The End Where I Begin...

The End Where I Begin...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Off Season

The off-season is something that at some point in everyone’s season is a time to look forward to. Something to help you get through week in and week out and something that also becomes a source of motivation to finish the season. For some, it is a relief the day it finally comes after a long hard fought season. Mid season when you are tired, beat up, and everything becomes a struggle nothing can sound better then relaxation time. To be honest this year I was looking forward to some time off, and now I have had a chance to do so. Funny thing is that after a week or two I began thinking about only what I had not accomplished that I set out to.

I signed a factory contract much better then anything I expected, an awesome team, and awesome people around me but still I felt cut short. I felt cut short of what I did not do my last year in Europe. A lot of it was out of my control but in my eyes I failed. Nothing feels worse then that to me. The final race in Italy in September,  I got two 7th place finishes and finally got some confidence only to have a 5 month off season. The feeling of your work not being finished and not being able to do anything about it just digs and digs inside. Everyday I train or ride, all I can think about is that day, and that moment is going to make me that much stronger when I line up on that first GP starting line. The feeling of being able to be 100% and the feeling of knowing I deserve to be there and deserve to be in the front of the pack is something that I am waiting quietly in the corner for.

People say your only as good as your last race. This is a saying I have heard so many people say over the last few years and it is something I disagree with 100%. Example… Jeremy Mc Grath was known as “THE KING”. Towards the end of his career he had some not so good races. Even a guy like Ricky Carmichael, AKA -“the Goat” fell off at the end. My point is that you are not as good as your last race or whatever it is people say. You are as good as the work you put in, the time you sacrifice, the blood sweat and tears you suffer, and last but not least, you are as good as you believe you are. Anything you want in life you can achieve. I know what I want, and I am on a mission of my own to achieve that.

Monday, November 1, 2010

No Boundaries

  People always tell me you get what you put into anything you do in life. I think of myself as someone that puts their heart and soul into my passion and love for racing and expect nothing but the best of myself with my chosen career. From injuries to breaking boundaries I believe my 10 years of racing I have given100%. Set back after set back, let down after let down, I felt like I never got what I deserved for my efforts toward my racing. Being here in Italy is a bit of a dream come true. It is the first time that I feel worthy of what is at hand for me. Not only do I feel worthy, I finally feel ready to use this opportunity to my maximum potential. I am 19 years old and am riding for my first factory team with a group of really good people around me. Not to mention the best food in the world… besides my mom’s cooking. I guess that is just a bonus.  HAHA. I know it is not going to be all fun and games here racing the GP’s, although I am thankful for the opportunity I have been blessed with and looking forward to 2011.
   Now a question I know a lot of people are wondering. Is the bike capable of really doing well? My opinion is the bike is plenty capable of doing well. To be honest, I love the bike and look forward to every chance I get to ride it. Compared to the other bikes it is like riding a bicycle against a Haley Davidson. The bike has plenty of potential and I know that factory Husky is going to use every bit of technology they have to make the bike everything it can be. The 2 times I have ridden the bike we have improved it drastically and I already think the bike is not so far away from a GP level. Only time will tell from here.
   So now for some fun stuff here in Italy. Before the preparation for 2011 with testing, training, and back to work for the next 11 months, I thought it could be good to have some fun here. Well not to say that I haven’t been having a blast here, but you know what I mean. Ha-ha. I decided to head down the hill from the town I live in called Guiglia, to a town some of you might know as Maranello. For those of you that do not know why Maranello, Italy is so important, you might know the name Ferrari? Maranello is the home of Ferrari. Every car, the gallery, and the Formula 1 team are based in this town. I have the pleasure of living 20 minutes from there so with a day of not much to do my mechanic Francesco and I headed down there for the day. In one word, unbelievable. I got to drive the Ferrari 458, which is a new car for Ferrari. 100 mph in about 7.4 seconds? I have always wondered what driving an F1 car would be like, but the truth is I could not handle the thought of being in an F1 car. The 458 was unbelievably fast and sounded like nothing I have heard in person before. I had a really great time there. Got to do things that few people have ever done there at Ferrari and wont ever forget it. So as there are 2 days in a weekend I decided day 2 would be heading out to Venice, Italy for some sight seeing. Streets are water, sidewalks are 5 feet across, and looks like pirates of the Caribbean.
So without going on to much more about Italy it is time to head back to Husqvarna this week and do some more testing and training. There is also the biggest motorcycle trade show in all of Europe this week called Eicma Expo. I will be there 2 days as well as riding the other 2 days… then back to USA till beginning of next year. Very excited for what is to come in the near future and for now it is back to work. Catch up with me in 2 weeks for another update. Ciao!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A New Page

