For the fast ones
Knowing that I have made a conscious decision to stop racing just makes that need for adrenaline more sharp.
I console myself by thinking about what I have achieved during my race career. After my second year of racing I was interviewed by a photo journalist who was creating a video on bikers and I was the racer!
She asked my sponsor if he ever thought I would win a race and he said, "well I can see Duncan getting on the podium, but maybe not winning", I thought, "He's maybe right"
That very same year I got my first race win, my first 100mph lap of the TT circuit, my first championship win and 2nd in another championship. I was beginning to believe I could be the fastest man on the day.
The next year I went on to another Championship win and a bronze replica at the TT (10 days after having my wrist pinned!) and more race wins, (lots of them!)
That belief took me on to top 5 results in my first year on a 600, my first 110mph lap of the TT circuit and a 3rd place at the Ulster Grand Prix.
Roads were the way I wanted to go and therefore I couldn't say no to the offer of the two bikes to race a season in Ireland this year. A Bog standard ZXR 400 racing against GP250's, and A Bog standard GSXR600 against GSXR 750's.
But although the 400 was way down on power compared to the tuned SV650's and GP 250's it got me valuable track time and when I was out on the 600 my results got better and better: 7th at Tandragee, 4th at Athea and ultimately a pole position at the Skerries.
I went out on a high; Pole Position start and a race ending in a 130mph 20ft launch as me and the 600 parted company for the last time.
So how many lives do I have left?...who knows?
I'm busy trying to find something else to replace the adrenaline rush of racing and think I will have to admit, there is nothing that can.
My big test now is to keep my driving license while road riding.
I don't think I'll ever be far from racing and I'd like to think that I can put some of the experience I've gained over the years to good use, by perhaps helping others to achieve their goal. I would like to thank MAG, Trevor Baird and all the guys in the MAG sport team for the help . It has been a great privilege to race under the MAG sport banner. Keep up the good work guys.
For 2005 I progressed into the water-cooled class of the British Supermono Championship riding for the Rampisham Garage Racing Team. Team owner Brian Wyles bought Andy Marsden's Yamaha XTZ 686, and set about preparing the race bike. A successful shakedown run at Mallory in March for the bike and myself set me up perfectly for my first club meeting in April at my local Oulton Park. On a sunny spring day I took class wins in two races on the Single Cylinder.
The following weekend was the first meeting of the British Supermoto Championship. I made the journey to Brands Hatch, a circuit that I'd never ridden at before. The small Indy circuit took some getting used to after the long flowing Oulton Park and I didn't have the flying start to the season I was hoping for, but two steady finishes gave me some points towards the championship.
I went to the Donington park round in May with hopes of proving the bike on a track I knew, but no free practice and a rain shower just before qualifying saw me loose the front after 1 lap at Coppice, so I didn't record a qualification time. I had a brilliant start from the back of the grid and finished 4th in class. My confidence was boosted going into the Post TT meeting at Mallory Park and I qualified on the 3rd row of the grid. Kev Spurr of KS Performance helped me with set up and I finished 5th in class with a recommendation that we rebuilt the suspension as soon as possible.
Before journeying to South Wales for the Aberdare Park Road Races I was knocked off my road bike so I was feeling a little out of sorts, but I dusted of my Honda RVF 400 & had a great time on both bikes around the twisty country park circuit. We were due to compete in the Superbike Grand National at Castle Coombe in July on the Supermono but my wife Charlene went into labour and the weekend was spent in hospital and Jack Castle was born on Sunday.
I was lucky to be joined at Mallory in August by Duncan Baillie's mechanic Neil Black, with his help and the newly rebuilt suspension, I finished on the podium for the first time in the water-cooled class, a season high so far and a real feeling of progress. Snetterton in September produced two 5th place finishes and showed up a lack of power, which was highlighted by the long straights. I went into the final meeting at Cadwell Park in October in 7th place in the championship. I was amazed when I qualified on the front row of the grid on old intermediate tyres. I was glad when the rain came down for race one and I took an impressive 2nd place in class. Race two was a battle in dry conditions and I finished 6th in class, elevating me to 4th overall in the Water-cooled championship.
Thanks to all who helped me in 2005:
Brian Wyles - Rampisham Garage, Kev Spurr - KS Performance, Charlene, Richardsons Honda - Congleton, MAGSport Team, Eddie, Neil, Andy-Tim, Mike, The Davies Boys, Simon Ellison - Papillon Photo, Nick Western - Goodridge and all the competitors of the British Supermoto Championship.
Plans for 2006:
Brian Wyles is currently building an improved engine for the British Supermono Championship and the challenge will be to get into the top 3 in class.
Kev Spurr of KS Performance is supporting me at the Manx Grand Prix on a Yamaha R6 and my Honda RVF 400, which I rode to a podium finish in 2004. I also hope to make my debut at the Northwest 200.