Carl’s been sunning himself in Spain, styling his bonce and, oh, riding bikes too...
We won’t be making the grid for the first round of BSB at Donington Park, which is a real kick in the teeth. Yamaha still haven’t finalised exactly when we’ll be getting our R6 so we’re left playing the waiting game. It’s gutting, because I’m gagging to get out there and kick my season off with the rest of the guys. Annoying as it is, the world will keep spinning and I’m trying to focus on all the good times we’ll have once our season gets under way.
Bike aside, everything else was pretty much sorted well in advance for the 2017 season, including some testing ttime at Cartagena. Instead of cancelling the booking, we made the decision to rock up anyway and see if we could borrow a bike. Our luck was in as my sponsor Glynn Racing came to the rescue by lending me his trusty old Suzuki GSX-R750 K8 track bike... with under a thousand miles on the clock since new and a brand new super expensive paint job. So with the words “look after it with your life” etched into my brain, we headed out for a good three days of thrashing in the Spanish sunshine.
Having raced two-cylinder Ducatis for the past three seasons, it was pretty awesome to have an inline-four to get some saddle time in on. The difference was massively blatant from the kick-off, but it didn’t take me too long to get used to the rev hungry Gixer. I bloody loved screaming its nuts off. Despite weighing more than a modern litre bike and making less power than a 600, it wwas so much to ride – once our squad got her reasonably set up! Okay, this meant stiffening the old girl’s suspension up to the max, changing the bar and peg positions, switching the gear shift, gifting her with new pads and hunting down a sprocket from a random bike shop in the local Spanish town. It took a fair bit of faffing, but we got there. We set a target lap time to achieve and thankfully it flashed up on the last day. Winner, winner, chicken-dinner!
In all, we had a blooming fantastic time at Cartagena and I’m so glad we took the decision to crack on and get out there. It wasn’t the perfect scenario, but I came home a lot less rusty than I was before I went, and even more keen to get my new race bike.
I know it’ll all come together in time, so my plan’s to just stay positive and be as prepared as possible for when the R6 finally makes an appearance. I’ve got a few tyres lined up to test in the mag (watch this space), so that should bag me a bit more track time – it all helps! And so could you! If you’ve got a race bike that needs a rider, make sure to get in touch. I’m desperate… if you couldn’t tell?
Carl loves polishing his helmet. As happy as a pig in... ‘Have you ever ridden a bike before?’ Miles and miles of smiles.