Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Getting the race bike ready

With the news that McMillian Williams Solicitors are now sponsoring Talan Racing, we have gone ahead with a few updates on the bike. For a start, the bike has not really had any work done to it since it was converted to a race bike. This includes stuff such as: brake pads and discs (very important in my book), air filter, chain and sprockets, oil filter, spark plugs etc. In addition I am looking at a lighter bike, which means shedding weight where we can. The gearshifter is a heavy piece of equipment, and during hot days,it has been known to overheat and stop working. We are going to try a new type of gearshifter and I will let you know how that pans out during the race season. Can't do anything about wheels or much of the bike due to race regulations, which is actually great news as it means that it is more down to the riders skill, rather than the riders budget, to make the bike go fast. One thing we are looking into is a system of landing legs. This will allow me to start where I qualify, as at the moment I am always starting at the back of the grid, no matter what happens in qualifying. Some inroads have been made with Swansea University, again, more information as we see developments being made. The first race is 8/9 March 2014 at Brands Hatch Indy circuit. Looking forward to it immensely. Come and watch and support if you can.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Race Season 2014

Things are looking very good for the coming race season and Talan Racing. We are happy to announce a new sponsorship deal with McMillan Williams Solictors, which have enabled Talan Racing to enter the full Minitwin race series with Club Thundersport. In addition to MW Solicitors, Talan Racing will be sponsored and supported by: Pipewerx, Held Leathers, JHS Racing, A&R Racing, Steve Jordan Motorcyles, Nevis Marketing, Lemonade Screenprinting. It should be a very exciting season ahead, with more people coming onboard Talan Racing every week.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Acceptance of the ‘un-controlables’.

In August I was waiting for an operation to remove the external fixation on my left leg and replace it with an internal fixation. In my mind, the procedure was going to allow me greater freedom of movement and I was planning on riding at Donington, over the last weekend of October, in the last round of the Thundersport Minitwin Series. However, things didn’t go quite gone according to plan. At the Orthopaedic Trauma Ward, various dates came and went, with five operations cancelled at the last minute. Then, as I had feared, one of the hospital ‘super-bugs’ hit me, and I ended up with an infection that took weeks to get rid of. The infection meant no chance of an operation and therefore I was sent home with the ‘cage’ still attached and told to come back in three weeks for a scan. Five weeks later I had the framework removed and a cast put on instead. The cast would be on for at least 6-8weeks, the advice from the consultant is that the healing process will take up to 6 months, so no racing for me in October. The delay meant I did not complete the goal I had set, a goal I had told others I would achieve. Failure to achieve is not something that makes me happy, proud or even-tempered! As I thought about this it reminded me of past events and the lessons learned, which I needed to remind myself of, so that I could re-focus and continue my recovery with a positive mindset. There are very few journeys without set-backs, without problems and with something simply going wrong. Even though these events are beyond our control, without thinking we blame ourselves for not achieving. The blame then becomes negativity in our assessment of the process in which we have gone about attempting to reach our goal. Our plan was flawed, we weren’t up to the task and therefore our ability to perform is doubted. The doubt fractures our belief, without belief we will not be able to give our personal best performance, and the downward spiral begins. I experienced how powerful the downward spiral can be throughout the 2008/2009 winter season. Ranked number 5 in the world going into the season, I ended up number 65 by the end. Hopes I had for qualifying for the 2010 Winter Paralympics were all but vanished, the belief in my ability to perform as a skier were non-existent. The reason, blaming myself for my brothers suicide. To cut a long story short, I had to accept that his decision was beyond my control, to accept that I could not be held accountable for every action or every event that has an impact on my life. Although nowhere near as significant to my life, the actions taken by the consultants to cancel my operations, or the fact I picked up an infection, these events were beyond my sphere of influence, and so they are part of the journey rather blockades to stop me. Any goal needs to be constantly monitored, evaluated and reviewed. The areas that you can control are your responsibility, they require your focus, drive and attention. But those ‘un-controlables’ require your acceptance, understanding and realisation. If goals are moved because of them, then so be it. You haven’t failed, as you are still on the journey towards achieving them. Think of how many racers have been injured and lost championships because of the time they’ve had to take away from racing to recover, or those who have missed out due to mechanical failure……have they all turned their backs on racing and given up? Neither will I.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Possible Documentary

In order to promote disabled motorcycling, I am hoping to have the return to Assen documented. An ex pupil from St Laurence has volunteered to take charge of the project, so if anyone wants to lend a hand, message me (talan@tbex.co.uk) and I'll pass on your details to Rich. I would like the finish product to be entered into various film festivals to generate awareness and possibly support for The Bike Experience, and how it changes peoples lives for the better. As for me at the moment, the bones slowly heal, I have greater freedom and energy. A couple more weeks and the cast will be coming off the left leg, but I'll be wearing a plastic boot for sometime yet.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

British Racing History

Launching from the pit lane at Snetterton into the race and into the history books.

