I arrived at Brands Hatch on Thursday evening, found the rest of the guys in our garage and began unloading and setting up, having bumped into Ken Byrne who had very kindly supplied a spare set of wheels and race wets to complement my race spares pack.
The British Motorcycle Racing Club, or Bemsee, as it's sometimes called, are a really supportive club and, at my request, had allocated me an instructor for the following day's sessions to help dial me in quicker on the track. Before I'd even arrived at the track I'd had a system SMS from the club allocating the instructors and an SMS from Simon, the instructor in question. Pretty good service!
After a reasonable nights sleep I woke at 0530, courtesy of the track side crows that appear to live at Brands Hatch, but as I was well rested I got up and enjoyed the morning chorus and posted a short video on Instagram
The track configuration for the weekend is the Indy Circuit layout, which you can do in under 50 seconds on a 600, the track is less than 1.5 miles long and needless to say, is very busy with a lot bunching up in any of the 5 corners, so some serious spacial awareness is needed to get round safely.
I met up with Simon in the morning, had a brew and some breakfast together and got ready for our first session as 0915, we got out on track quickly and made the most of the 15 minute session with us both trading lead positions to get a good feel for areas for improvement on racing lines and braking points, after the track session we discussed these areas, with Simon giving me some great insight to the track.
Session two was looking good, with me applying the points Simon had given me in the first two laps, with the laptimes coming down quite dramatically on each lap of the circuit, however, at the start of lap three we met some traffic at Druids, which resulted in a racing incident between myself and another rider, with me unfortunately being highsided off my bike, landing on my shoulder and coming to a stop on the outer edge of the corner before the gravel trap.
I was unable to get up and move to safety as I wasn't sure what damage had been done to myself, short of being in some serious pain everytime I tried to move. Luckily for me the team at BMCRC has some fantastic staff volunteering as marshals, so I was in very good hands, being protected by them, then scooped up by the medical team at the track and whisked off to the on site Medical Centre.
After a thorough stay in the ICU for observation, I was deemed fit for release, with some damage to my ribs and shoulder, with a hefty supply of pain relief, I was transported back to the paddock to rest and inspect the damage to the bike.
The bike pretty much slid into the kitty litter and came to a halt, with the crash bungs doing what they are designed for and protecting the machine. Some minor work required to get that ready for the next round at Cadwell Park, but nothing major.
Unfortunately the pain and lack of mobility meant I had to withdraw from the weekends racing, for my own safety and that of the my fellow competitors, I thought it best I not be a liability on the track. So that ended my weekend at Brands Hatch. I opted to stay and hang out for the evening with the rest of the club, I needed to double check with the Doctor in the morning to see if I was fit for racing, however, that was a given that I wasn't going on track again that weekend.
Summary: Another disappointing weekend, it had so much potential too, I felt comfortable on the bike, having rectified the technical issues on the machine, I was confident I could place well on the races. It's annoying when the crash wasn't even my fault, but that is the nature of racing, it is inherently risky. All my focus now is on the race weekend at Cadwell Park in a round 3 weeks time.