GC’s flat-out in Spain running his winter training camps and preparing for a new season with his new Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing team…
Firstly can I promote some very important health advice? Conor Campbell and Warren Clarke attended the first of my three 2011 winter motocross camps in Murcia and right now I’m lucky to be alive having dangerously decided to sit between them on an Easyjet flight from Alicante to Belfast. Flying I regard as being relatively safe – inhaling the toxic fumes that these two ‘athletes’ produced while trapped in a pressurised aircraft cabin at 30,000 feet is most certainly high-risk living and surely very harmful for your general well-being.
I am delighted to say I love my new Suzuki RMZ450. I have put around 15 hours hard riding in on the bike in stock trim. With the bike being developed by great champions such as Ricky Carmichael, Steve Ramon, Ryan Dungey and Chad Reed you can see how the Japanese Suzuki staff have arrived with a race winner right out of the crate.
In 2011 I will race for Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing in the Maxxis British championship and the Red Bull Pro Nationals. The team is based in Northern Ireland and I will have Mel Pocock as my team-mate. Mel will contest MX2. Philip Neill and Adam Lyons are both former racers and I will benefit from their track experience when they fill their roles as Team Owner and Team Manager.
Mel has youthful exuberance and I can enjoy his teenage enthusiasm on any days when it seems arthritis is aching throughout my bones. My other fix to get around that feeling is to go round the paddock and talk to current fellow racer Mark Eastwood about how I used to watch him race in 1990 and got his autograph between motos at Elsworth Moto Parc. That proves to me I’ve still plenty of years left in me yet on the startline.
I’m 32 now – Everts and Smets were still winning world titles at 34 – and 2011 will be my 15th year contesting the British championship. I started on Yamaha in ’97, then Honda, had one year on KTM, went back to Honda, then Yamaha again, then Honda again, then Kawasaki and now Suzuki. I’ve had my own little personal shoot-out. Consider my enduro and GNCC antics too where I raced BMW, Gas Gas and Husqvarna. Being the hoarder that I am I have collected quite a few team jackets in my wardrobe.
Race gear and associates for 2011 will be Alpinestars apparel and boots, Troy Lee crash helmets, Spy goggles plus Dial a Watch.co.uk Rolex and Lo Lease Options.co.uk vehicle support.
At every logistical opportunity possible I intend to race at home in the Irish and Ulster championships. With the backing of my team I am looking forward to the home races being much easier to complete as they will take care of all the hassle I have always been faced with doing the races on my own. We will be the official Suzuki GB motocross team so for sure the priority is the Maxxis British title and the Red Bull Pro National title, however, I as a rider am always motivated to win regardless of what race it is. Again as time allows I will look to do KWS British Masters rounds also.
The other morning I had a conversation-stopping moment. Sitting at 80mph on the motorway in Spain, the Sprinter van which was full to the roof with bikes and kit incurred a rear wheel blow-out. It was just after 7am and my tired eyes almost popped out of my head when I had to steer the three-wheeled wagon as straight as I could to a safe spot on the hard shoulder. Such drama is never welcome, that I knew already FFS!
Fast forward two weeks and I’m back in Spain at camp two. Graeme Irwin, Conor Campbell, Darren Grills, Iain Dobie, Warren Clarke, Ryan Adair, Kieran Clarke and myself have all been enjoying the weather, tracks, food, general group craic and banter. Each morning Graeme and I start our coastal seapath/beach run at 7:45am. It’s just coming daylight and when the sun comes up the solar power kicks in and we are gifted an energy boost from the rays. A pre-breakfast run sure does get the appetite turned on full and we load up our intake as soon as we’re back to the hotel. The group travel to the track each morning and we are on the bikes around 11am each day. The choice of tracks is good and we have eight to select from within roughly an hour’s drive.
I have the London O2 SX this Saturday and I’ll fly from Alicante late on Friday night. I’m going to race a Suzuki RMZ250F for Relentless by TAS. This will be our first event of many so I’m looking forward to getting started. The line-up is pretty hot and I’ll do my best to be up front. I’ve never rode a 250F Suzuki but I have great faith that the package will be a strong contender.
It’s time for me to get my kit on and put in some laps with the guys. Kieran has a 250 two-stroke and he’s ripping around on it right now. The note out of it is seriously making me want one. You can tell exactly what he’s doing with the throttle just by listening. It’s mega. I love them. Adios! El Gordo…