It’s hard to believe that 2017 is almost over, and it’s been a hell of a good one.
It has essentially been the year of the motorcycle as I travelled through central Europe for various track day events while beginning my journey on 2 wheels. If someone asked me 2 years ago what would I be doing in 2017, I would have likely told them ‘racing my 200SX’. I never would have thought that my CBR and X-11 would take such a primary role in my life; approximately 13,000 km handling my daily commute and trips, and 12 days on track.
A quick summary:
5 days at Franciacorta
4 days at Bresse
2 days at Magny Cours
1 day at Anneau du Rhin
Ride to Wheels and Waves in Biarritz
17 April: Franciacorta
The year started out with my first track day on my newly bought CBR1000RR at Franciacorta in April. It would be a short one as I had only booked 3 sessions of 20 minutes as it was only my second motorcycle track day and I wanted to get a feel for the new bike.
It was an awesome start of me discovering my love for the CBR, and I was slowly edging closer to putting my knee down for the first time. My body position was naturally terrible with everything still to learn ahead of me.
22-23 April: Franciacorta
Just a week later I was back at Franciacorta, but this time I was joined by four friends. It would be the first time putting my knee down on a bike, and what a scary but pleasing feeling it was.
Slowly working on my body position but still hopelessly clueless.
30 May: Anneau du Rhin
Things started getting a bit more serious now. I had a bit of track experience under my belt and spent most of the first half of the year commuting through Switzerland’s gorgeous roads. It was my first track day with tire warmers and what a game changer they were.
The bike was still pretty much stock up until this point as I didn’t really change anything and really only concentrated on myself.
10-11 June: Bresse
In June I was finally able to revisit the track where I did my first motorcycle track day. I now had the opportunity to measure myself and the gains I had made since first stepping on a bike. By this stage I was starting to get comfortable with the CBR and really appreciate it’s ability.
It was at this track day were I also began to actually feel the tires and their movement, but it really was just the beginning and I think it will require many years to fully understand.
14-18 June: Wheels and Waves
Straight after the track day at Bresse I rode from Switzerland to Biarritz on an Indian Springfield; my first long distance trip covering over 2,600 km. I took to the road alone and joined up with a few friends and colleagues over the week long event.
29-30 July: Magny Cours
Our weekend at Magny Cours was an important one for many reasons; it allowed us to spectate the 500 mile endurance race, weather conditions were mixed and it was the first world class track I would ride.
Our plan is to take part in amateur endurance races in the near future as it’s a challenging, fun and accessible way to fuel our competitive nature, and this weekend allowed us to both practice the track and watch the race. We were able to ‘spy’ on many teams and get an understanding of what it takes to participate.
The weekend was also subject to some rain, which despite me never actually riding in the rain, allowed me to practice wheel changes while reacting to weather conditions.
The CBR1000RR also got some new clothes and was transformed into a track only bike while shaving 7kg.
9-10 September: Bresse
Back to Bresse for the second time in the year and we were faced with very mixed conditions. Hard rain on the first day and then clear skies on the second. This weekend would be my first experience on a wet track and it has really changed my perspective on it.
Going forward I like to think I’m not going to be as concerned with the weather forecast as the challenge and excitement of riding in the rain is something I hope will not deter me.
I was also pleased that I was finally able to put my elbow down, almost exactly a year after my first track day on 2-wheels.
7-8 October: Franciacorta and Time Attack
We ended our 2017 season with a bang by taking part in our first competitive motorcycle event. The Saturday was an always awesome open pit-lan format and Sunday was the final round of Franciacorta’s Time Attack championship. I also switched to GP shift setup.
Racing in a competitive setting was a great experience and it gave us that extra pressure to push ourselves a little further. We broke our personal bests while having an amazing time. We’ll definitely be back again next year.
Let’s hope 2018 will be as awesome as this year.