There’s no such thing as downtime for the technical staff in a professional race team. Even on a disgusting wet, cold day in the middle of nowheresville Spain, when the track’s too slippery for the rider to even contemplate going on track, you’ll see the staff togged up with double jackets, beanies and gloves, beavering away on bike preparation.
It never ceases to maze me that ‘the work’ is never done no matter what team, what level. There is always something that needs fettling. Even when it’s too cold for people like us to think, let alone work.
So it was no surprise really to see the Samsung Suzuki boys turn their attention to doing all the fine-detail work in the windswept pit garage at Guadix today. The mechanics worked on things like tidying up new wiring looms. The data guys…well scanned data.
And while John Hopkins and Jon Kirkham couldn’t get out on track first thing, team manager Jack Valentine was talking, what we had been viewing as a whole sorry, miserable day for us wanting to see bikes on track, actually being a very productive exercise for his crew.
Being a cup half-empty kinda guy, I love the positive nature of racing people. The can-do attitude is just the most refreshing aspect of our sport.
Even Guadix track owner exhibits the same attitude. I guess it’s no surprise really, since Clive Greenhalgh is a former car racer, but his cup was definitely half full when he scanned the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range in the distance and pronounced, ‘we’ll see some bikes on track this afternoon.’
We did a complete 360 scan of the horizon and saw nothing but big black clouds rolling off the slopes, dumping snow on the high ground and horrible cold rain on the foothills as it carved a relentless path.
He argued that the chink of light between two distant mountain peaks was better weather on the way. He was spot on. We’d gone back to the hotel to get some work done (trying to live up to the race team’s impressive ethos of course) and at 4.00pm Jack’s txt pops up on my phone ‘we’re on track’ – even though it’s still raining in downtown Guadix.
And that hour or so of track time was absolutely maximised, even though the track surface was like a skating rink. By the time we got there, Kirkham had finished his run but Hopper was still out there cutting laps. I love his style. Can’t wait to se him in action at BSB.
Both rider’s bikes soaked up vital electronics information and by the end of the session, the track was dry enough in places to allow Hopper to do a few practice starts. Job done. Data in the bank.
They’re hoping to get on track tomorrow. The forecast was 75% chance of rain initially but that had improved to 55% by the end of today. I think that’s just racers putting on positive spin.
For us it makes no difference. We’re off to Malaga tomorrow. First thing. Flight back home. It’s been one hell of a trip.