February 12, 2008

Let's Head to Round Zero, Jerez Preseason Official IRTA Test

Unlike previous seasons, where I have flown from Barcelona to Madrid and then driven down to Jerez de la Frontera, 2008's IRTA Test will see me flying directly there, which is a welcome change for me. Woot! Other Team members will be flying in after me, so I'll have a short break at the aeropuerto to relax with my PSP watching a movie, or maybe I'll manage to see something interesting there, as I have never been to that airport and that area of Jerez.

We'll be rooming at the Hotel la Cueva Park, which is technically within walking distance of the track. I expect to walk/jog back at least once or twice, because another goal of mine this season is to start exercising more when I'm at the track. I wasn't able to do much last season because the typical time for the mechanics/crews to work out is at the end of the day, usually on a set-up day or Friday/Saturday. If the work gets wrapped up early enough, sometimes the boys will run around the track once or twice, or maybe they'll roll out on a road bicycle. Usually, bicycles are only at the European rounds, because one or two can easily be stored in the race trucks and carried without a weight penalty. Because I work with both crews on my team, each one fielding two bikes per rider, I am usually unable to get away from my Spares and Flight Containers for the amount of time needed to get in a good solid work out. If one crew has finished up early enough to have some free time before the 7:30 or 8PM (the normal time Teams eat at the Hospitality Units), the second crew is usually busy changing engines or continuing to work on other projects, like preparing additional fairings or other complicated items that require installation of several pieces, like electronics assemblies or chassis components. This year I'm going to set myself up to be able to spread my exercise out of a several five minute bursts, haha, and I'll go into more detail later in the season as I see what kind of results I can come up with.

One new cool piece of hardware I'm taking with me for this event comes from J-Boogie, and was delivered to me in BCN by yet another traveller friend of mine, Marty, who lives just a few minutes away from me here in the city. I'll be bringing another Casio digital with me, this one equipped with dual stopwatches, multiple alarms, flashing lights, bells and whistles, and most importantly, World Time functions so I can keep track of everyone and everything going on in my life around the globe. It's a clean design, about 55 grams, and is touted as being extremely mud and dirt resistant, hence the MudMan moniker. We'll see how it holds up to some of the greasy messes I oftentimes find myself in, haha, because I have yet to find a GreaseMan G-Shock! I usually travel with a different "G" that is solar-powered, atomic-clock radio controlled, and has a mixed analog/digital face, but it doesn't come close to matching my sneakers as well as this one! Big Ups, J and M, this is one cool watch and I'll be sure to put it through it's paces this coming week.

The Official IRTA Tests at Jerez will be the first time all the Teams will be getting together for a real competition, in which the prize is a new BMW car, usually a convertible roadster of some kind. There's no points awarded over the three day trial, but the bragging rights are a great way to kick off the season, and more importantly, the confidence it can provide a rider is a tremendous boost. I know I've said it here before, but Rider Confidence is the biggest factor in being successful in this arena. All the Teams will be throwing down in a big way, and we'll finally get a clearer idea of what everyone is capable of for the start of this World Championship season. I'm hoping that my boys take it right to the edge and lay down some shockers, because I'm confident that we have a competitive package and the desire to kick ass. It's also a good time to assess how well the Teams' members are gelling with one another, under pressure situations, and I'll probably get a chance to evaluate things more at the Venta Esteban restaurant just a stone's throw from the racetrack. You may remember the scene from the MTV Nicky Hayden Movie where Nicky and older brother, Tommy, are having dinner and Nicky asks how Tommy knows the word "Seared". Crews and riders are a common sight at the restaurant during the testing week, so if you're in the neighborhood, be sure to check it out. Sometimes there's no time to hit the hotel and change clothes, so Teams will show up in full regalia for dinner. The IRTA test is also when Teams will start to show their full colors for the season, complete with Paddock Garage (Box) and race trucks fully decked out in the design scheme of the new sponsors. The Black should theoretically be gone, but no matter what, we'll always be the Black Sheep Squadron, and this is a point of honor amongst my friends and team mates. I'm not sure why this has become known as Round Zero amongst the riders and paddock people, as there's a second IRTA test to follow in Qatar in just a few weeks, but it's the official start of the war that this season will be, so maybe Ground Zero is a better way to describe it. Either way, I hope we're ready.

I'm off to my house now, with just enough time to get to the grocery store and pick up some last minute supplies before I pack my things and get ready for tomorrow's travel. I'll probably convert the Movie, WAR, to play on my PSP, which is another entertaining action flick with a good soundtrack and effects from the same group who put together two other movies that I enjoyed, Crank and Shoot 'Em Up.

Here's a couple tunes I've been listening to lately, in preparation for this event.

GP08 Jerez Preseason 1 -- Classy little jam from a rising French mix-artiste, you may recognize the "sloppy" keyboards from previous songs I've loaded on the website for you guys.

GP08 Jerez Preseason 2 -- This one's a little disko, "Stick to the B-E-A-T, and do the Dance - you're always there for Music and Me!"

Let's get reeeeeaaaaaaddddy to Ruuuuummmmbbbbblllllleeeee!


Congrats on having the best looking bikes on the grid. They look amazing!

"...Rider Confidence is the biggest factor in being successful in this arena."
- The Liam

you are a vital part of that confidence. reading your blog has convinced me that you are a man with the character, willingness and determination to be a part of "The Solution" no matter what situation you find yourself in. my own experience has caused me to place high value on those persons within my work environment who are invariably efficient in their work and personable in their bearing. there are tangible differences in work areas which include such people whether they are directly encountered or not. you are such a person. it is 100% solid truth to say that the sight of one person smiling in the middle of trying circumstances can be all the encouragement that another needs to keep digging. remember how valuable you are because of who you are. that will always be first. your skills and knowledge are gravy. you are a gold mine for d'Antin. remind yourself daily of this. others may forget because it is easy to take the dependable person for granted.
best wishes.

Hi Liam,

Today I went to watch World Superbikes in Doha. Although the bikes are different both Xaus and Biaggi on Ducati managed in Race 2 to leave Bayliss on a factory Ducati behind them. I truly hope we will see similar developments with Ducati in MotoGP. Both your riders ahead of Stoner and Melandri! I wrote something about you on my site:
Bryan and I will be in Doha in 2 weeks time trying to bring you guys some luck :-)

Ciao Lex

hi liam --great site-especially fun to hear new music from europe would it be possible to have your fave number one song on the radio at each stop on race schedule on your site --thanks

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