9/02/03 -Neil and Kathryn Hodgson announce the birth of their
baby girl, Holly Jean, born at 14:30 today and weighing in at
7 pounds. The birth of the couple’s first child was induced
a week early at Douglas hospital on the Isle of Man in order that
Neil could be present at the birth before flying to Assen ready
for his next WSB this weekend.
Hodgsen checks in as World Superbike Season draws towards a close
been taking some time off this month of August and laying low.
I was pretty tired after Brands Hatch at the end of July. It’s
been a long season and the season seemed to be going by really
fast but it had really started to take its toll on me what with
one thing and another. It’s been pretty much non-stop all
year really and it wasn’t until after Brands that I really
realised how tired I was.
I was ill
at the time and I think it was because I was so run down so this
five-week break couldn’t have come at a better time. At
Brands Hatch I was just about running on empty, you know? My performance
kind of reflected that and Brands Hatch was one of the meetings
where we struggled to get enough dry track time to get a good
set-up. I know it sounds like an excuse but that’s pretty
much how it’s been this year. We’ve struggled all
year because this is a totally new bike and we’ve been starting
from scratch at every circuit.
frustrating for me because Brands is my home race and you arrive
there with a target on your back and all the wildcard lads are
out to get you. It’s a big deal in the UK and I don’t
want to sound like a sore loser but I did feel frustrated. The
thing in the back of my mind was that if I wrapped the championship
there it would be great for Kathryn because she won’t be
able to make Assen. That’s racing I guess and I’m
a factory rider now so in the end it was just better that I took
the broad view and rode for the championship.
So because the baby is due around the same date as Assen, Kathryn
will go into the hospital here on the Isle of Man on the 1st of
September to be induced. This way I can guarantee being there
for the birth. I then leave for Assen on Thursday the 4th and
unless she has the world’s longest labour I should be a
know if it’s a boy or a girl but we’ve got a short
list of names ready in either case. We’re not going to make
the final decision until after it’s arrived. Don’t
worry, I’ll keep you posted!
not really had any great results at Assen so I can’t say
that I’ve really enjoyed the place before. I think last
year I had a technical problem in the first race and I was on
for a podium place in the second one but Haga ran me off the track!
I know a lot of people say that it’s their favourite track
but it’s not one of mine. I don’t hate it, but I guess
it’s always been a bit of a Michelin track before and until
this year I’ve always been on Dunlops. The big problem is
that Kathryn won’t be able to be there. My folks are coming
over and lots of friends, but Kathryn will be with the baby.
just moved house here on the Isle of Man again, which has kept
me kind of busy. It’s our second move in six months and
what with the baby and the World Championship and everything I
guess I’m doing all the most stressful things together in
one year. It’s the most perfect and hardest year together.
We’ve only moved 200 metres up the road but it involves
the same amount of work as moving 200 miles I guess. So we’re
here now and settling in and I’ve been a bit of a DIY [Do-It-Yourself]
king while I’ve got some time to get things straight before
it all goes crazy again. I’ve quite enjoyed the DIY thing
actually, it’s got my mind off of bikes plus the phone has
quieted down because everyone’s
on holiday I guess.
going to a memorial service tonight here in the Isle of Man for
Steve Hislop. His death was such a heart-breaking thing. Because
we race in a dangerous sport I think we’re all kind of prepared
for the worst if something happens to someone like when we lost
David Jefferies at the TT this year. That was so upsetting but
he died doing something that he enjoyed and I think we all understand
that. I don’t want that to come across wrong but…
I think we’re just prepared for when it happens. I know
that Steve was doing something that he enjoyed as well but you
just don’t expect it away from a race. Does that make any
sense? He lived just up the road from me here and when I’m
in town now and I see someone the same build as him and with a
shaved head I think it’s him. I expect to see him, you know?
I couldn’t get to his funeral but I’m going along
to his memorial tonight.
On a lighter
note, I’m back on form and I’m coming out fighting
for these last few rounds to finish the year on a high so stick
with me!Talk to you next week...
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REFINEMENTS INSPIRE DUCATI MOTOGP MEN
9/02/03-The Ducati MotoGP Team goes into this weekend’s Marlboro
Portuguese Grand Prix confident of once again being in the hunt
for victory. At last month’s Czech GP Ducati MotoGP Team riders
Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss were in the thick of the action,
and while the Desmosedici has already proved itself a winning force
in MotoGP, this was the first time that both riders have been in
with a chance of victory.
parts helped Capirossi and Bayliss fight for the win at Brno,
and further refinements have been made since then to give the
pair an even better chance of success at Estoril on Sunday.
has already proved that the Ducati MotoGP Team Desmosedici is
a winning machine. The super-determined Italian won the bike’s
first MotoGP success at Catalunya in June and he looked capable
of repeating that success at Brno last month until a minor electrical
fault halted his victory assault three laps from the finish. This
weekend Capirossi will be out to make up for the misfortune and
bolster his championship position.
put what happened at Brno behind us,” says Capirossi. “At
least that race proved just how good the bike is at the moment,
so Estoril shouldn’t be bad for us. We went okay there during
winter testing but the bike has changed quite a lot since then,
so we will have to work carefully on set-up. We’ve made
good progress this year, and we’re now at a very good level.
The new frame we received at Brno helped improve the overall balance
of the bike, and the new Ohlins fork and Michelin front tyres
we tried during the tests make the bike even better in direction
changes and also more stable on the brakes. I think everyone can
see we’re moving in the right direction. The test team is
working really hard to help us, we appreciate their input.”
still holds fourth in the World Championship standings, just one
point ahead of Bayliss, who has scored podium finishes at the
last two GPs. And Ducati is still running strong in the manufacturers’
championship, currently holding second place in its debut MotoGP
Estoril is MotoGP’s final race in Europe before the paddock
heads oversees for a gruelling run of four flyaway races in Brazil,
Japan, Malaysia and Australia over just five weekends. The GP
circus returns to Europe for the season finale at Valencia, Spain,
on November 2.