In his exclusive second instalment for FHM.com, Sylvain Guintoli speaks for the first time about the crash at Donington that has ended his British Superbikes challenge for the season... Get well soon, mate.
Well, for the second entry of my FHM blog, I was definitely not expecting to be reporting from a bed. I was looking forward to Round 3 of the British Superbikes at Donington a lot. This track (apart from Le Mans) is effectively my home track and because I’ve raced there before, I was pretty confident I would do well there. I know and like this track.
I haven’t done a great deal of testing on the Crescent Suzuki GXSR-1000 to be honest, but practice on Friday was great and we were all happy. The bike was on form, I was on race tyres and consistent with my warm-up lap times. I managed to get a second faster than my fastest on my old Moto GP bike which is not normal – the Moto GP is supposed to be faster than the Superbikes.
Sunday was a beautiful day, I was faster in warm-up than I was in qualifying, Leon Camier and I were at the throat, all good fun. I was pleased with 2nd position in qualifying. I was 0.064 seconds behind Camier in pole. So close. On the track that difference is about a tyres width! The pace with Suzuki has been brilliant, it was all perfect for taking the Championship back.
I took the Audi R8 (safety car) out for a lap to try and show you guys what it’s like racing round Donington – (see this video above). Alan did well to keep hold of that camera! The R8 is a great car, though personally I prefer the power and the sound of the V10. It’s a good-looking car, but I think it’s one for the girls. My Lamborghini Gallardo would go faster but neither compare to being on a bike.
Raceday on Monday was overcast and damp. I’d chilled out the night before, relaxed, had a couple of beers. What’s so nice about the BSB is you can have a beer the night before a race and not feel like people are judging you, the Moto GP was very different like that. I’m not going be heavy-drinking, but I’ve been doing this for a while. You know where you stand if you’ve had a good weekend or a slow weekend. This is more exciting, racing for wins.
Being a sportsman, I have to keep healthy and fit but I hate the gym. I like being outside though so I do a lot of cycling, I prefer this to running. As a racer you don’t want to be building up big muscles, you need to be lean, look at Valentino or Colin, they are slim. I’ve also tried rowing recently, (because of a bet with a mate, which actually I lost), but it was good, I like rowing too.
Anyway, the garage was buzzing with excitement on the morning, I’d had a light breakfast and coffee, (I don’t eat much before a race), I was very happy, feeling in control and I believed this round was mine.
It was time to get on the grid. All the racers go on a sighting lap (prior the warm-up lap) and I rode round the track, warming up the tyres a bit. I was going at a lesser speed than you would on a racing lap and then, my next thought, was unbelievable pain like I’ve never felt before!
The noise was horrific. I didn’t see or hear anything, wearing earplugs means you can’t even hear the engine at that sort of corner, it’s usually very calm. But I didn’t see who came up behind and I don’t remember feeling much else other than an excruciating pain in my leg. I slid for a bit on the tarmac and once I’d come to a stop in the gravel, I looked down and could see my right foot pointing the wrong way. My leg was not the right shape, and I knew I wasn’t going to get away with this one. This bike was also a write-off.
I could see my bike on fire on the left and Brookes to my right and my first thoughts were of such anger. I couldn’t believe this crazy guy, doing that in a sighting lap, I think it’s disgusting. This shouldn’t happen like this, it’s not like we’re kids in a playground, we’re professionals on fast and heavy bikes and you just can’t do something like that. It’s not like a race-pace-lap, or a lap-time-lap or when you’re pushing and you make a mistake, yes that does happen, but in the sighting lap? For me, there is no excuse.
I watched the videos of the races and am sure I would’ve nailed it. I’ve now spent a week in hospital and had three operations in total. When I first arrived they had to put my bones back in place quickly, that was the worst bit. I hadn’t had any morphine at that point, just gas but a bone had come through my skin so it had to be done.
It’s been the hardest week of my life. I’ve been sent so many cards and presents, I really appreciate all the good wishes people have sent on. James Toseland wore a no.50 on his bike this weekend at the Moto GP to show my old team were thinking of me also which was nice, he’s coming to see me this week.
I tried to see Round 4 at Thruxton at the weekend but the hospital doesn’t have Eurosport! I heard about the message the front row guys sent me from the round and I appreciate everyone’s well wishes.
Whilst it was an ‘accident’, I do feel the penalty was too small. I think for doing this to me he should be removed from the Championship completely. My Championship is finished, the pain I’ve been through and I’ve now got a long road ahead to begin rebuilding from this. He’s lucky he hasn’t got a leg like a balloon as well.
I’m devastated to be out of the championship. The team have given me their full support and Paul Denning, (Boss at Crescent Suzuki) will wait for my return, which has been really nice to hear.
I’ve had a lot of support from the people in the paddock also, I hear the feeling now is that the Championship will be dead, as Camier is going to fly at every race. Now I need to concentrate on my recovery, but I can’t wait to start my adventure again.