The 2010 season has come and gone for me and 2011 is approaching quite fast. I have been home for about 3 weeks and put riding on the back of my mind for a little while. I have taken up some new things like golf, being a normal kid, and enjoying myself. “laughs”. After the stressful year I had in Europe I needed some time away and I did just that. This week is my first week back riding and back in to full training once again. I am feeling very refreshed and getting back that itch to get back to work.
Now some of you may be asking where and what 2011 has in store for me? For 2011 I will be racing back in Europe and living in Italy. I have signed with Ricci Racing who was previously a Yamaha team and who has transferred over to factory Husqvarna for 2011.
I am looking forward to going out there October 24th for a couple of weeks to ride the bike and meet the team. I have heard great things about the team and what is available to me, not to mention where better to live then Italy?
Last year was tough out there for me, but there are so many things to learn living in Europe. My goal was to show my potential as a rider this year in Europe and due to some other issues I was not able to do so. This year I am on a factory team and I think it is going to be a great opportunity to get out there and show the true colors of what I can accomplish.
Catch up with me next week to hear about the team, the bikes, and how good the Italian food is. “laughs”. Ciao!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good-bye Euro Trip!

Good-bye Euro trip!

Well the long awaited final GP here in Fermo, Italy. After a few disappointing weekends I was ready to put myself on the line fore my one last shot at proving something to myself here in Europe. So the week leading up into Fermo here in Italy I finally got 2 days of training on the bike in which has not happened in a month or 2. My trainer Jacky Vimond and I felt good about the work we have done and were ready to give it one last shot, hoping nothing failed that was out of our control. We arrived to the track Friday afternoon and found out it has been raining all day long. It is not a secret that us California people are not the greatest in mud… and sand for that matter. LOL. Regardless, rain or shine I was going to accomplish what I set out to do this last weekend. This weekend was also the first time I have seen my parents in 3 and a half months and I was very happy to see them.

Saturday morning we arrived to the track at 9am for a 10am practice and were relieved to see a decently dry track and were ready to go. First practice I believe I was 5th fastest on the lap time and was enjoying playing around and throwing my bike around. Really the first time I have been very comfortable on the bike and the weekend started just the way I had wanted. In the chrono practice I had the 7th fastest time and also the first time I have even been into the top 10 in the lap times witch was really good for my confidence seeming as though I haven’t had so much after the past few months. Going into the Qualifying race I just wanted to go do the best I could. I got out of the gate and got squeezed out 10 feet out of the gate leaving me close to last. Just settled into a pace and at the end of the race I finished in at 9th place. Once again I have never been into the top 10 with gate pick on Sunday so Saturday for me was a success. We left the track early and got to have a nice dinner with my mom and dad along with my girl Haley. It was very relaxing and just what I needed for Sunday.

Sunday morning I woke up feeling like I got hit by a train. After the problems the past few months I have not had much seat time on the bike at all and really was not feeling so strong. This was very different for me seeming as though I am always in very good riding shape and always confident in the time I have put in on the bike. This weekend my goal was to let nothing stand in my way and I was not going to let that up. First Moto came and this was the time for me to make it happen. Feeling weak, low confidence, and a nearly stock engine it was go time. Gate dropped and about 20 feet out of the gate I looked to the right and I was in front. Came out of the first turn in 12th and put my head down. I did not have much energy but I was going to hang it out there with what I had. Worked my way up into 7th and finished there. I had matched my best finish in Sweden with a 7th so I was somewhat satisfied. Second moto, I wanted more. Honestly was the first time I was dead tired going into any race I have ever been in but I had one last shot. Got out to a horrible start and one last time I put my head down. Went into the second turn in 23rd and started to pick people off. Worked my way back into 7th and just couldn’t catch the riders in front of me. I was drained, seeing double, and still had 15 minutes of racing, longest 15 minutes I have ever had. LOL. So I finished the weekend 7-7 for 7th overall. I wanted top 5 but it is what it is. Given the circumstances I am happy with what I accomplished.

