It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m watching the Sepang MotGP. So if there’s a few typos I’ll fix them later.
I’ve had a stupid week. There was some riding, which was good, but there was so much compressed into the end of the week that it was a bit of a pest.
First up Al, a good friend of many years, Marty HC and myself went out to ride part of disc three for work. Initially Al and I were heading out, but at the last minute Marty decided to come along. That was a bonus, because where I was just going to pick a loop and follow it, Marty mapped a route that took in a few highlights. It meant ducking and weaving, but Marty gave us a cheat sheet that made things fairly easy. We headed out from Guyra and dawdled around taking in the scenery.
The riding and weather on Wednesday was superb. We had a ball. Camp on Wednesday night was at Lemon Tree Flat, and it was a really nice spot.
I was in the bike swag, so when I heard a few spots of rain I had to clamber out and haul my camera bag and riding gear to one of those barbecue shelters about 50m from where I was camped. Then some possums and kangaroos kicked up a ruckus, and there was a screeching bird of some kind that had a great deal to say.
I didn’t get a lot of sleep that night.
On Thursday morning we set off into a glorious, sunny day, but as we headed out of Ashford after breakfast there was a fairly nasty looking horizon in front of us. Lightning was zapping about and the dark-grey, solid clouds looked like they’d blotted out everything from the ionosphere to the ground. After a quick committee meeting we elected to swerve around the bad weather and head back to Guyra. We missed most of it, but still had to ride maybe 30km through the rain. Fortunately, it wasn’t heavy rain and we were on the bitumen, so it wasn’t a big deal.
Marty kept the standards of the team high by ordering chips-and-gravy at the Guyra roadhouse before we loaded the bikes onto the trailer and headed back to the coast. Al had to grit his teeth and ride on to his home near Armidale.
It was a great couple of days, and making an early finish was a big break for me. We loaded the bikes and headed back, but as we drove into Bellingen the trailer punctured and shredded a tyre. We slipped on the spare, but that meant I had no spare for the trailer for the Saturday morning when I was supposed to be racing in Grafton. The Bridgestone tyre guys at Urunga didn’t have a tyre, so I was snookered for the weekend.
But that was 48 hours away. I had plenty to think about before then.
By the time I dropped Marty at his place, I had a couple hours for a shower and a coffee at my own home before I headed down to the Watagans to meet up with Chris Birch, the New Zealand legend rider, who turned out to be one of the nicest blokes ever. I drove as far as Warnervale that night and rolled out the swag. In the morning I chugged into Mangrove Mountain – or wherever it was – to wait for things to kick off.
I was feeling pretty ropey by the time the Chris Birch school started. By then I’d done the interviews I needed and was only waiting to get some pics.
Chris Birch is a very likable fellow, that’s for sure, but he grabbed everyone’s attention when he opened the school and said he’d discuss bike set-up. His opening comment was , “Bar risers and Pivot Pegz are for dickheads.”
He went on to justify the statement, and whether or not I agree, I’m hardly going to argue with someone who has a few Dakars, Roof Of Africas, and eight New Zealand enduro championships under his belt. That’s not to mention his trials and other exploits. Still, I couldn’t hide a grin when, after the statement that ‘bar risers and Pivot Pegz are for dickheads, he went on to say that at any world championship off-road event, none of the top 10 riders would be using those things. One wag from class called out, “I bet none of them are fat, either!”
To his credit, Chris laughed along with everyone else. He’s an amazingly friendly and happy guy.
Anyhoo, by the time I left there, much earlier than I’d hoped, I headed for home and, seeing as the trailer was out of action, the chance to catch up on some sleep over the weekend.
Then, as I drove along, an SMS appeared saying the champions at Urunga Bridgestone had managed to get a tyre and the trailer was ready to go again.
I was knackered, but I’d already paid the entry fee for the weekend’s racing, and it was the last round of the year. I had something I really wanted to try on the bike, and race days are the only time I can do that. So I loaded up the bike and the gear and headed up to Grafton early on Saturday morning. I’d love to brag about how well I did, but I didn’t. I rode like a nun with bad period pain. The bike felt way better than last race day, but I just couldn’t get settled and be aggressive. I actually fell asleep between races in the back of the van. That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me.
No excuses. I rode shithouse. It was great to make a big step forward in the set-up of the bike, and it’ll make a big difference next season…I hope. That’s months away. Between now and then I hope to be able to get quite a bit done on that bike (that means, “I hope Craig Murcott will have time to do quite a bit to that bike before next season”).
Here’s the MotoGP. I’ll put some pics up later.
PS: Do’h! Valentino just pulled what looked like a very low move to dump Marky-Mark in the kitty litter! It looks like the championship is over. It’ll go to Lorenzo when Rossi cops his penalty.