That bloody hurt that did.....
If you're gonna race, you're gonna crash...
I think I read that somewhere before I started racing, probably Roger Fords site. Anyway, I've been reading Niall
Mackenzies book and he reckons he's crashed something like 400 times. So, here I will list my crashes, what I
learned, what I hurt and what it cost.
Crash 1 - Llandow - February 2002
It was wet. I had new EBC discs and HH pads and it was raining. Every lap the brakes got better and I got quicker until I
eventually locked the front and off I went. What I learned was to take your time to bed new pads in and that
braking in the wet is a two-step process. One moves the weight forward and two slows the bike. Try to do one and two
together and you can overload the front and crash. I think I read all that on Rogers site too. I was just a bit sore
for a few days. Damage was a ruined lid, holed engine case, broken lever and scuffed leathers. Total cost: £280
(helmet £200, case £35, lever £5, leathers sewn up £40)
Crash 2 - Pembrey - March 2002
It was wet again. I went into Honda too hot and ran wide and decided to pick it up. As soon as I hit the wet grass
the tyre wall started to come at me and I jumped off. I should have tried to make the corner and would have low-sided.
As it was I was in a bad way. Nothing broken but my shoulder and ribs took a pounding, two weeks on the sofa for me and
couldn't drive for another 2. Didn't ride for something like 8 weeks and still see a chiropractor every three months now.
As for the bike, top fairing, screen, clocks, and a couple of brackets were destroyed. Total cost £ongoing (fairing £150,
clocks £15, brackets £30, chiropractor @ £30 every 3 months).
Crash 3 - Pembrey - August 2002
It was slightly wet - can anyone see a pattern developing here? I tried to go around the outside of 3 bikes on the
first left of Dibeni when the rear started spinning. I kept it pinned and did a pirouette, eventually leaving the track
sliding backwards. The crash bung dug in and the bike flipped. I was pretty much unhurt. I learned not to be throttle
gready on the outside of a turn in the wet. Total cost £120 (engine case £35, screen £25, tape/fibre glass kit/araldite £10
leathers sewn up £50)
Crash 4 - Keevil - April 2003
It was wet the night before but to be fair the track was pretty dry now. In practice I passed Martin Wilson on the
brakes and then John Rees was turning in. I braked harder and harder until I had to tip in and then I lost the front.
Thankfully I just missed John. I wasn't hurt at all, the bike was okay but my helmet had had it. I learned to look at
more than just the rider in front when passing on the brakes and also if you have a spare crash helmet you should pack it,
not leave it at home. Total cost £70 (helmet from A&R racing £70).
Crash 5 - Pembrey - August 2003
It was dry. Well, it started spitting just after I fell off but it soon stopped. Going into a right hander on the
first lap and Ryan Hilligen crashed about 5 bikes in front. The riders ahead of me all sat up and braked but I was
still in the corner so as I sat it up I ran into the back of Dave Gwyther and over the bars I went. Took some skin
off my hand as my glove came off, swollen ankle and very sore ribs. Bikes done an engine case and my helmets had it.
It was almost unavoidable, the only thing I learned was to do up both straps on my gloves before I go out, I usually
just do up the wrist one and have the back of the hand where it was when I took them off. Total cost £200 (leathers
sewn up £60, engine case £35, DZU's £5, helmet £100).