A fairly up and down week all in all. We went down to Cardiff too get ready for the Grand Prix on the Wednesday as Sophie has family down there, so it was unusually relaxing for the middle of the season. We even managed a trip to Barry Island, but no sign of Gavin or Stacey.
Friday was practice day at the Millennium Stadium and there was the usual press conference, interviews and a photo shoot with Miss Wales, it’s all good publicity, not just for me, but speedway as a whole. I was happy with everything in practice, the bikes and the set-up all felt good. We went straight from the stadium for an early bite to eat and an early, chilled night.
I strolled into Cardiff on the Saturday and the atmosphere was fantastic, it’s great to see so many people congregating in one place for a speedway meeting. It can be a bit of a double edged sword though as although people want to give you words of encouragement, which is nice, you don’t get much privacy. So I just kept my head a little low – it’s finding a happy medium really. I went to the stadium just to chill out.
The meeting itself was awesome, the crowd, the noise the atmosphere was just the best – until the Final. I wont dwell on that as it still hurts. During the meeting I know that I was on-the-pace and as quick as anybody. On the night I had beaten or led everyone in the final at some point. So I’ll look at the positives at how I got to the Final, the way that the bikes were, the way that I rode and how I felt on the night. When I touched the tapes I just wheelied away as it was a release really. It was a bloody good start as well, just a shame that the other three weren’t with me!
Afterwards it was mixed emotions, with lots of words of support. On the Sunday we had an afternoon meeting with Eastbourne against Belle Vue, so I was up against Jason (Crump) again and he was really on fire from the night before. We had an easy win and I was able to test a few new things with the bike and I still scored 12 points, so that was constructive.
We went to Sweden for a meeting on the Tuesday, I had bike problems in my first race and after that the meeting was going good. I had a second and a paid win – and then a crash. It was a racing thing, partly my fault. I clipped Daniel Nermark’s wheel going into the corner on the second lap. I was going into the corner to go wide and to cut back, as I was so much quicker, but he unexpectedly shut off but I was already committed to going from the inside to the outside, and when I caught his wheel it straightened me up and I was heading for the fence. We were going pretty quick at that point so I just had to bail out and get off the bike as best I could. We went into the fence pretty hard and that was it.
I was taken to the hospital but there was such a long queue and I had to be up early the next day so I decided not to bother and go straight to Brian Simpson when I got back. I found out that I have a separated shoulder, which is muscular and ligament damage. So I just have to give it rest, I can’t ride as I would just struggle to be competitive. Although I always come back as soon as I can, you just don’t want to come back too soon. The plan is to take the weekend off and come back in Sweden next Tuesday, so hopefully I will only miss three meetings. So not the week I hoped for, but it’s certainly been eventful!