Motocross

Bring me sunshine

Bring me sunshine

Gordy’s been testing in sunny SoCal and France as he puts the finishing touches to his pre-season programme CALIFORNIA IS the Mecca of the MX world – dirtbike heaven if you like – and with all the glorious sunshine and the famous Glen Helen Raceway just one of the spectacular tracks within a short drive it’s a perfect place. Or is it? While the facilities in SoCal are fantastic, the downside is that the average practice day is like going to a GP – where all the spectators bring their bikes along to ride on the same track as you during qualifying. A couple of years ago at Glen Helen I hit a fast jump and nearly landed on some poor sod that had crashed and was stuck under his bike. The look on his face was not a pretty sight as I narrowly avoided ruining his day. So yes, the weather is somewhat better than home but all is not greener on the other side of the fence… Our morning kicks off with the keener members of the team making an unearthly racket while they make breakfast. Now I’m not against eating breakfast – but at 6.30am? A very unnatural time to be eating if you ask me… We arrive at the track by 8am to discover that there are people riding already. As the morning moves on, the paddock fills up and riders of all shapes and sizes arrive to challenge the Glen Helen Raceway. From dawn until well after dusk we eat, ride, talk, adjust, ride, talk, ride, adjust, ride, talk, adjust, ride and sleep – all in the name of pre-season testing. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding my Honda – the bike is great this year and I can’t wait until March to see how I’ll fair against the elite of world MX. The engine’s so strong, yet so smooth. I feel really comfortable on the big four-stroke, it suits my riding style 100 per cent. It may take a while to get used to but this bike was made for me. Racing at GP level is about confidence – in your own ability and the capability of your motorcycle. I know that this year the opposition will be tough but I’m so up for it, it’s like starting out all over again – a whole new challenge. CAS Honda have always been a very professional team and now with official HRC backing the package is complete. Something that makes me even more motivated (if that’s possible) is reading the pre-season hype. The talk is of the Pichon, Everts, Smets battle. Well let me tell you, CAS Honda have our own plans for this year. While the world championship is the main focus, I want to win back the British title this year. Paul Cooper may have other ideas and Carl Nunn should go well now that he’s joined the MJ Church team but I want the title back. By the time you read this I’ll have collected even more frequent flyer stamps as we make our way back to Europe for yet more testing. France will become home for a while and testing with HRC on the hard-pack tracks is a must as many of the GPs will run in these conditions. There is a fair chance that I’ll also race at a couple of internationals in the lead up to the start of the GP season – Hawkstone Park should be on our schedule. It’s always a funny race and I have mixed feelings about it, on one hand it’s good to ride against some of the guys that I’ll be competing with in GPs, on another it’s not a real comparison of how fast everyone will be. The prospect of riding Hawkstone aboard my new Honda race bike does excite me – if I get a good start and ride at a comfortable pace you never know what could happen – but it’s not a world championship round so I’ll also have that in mind. No doubt things are starting to hot up as the new GP season is fast approaching and I can’t wait to get back into the thick of it! I know that I’ll be prepared as well as I’ve ever been to take on the best riders in the world. With Honda and CAS I’ll have the correct set-up and machinery to do the job – add to this a lot of hard work and a little luck and it’ll be a very interesting year indeed. Gordy