The year started out not knowing where my career was going. I had a month left before redundancy started and I needed a new job, preferably closer to home. The weather at the start of the year dictated a less than exciting journey, but by the end of the month I’d secured a new role within the same company and a warm spell meant there was much more fun to be had on the hundred plus mile commute.
March and April… Ahh you bastards! The weather has taken a real turn for the better and Carolina and I, who I had started seeing in February, took the car over to Horsham to see their Italia Festival. The weather was fantastic and so was the company and the vehicles on display. Lots of classic Italian cars and bikes and some cracking food to boot. Sadly my Ducati had thrown a hissy fit and a faulty sensor stopped the ECU recognising the gearbox was in neutral, which made the bike un-rideable.
By the end of May I had secured a new role in what seemed like an exciting company. What made it all the better, was it was only 6 miles from my house. Gone were the two and a half hours rides to work, replaced with a 15min dash. That feeling when I got home after the last monster ride was very strange. I knew that if I kept doing those sort of distances, something bad was going to happen, but each and every ride was an adventure and made me appreciate the build quality of the FireBlade.
During the summer I booked myself onto two California Superbike School days. They may appear to be expensive, but they are worth each and every single penny. The quality of the lessons and the teachers really is beyond reproach. It was on the way back from my first day at the school when the FireBlade fell over in the back of the van. One smashed mirror, a cracked rear fairing and a dented tank was what I had to show for it. The fall also tripped the tilt sensor, so I had to strip the front of the bike, which was made worse by the mess a previous owner had left the wiring in.
Then at the start of October I was made redundant. The company that seemed so exciting was going nowhere fast and looking back in hindsight; being told to leave was the best thing for me. About two months before I left a good friend of mine quit after she was treated so badly while there and the place really wasn’t the same afterwards. It became a real slog just to get through the day and the office felt like a morgue. Thankfully at the start of November, I joined the Fire service, which heralded in a decent length commute, the opportunity to finally replace my car and an employer that presented a world of possibilities.
The year ended with a great trip to Motorcycle Live at the NEC with Carolina and we are both moving forward together in 2017. Next year promises to be full of new challenges, new discoveries and most of all, new opportunities. I’ve been thinking about replacing the FireBlade again, so who knows, maybe after two and half years I’ll replace her with something different, maybe a Suzuki for a change. I have no intention of getting rid of the Ducati, which itself finished 2017 in the pages of Performance Bikes magazine.
So although 2016 was a bit of a rollercoaster, it’s all come good in the end. Here’s to another exciting year on two wheels in 2017. Stay safe and I hope to see you out there.