First Person - Glen Whitnall

...to crash a £37,500 Ducati Desmosedici in the UK goes to Glen Whitnall! The second person in Britain to take delivery of the madly-exclusive MotoGP bike explans that it doesn't matter, they're there to be ridden after all...

As I was flying through the air I thought ‘oh fuck,’ but when I woke up in the medical unit without my crash helmet on and a neck brace fitted my first thoughts were for the bike. I knew I hurt all over but I wanted to know how bad the Ducati was. One of the trackday organisers came to see me to see if I was all right and the first thing I said to him was ‘how’s the bike?’ He said ‘it’s not too bad, the damage is all down one side.’ Luckily I came off a bit worse in the accident than the Ducati.

It didn’t happen until about lunchtime on the first day. In the morning we had our briefings, the usual stuff, take it easy on the first day, learn the track. I’d been out a few times already on the bike and I thought I’d get one more session in before lunch. I went out, warmed the tyres up and was going well. I started to give it a bit more, and a bit more, and went around this left hander and I guess I gave it a bit too much of A handful. I remember the rear tyre  started spinning up then all of a sudden caught and threw me over the handlebars. I came down on my  head and hip and apparently was unconscious for over three minutes.

I waited about four years for the bike and after the guy in Scotland I was number two in the UK to take delivery of a Desmosedici, the first one in England. I was lucky, it cost me £37,500 because I ordered it before the price went up to over £40,000. The bike arrived 11th February but I didn’t register it until 1st March. It was always planed that I was going to take it on this trackday in Almeria. In preparation I had already done just over 500 miles on the road to get it through its first service before I put it on the truck to Spain.

It’s an absolutely fantastic bike to ride, like nothing else I have ever ridden. A missile. When I first went out on track a couple of guys were following me around and they said I looked uncomfortable around corners, but as the day went on the faster I rode it the better it got. If you ride it slow around a corner it does feel a bit lumpy but go faster and it’s awesome. And the sound with the race pipes on is amazing.

I’ve always had a thing for fast vehicles. I’ve also got a 999R and a few other bikes and fast cars. Last year I wrote off a DB7 on the way to pick up a new DB9. People say ‘why do you go so fast?’ but for me it’s just a buzz. Some people get their kicks other ways, I get mine by going fast. I love getting out on track.

Yeah, of course I’m upset to have crashed the bike but at the end of the day it’s a piece of metal, an expensive one, but still a piece of metal. Crashing isn’t something I wanted to do, and I’m annoyed with myself for doing it and wish I hadn’t, but I walked away and that’s all that matters. If you go on the track you have to expect something like that every now and then. I think I just didn’t give the Desmosedici as much respect as it deserved.

As for the bike, I haven’t got a quote through yet for the damage but I know that it’s going to be more or less a full fairing and seat unit, a clip-on, new throttle, front brake, rear brake, peg, basically all down one side. The only part of the fairing that isn’t marked is one panel on the other side. I haven’t got a clue when the parts are going to arrive, I phoned my dealer, Pro Twins, on the Monday morning as soon as I got back and they said it might take some time to get the bits in. I don’t think the new fairing will arrive until Christmas, if I’m lucky.

But as soon as the Ducati is fixed I’ll be back out on track with it, and I’ll ride it on the road. At the end of the day if I wanted to just look at it all day I’d get a picture of one in my garage. It’s there to be ridden, I can’t understand people who don’t ride their bikes. A mate of mine has bought a Tamburini replica MV and he hasn’t even had the battery connected. I can’t understand that myself, he’ll never know what it is like to ride. I mean, why? I could have given him a picture of it. Some people may think it’s a little bit crazy to take the Desmosedici out on track but I never had any other intentions other than to do so. Yeah, it cost a lot of money, but it was designed to go around a track and I couldn’t wait to get it out there. Why buy it if you aren’t going to use it?

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