Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Legendary Weekend.

Over the weekend I had a British Championship at Farleigh Castle, one of the oldest motocross tracks in England (and the world for that matter). I was so nervous going into this race because after my crash at Foxhill I had a slim lead of only 7 points in the championship. I knew I needed a good day to extend my lead over my competition, but I had no clue if I could do that considering that I have no experience on a proper old school scrambling track like Farleigh.

My only knowledge of the track at Farleigh came from watching the GP where Dave Thorpe crashed in the first turn and came back to win the moto from dead last over the best 500cc riders in the world. Having seen that moto I knew that there was some sort of secret to this place and obviously Thorpe had it dialed.

Practice went well. The track was really slick and I had to be ever so careful in the grass sections just to stay upright. The woods section was already getting gnarly only after 10 minutes of riding. I came out of the time practice with pole going into the all-important Superpole lap. I knew I needed a good lap to get that inside gate which is so important at Farleigh. I rode super cautious and was only able to get 2nd to Martin Barr who put in a killer lap and took the pole spot.

At the start of the first moto I was surprised to see him not choose the inside gate which left it wide open for me. I pulled the holeshot and got a comfortable lead straight away! I took the opening moto win by a few seconds over 2nd place and was happy to get a solid moto in to start the day off.

In race 2 pole sitter Barr decided it was time he took the inside gate. So I lined up just beside him. We came together a bit and I found myself about 15th on the first lap. I started to work my way up through the pack but after only two laps the race was red flagged because the Maxxis arch had fallen in the track. It seemed as if luck was on my side, so I took full advatage of my second chance and pulled the holeshot. I got a comfortable lead and took another moto win.

In race 3 I pulled another holeshot and rode smart to my 3rd win of the day. Farleigh was my second triple win of the year. I can't say enough about how awesome the track was prepared and what an awesome experience I had. The track is a legend-- it's one of a kind and there will never be another like it. I really hope it's on the schedule again next year. I must say that on Sunday my bike was pretty amazing. It was such a horsepower kind of track and I never felt short on power that's for sure. Everyone on the team and all the guys at Cosworth have worked so hard to get to this point and I cant say enough how much I appreciate it.
I quickly left after the podium ceremony because I had some laundry to do before leaving for Brazil. What a reality check! LOL! I got it all done, finished packed, and got to bed at a decent hour. 5 o'clock came early though and the next thing I knew was on a free First Class upgrade thanks to Delta! I arrived in Atlanta at 1:30 EST and my flight to Brazil didnt leave for 8 hours. Being the star that my girlfriend Brittney is, she drove all the way to Atlanta and picked me up and we spent the day together.

Once I got back to the airport I met up with my friend Russell. We had dinner then boarded the plane to Brazil. Russell comes with me to some of the GP and it's always good to have someone with military experience with you when you're going to crazy places! We arrived in Campo Grande (where the race is going to be held) on Tuesday at around noon.

Wow! That's all I can say about this place so far. It's so different from what I had pictured, but it's going to be a good experience I'm sure. On Thursday I'm going on a Youthstream media trip to a Brazilian Ranch for some fun. Pictures soon!

Thanks so much for reading!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

After spending the week in Belgium after the GP in Lommel, Mel and I traveled to Loket, Czech in his camper on Thursday. We had agreed to take turns driving, but when my friend Jason Dougan and I got Mel sucked into a good prank using Blackberry Messenger, I did most of the driving. It was worth every mile though! We got him so good! When we arrived in Loket, it was raining. It actually rained for most of the day on Friday, too. The decision to continue on with the program was made early on Saturday morning and they ended up having to alter the schedule for the weekend's events.

On Saturday morning in the free practice session I actually had the fastest time. In the timed practice session, which was used to replaced the qualifying race, I had the 4th best lap time giving me 4th gate pick for Sunday.

The track in Loket is usually really slippery and hard-pack, but when it began drying out on Sunday it became rutted and really one-lined. The start is a very difficult one as it is uphill and the first corner is a left-hander, but the track conditions made the start even more important than usual. In the first moto I didn't get the best of starts, but I ran within the top 10 for most of the race. I ended up finishing the moto in 11th position. I finished the second moto in 8th position which was an improvement but definitely not what I had expected going into the weekend.

To be honest, I am still struggling quite a bit with the effects of my concussion which happened at the British Championship round at Foxhill almost 3 weeks ago. I have been told by a doctor that the side effects of a concussion like mine can take up to two weeks to really emerge. During the motos this weekend I felt that after about 15 minutes I lost the mental capacity to really focus and concentrate which really hindered my performance. But after some much-needed rest this week, I feel that I am now on the up and up after three consecutive weekends of battling these side effects.

I have now made my way back to England for this weekend's British Championship at Farleigh Castle. Mel and I went riding today which was a lot of fun and the first time I've really felt like myself on the bike in a couple of weeks now. Having that feeling on the bike again was a huge confidence booster for me and I'm now really excited about this weekend's race.

I will let you all know how it goes. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

After taking the week off from riding to recover from the events of the race at Foxhills, Brittney, my mechanic, and I traveled over to Belgium on Thursday evening to prepare for the GP in Lommel a.k.a. Hell on Earth. My friend, Dr. Johnathan Edwards, arrived in Brussels on Friday morning and immediately began keeping track of my hydration levels and my food intake as the deep sand is especially draining.

After missing some valuable testing time in the sand through the week, it took some time to find the right gearing set-up and tire choice on Saturday. In the free practice session, I had the 9th fastest time, which was not too bad. In the pre-qualifying session, I had some clutch problems and came in after a couple of laps to grab my spare bike. The track was much rougher in that session and I struggled to find my rhythm on the track.

In the qualifying race, I had 17th gate pick. I got a so-so start but I got caught up in a pile-up in the third corner. I worked my way into 19th position by the end of the race. The first moto on Saturday was a nightmare. My 17th place finish was not the result of a lack of effort by any means. In fact, I think I was trying too hard. After getting a bad start I seemed to revert from the sand technique back to my traditional style which uses a lot of energy and just doesn't work.

In the second moto, I started in about 16th position. This time I acquired a rhythm with the track which allowed me to carry my speed through the turns and over the millions of bumps a bit better than before. I kept my head down and slowly but surely found my way into 10th position. On the last lap I battled with Arnaud Tonus until the last possible second to defend my position and finished the race in 10th place. I was pretty pleased with the result as I scored some valuable points and finished the day much better than it began. It's safe to say that I am happy to have that race out of the way as it is definitely the hardest one of the season for me.

On Monday morning I dropped Brittney off at the airport for her return to America after staying abroad with me for the past 9 weeks. As I was driving back towards Lommel, the tooth pain I had been experiencing since my crash at Foxhills became increasingly worse. When I reached Mel & Holly (my teammate and his girlfriend) and asked if there looked like something may be wrong with my tooth, they agreed it looked black. I remembered hearing about a dentist not too far away who had done some work for a friend of mine so I called him and arranged to see him later that evening. Next thing you know, I'm having a full-on root canal in Belgium! Apparently, when I crashed and displaced the tooth a bit, the blood was not flowing to the tooth properly causing the blood within the tooth to dry up, hence the black color. Fortunately, the tooth was saved and all is good. So, if you're ever in Belgium and need a root canal, I've got the guy for you to go to.

Today Mel and I did some cycling and then met up with my friend Jimmy Albertson to see a film, Knight and Day. Tomorrow we are riding here in Belgium and then on Thursday we begin making our way in the camper to Czech for the GP of Loket. I really enjoy the track there, so I'm hoping this weekend will go better for me.

As always, thanks for reading. Have a great week!