A little bit of history.

The journey to my first race in June 2012 wasn't as straightforward as I had hoped. In early 2010 I had contacted the ACU, made my intentions known to them, informed them what I planned to do, asked them what they needed from me and then set about achieving the requirements. I had planned to improve my riding by attending the California Superbike School, as well as getting instruction and gaining circuit knowledge by riding on track days around the country. For the ACU, I was to attend the CTC (theory test) and the medical assessment with Mick Bodice up at Darley Moor. All went accordingly and I was assured that I was considered‘…in business to race’. However, a week before my proposed first race at Castle Combe, I received a letter saying the ACU was not going to grant me a Road Race licence. To say I was frustrated and let down would be an understatement. I appealed and finally got a restricted licence for Hill-Climbs, Sprints and Twisty Sprints. This licence would allow me to compete against able-bodied racers, but in competitions where you went against the clock rather than against other riders. My first event was the Curborough Twisty Sprint. It was an exciting day for me, full of new sights and sounds. The sun shone down, all went well, I didn’t make a fool of myself, and somehow didn’t come last! For the rest of the 2011 season, in agreement with NHCA I attended five events in all three disciplines, of which the hardest was the Wiscombe hill-climb, as the hairpins were difficult to get around in the damp and slippery conditions. After chatting with various riders, instructors, racers, I was advised to get in contact with Dave Stewart from Club Thundersport. We chatted, agreed on how it could be possible for me to compete in the Minitwin class, I re-wrote my appeal letter and sent it off. Dave stood up for me, fought my corner and won. I will be eternally grateful for his support and belief. So, in June 2012, at a rather cold and damp Snetterton, I launched out of the pit lane exit into my very first Road Race and made history as the first paraplegic in the world to compete with an ACU Road Race licence against able-bodied motorcycle racers. When I crossed the line with the chequered flag waving I simply broke down in tears. The marshals came to the edge of the track and waved their flags, it was as though I had become MotoGP World Champion. All the hard work, the continuous battling to make it happen became worthwhile in an instant. The following day got even better, I was allowed to start on the actual grid. If I thought the previous two races had been brilliant, the start from the back of the grid took things to a whole new level of ‘awesomeness’. If you have never experienced starting a motorcycle race, it will be difficult to understand the full range of feelings you get when the lights go out and 30odd bikes roar off to the first corner. You are alive, you are living more in that instant than many will live in a lifetime. Since that wonderful weekend, I have continued to compete with Club Thundersport and the Minitwin class, finishing 12th (from 37 ) in the 2012 season, and 8th (from 30) in the 2013 season. These results have been achieved with only three race weekends in 2012 and four race weekends in 2013. So the aim is to take part in at least six race weekends for the 2014 season and see how well I can do. I will continue to start at the back of the grid, so winning is not an option, but beating my previous best laptime is.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The next chapter begins.

The last blog entry from myself was the closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Paralympics. I realised that the journey was complete and therefore the blog should stop. I now have a new goal, racing motorcycles against able-bodied racers. There has already been a great deal of progress, so we're starting from a different beginning....or are we? In 2003 I began the blog from hospital after being paralysed. I was a broken man and there was much ahead of me. I start this blog again as a broken man, again it's the result of a motorcycle accident, but this time I was racing at Assen and shattered both legs (right femur and left fib/tib), broke the bones in my left foot, my pelvis and left knee plateau. It was a miracle I survived, just like last time. The recovery time is expected to be between 9mths and a year, which I can understand due to the severity of the the breaks. So, looking ahead. I am aiming to recover, get back to racing and return to Assen to finish the race that nearly took my life. We have lots to do, much to catch up on and adventures to have. I hope you enjoy the journey, I know there will be ups and downs and we will learn from all experiences. Thank you. Talan