I’m on a flight to the US for a vacation along with Pippa and I’ve spent the past few hours rearranging my helmet design for the season ahead. I’m sticking with the basic design but there’s a few alterations to be made as I was never 100% happy with last year’s design. Shortly I’ll lay back and watch a movie and by then we should have arrived at our destination. It’s a hard life.
I really enjoyed the festive season having spent Christmas at Pippa’s parents’ home in England before returning to Northern Ireland to see out 2011. Whilst I was in England I went trials riding every other day with Pippa’s step-brother Lee. The trials facility at North East Karting is excellent and it’s got me thinking about adding a few tractor tyres and skips to the garden so that I have my very own trials arena! I’m not sure Pippa or the neighbours would be so keen on it though. Trials riding is my favourite off-road pastime because of how much your body position affects the handling. I’m a guy who thrives on repetition (my job is to go round in circles continuously) so I’m happy to attack the same obstacle a couple hundred times before moving on to another. It is bordering on the definition of insanity but hey, we’re all not so far away from there.
I also took in a cross-country MX race the other day but that didn’t work out so well. I’d competed in the event twice before, once on an MX bike and the other time on an enduro bike. Both times I’d enjoyed myself even though the ground had been frozen solid with frost. This time around I was riding a motocross bike and the temperature was slightly above zero which caused big issues for my machine. Mud just gathered on the tyres and on some parts of the course it felt like I was riding on slick tyres! It was pretty dangerous so I had to tiptoe my way around. I snuck out on my friend Barney’s enduro bike for two laps which was tons more fun and had the potential to lap a minute faster over a two mile course. Nevertheless the craic was good in the pit area which is half the battle.
It’s been seven weeks since my last blog entry and in that time my sister Catherine got married. An Irish wedding party is always entertaining and this one was no exception. That’s three of the siblings married and settled down so the pressure is now mounting on us other three. I’ve got a world title to win before I even think about that sort of thing so for now it’s head down and blinkers on! I enjoyed another successful test aboard the Aprilia at the end of November and it was great to have all my crew around me for the first time. I’ve brought Marcus Eschenbacher and Phil Marron along with me to Aprilia and already the Noale guys have made us feel a part of the team. My next outing will be in Phillip Island where we have five days of testing planned before the race weekend even begins so I’m looking forward to working on the perfect lap of the circuit. Like I said, repetition is my thing!
May I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2012.