Sunday, 24 March 2013

BSB Testing & New Home Underway

Since I touched down in February, a lot has been going on in terms of organising my life for the coming season, but none of those have dominated my thoughts more than the first time I got to get on the new bike!

Fortunately it's been a good start, working with my new team has been an absolute pleasure so far. Mark and the MWR Kawasaki boys and girls have welcomed me and the excitement in the team is great for me to see as I feel they all believe in me and are 100% behind my championship push this year. Thanks guys!

Our first shakedown was at the opening Official British Super Bike test at Donington Park, a track that will always be stuck in my memory as my first BSB level win last year in the Triumph Triple Challenge.
Making sure I didn't let that affect me and see me put it in the gravel, I just circulated to feel my around the new bike, and I had forgotten how ridiculously fast these modern 1000cc bikes are...

The day went well working with my new crew chief, Dan Edlin and my mechanic, Taka Inufusa, as we ironed out a few teething problems with the new bike and got started on my settings. We ended with some good times and more importantly, good data!

Next up was Brands Hatch BSB test, where a rain soaked track saw us fiddle most of the day with our wet set up. We made some changes in different areas of the bike and tested a few new parts, which gave me some great track time to get used to the bikes handling and power in the wet. A very close companion of mine is now the Kawa's brilliant traction control system, which I made sure was working hard with me trying to put down nearly 200hp on wet tarmac!

After lots of fiddling and adjustments, we managed to secure the fastest STK1000 lap time! But more exciting for us, was that we managed to get 2nd in the Superbike class on our Stock bike!!! Australian Josh Waters on the Factory Yamaha R1 Superbike was fastest, us 2nd, and MotoGP rider James Ellison on the other Factory Yamaha in 3rd! That's a time sheet I'm framing for my bar one day...

We concluded the successful test and headed for Snetterton to start our two day test there.

Unfortunately the weather never played its part as we woke up to freezing temps and snowfall. We waited it out but the weather was set in and forecasted clear day the next day but still barely above freezing. We decided to call it a day as the conditions were not good for any constructive testing and the risk of incident was pretty high so close before the first race. We debriefed and left the circuit with a great atmosphere after our first two outings on the bike.

My next mission was move in to the new apartment, which is a beauty of place in a modern apartment building in the city of Nottingham, really happy to have found it! But as usual with estate agents I've dealt with, their are many empty promises that I am fighting with them over now, but that's another blog's story...

We have our first race coming up in 2 weeks at Brands Hatch on 7 April - Looking forward to it!

Cheers for now,

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Hello England!

In February, the time came around for me to hop back on the plane to the UK for my second race season in the British Super Bike series. After a long duo of flights via Dubai, I landed in an icy London Heathrow Airport, snuck through customs and hauled my 30kg bag onto the tube and on to Wimbledon to meet Bjorn, Tammy, Paul and Mat Borra for a big reunion!

I dropped my bags, picked up a laptop and bought my ticket to see Nitro Circus Live, Travis Pastrana's wild crew of some of the most talented bike/car/tricycle/anything Pros to attempt a world record of the most number of simultaneously back-flipping motorcycles! We headed to the O2 Stadium in London and watched the crazy sight of 16 bikes landing that new world record, followed by a 3D showing of their new movie in the massive movie house! Great welcome back to England:)

The next morning, BJ and I headed up to Colchester to collect my van and poor caravan after a cold and snowy winter...I wasn't expecting the best from the contents of the van. BJ grabbed his things and headed back to London before his testing in Spain, and I started the journey up north to Chester.

Fortunately Jason and Donna Davis were good enough to offer me a room in their home while I find a place to stay. They welcomed me warmly and entertained me even better! The next evening Jay and I went to visit my good Aunty Kath and Uncle Keith for some hearty supper before heading into town for the festive Saturday night, a good evening all together!

Monday saw Jay and I meet my team boss, Mark Webster, in Manchester for the first time. A chat about our upcoming season, racing and all things motorbikes kept us all in conversation. It's safe to say we are all looking forward to get the season underway already!

I started the trips into the Midlands viewing flats and houses, starting in my original first choice - Derby. What a disappointment! Not the cleanest or best city I've come across by a long way. Next stop was Ashby (Ashby-De-La-Zouch). This is a nice little town in the rural midlands, good spot and good houses! But the one who won me over was the beautiful Nottingham, a real stunner of a city! It's full of history and old castles along with Robin Hoods Sherwood Forest. Driving through the city, I really enjoyed the ultra modern buildings mixed with the historic buildings, all clean and well maintained. So I now have a short list and some viewings coming up this week in some of the sleek, modern apartment blocks in the city center - quite a change of lifestyle but I'll give the city boy thing a go!

After one of the day trips into the Midlands, I decided to make a pit stop at Oulton Park race track before getting back to the Davis' - a very good decision. The British GT Championship cars were testing, a flock of stupidly fast Le Mans GT racers flying around Oulton! Ferraris, Porsches, Aston Martins, BMWs, McLarens, Ginettas, all blasting around while I drooled on the side of the track. The sights and sounds aren't nearly done justice in the videos!

That's about it so far, but next week sees us start our season officially with my first outing with the team at Donington Park for the Official BSB testing, well overdue in my books! Until then, I'll keep everyone up to date on my happenings on Twitter (@JamesEgan81) and Facebook (James Egan). Definitely give these videos a watch to hear those GT racers in action!

Cheers for now!