Tom Neave

Fast Bikes - - COLUMNIST -

I’ve just got back from our first test on the Honda Fire­blade Su­per­stock bike at Mon­te­blanco in south­ern Spain with the Honda BSB team and it’s back to re­al­ity with a bump. It was a two day test and it went re­ally well. It took a few laps to get my­self back onto the swing of rid­ing, and the Fire­blade is a lot dif­fer­ent to the Gixer, but once I had got my eye in I was lov­ing the Honda. Ev­ery­thing about it seemed ef­fort­less to ride so be­fore long I was re­ally ready to start push­ing the bound­aries and see­ing what the ’Blade could do.

The team were great too; they re­ally are as pro­fes­sional as you would ex­pect, but it’s still a pretty re­laxed at­mos­phere in the pit, which is good. My old me­chanic, Marsh, has come over to Honda with me and he is help­ing look af­ter me and my bike. I’ve also got Daz Ni­chol­son in my cor­ner and Paul Wil­liamson as my crew chief, who are all re­ally ex­pe­ri­enced work­ing with the Fire­blade. It was a mega test and we got loads of good laps in; by the end of it I felt re­ally good on the bike so I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting back out on it.

We have got an­other test at Mon­te­blanco in the New Year, that’s a three day test, and then it’s straight to Por­ti­mao, in Por­tu­gal for an­other two days on track. We have also got the of­fi­cial BSB test at Sil­ver­stone be­fore the sea­son so by the time we get to the first round we should re­ally be able to hit the ground rolling. I proved last year that I could be com­pet­i­tive hav­ing not re­ally rid­den prop­erly for months, so to be able to get all this test­ing in is amaz­ing, and should only give us a bet­ter chance. And the bike is great but there are a few bits that I’m sure we can im­prove – but that’s mainly just to get it to work as best as it can with my rid­ing style.

Now I’m home its back to work on the farm. It’s fairly quiet here as Timmy Tar­ma­cker, my twin brother, is out some­where pre­tend­ing he knows how to lay tar­mac, which makes a change from hav­ing him here strut­ting round the farm like he runs the place, boss­ing peo­ple around. Jok­ing aside, we do get on re­ally well, but it’s nice to be out of each other’s hair for once. He’s signed with Morello Rac­ing Kawasaki, and I’m with Honda so we are rac­ing with com­pletely sep­a­rate teams next year, but will still be on the same grid, so we are both pretty ex­cited about that.

By the time you’re read­ing this it will be the 2019, but as I write we are just get­ting ready for Christ­mas. The cows are all in­side now, fat­ten­ing them­selves up nicely on bar­ley and si­lage, but there are still plenty of jobs to do around the farm… I’ve left all the rub­bish jobs for Tim to do when he fin­ishes tar­ma­ck­ing for Christ­mas. Christ­mas should be good, as we al­ways go to my grand­par­ents’ house for Christ­mas din­ner, but I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting into the New Year and train­ing hard ready for the sea­son. It can’t come soon enough!

To m’s ‘back’ on a Honda.

More fun than feed­ing the cows.

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