So I guess that is it for my rookie year here in Europe. It has been a hell of a ride, but something I will never forget. My mission here was to come here and get into the top 5 and yes… I did fail. Although, I learned things so far beyond just a result on a piece of paper, or what people think. This last weekend in Italy was more then just a race. It was a weekend for me to prove to myself who I am. After broken bones, broken bikes, living on my own, and pretty much finding ground zero I have rebounded. I fell down and I got back up from something I didn’t think was possible. Sure my results are not what they could be, and sure my capability as a rider is a question for many people, but for the first time I know what I can do. I know that if you take the first step in faith the rest will unfold before you. You may never know the reason for what you are going through, or why you feel you always get things the hard way… but there will always be something to learn at the end of the trail. Even if my results and finishes aren’t what I wanted… I learned things people wouldn’t in a lifetime. I met amazing people and traveled the world at 19 years old, vacationed in some of the greatest places of Europe with my girlfriend Haley, got to race a dirt bike all over the world and become myself. 

Good things or bad I want to thank everyone for the opportunity given to me from Bud Racing, my trainer Jacky Vimond, my mechanic Ludo, and everyone that has supported me through all of this. So with that said I am “somewhere in Italy” with my Mom, my Dad, and my girlfriend Haley on vacation loving life. I return home to the US September 22nd and as far as plans for next year?  Unknown. It will work itself out and whatever I am handed I know there is not much I can’t work though. I will continue to post more blogs. 

Thank you for following me and we will see you around! Ciao!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One Last Shot...

This weekend we raced the Holland GP in the sand of Leirop. I have once again left another sand GP a little bit disappointed in myself and other things that have gotten in the way. We arrived to the track Friday night and I was well ready for the sand and another chance to score some points and prove to myself I can adapt no matter the circumstances. Saturday was pretty tough and the first practice I saw that it was going to be much tougher then I had anticipated. First practice I had 18th fastest time and I couldn’t understand where I was going slow and off pace but I was determined to go to school once again. In the timed practice the track changed completely and with a small bike problem I had 31st gate pick leading into the qualifying race. I was not such a happy camper but I also know that a race is a race and a lap time is a lap time. As the gate dropped in the qualifying race I had another rider crash into me half way down the line leaving me in 27th in the second turn. Slowly I settled in and made my way to 18th by half way as my bike started to have some troubles and forced me into slowing down leaving me 22nd. Just glad I was able to finish and Sunday was a new day.
Sunday morning practice I was starting to feel a little better on an already beaten track from the day before. I don’t get it… Why leave a track with 4ft high sand whoops? Haha. Not so sure that would happen in the states but is what it is. After practice I was happy to have my girlfiend Haley back with me, as well as some of her family she has been staying with in Holland. With that said it was already off to a better then Saturday. First race I did not have such a great jump and was in around 18th with a few mistakes. For the first time in the sand I had a few decent sand riders in front of me and was able to learn from them and gain a little confidence up until about 5 laps in, had an electrical issue that lead to a DNF. For second race I went out with a smile on my face and was looking forward to just going to do my best. Got out to a really good start from the far outside and came around in 10th place. Made a small mistake in the first lap leaving me in 12th place but still miles better then any other sand race. I tucked in behind some riders and finally was feeling good and enjoying myself. As I began to close the gap between the riders in front of me I was beginning to hear a noise in the motor and decided to not risk something to happen at the wrong time.
So with 2 DNF’s and some mechanical problems I ended my weekend with exactly what I did not want to happen. As we go into the final GP in Italy next weekend I am going in and planning on leaving nothing on the table. As the Euro-trip is winding down, I have still yet to do what I am very well capable of doing. Definitely many things have been out of my control and have taken away some chances that I could have had, but I have to say I don’t regret a second of it. This weekend I have not only my girlfriend Haley back with me but I also my mom and dad at the races for the first time in 4 months. So with “one last shot” I am excited and motivated to have a successful weekend in Italy and leave here on a good note. As of now I am in a sprinter van with my trainer Jacky Vimond ,his girlfriend Manola and my girlfriend Haley for 15 hours on route to Italy. So check in for my final race here in Europe this coming weekend… Cheers!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Jet Lag...

