Club race nerves experienced in the past have got nothing on what’s going on in my brain and stomach right now as we get ever closer to riding with Rossi at the TT.
The nerves are getting ever bigger as I realise that the day I’ve spent my whole life waiting for is getting closer.
In fact, it’s now just five days away until I ride our long-term test Yamaha R1 alongside the world’s two greatest riders in history – Mr Valentino Rossi and Mr Giacamo Agostini. On closed roads. At the Isle of Man TT. In front of 40,000 fans with a bike mounted with TV cameras.
I swear that getting married and having twins didn’t raise my stress levels as much as the thought of this.
It’s the biggest feature of my life and it’s down to me not to mess it up, and that’s without being terrified about the ride, and make sure I don’t go goggle eyed and speechless when I meet him! So it’s no wonder I can’t concentrate on anything else right now.
I know that thousands of you would swap in an instant and I understand how lucky I am to be in the position to do this lap, but honestly I haven’t slept properly for weeks, and my eye bags are testimony to that.
But it’s not just me, I’m just a very small part in the PR machine. It’s the police who will escort him, the TV cameras and photographers that will follow him. The man who will fly the plane, the TT organisers who will look after him, the Dainese team who made it all happen, and the man cooking his Manx Queenie scallops that are all getting increasingly nervous.
There are rumours that Prince William and Harry have made covert missions to the Isle of Man TT in the past, but this time The King truly is coming to the Island.
The plan for me is to get to the Island on Friday morning and at least do one lap on a bike so I can slightly get my eye in before the 11.15am start at the Grandstand on Saturday morning.
In the last week I’ve done two track days, one on my 1992 Blade, and one on a new GSX-R1000 to get my eye in. Although I don’t expect the lap to be manic, too many miles on a BMW R1200GS Adventure mean I needed to get back up to speed with a 170-bhp bike.
I’d love to know what Rossi is feeling right now, but the answer is it’s probably a hot young blonde, not trepidation mixed with excitement. In fact, I doubt it’s even registered in his brain that he’s coming to the Isle of Man this weekend, and I’m sure he’s certainly not stressed about it.
But part of me secretly hopes he’s sat at home right now playing TT computer games and watching on-board laps. Wouldn’t that be great?
- Riding with Rossi at the TT was made possible thanks to a partnership between MCN, Yamaha, the Isle of Man Government and of course the TT Official Safety Partner, Dainese, who made it all happen.
You can read the full story in next Wednesday’s MCN, on sale June 10. And keep clicking back as it happens for more updates and blogs from MCN editor Marc Potter.