It's fair to say that I could quite easily make this Blog pretty short, basically, things went OK then things went wrong and I didn't get to race end of, took a couple of days off then trained my nuts off for 8 days in Spain in order to come back stronger for Brands hatch, boom, how's that!!??
To be honest that is pretty much the long and short of it but whilst Donington didn't get off to the best of starts, in fact I never got to start full stop there's plenty to be positive about looking back and indeed forwards!
The end of January feels like a very long time ago now, it was the final two days off that month and the 1st of February that I last got to ride my PBM Panigale and whilst as the old saying goes youth don't forget how to ride a bike you do get a bit rusty so reading for a couple of weeks before rounds one how all of my rivals were out testing here there and everywhere I have to admit to being a little bit apprehensive going into round one, don't get me wrong when we did test I was fast but we're never had anything new to test and literally used the test to blow out the cobwebs, as I said we did so rapidly but I was chomping at the bit ever since to get back out and do some riding!!
The first opportunity to do just that came at the Donington test the week before the first race and typically conditions were crap, I wasted no time whatsoever getting out on track despite fart from ideal conditions just to be able to ride, on all honestly the conditions never really improved much, there were no dry times as such set so round I've was going to be the first chance to how do you say, see where we're at!!
Well, if free practice one was anything to go but then where we're at wasn't too bad a place as I ended the first dry practice of 2017 P1 without too much stress to.. I really looked forward to FP2 In the afternoon but unfortunately with the organisers testing a new time format with the two Friday sessions real close together a small technical problem just 4 laps in meant I had to sit out the rest of the session, my boys had checked the clutch in the bike in between sessions and as stupid as it sounds the mastic hadn't had time to go hard so the bike developed a real tiny oil leak.
FP3 the weather has changed, I went out in the wet to see how's the bike felt and to make sure everything was ok and went pretty fast straight away, whilst I was on track I was P1 again, I pulled in for the bits to check the bike over etc and sat and waited until the end of the session before I went back out, the track was so different, it wasn't dry, far from it but it was much drier and the grip and feel of the track was completely different, unfortunately I just by literally seconds missed the chequered flag so I didn't get to do another flying lap but I was happy with the feeling and the forecast for even the afternoon let alone the following day was better stop I wasn't overly fussed..
Before our qualifying sessions later that afternoon there was the Ducati Tri Options cup race, I always enjoy watching this as my best mate and a couple of other guys I know race in the class, Wag the aforementioned guy was having a great race, I was out on the pit wall cheering him on running P7 or P8 but on a group of three guys, I was made up for him and buzzing that all his hard work over the winter looked like it was paying off but then the dreaded number 15 crashed flashed up on the monitors, closely followed by red flag, now to racers that means only two things, 1 St someone's hurt or 2nd there's been a big one and oil/bikes/riders out whatever are strewn across the track, quite quickly after my unital ohhhhh no, it's Wag the monitors showed a replay, and showed Wag's bike had gone bang in a big way up under Starkey's bridge towards Schwantz curve, fortunately for Wag he scrubbed enough speed for a semi gentle little tip off at MacLeans but the oil his bike dropped caused absolute chaos.. the other two mentioned guys earlier plus a couple of others went down to and one, Michael Honey ended up with two very badly broken legs, like compounded fracture femur and there very strong possibility of amputation but he in effect was the lucky one as the other guy Mick Whalley sadly succumbed to his injuries and is no longer with us, I knew Mick from when we were kids, he lives about half a mile from my house and having not got into racing that long ago I can't believe we've lost him to the thing her loved doing so much, obviously it's a very difficult time for his family, friends and for all his competitors as well as BSB's officials and medics etc but the show had to go on and that's exactly what Mick would've wanted, R.I.P mate.....
The rest of Saturday's proceedings were duly cancelled and qualifying grid positions were taken from combined practice times meaning I was 5th on the grid from my FP1 lap time which wasn't a disaster.
Morning warm up was cold, were went out and there organisers had extended the session by 5 minutes which was quite handy, everything was going to plan and on the hard tyre I got myself up to 2nd position just a couple of 10th's off, I got a bit of traffic so hard to have s steady lap to get a bit of space again then started another flying lap, as I flicked right to left down through a Craner I real suddenly lost the front and went down and whilst I'd love to talk you exactly why and how etc I can't as unfortunately it knocked me out ultimately putting me out of the meeting and costing me a potential 50 points and 10 podium credits..
I've had a bit of time to refect now and after 2 or 3 days completely resting I've spent 8 days training my nuts off out in Spain and I've come back completely ready to go again at Brands hatch, I can't wait to get going and get my championship defence underway, fingers crossed it'll be good!!!! Catch you at Brands guys and girls Shakey #67