So after being in Brazil last weekend we get a nice weekend off before the GP in Holland at Llerop. I thought I was getting pretty adapted to dealing with all the different time zones but being in Brazil for almost a week hit me pretty good and I am well in need of some recovering time after a nice 30 hour traveling day. Anyway, Friday, Jacky my trainer, his girlfriend Manola, and I drove up here to the training house in Belgium and it has been quite a weather change. It has gone from 90 degrees with 100% humidity to 40 degrees with pouring rain and winds that are bone chilling. Friday night we got here at about 8pm after 1,200 miles of driving and had the weekend off to recover. My girlfriend Haley has been at her family's house in Holland so I decided to drive another 300k as soon as I got to Belgium to go have some relaxing time.

I was really excited to see her after being away for the entire month of August and also got to meet some more of her family which was really fun. I got there at about midnight and since I spent my birthday away they had a nice birthday cake waiting for me. I was so stoked! Haha. Saturday I got to sleep in for about 11 hours and it was well needed. Haley gave me the grand tour of where they are in Holland and it is a very nice country although the rain was a bit annoying. We got to feed some sheep, walk around town, and ride bicycles through some pretty tall corn fields. Being on the road a lot of the time is a bit tiring and a day with Haley and her family was really nice to just relax and recharge the batteries a little bit before heading into the last 2 GP’s and then heading home in late September.

Sunday morning it was time to get back to Belgium for some sand riding on Sunday afternoon whitch is well needed for me. Haha. We all know how “good” I am in sand. For this weekend we are making some good bike changes that should really help me for this weekend in Holland but most of all the last GP in Italy September 11th and 12th. As far as preparing for this weekend my main focus is riding sand, sand, and more sand. I want to improve as much as I can from the last sand race on August 1st here in Belgium. I am used to adapting to tracks quite well but this sand stuff is just a little bit different for me. Although it is different it is something new and another challenge for me to accomplish.

My main goal the next 2 weekends is to have some fun and enjoy myself on the bike. I know when these things come together with my racing there is always a good result and with a new bike setup and a bit more confidence in that… I am expecting to have some better speed.

Well that is about it for this week. Next week should be interesting after the Holland sand this weekend so be sure to check back! Thanks for reading and will be posting again next week. Cheers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Doesn't Kill Us Can Only Make Us Stronger...If We Let It.

This past weekend we raced in Brazil for the World GP circuit. We flew into Brazil Wednesday night with a 9 hour layover in San Poulo before flying into Campo Grande where the GP would be held.  We met up with my trainer Jacky's friend Patrick for dinner before catching the next flight.  My first impression of Brazil was pretty shocking since I had always heard of Brazil being super nice and to be honest, I was a little surprised with what I saw to be their way of life.  It was a very poor country but hey, I am not here for vacation right?  LOL. Food in Brazil is not so bad with some of the best meat I have ever had.

The first night at the hotel was pretty interesting, as it turns out Campo Grande is a big military town which I did not know at the time.  I guess you can say that the automatic machine guns at 2 am were shocking at first. Pretty scary stuff for sure.  With little sleep the following morning we were off to the track for a track walk along with my mechanic Jeremy who put my bike together from a 3 x 6 box. LOL. So we waited until Saturday and I was really excited to ride the weekend in Brazil.

