And it was all going so well…
Breaking your pelvis in a foreign land isn’t the best start to a race season
Valencia circuit, 9.04am, Tuesday, February 21, 2017. It’s my third lap out and I’m pretty sure my Pirelli slicks are warm enough to start pushing. But I’m about to find out the rear is still cold.
Full lean into Turn 4, off the throttle. The back comes round, grips, flicks me unceremoniously into the crisp Spanish air and I slam down on to the tarmac. It’s not the best way to start my 2017 Thundersport GP1 Elite season.
Skimming across the track and through the gravel trap, I can’t believe I’ve damaged my brand new Prime Factors Motorcycles BMW S1000RR. I realise I’ve buggered myself when I attempt to stand up and can’t work out why I can’t. I’ve fractured my pelvis.
The next 15 hours see a painful schlepp from the circuit medical centre to Valencia A&E, then the local crutch shop (they don’t give them out at the hospital) and a twohour flight back to Gatwick, crammed into seat 24A.
It was all going so well. Good mates Bob Stockley and Paul Cooper had transformed my Beemer from showroom-fresh road bike to racer over the winter and at this two-day Bike Promotion trackday at Valencia we spent Monday dialling in the electronics, suspension and tried a few different settings. By the end of the day the S1000RR was raceready but you always want more, so Tuesday was all about tinkering to find extra speed.
I should’ve waited until the track warmed-up and skipped that first 9am session, just 20 minutes after the sun had come up. I should’ve wondered why the locals were still drinking their coffees in their pit garages in their civvies, bikes on stands and tyres in warmers. But hindsight is a wonderful thing…
I missed the first round at Brands a fortnight later, but made the next at Donington four weeks after the break, getting a fourth place and a couple of top 10 finishes. Hopefully that’s all the dramas over for the rest of the season.
‘I should’ve waited until the sun had warmed the Valencia track’