It's June 2008, somewhere just south of Calais, on the way to watch a friend race with BEMSEE during one of their occasional overseas excursions to the Croix-en-Ternois circuit. A Friday afternoon dash away from work, down the motorway to the Channel Tunnel and then out into the French countryside. The first time I had taken a motorcycle onto foreign soil, a heady mix of freedom, apprehension and excitement.
I'm travelling light - forget your big-bore 'adventure' bikes and shiny metal panniers, let's take a screaming 400cc race-rep to watch others of its kind actually being raced. My (then brand new) Kriega R35, stuffed with a sleeping bag and a change of clothes, the US-10 piggybacked onto it to hold my camera gear. Add a waterproof oversuit bungeed to the pillion seat, and a thoroughly inadequate map taped to the fuel tank, and let's go.