Saturday we got out to the track and it was go time. My American buddy Scott Simon made the trip out to be with me since he races the Brazilian championship and is leading the points in both MX1 and MX2. So starting the day off I went into the first practice ready to go.  The track was pretty muddy from all of the water from the days before but I was riding with a smile on my face.  A few laps later we had a bike problem and had to cut it out early.  In the timed practice for the qualifying race gate pick we also had another problem.  So we went into that with a 19th gate pick.  It was pretty questionable to why the bike was having issues but I remained focused on my job, to do the best I can with whatever the situation may be.  During the sighting lap of the qualifying race the bike quit 3 turns from the finish.  Luckily, I was close to the starting line and ran the bike there before we had to load into the gate.  My bike was pouring fuel out of the carburetor and I was getting a little frustrated as to why there were so many things going wrong. I was unable to start that moto leaving me with last gate pick for both motos on Sunday.  My mechanic Jeremy worked really hard to make sure the bike was good for the following race day so that we could do what we came to do.

Race day Sunday...Woke up in a positive mood and was ready to get the job done.  During practice the bike ran just fine and we were back on track.  First moto, I got out to a 25th place start and quickly worked my way into the top 10.  I started to experience more bike problems around half way through so I started to ride conservatively to save the bike along with another top 10 finish.  I came across the line in 9th but I was not so happy with what we had going on.  We switched the complete motor around for the next race and it sounded fine afterward and once again I was ready to go to work.  I lined about on the far outside with a good staring landing me into the top 10 just behind fellow American, Zach Osborne.  I started to improve my lap times and make some ground between us ans was shaping up to move forward into the top 6 or maybe even top 5 as my bike began to quit once again.  5 laps in I pulled off and we packed up.  I had a lot of potential last weekend to do well but I guess it just was not meant to be.  All I can do is focus on the remaining races here in Europe for this year and hope for the best.

Right now I am in France and getting ready to head back to Belgium this Friday for some sand on the 4th and 5th of September.  The race is held in Holland and I get a chance to redeem myself after my performance in the Belgian GP in the beginning of August.  I am looking forward to that and I want to improve the most I can to show myself that I can adapt to all conditions.  The sand here is much deeper than home and honestly it is something I would be wasting my time trying to explain, it is something that you would have to see to really understand.  I have a new motor set up and ready for the next GP in Holland so it should be a fun weekend.  Another good note I will get my girlfriend back who has been staying with family in Holland for the last several weeks. So it should be a fun weekend although for now I am off to Belgium...

Catch up with me next week to hear about my weekend off and training in Belgium!  Ar'voir!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mission: Visa Needed to Race Brazil!

About nine days ago, the team and I realized I didn't have a visa and would not be able to race in Brazil this weekend unless I got one in a hurry. As I write this I am on my way to Brazil and how I got here is nothing short of a miracle.
Living in France made traveling to Paris the only option for getting this mission accomplished. To get a Visa usually takes 10 days if you are lucky, at this point I had only 7 and you must leave your passport at the consulate office while it is being processed, which means you cannot leave the country.  Luckily the schedule accommodated this plan.
After the GP in Czech, I hopped on a plane and headed for Paris only we didn't land in Paris since there was too much fog to land, instead we landed in Czech and were bussed over 6 hours to a location outside of Paris where my team had a limo waiting for me. I found myself sharing this ride with two guys from my own backyard,Temecula! When I asked if they were brothers, they let me know they were not but instead said proudly that they were together...alrighty then. haha.   I was dropped off at the American-Brazilian consulate office and because of the 8 hour delay I missed my window of opportunity and decided to spend the night and try again in the morning. Now this mission had to be done in 6 days of less.
There I was walking around Paris pulling my suitcase looking for a place to stay in this high-end part of town. What to do? I called Mom who got on her computer and guided me through the streets to a cheap hotel only to find a naked lady waving at me through the window and rocks thrown into the falling hotel sign. This was only a couple blocks away and it was ghetto-style. Mom talked me into spending more money and being safe by staying closer to the consulate office so I could get a jump on the day in the morning, she also talked me into getting a massage, which we joked about.

