I’m quickly scribbling down this month’s column on the ferry back to the UK, so the boys at Travel world can drop in a new windscreen in my Bus.
This will be my final Euro trip cause in two weeks I’ll be heading south for the winter, and what a relief it is, that this season has finally come to an end.
The second last race was in Rome at Vallelunga, a few weeks ago, which wasn’t actually too far from central Rome, but it seriously felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. The track itself wasn’t too bad, a couple of dodgy corners and I’m pretty sure some of the track surface was laid back when the Vatican was built but other than that it was ok. Well the security were like navy seals and they basically did everything but pull on the rubber gloves everytime you wanted to enter the paddock. That is of course if you weren’t Biaggi, who had is own entourages of seals to himself as they barged through the public on their scooters at about 50 mph. Pretty Funny Really! As for my own track antics, we didn’t even make superpole, which is a joke in itself. I’m sure if Einstein didn’t invent the wheel, we would have! We basically turned a perfectly fine road bike into a speedway bike. If nothing else, I got the chance to practice a bit of sideways action, dragging my ass across the line in about 13th in both heats. Pretty impressive Hey! Not!
The next race was the following weekend in Mangy Cours in France a bit south of Paris and to save a big chunk of the driving Peter Goddard came up with the idea of catching a Ferry as far as we could across the Mediterranean. He found one which left Monday evening about then arrives in Toulon the next day around , just west of Nice, which would save us about 5 or 600 miles. So Pete became the official booking agent for the Motorhome paddock.
Late that night after we had all boarded the ferry a few of us were sitting in the restaurant and Nori and his family showed up, only that Nori was a few layers of skin short on his face particularly on his nose. It had something to do with his late night acrobatics at Vallelunga Sunday Night. Must have been something in the beer! After we docked in Toulon it was full steam ahead to the track.
Just South of Lyon we had a bit of a convoy going, it was me in my bus obviously with the wiggles going flat out, then Nori then Captain in Corser’s bus, I’m not sure if it was the speed we were doing or the fact we were in the fast lane. I actually think it was a bit of both, but after I spotted the fella standing on the overpass with his speed gun, and the toll gate coming up I knew we were in for it! As we approached the toll about 5 officers cam running out on the street towards us, I swear the beads of sweatt were already forming on my brow. For some unknown reason, after we pulled up they told me to carry on just as I saw Nori in the rear vision mirror reaching for a number plate and throwing it up onto the dash. Less than a split second later I had my foot to the boards and I wasn’t looking back. It turned out they both got booked but it was a measly 40 Euro each for driving in the fast lane. Hardly worth the effort really! That night we arrived at the track, parked up and the next day Parksey and me caught the train into the Paris motor show to do some signings for Shark. When we went on the shark stand Brock was continually drewling over the beasts on the Harley stand! After many hours of decision making of which one we liked the best we got the hell out of there and back to the circuit.
The week-end started out ok, but once again by the time it was race day I was three quarters down the time sheets, and tearing my hair out. Race day I finished 12th , respectively 11th in race two, but it was a huge weight lifted from my shoulders after crossing the finish like for the final time. You can’t believe how happy I was that I didn’t have to ride that thing again! We had to hit the road pretty early on Monday morning after the race I had to get Isabelle and Ryan to ParisAirport just after lunch so they could fly back to Zurich. My brother was in for the weekend and he also had to fly out of Paris but not until Wednesday night so we found a campsite which wasn’t too far from Paris and hung out there for a few days. We spent one day in Paris but basically the rest of the time we just sponged out watched some TV and slept. Thursday I drove the Bus up to a little place called Mettet which is not too far from Namur (Belgium). I’d been invited to do this Super Motard event that week-end, Corser, Laconi and a few of the boys were also going to be there, so I thought why not. It was supposed to be just for fun and real race. My Ass! Pischon, Mickey Diamond, Eddi Seal, Fred Bolley, Chambon, Chris Carr etc etc were all there, as if there wasn’t going to be a race! I knew I was going to get my but kicked particularly when I looked at the machinery they were on, and the pit crew. We’re talking full factory. My team were preparing a bike but at the least minute they pulled out.
So the organizer quickly pulled together a bike and mechanic for me just days before the race which was exceptional. I didn’t have the full factory set up but my bike was a brand spanking new 08 CR450 with some wheels and brakes.
It was a great experience and for sure next year I’ll be a bunch more prepared, I actually didn’t think it was going to be as physical as it was and by the time the week-end was over so was I. There was about 40’000 spectators lining the whole track all yelling and screaming! Something definitely not to be missed.
Anyway it’s almost time to pack my bags and get out of here before it gets to cold. Next month I’ll be in Australia and I’ll bring you up to speed with the latest goss then.