Sunday, 10 February 2013

The Journey comes to an End

Hi Folks

You have probably noticed that the 2012 season was a bit of a disappointment for me, initially not being able to compete after falling during my annual snowboarding trip in February and when I could ride, I struggled with fitness as the injury was causing me problems.

The doctors have finally given me a clean bill of health in relation to my shoulder, the MRI scan picked up a fracture which has now healed and no longer gives me any pain, so no surgery is required. It's still not 100% but I'm hoping this will improve over time.

Whilst I've not been racing I've thought long and hard about the whole scene, the cost, the effort, the hard work and the fact that I've had some annual leave left at the end of the year and I've come to the sad conclusion that I'm not enjoying it enough anymore to justify it all.

So I have cancelled my gym membership and decided to hang up my leathers and announce my retirement from road racing with immediate effect. Its not something I've taken lightly and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to fill the void or re-create the buzz of competing.

It's been a long road, 12 years of ups and downs, tears and tantrums, some trophies, a lot of hard work, a lot of travelling and lots of fun, but it's time to try something else. I'm not sure what, but I'll think of something!!

The list of personal thanks could be endless, and apologies if I have missed anyone out, but in no particular order there have been some very special people around me, my girlfriend Louise who helped make it all possible, my parents, my brother Stuart and Claire, Cheryl Ruddy, Big Ju, Charlie, Sean and Big Daz for twirling spanners over the years, Claire for the endless cups of coffee, bacon butties and van cake, Paul Meadows for all his art and web work, Grandad Albert Hornbuckle RIP, Richard Glover for his amazing photography, Nicola, Paul and Karl Gatenby, Rob and Janet Hall, Sue Pollin, Shiela Oldfield, Steve Tomes for his advice and Phil Murden for inspiring me in the first place .

I am not forgetting Kerrigan Read #100, Stu Hall #17, Rob Oldfield #28, Kingsley Ruddy #29, Graham Taylor #17, Jamie Harrison #91, Rob Simcock #31 and Lee Wilson #80, Christian "Bomber" Slater #166 and Alan "Bez" Beresford for some amazing racing and paddock support, everyone else I have raced with or against over the years, all the EMRA, New Era and Derby Phoenix officials and medical staff. Dr Nikki Thomas, Marshall's Sue and Paul Hunt, Orange Simon (& Ree) and the rest of the Orange army. Without your support none of us could do it! Mark Wright at Holbeach Tyres, Gary Hartshorne at Bridgestone Tyres, Gav Goddard at GIA Engineering, Colin Davies at Shockwave Suspension; Dave East of East Engineering Ltd; Jamie and Paul at Granby Motors, Chris Utting (for the paintwork) and John at BTK Leathers.

Finally to all my sponsors who have remained loyal and helped me over the years KBC Helmets (Connie, Loz and Amanda); Sprint Dampers (Jono); NGK Spark Plugs; SPR Dyno (Sam and Pete); Chatsworth Signs (Paul); Lindstrand Leathers (John and Anders); Censol (John & Andrew); Pidcock Motorcycles (Mark, Chris Pidcock and Sam).

I'd just like to say a BIG THANK YOU to you all for your support, assistance, guidance, friendship, sportsmanship and most of all being there. Its been one hell of a journey.


PS: Louise will be publishing details of the Jagger Racing Fantasy Riders competition for 2013 in the next couple of weeks. Look out for the email.