Startober

As some of you may/may not be aware, over recent years there have been numerous health charities and fund raising schemes that have made October the month where you take 31 days off something like alcohol or smoking.

Generally known as ‘Stoptober’ the idea is that is you take the first steps of quitting by just having a month off. This is then the platform to keep up what you have stopped – if you can do without it for a month then why not carry on without it?

Well, I’m going to flip this and do Startober for October 2018. My Startober is about my blogging and my overall attitude to writing in general. I have an unfinished freelance journalism course I would like to complete but I also want be writing more full stop, as to me this was starting to be a really good way of expressing myself and my passions.

Generally what normally happens is that I start to write but I can never manage to build momentum so my writing would stop and I would not do it for months at a time.

October 2018 is the game changer for me and it’s starting with this post.

For the next 31 days I hope to post every other day (or more depending on how ideas flow or if I am thinking of good content). It’s not going to be about one specific subject so might seem all over content wise, but the idea is to make writing a normal thing for me and make it part of my daily routine. Hopefully by doing so I can produce some good content but not only that kickstart the course that I have yet to finish.

So here’s to Startober 2018! By October 31st let’s hope this page is full of creativity, insight, opinions and general musings from myself about this, that, and everything in between…

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Addicted to Let’s Play’s

Now I Don’t Play Games Anymore

Last September I was lucky enough to become a dad. From this moment on I knew my habits would have to change. One of them would be the amount of time that I spent playing games. Feeds every 4 hours meant sleep was at a premium so my gaming took a hit.

One thing I started doing was odd nights I would give my fiance a night off and do a night shift away from her so a whole 8 hours of sleep could be had. During these nights I would watch Let’s Play’s as playing an actual game was too tiring but watching was both relaxing and if I fell asleep it didn’t really matter.lets play

Let’s Play’s have been around for years, anyone who is even a moderate gamer will have watched one. Weather it’s because you are possibly going to buy a game and want more of a taste then what a review can give you, or if it’s just you’ve heard some hype and want to see it’s true. Either way they are a good source to get a dose of video games outside normal games journalism (although major gaming sites are on top of producing their own Let’s Play’s).

There is another big reason Let’s Play’s have been successful, and that’s for entertainment. I’m sure I am not the only one who will watch hours of someone playing through the newest titles on Youtube or Twitch. There are some big online personalities out there that add to the experience, if you can fine 3 or 4 Youtubers/Twitchers you can either relate to or can watch easily. This then gives you 100’s of hours of potential free entertainment at your finger tips.

As the weeks breezed by I noticed that I wasn’t playing games, any free time I had I would be watching them being played instead. I noticed it was helping my bank account as I didn’t need to purchase the new releases. But crucially I noticed that I did not miss the actual act of playing games, something I would never of imagined last year.

 

 

 

 

Davies Set To Carry Momentum

WSBK Round 4 – Assen

This weekend sees the World Superbike Championship head to the ‘cathedral of speed’, Assen. Historically this a track Jonathan Rea performs well at. With 2 race wins last season in his debut year on the Kawasaki, he has also racked up 5 wins on the Honda.

Rea is also going into this round with a championship lead of 26 points, and even though he hasn’t been off the podium this season, during the round at Aragon there was a distinct momentum shift on track.

Chaz Davies had some upgrades from Ducati at the Aragon round and they certainly made an impression. They turned a bike that Davies was pushing beyond the limit in previous rounds to something that he could ride with ease and dominate the field. Ducati have made numerous technical changes with the most visual one being the new exhaust configuration. These changes made the Ducati a completely different machine on the straights, helping Davies take his first double win of this season. With his confidence on a high on an improved machine and with Davies getting 2 podiums himself at Assen last year, he will certainly have his eye on another double.

BSB 2016

With 3 rounds of the World Superbike series down and with Motogp heading into their third round this weekend, it’s finally time for what is arguably the best domestic championship in the world, British Superbikes.

The line up for this seasons British Superbike Championship consists of 32 riders all vying to get into the top 6 showdown at the end of the season, these 6 then fight it out to become British Champion. The 12 round championship always throws up some amazing races helped in part by the series visiting amazing circuits like Oulton Park and Caldwell Park.

