In all the years I have been racing and being around race teams and race people I have never experienced the things that happened to us at the beginning of the 2020 race season.
It all started on 18th February 2021 when I was contacted and informed that a fire had been reported in the College where I stored all my race bikes and race equipment, News reports claimed that over 150 fire fighters were trying to get a serious blaze under control in the Motorsport section of the college building where my bike was worked on by Students and stored.
The day after the fire and my worse fears came true, I had simply lost everything!
Bikes, generators, tools and equipment I had saved up for and bought to start racing were all gone!
I felt sick, a kind of sickness I never want repeated. I was in Shock, had numbness, denial and disbelief all at the same time, I felt like I might wake up and none of this had ever happened, hoping it may just of been an awful nightmare! I felt sick to the bone and didn’t no who to turn too or what to do!
It was February and the first scheduled race was just over four weeks away at Brands Hatch, I had nothing to race on and nothing left as the fire had taken the lot.
I assessed the situation, I had stored a Yamaha R6 in my own personal garage near my house, this was a long term project I was working on and this bike was intended to race at the Isle Of Man TT when and if the time was eventually right, it was a standard road bike that had no adaptions for me with a box standard engine.
It was the only bike I had available to me so this was now the Chris Ganley Race Teams new Race bike !
My team, friends and family suggested I put a Go Fund Me page together to see if I could raise funds to kick start the newly acquired project, I didn’t think much to this idea to be honest and knew with only four weeks until the race season started was a big big ask, I decided to give it a go and see what happened. I put a list of items required to race together and it wasn’t good reading, I really did think that the 2020 season would be written off.
Within four days of the Go Fund Me Page going live I had over half of the requested amount of £10,000. I was simply flabbergasted, I could not believe that in four days people believed in me so much and wanted to get me back racing as soon as I could, I really didn’t have any words to describe my emotions that day, I was blown away by the generosity and kindness of every single person that donated to my Go fund me page, Thank you all so much.
Not only was I seeing the total increase by the hour but I had many offers of donations and gifts that also made me incredibly overwhelmed, I received Tools, generators with electric starts, track days the list went on and on, In just over a week I had over £10,000 in the Go Fund Me page and the figure was still rising. I could simply not believe it!
Eventually I took the page off line as I had got £10,000, I never thought this would happen and the figure was still rising, I stopped the page with a final figure of £10,537, Incredible ! Thank you seems an inadequate word but this is all I can say!!!!
We had a bike and we were sort of ready for round one at Brands Hatch but unfortunately for us and Thundersport GB Covid 19 had other ideas. First round cancelled due to lock down restrictions and no one knew what the rest of the year would hold.
This was yet again another massive set back for the team who had been through enough in 2021 and the season hadn’t even started yet. We had over come a devastating fire, no bike or equipment and now Covid said no one could race. we were all devastated.
The season was re-scheduled with new dates, round one was at Snetterton over the weekend of 1st and 2nd May with racing on 3rd Bank Holiday Monday. The bike was ready and so was the team.
I’m not going to give a round by round account of the 2021 race season as I have published full race reports from each round we did this year, After 47 riders started in the championship at the start of the year we finished 42nd by the last round at Cadwell Park in October with a untested bike that failed to perform for much of the year. I am going to mention the people who have made this year possible though -
First and foremost Blesma, without the assistance from Steve Fraser and the Backing from Blesma None of the racing would have been remotely possible, I will be forever indebted to you.
Thank you to Silkoline, Kerry Rawson, EBC Brakes, Pipewerx, Clevedon Motorcycles, HMT Tyres, Dave Croft at Mupo Race Suspension, TTT Motorcycle Village, Hel Performance, Tonic Motorcycle Transportation, WSC Performance, Cutting Edge Signs and My ex Regt The Rifles. Thank you all for standing by my through good and bad times this year.
My Team John Jono Bennett from Avid Motorbike & Car Service & Repair Centre, Cameron Green, Ian Elsam, Wendy Myatt, Ian Boldy and Andrew and Claire.
A special mention to Janet and Andy Thomas for supporting me over the last few years, I can never explain how greatfull I truely am.
Finally - I have some massive news I’d like to share with you all at the beginning of the year in 2022, Please be patient as this is worth waiting for.
Have a safe Christmas and a good off season, we will see you in a paddock somewhere soon.
Thank you all so much