billy S and red buses, but I wasn’t dismayed as the weekend after we were going to be partying hard once again, but this time at Butlins for the weekend.
The week went by quickly and soon I was on my way up to Skegness to watch Toseland’s band ‘CRASH’ do their thing, once again. I have been so many times that I could recite the play list, and they know it! This weekend was a lot like the Magny Cours party, in the sense of me watching James and his friends get completely wasted and laugh at the absurd things they did – but luckily the alcohol hadn’t run out there!
On the Saturday we had to come to the huge bar known as ‘Reds’ in fancy dress. It being my good friend Shanna’s birthday weekend the girls all went down wearing tiaras, but I added a cowboy hat as another group of friends were coming as cowgirls. I was quite lucky to have two things, as there were a load of weird men dressed as Buzz Lightyear, and one of them cheekily borrowed my hat for the night. Well OK, when I say weird men I mean Toseland’s bunch from Sheffield, and it was James who borrowed the hat whilst I ended up recovering all of their wings as they fell off during the night. It was a good night out though, and it was nice to be in a crowd that were used to hanging around with a top racer so that they weren’t in awe and I found myself joining in with affectionately making little pokes of fun in JT’s direction. Safe to say that for most of us the next day was spent recovering. For James, however, he had to be at Brands Hatch by nine the next morning and got flown there by helicopter. Well, the illness was self inflicted so none of us did feel that sorry for him!!
That was sadly the end of my 2007 nights out or racing weekends with people whom you are likely to know of, and it wasn’t until the sixth of January 2008 I saw my friends from the paddock again. Shanna (again) had arranged a very good gig with the money going to the Chris Jones Riders Fund, and CRASH were going to be the live band.
James was back in training so there were some nice sober conversations as we were driving back that night, and I will once again congratulate Shanna for making the night one to remember.
Then there was the JT send off in February, I didn’t get to talk to the man himself when I went, but it was another good night with some good music from CRASH.
The day after was when the Superbike season re-started and the weekend after was the first GP round…and by Monza you will be hearing from me through race reports as I will be properly back at work!
Hope you all had an amazing break and that Christmas was spent how it should be, stuffing your faces and then feeling sick! Happy New Year to you all...
Lots of Love,