Ex-Grand Prix legend turned super-fast roadtester Niall Mackenzie has had a lapse of faith and now seeks repentance for his sins.
Forgive me father for I have sinned. These five words keep entering my mind as I come to terms with my recent self betrayal (that’s completely different from self abuse by the way). Since I first met Valentino Rossi at a Diadora barbecue near Imola back in 1994 I have had never once doubted his phenomenal ability and unique approach to racing. And I would happily have fought anyone bare knuckled that tried to tell me he was finished. So that’s why, when he decided he needed to swap from Michelin to Bridgestone to get the job done in 2008, I had total faith in his decision. Certainly more faith than I had in another Italian World Champion’s tyre switch I witnessed while riding in 500GPs back in the early nineties. Luca Cadalora decided that to win, he needed a a Dunlop front and a Michelin rear on his Marlboro Yamaha, something I don’t think even Rossi would get away with now. Cadalora didn’t win, which I always found a shame as the tyre company ‘hat fight’ at the podium would have been worth watching.Back to this year and after three races without Vale challenging for wins I’m ashamed to say for the first time in 12 years, my belief faltered. Not my confidence in his riding, but after losing the 2007 title and Rossi dumping them, underestimating just how hard Michelin would work to win back the Championship and prove a point in the process. So after the opening Moto GP wins of the season going to Ducati, Honda, and Yamaha respectively (even worse, the latter was a Yamaha on Michelins) I really thought for this year at least, the dream might be over.After three straight wins and the championship lead I realise now he wasn’t concerned with his steady start to the year, as first it was essential to gather set up information while racing in order gain strength as the season progressed. I’ve promised the big man upstairs if I’m forgiven for my slip then it will be blind faith now until Vale retires, and if you happen fancy a fight you know exactly where to find me!
Being a selfish male totally obsessed with bikes both at work and play I often over look the needs of my family when it comes to holidays. Having been reminded about this recently (a hot curling tong on my nipple did the trick) I decided to put a bit of time into finding an inexpensive break in the sun over the next mid term school break. Initially, there seemed to be countless options but then the cheap flights didn’t work out so cheap (especially on half term where the prices seem to triple), the bargain car hire was miles from the airport, and you get what you pay for (normally salmonella) when it comes to cheap Spanish hotels. I had almost given up when I came up with a brainwave. And if you have a similar dilemma this might be the answer for you too. Over the past year I have been doing some track day instructing in Spain for Focused Events. Don’t ask me how they do it but for under £700 you get four days riding on some of the best Spanish tracks, flights, proper car hire, B& B at four star hotels and your bike shipped there and back. As four days riding can be hard work I noticed some of the lads had a day off on the beach (okay on the ale near the beach) and some went sight seeing with the family. On the riding days the family can spectate or sunbathe at the track or go to the beach, all you have to do book them on the cheaper non rider package. Get your shades packed Mackenzies, we’re sorted!
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