Monday, 18th March
Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Readers with long memories will remember my last outing at Oulton Park ending in the gravel trap, with a badly damaged bike…
Well, that was really meant to be the end of it.
But, several things happened to convince me that I had to repair the bike and get out and ride it. The first thing to convince me of this was the immense generosity and encouragement of my fellow racers. Two people must be singled out for thanks here – Firstly Scotty for organising a whipround amongst the other riders to help me out financially. His reasoning being that he wouldn’t have anyone to finish in front of if I wasn’t there… And secondly to good friend Keith McKay, who knew that what I needed was a good kick up the arse to get me going again. And to this end he lent me an F1 spec GSX-R750 to race in an endurance race on the Isle of Man. Quite obviously I had a fabulous weekend in the company of several good friends and scared the willies out of myself aboard his Intercontinental Ballistic Suzuki.
But, of course, that’s only part of the story. The main part being that the TZ has been resurrected, and is ready to go for the 2002 season. The damage was as bad as first thought… The frame had to be welded and straightened, engine stripped and new top ends, new handlebars, footpegs, radiator, fairing mounts etc. etc. I’ve scrounged some s/hand bodywork that fits nicely and just needs a lick of paint, and I’m planning to be on the grid sometime in May. 11 months after the accident that nearly spelt an end to it all. And rather than paying a local engineering company thousands of pounds to make things like spacers and fairing mounts, I’ve finally brought myself a lathe.
However, a couple of other interesting events occurred during my time off. Firstly, I’ve been on TV… A myserious call from the beeb in October led to an appearance on a program about people lobbing themselves off Fireblades and R1s into some rather solid parts of the surrounding countryside. Please send all requests for autographs to my agent… This in itself led to a last minute call to the ever lovely Bernie at bemsee to get a late entry to Silverstone on a hastily cobbled together TZ. MIraculously, the bike held itself together, even if it did look like an entry to Scrapheap Challenge. Even more surprising was that I managed to get a couple of half decent results and some good camera footage for the BBC.
Secondly, I’ve been doing a little bit of instructing at the new MRO Institute, which has been dead good fun, and very rewarding.
But of course, the most important thing to have happened since June is the birth of my daughter, Lexy, on 28th July 2001. I am hopelessly and wholly in love, as I guess any new parent is with their first born.