From the Blog

Losing it

As most of you know, I’m a twin. In fact, my brother and I are identical twins, the result of the already fertilised egg separating after conception and the two embryos developing into two babies. Since this is the case, identical twins are (obviously) the same gender and also (obviously) they look the same. Now I could spend many hours going on about the myriad of ways that Paul and I have created mayhem amongst friends and strangers alike due to our identical appearance but I’ll leave that for another day. What I want to remark on today is the differences between us rather than the similarities. Because, in spite of what I have said above, Paul and I are very different in many ways. And the area of difference that I want to highlight today is my brother’s perplexing propensity for losing things (and please stick with me as you will discover that there is a motorcycling connection here).

It seems to have become fairly common in the last few years that Paul has started to lose things and, oddly quite valuable things. A couple of years ago he lost an expensive set of prescription sunglasses. He did the usual retracing of this steps and determined that, since the glasses were not in the car where he last remembered wearing them (he mainly uses them for driving) that he must have misplaced them in the pits at Phillip Island where we had been attending the annual Island Classic meeting.

Subsequent searches failed to discover them so he went back to the optometrists and ordered a replacement pair. The episode was long forgotten until months later he rang me up and said, “Hey, you remember the prescription sunglasses that I lost?” I replied that I did. Paul had put the car into a car detailing company to have it washed, polished and generally tidied up and the glasses, in their case, were found, wedged in an almost inaccessible place under the driver’s seat. Yes, he had looked under the seat but obviously had failed to detect them.

On another occasion, he did the more common trick of leaving his mobile phone on the roof of his car. He had driven off and the phone was lost and was never recovered. Again, an expensive replacement. Last week I received a telephone call asking me if I had seen his credit card. It was missing. He had done the usual retrace the steps trick and felt that it had slipped out of his wallet when he was checking it for something while sitting on my lounge. We checked but it definitely wasn’t there. Later in the day he rang back to say that the credit card had been recovered. He had used it to purchase something at Repcos and had left it there while holding an animated conversation with the man behind the counter.

My father used to tell the story of a policeman who, one night, discovered a drunk, down on hands and knees searching the footpath at the base of a light post. When he enquired what the drunk was doing he was told that he was looking for a ten pound note that he had dropped. “Where did you drop it, sir?” the policeman asked. “Up the road there a bit,” was the reply. “Well, why are you looking for it here?” he again enquired. “The light’s better here,” was the answer.

I want to make it clear that Paul’s propensity for losing things is not due to some mental failing or advancing years. Nor am I seeking to score some cheap brotherly points (heavens, can you imagine me doing something that tacky?). It stems more from the fact that, though Paul is no longer working full-time, his mind seems to be constantly working on a myriad of ideas and projects and sometimes the practical things get pushed out.

Anyway back to the latest adventure. Some years ago while we were at the Island Classic (now there is a feature in common, mmmmmm) Paul went to one of the trade stands and ordered a set of custom made ear plugs. The ones with the audio line that enable you to listen to your music on the move were out of his budget’s range but the “normal” ones still cost his a couple of hundred dollars if I recall. They have provided excellent service so I was very disappointed to hear from him a while ago that he had lost them. I asked the usual questions and received the usual answers. Paul is a very methodical person and, when he gets home from riding anywhere, he parks the bike on the front lawn at the front of the house. He puts his gloves, his helmet and his ear plugs on the air conditioning condenser next to the front door and goes down the driveway to open the garage. So it wasn’t until he went to ride the next time that he discovered the ear plugs were missing. Once they didn’t show up he assumed that they had fallen off the condenser (or been blown off) and had been munched up by the lawn mower. There seemed no other logical explanation.

As he always rides with earplugs (so should you) he ordered another set (though quite a bit cheaper from another manufacturer) and the old set was consigned to history. Well, almost. On Tuesday when Paul was visiting he said, “Hey, you know those custom earplugs that I lost?” I replied that I did. “I found them after all that.” I knew that this was going to be an interesting story. Again it seems his methodical nature had contributed to his downfall. You see, Paul has a small change tin in the lounge room. Whenever he gets home he digs into his pocket, pulls out any loose change that is there and dumps it in the tin. Then, when the tin is full, he takes it to the bank and cashes the amount into his account. On Tuesday a strange set of yellow things splashed into the coin hopper at the bank and the mystery was solved as to where his ear plugs had gone. He had lumped them in with the change that was in his pocket when he had returned home from riding and they had remained undiscovered in the coin tin ever since.

Again I want to say that I am not having a joke at Paul’s expense, but it does seem that, at least in one area of our lives, we are by no means identical.

There hasn’t been much opportunity for riding of late even though the weather for the last week or so has been a great deal more pleasant. Family responsibilities have taken priority, as they should, and riding has been pushed down the priorities list. Never mind, hopefully things will pick up soon, especially if our mild winter weather persists.

In racing, a couple of significant announcements this week. After 9 years with KRT, Tom Sykes has announced that he is leaving the team. I can’t say that I blame him, having the “new kid” come in and ruin your party as Johnny Rea has done would take the snap, crackle and pop out of anyone’s Rice Bubbles. No announcement about Tom’s riding future at this stage but KRT have moved quickly to announce his replacement, Leon Haslam stepping up to the plate, a great time for him to be joining a winning team.

The much-expected (and predicted here ages ago, I must add) departure of the Marc VDS team from MotoGp has been confirmed this week so the grid for next year reduces to 22 riders as a result. Still no announcement (officially anyway) of who will partner Morbidelli at the new Satellite Yamaha team but conformation that Morbidelli will be on a full factory bike while his partner will be on a lower-spec satellite bike. This seems dumb to me as the data figures will be all over the place with two different bikes in the garage and I’d have thought Petronas could have afforded to have gone the whole hog. Maybe it’s a Yamaha decision rather than a team one.

Only one seat left vacant now in MotoGp with several riders vying for the other Avintia Ducati ride. Bautista SHOULD get it as he’s the best rider out of those that are available, but he doesn’t bring any money to the team and, in fact wants to be PAID, (the cheek of it). Since the ride will go to someone who CAN pay it looks like it will go to the very rich but perennially under-performing Karel Abraham.

Speculation about the possible retirement of Mika Kallio after his horror crash and expected long recovery from injury leaves a tiny window of opportunity for another under-performing rider, Bradley Smith, to extend his stay in the top ranks as the test rider for KTM, but no full-time position is available for him either.

Well, that should do for today, I think. My sporadic forays to the keyboard are frustrating me and probably you, too, but thanks for sticking with me. I’ll catch you next time.