After I settled in I had an awesome dinner, listened to musicians under the Eiffel Tower, treated myself to a Nutella crepe, and yes I did get a killer massage at the hotel and then slept a good 8 hours.  When I got back to the consulate office an hour early, I was 8th in line and found out they only take in 20 applicants and I watched them send over 100 people away that day.  When I met with my representative, she did not speak a word of English and I was not sure if I was even in the right place after all I had been through. After some sign language, pointing to calendars, and laughing till my side hurt, I left my passport with this lady hoping that when I came back on Monday (2 days ago!!! ) I would have a Visa. I think she was trying to tell me that I would have to wait until today...I pleaded and showed her the calendar again and pointed to the 17th and said a prayer as I left.
After The French Championship I got a ride with the video crew to Paris.  It was a 6 hour hair ball ride including e-brake corners around cliffs and some serious speed, these guys were insane. I arrived in Paris at 4 am and only got about 3 hours sleep before getting back in line at the consulate's office.  I was first in line, the doors opened at 9:30 and I didn't know what to expect.  The team's plan payed off as only an hour later I was headed to the airport with a Visa in hand. After waiting 6 hours at the airport I was on my way to my home away from home, Hossegor, France. Basically, ate dinner, washed gear, packed and at 2:00 am headed to the airport and on my way to Brazil looking forward to a good weekend of racing.
All in all things are working out for me. The Rockstar Energy Bud Racing team continues to support me, my trainer Jacky believes I have what it takes, and my family, friends, and girl Haley are all there in my corner. As I write this my "Big Brother" Scottie Simon is waiting for me in Brazil to cheer me on this weekend and I am psyched to see him for sure.
Mission accomplished...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Czech Republic

This weekend we had the GP in Czech Republic, and where to begin. Haha. We flew in Friday night and landed on to a frozen runway with the most rain fall I have ever seen. That isn’t much to most people, seeming as though I am from California, it was a downpour. We ended up getting to the hotel around 9pm and went straight to dinner. I thought people smoked a lot on France, but I was sadly mistaken. It was unbelievable how much smoke was in the room. I could hardly breath and my eyes were leaking… Yes, LEAKING. Lol

Saturday finally arrived and I was looking forward to the weekend in Czech since I was told that the track suited my conditions unlike the week before in the Belgium sand. We arrived at the track that morning to non-stop rain and a track I could literally ride a jet ski on. I am not exactly the professional mud rider at the moment along with sand, but I was ready to have some fun in the mud. So despite the rain and everything else that was going on the FIM decided to cancel the 25+2 lap race and we would take our chronological time for gate pick. One thing about these Euros is they can do a sprint lap like no other, something I am not used to at all. So I qualified a whopping 24th. I was pretty disappointed but I figured Sunday would be better with no rain in the forecast.          

Sunday rolls around with the sun shinning and just a few clouds in the sky, along with a smile on my face. I showed up to the track for practice and they did not even touch the track from the day before. To say the least the track was pretty gnarly. All of the tracks here are much rougher then the ones in the states and that is another thing I had not expected. In practice I figured out some issues with my riding and learning the mud and ran 15th fastest time. Still not anything close to where I should be but it was a start. With 5 minutes left on the practice clock, I found myself on the side of the track a little dazed and confused while people were standing over me yelling in some odd language. My trainer Jacky told me someone crossed into my line off a jump and I hit the ground without my motorcycle.

I was pretty bummed that I found myself in question of what I did but that is the price we pay sometimes. I wanted to ride the first moto and see what would happen. I got out to a mid pack start and 1 lap later I decided that it was not the right time to be on a motorcycle and put myself at even more risk. The near future will take me to Brazil, Holland, and also Italy. I would rather focus on those things and give it everything I have. I just got my Brazilian visa and am heading back home now to Hossegor, France. Starting to feel better and just waiting till next weekend as I travel to northern France for another French championship. As I write blog #3 I am on a train headed home from Paris relaxing. So for now I will say goodbye and look forward to the weekend to arrive. See you next week!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

July 25th we made our way up to Belgium from a little bit of time in the sand before the Lommel Grand Prix last week. All the guys out here have been telling me how crazy this sand race is and to be honest… I had no idea on what I was really getting myself into this past weekend. During the week practicing at some local sand tracks I was riding pretty well and on the clock I was pretty close to the top guys here in the sand, yet did I know that what we were riding was pretty much hard packed compared to this weekend.

