In case you missed it, read Part I of Dan's blog HERE
Once you are on that painful road to recovery, you must start communicating with your team regarding future races. In my case, I race with several teams around the world and had to cancel the final rounds of the China Superbike Series. I still had a chance for the championship and almost certainly a top three overall finish. My China Kawasaki team is always very supportive and they chose not to field another rider and simply pull out of the event and focus on 2016. I still had to fly over there to participate in PR activities and do my best to promote Kawasaki (I used it as an opportunity to finalize my 2016 plans with them!).
Next I talked with my BMW factory-supported team out of Germany, Penz13. I had to pull out of the IRRC event in Frohburg, Germany. This was a tough one as I love the event and my team and the local promoter had spent a lot of time promoting that I was racing at the event along with my teammates Michael Rutter and Lee Johnston. My Penz13.com team managed to hire Gary Johnson to ride my bike for the event so that worked out well for them.
Colin Fraser of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship had invited me to participate in the Kawasaki Ninja 300 Race Series exhibition debut in Canada, which I also sadly had to decline.
The last race of the year is the Macau Grand Prix in November. It is one of the biggest events in the world. It is an invitational event and there are hundreds of racers that could only dream to be one of the 31 riders who get invited. Not only was I invited again for 2015, but my factory BMW team had a new bike prepared for me with support from the Macau Special Olympics. I ended up confirming that I will be there on the starting grid. It is not a tough decision since you know when it is the right time to get back on a race bike. In this case, I waited even longer than planned to be sure all was healed. I also realize heading into the Macau GP is like heading directly into the eye of the storm. I have resumed my training and although I won’t be 100% back to my fitness level, I will be fine. In terms of my injuries, they have healed and I am finally ready to resume my career. My neurologist has been instrumental in my healing process and I can’t thank her enough. She was even planning to come out and cheer me on but has a conflict with the dates.
Crashing is easy, but what needs to be dealt with after that moment is usually quite complicated. There are emotions, rumours, business contracts, and much more to consider. All the while, you need to keep up your social media, stay positive and always be planning for the next season. I will not even get into the long-term damage we all do to our bodies each and every time we exit the machine unexpectantly.
FYI…MotoGP racer Alex de Angelis had a bad crash recently (also in Japan) which was eerily similar to what happened to me in July. I immediately felt terrible for him and his family/team as I unfortunately know all too well, what lies ahead in the long long road to recovery.