I don’t catch all of the Moto GP races as they happen these days. Often as not it’s ‘On Demand’ that does the biznez for me.
But – I was taking the racing live today when I heard our ‘still fast’ presenter Neil Hodgson say he’s been riding Jerez track for twenty two years and I can vouch for that as he had two years as a teenager in the 125cc class before he outgrew the little bikes.
Then in 1995 he jumped on a 500cc Roc Yamaha to fight it out with the big boys. I should know for I was there as part of his team twenty years ago and actually strapped up his foot and ankle in that first ‘Training’ session at Jerez prior to the season proper when Neil found that 500’s can bite – especially on cold tyres.
What do I know about First Aid? Not a lot.
I didn’t know much about cooking either twenty years ago but still managed to feed the troops – work on the race bike – mix the two stroke fuel – take care of the tyres – drive the truck and do many of the other thousand and one things that needed doing along the way.
My time in Moto GP didn’t last long. I did the Australian – Malaysian – Japanese and Jerez (Spanish) races.
Not a lot – but – enough for me to be able to say that twenty years ago – ‘I was there’.
In fact I had actually retired for the first time the year before and scouted out an old farmhouse down in Andalucia where I might put down roots. I had some idea at the time that I would eke out a living catering for the off-road boys by providing dirt bikes and tours in the mountains in the fifty mile stretch between Granada and the Med.
I spent several weeks down there looking at properties – riding the trails on my GS and trying to find out the rules and regs about off-roading in that part of the world. Somewhere along the way I formed the opinion that unlike the mountains to the north of Madrid where the polis are issued with off-road bikes to hunt down illegal trail riders – down south – attitudes were more laid back.
No doubt the local farmers would have pointed me in the right direction. They are quite handy with their shotguns.
But – my trail blazing venture never got off the ground. On my return to the UK someone had said the right things to me and once again I was involved in the world of motorcycle racing and everything else went ‘oot the windae’.
From a drawing of our 500cc ROC Yamaha raced by Neil Hodgson in 500GP against Mick Doohan – Revvin Kevin Swantz – Daryl Beattie – and several more quick boys in 1995 —
I have no regrets about my passion for motorcycling although I must admit my wise old auntie was close to the mark when I visited her in Sydney all those years ago. Her words – still in her Aberdeen accent even after fifty years in Oz – ‘the Harleys (bikes) will nae keep ye warrm at nicht Danny’ – have more than a grain of truth in them.
No worries – after watching Lorenzo and the boys fight it out on the box earlier this afternoon I popped my camera in my pocket – jumped on the Ten and rode off to play out the back. There was a glimmer of blue sky at one stage but the sun had gone awol 🙂