It all hit me after my second practice that this weekend was not exactly going to be a fun one for me. It was quite strange for me to not adapt quickly to a track like I have been doing since May when I first got here. Every time I swing a leg over a bike here I have been forced to learn different terrain and have been doing well with that. In my 10 years of racing I have never seen anything like what I saw this weekend. By far it was the roughest track I have ever been on, the most difficult sand I have seen, and the first time I felt like I forgot how to ride a motorcycle. Ha ha. Me and a few others coming from America have the same opinion.

So with that said my results were 24-23 and I was pretty disappointed in that. I struggled all weekend long but I will say that I once again learned so much in the 2 days of racing this past weekend. I plan on spending most of my winter learning how to ride sand so this never happens again and am really focused on doing well in the 3 sand GP’s of next year. I am really hoping to stay here next year and learn as much as possible. I am learning all of my weak points and I am happy to learn them now instead of further in my career.

Right now I am just getting back into Hossegor, France where I am living and I am looking forward to this weekend while we head to Czech Republic for the Locket Grand Prix which is much more my riding style and terrain. I am feeling confident for the weeks to come and feeling more focused and determined then I have been in a long time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bonjour, Je M'Appelle Michael Leib #170

My name is Michael Leib from Menifee California. I am 18 years old traveling the world racing the FIM World Grand Prix (GP) Motocross series for the French Rockstar Bud Racing Kawasaki Team. I have to say that I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity with this team at this time and be able to train with Jacky Vimond, a former World Champion.
My once in a lifetime opportunity started off with a phone call from Bud Racing on April 26th with an offer to finish the remainder of the GP season. May 3rd I was on a plane on my way to my first real shot at the big leagues. May 4th was my first day on the bike and unfortunately, I had a crash that left me watching from the sidelines for two weeks. Fortunately, the team stuck with me and I learned more in those 4 weeks then I have in my entire life. Eleven days after my wreck I attempted to ride to see if the upcoming GP in Spain would be possible the following weekend. I was able to ride a short period but due to my wrist injury, I was too weak to do as much as grab the clutch lever. Riding two days later I decided to give it my best shot and hope for the best that weekend.
The Spain GP was one of the toughest weekends I’ve had so far. The feeling of fighting for my ride here in Europe and dealing with a frustrating injury from the start was very difficult. I was able to start both motos but complete only a few laps of each before I lost complete strength in my arm. Looking forward to the USGP two weeks later at my home track Glen Helen, I continued to recover but was only able to get in two rough days on the bike before heading out to the United States. Practice day at the USGP was my first real chance I had to ride the bike and see what it felt like. I ended up 11th fastest in timed practice and was feeling better each lap. Race day I was feeling good but I had bike issues in both motos that led to DNF finishes.
A week later in ST. Jean France it was the same story with the bike issues. The next weekend in Germany I got my first moto finish with a 10-DNF, Latvia the following weekend was DNF-11. After those races we really got the bike dialed in and made some necessary adjustments. The team worked extremely hard to solve every problem and smooth everything out. At the next GP in Sweden, feeling more comfortable on the bike, I finished 13-7 for 9th overall. Finally, adapting to the bike and also to my surroundings here in Europe, I began to build my confidence and results.
The next weekend in Iffendic, France, for the French National Championships (a series we do on the side of the World GP circuit), I was fastest in qualifying and was feeling more at home with the Rockstar Bud Racing Team and the race bike. First moto I finished a 4th after stopping for a new pair of goggles and moto two the bike had an engine failure resulting in a DNF. Moto three we tried a different motor from a practice bike but it was pretty tired and I chose to call it a day. Overall it was a good weekend and the first time I really felt comfortable on my new Kawasaki.
I race my first GP in the sand this coming weekend in Lommel, Belgium. I hear that there is just nothing like the Belgium sand, although I am looking forward to a new challenge. I really enjoy learning and riding in all different types of tracks and terrain every time I get on my bike. This upcoming week I am training in Belgium close to Lommel. I am hoping to learn as much as possible and leave with a new experience in the sand this week.
As for now I have my girlfriend Haley here with me. We got the opportunity to enjoy 5 days in Paris during my off time. Had an amazing time, returned feeling very relaxed and refreshed but anxious to get back to racing. So that is all for my first blog! Check back with me for weekly updates.