Bruce has nagged me to write a column for the mag ever since we spent five days in Indonesia eating rice, more rice, and yes, you guessed it, a bit of dog too. So what better time to start a column than when laid up with a broken foot and a generous helping of whiplash. Naturally, I guess this piece should start with the first lap of the race that landed me here. British Superbike racing is pretty tough at the minute; there’s 20 riders who are all more than capable of finishing on the podium and the first lap is often the most intense lap of the race as it can make or break your end result.
First laps are pretty similar to Monday morning rush hour traffic, except you’re doing 180mph and you’re on fire, and everyone else is on fire, and the floor is on fire cause you’re riding through hell on earth. On such an occasion, I got caught up in a gaggle of riders going into the Maggots-Becketts bottleneck at Silverstone and I was catapulted over the handlebars at about 90mph. It’s been a while since I’ve had a ‘proper’ crash and, like childbirth (so I’m told), you forget just how much it hurts until the next time you’ve got your legs in the air and you’re staring down at terra firma.
I landed head first and then flipped onto my foot that got trapped between 180 kilos of Superbike and the floor which, unsurprisingly, snapped it in two. I lay in the medical centre sucking the life out of the gas and air machine, followed closely by four more riders on stretchers; it is easy to forget sometimes that this isn’t tennis. Four days later and I’m sat in a hyperbaric chamber in Leicester trying to speed up the healing process so I can race in Assen in two weeks’ time. It’s a tall order, but I’m giving it everything.
Dealing with the pain of injuries has never bothered me. Coming from a household of bike racers, it’s part of our yearly routine; between me and Taz (better looking younger brother, Moto2 rider and reigning British Supersport champ) we’ve already had four visits to the hospital this season alone. There’s a severe lack of sympathy from my mum which is based around the fact that if you’re not able to make a cup of tea for yourself how are you supposed to race a 220bhp Superbike the following week. Unfortunately for me it’s quite hard to argue that one.
Up until that moment I’d been having quite the month. I’d spent a week checking out the Suzuki Asian Challenge in Indonesia, which was unquestionably some of the best racing I’d seen in a long time. I came back from there to have an average race weekend at Cadwell Park and then I visited the British Grand Prix to watch my brother Taz do his thing.
Disappointingly, he crashed out which was a real shame as he’d been having a good weekend up until that point. Following the GP I spent the next five days at Silverstone on the launch of the new GSX-R 125. It was a whirlwind month that was topped off by bagging one of my best qualifying performances of the year at Silverstone.
Mother Nature unleashed its worst just before race one, leaving half of the track wet and the other half dry. Everyone sat on the grid in two minds as to what to do. I opted for intermediate tyres and finished seventh overall, I was chuffed with that. That left me in eighth position on the grid for race two at which point it all went tits up. So from watching the youth in Asia, to sitting in an oxygen tank, I’d say it’s been a pretty rounded month. Who knows what next month’s got on the cards. We’ll find out soon enough.
Taylor,before he launched himselfskywards.
Taylor’s gettingusedto puttinghis feet up. Showingthe MotoGP boys who’sboss.