March – the month where we start to enjoy lighter nights and signs of spring, where we celebrate Mother’s Day and two birthdays in the Harris household, but mainly the month Chris waits for from November, the month of the start of the new season.
It’s great for Chris, he’s like a big kid at Christmas – parcels galore – products, suits, covers, helmets and more but most importantly the new bikes are ready to race, and he is absolutely buzzing. I love to watch how he changes through the off season; March is always my favourite – his whole body language changes, the excitement is real.
I love this month for many reasons, but I also dread it – knowing that from now until October I am pretty much on my own juggling work, kids, home as well as Chris’s world with no support network.
This month has been crazy busy with final design stuff, parcels galore for the new season and many hours in the workshop getting season ready, many miles on the road up and down the country and a cheeky few contracts to sign thrown in. Chris has made trips to Manchester, Wolverhampton, Derby, Glasgow, Chelmsford and more this month as part of season prep - from Team Building at Glasgow to Bike building in Chelmsford. But it's all worth it, because he's ready as is his new equipment.
I have to say that I personally love the new bikes. We decided for this season to go a bit old school from back in the day when Chris had blue and black, so we sent an old design to D-Star from 2008 with a few tweeks and asked them to include the fluro yellow, and we also updated the family photos that are built into the design for a fresh new look. We finalised the design at version 6 - I am praying for the season where we can get it done in version 3 or less, but it has to be perfect. I managed to convince Chris to do a video reveal which is over on his Facebook page if you haven’t seen the new design yet ....
Earlier this month we were kindly invited to the Celebration of Speedway at Paradise Wildlife park - the weather was fabulous, the kids enjoyed the wildlife park and all the animals, and we spent some time looking at the stalls and displays as well as watching a few bike demonstrations – Cruz loved hearing the bikes roar !! We finished our visit with a walk around the museum. The children were so excited to see Chris’s bike on display and pictures of him on the walls – such a precious memory made for us as family. If you haven’t visited yet, I would highly recommend it. It was a lovely way to spend our last Sunday together for a while with the busy race schedule imminent.
A few days later Chris headed to Glasgow for a couple of days Team Building which involved gym time, walking hills and some time with the fans. Chris arrived home at 4am Saturday morning and spent the day preparing and loading up the van for his first meeting of the season ..
Robbo's farewell, on Mothering Sunday. Chris's first meeting of the year for Robbo up north in Redcar, he left home at 10am to make the 3 1/2 hour trip to Redcar, I stayed home with the children knowing that the meeting wouldn't run due to track conditions (we seen images of the track). Robbo's camp were working so hard on the track to get the meeting on so Chris left thinking he would be racing and finally supporting Robbo in his farewell.
I planned to purchase the livestream after a lunch time treat with the kids at the dessert bar in Rugby and watch from the sofa. Chris called me when he was just a few minutes away from the track saying he was heading back home as the meeting was off due to track conditions. He would arrive back home approx 5pm. A mix of emotions - feeling of disappointment for my friend Martin & the Robbo camp after all the effort and hard work with a decent line-up, gutted for Chris that he couldn't get out on his bike and be part of Robbo's celebrations, finally, frustration for me and the kids who missed out on time with Chris who had a 7 hour road trip for nothing.
The following weekend we celebrated Amara-Mae's 5th Birthday on the Saturday with our family who travelled up from Cornwall.
Chris then headed to Wolverhampton for Sam Masters Testimonial - which was now his first meeting of the season. The meeting didn't go to plan for Chris with a burnt out clutch in his 2nd ride, and then slid off in his 3rd ride when he hit a slick patch in turn 3, but the kids enjoyed watching the livestream and seeing daddy on the TV. This wasn't his new bikes by the way, he keeps them for Press & Practice ....
Monday I managed to convince Chris to take us to Peterborough to see Nicki & Emil debut (yes I am a big fan of them both). We managed a quick visit to the pits, a visit to the track shop so Amara-Mae & Cruz could buy some model bikes, and then we grabbed our spot between turn 1 & 2 on the grass. Chris spent some time talking to fans and having photographs, and we managed to catch up with some friends etc. The meeting started with drama after Nicki crashed out in Heat 1, the meeting was providing some decent racing and wow Emil did not disappoint, but unfortunately we decided to leave approx 9pm as we were only at Heat 7 and the little ones were getting cold and grumpy.
Tuesday was Leicester's official Press & Practice and the day started with Chris heading to JCB for a tour (which he loved, he sent me so many photo's and videos ), before heading to the track for TV & Radio interviews, team pictures, individual pictures and some time on track. Due to the weather the track time was cancelled unfortunately.
Thursday was due to be Chris's debut for the lions at home, I was going to take the kids to watch, but the weather won again and the lions made the call early to re-arrange. Luckily for me it meant I got to spend my birthday at home where we all indulged in a slice of birthday cake, and I had a cheeky glass of fizz !
Lets not forget about the 2 snow days - we had so much fun sledging, snow angels, snow ball fights, and building snow men - me and the kids absolutely love the snow and were out in it at 7am, Chris on the other hand ... well he had no choice, I am pretty sure he secretly loves it but just won't admit it, must be a Cornish thing.
A special mention to one of Chris's mechanics Jake and his fiancée Georgina for welcoming baby Ivy into the world safely on the 7th March, cannot wait for cuddles ..
For those of you who have asked about the bike in the kitchen, it is no longer in the kitchen and back in it's rightful place awaiting restoration whenever that may be.
As I write this, Chris is currently outside in the rain loading up and preparing to head off to Glasgow for the weekend for Press & Practice ...
Miles travelled – 2,745
Hours spent travelling – 61
Flights – 1
Nights away from home – 3
Press & Practice – 1 (no practice though due to rain)
Rain-Off’s – 2
Races - 5
Crashes – 1
Engine Failure’s – 1 (burnt clutch)
Kevlar’s washed – 2
Meetings as a spectator – 1