I’d be lying to say I do not feel a bit strange at the moment as the new MotoGP season beckons. For the first time in 38 years I’m not involved but I’ve filled the time in by buying a lawn mower and writing features for the Cumnor Parish News. I’ve also had a bit of a think what I will miss most about not being in Qatar for that opening race in three weeks’ time.
Saturday and Sunday breakfasts at Ducati where they called me Uncle Albert from Only Fools and Horses. Best scrambled eggs in the world.
The very British IRTA enclave in the paddock with cups of tea and British television on tap. Keith Huewen from BT Sport was a great tea maker.
Watching Premier League football with Matt Birt and Steve Day in Alpine Stars Hospitality on Saturday nights while discussing the fortunes of Cornish Pirates Rugby Club with Jeremy Appleton over a beer. It was always good if Arsenal and Leicester won and Spurs lost.
Alerting the Manchester – based studio of BBC World Service it was time to put the kettle on because I always rang at tea time, 15.00 on a Sunday afternoon with the race report.
Sneaking a read of the free copy of the Daily Mail on British Airways flights without Gavin Emmett from BT Sport noticing.
Suppressing uncontrollable laughter when somebody, often myself, had produced a rather nasty smell in the commentary box. Very childish but very funny.
Remembering Dylan’s name down in pit lane.
Practicing the pronunciation of the name of the Tissot Representative who was awarding the Qualifying watch winners, with MotoGP Media Manger Frine Velilla. I still got it wrong.
Checking the Oxford United full time score on my phone while the pole setters were answering my questions in the Qualifying press conference.
Locking myself in my office at Phillip Island in Australia when the python arrived to be draped over the riders shoulders in the pre-event photo-shoot.
That first cold beer on a Sunday night when work had finally finished.
Hoping that Valentino Rossi would not say f….. too many times in the press conference.
Trying to compose good questions for Cal Crutchlow because his answers sometimes scared me.
Trying not to say thank-you too many times to Marc Marquez in the press conferences.
So many great bars and restaurants but must mention Don Pepe in Jerez, Isle of Wight Pub in Phillip Island, The Brewery in Brno and the Sami Sami hotel bar and street food in Malaysia to name but a few.
Trying to keep up with Matt Birt as he strode through airports like Usain Bolt at a million miles per hour. It was something I never achieved especially on those escalators.
Being told to shut the f…… up in my headphones by Spanish producer Victor when the TV broadcast was coming to an end.
Staying at a Castle with a moat and drawbridge in Austria.
There are very a few things I won’t miss but seriously I’m already missing so much this truly incredible sport and the amazing people who work in it. That’s it, no more time for reminiscing I’ve got to trim the hedge and get that lawn ready for its first cut!