There has been a lot of bike/team/rider changes since the last race of last season at Brands Hatch. Notably the biggest change is that there will be no back to back champion, as Josh Brookes and the Milwaukee team as a whole has shifted it’s efforts to WSBK. His absence will probably be a relief to most of the grid, as his domination on the Yamaha in the last few rounds of the season saw him win 6 of the 7 showdown races.

The move away from BSB by Milwaukee has meant Yamaha has had to find pastures new for the 2015 championship winning bike. That team is Tommy Hill Motorsport, with a rider line up of John Hopkins and Stuart Easton. Both riders have something to prove with Easton having an injury affected 2015. John Hopkins came into the championship late on in the year, unfortunately niggling technical issues caused him to lose more than one podium towards the end of season.

Paul Bird Motorsport have made the switch from Kawasaki to Ducati bringing along with them Shane Byrne. With factory support directly from Bologna, I see Byrne as the favourite this season. The combination of Byrne, PBM and Ducati winning the championship in 2003, Byrne had further success with the manufacturer in 2008. He is also the most successful rider on the grid with 4 BSB titles and will be favoured by most to get his 5th, especially with the current successes of Chaz Davies in WSBK on the same machinery.

Last year Michael Laverty struggled on his return to the British circuits on board the BMW. After some mid season upgrades he found his form and a lot more confidence in the bike, ending the season with a win. He has been going well in testing so will hopefully be fighting for wins every round.

JG Speedfit Kawasaki are back for 2016 keeping on James Ellison whom has had varied success with them. He ended 2015 injured but returns fit and ready for 2016. Joining the team is Leon Haslam, who is making his return to the British Championship after leaving for WSBK after the 2008 season. Like Laverty last year I think he will struggle for the first half of the season getting used to riders he hasn’t ridden against and on tracks he may not of ridden on since 2008.

Tommy Bridewell and Ryuichi Kiyonari are with the Bennetts Suzuki sqaud for 2016. With an uncharacteristic season from Kiyonari last year, 2015 saw him finish outside the top 10 more often than not. A major plus for Kiyonari is he is back riding the bike he helped get onto the podium at 2105’s Suzuka 8 hour. He is joined by Tommy Bridewell, who has finished in the showdown in 3 out of the last 4 seasons.

The riders mentioned above are my tips to duke it out for the title, but with a large grid, a massive of depth of field and a healthy mixture of bikes from all manufacturers it shows why this championship is one of the best year on year for unbeatable action.

I’ve gone with my gut predicting Shane Byrne is going to take his 5th title, but with the last round being 7 months away, anything can and will happen. Hopefully the 2016 championship can produce the action, thrills and spills we have been used to seeing in recent years.

Pol’s Woes

So, this article is a reaction to what Pol Espargaro has said after the Argentina round of the Motogp championship.

He called Hector Barbera’s last lap move on him “crazy” as they both ended up going wide  and letting Eugene Laverty claim his best finishing position of his gp career with a 4th.

While you can understand Pol’s annoyance as he potentially lost out on a 4th place finish in a season where he needs to impress, Hector was fighting to get a good finishing position in the top 8, something that for him did not happen very often last season and therefore he was willing to risk a little more, (Also if he thought that was crazy what would he be saying if he was on the receiving end of Andrea Iannone’s attempted pass on his Ducati team mate Andrea Dovizioso).

“Crazy” is what Pol might have to get used to this season. Considering the standard ECU’s, and the return of the Michelin tyres. It has shaken up the grid, but especially the back of the field where factory support is lacking. If Pol can’t improve and fight for the top 6, he is going to be mired in the battle for 8th and above, especially  with the independent bikes & riders keen to prove a point on the standardised electronics.

Another reason for Pol’s outburst is he could possibly be worried, he’s starting his 3rd season with Tech3 and with his 1st season in the premier class ending with a 6th position in the championship, 2015 looked set to be a good year for the former Moto2 champion. Unfortunately with and some poor results he only managed 9th in last years championship scoring less points than his debut season and finishing 3 positions lower than his team mate Bradley Smith who’s consistency meant he was top independent in 2015.

With a seventh and sixth position finishes in the first 2 races of the season his results need to improve from Austin and into the first few rounds in Europe. With so many contracts ending at the end of the 2016 season, and with a myriad of Moto2 riders chomping at the bit to step up to the premier class, he needs to improve his form dramatically to secure himself a good ride for 2017.

As far as I see it, this season is a career defining one for Pol.