Sometimes New Zealand feels like a world away from all the action when it comes to road racing, but I've discovered that has its advantages.
As countries around the globe have been in lockdown because of the current Covid-19 situation, here in New Zealand we've been lucky enough to go racing.
High above Queenstown, New Zealand
I'm predicting most people won't know where my hometown of Invercargill even is ... unless you've seen the movie The World's Fastest Indian that is.
Main photo - Trying out the replica of Burt Munro's Indian Scout at E Hayes and Sons in Invercargill. Burt must have been a contortionist!
It's the story of Burt Munro, a motorcycle racer from Invercargill who went to the salt flats of Bonneville in the US and set a world speed record in 1967 on his 1920 Indian Scout. The bike was 47 years old and Burt was 68 when he clocked over 295 kph – a record which still stands.
Swapping stickers with Burt Munro's son John
Every year at the start of February we celebrate his achievements with a week of full on motorbike action at the Burt Munro Challenge – everything from track, beach, street and drag racing to an epic hill climb.
This year I entered in the track day, the hill climb and the sprint races on my IM250 pre-Moto3 bike.
I was gutted when the Bluff hill climb was cancelled due to winds over 130kph at the summit deeming it unsafe for riders to race in. But organisers made the right call as our bikes would have been turned into kites!
Pit hangs with fellow racer Luca and my mate Hugo
I then focused my sights onto the Teretonga circuit races and had a lot of confidence considering it's my home track where I've done so many laps. The IM250 was the smallest bike in the F3 field so I was stoked to qualify P2.
Race one was an amazing battle with another rider but I was forced to settle for second by 0.5 of a second. I was extremely motivated to succeed in race two for my team and all my supporters that had come out to watch me race.
Action time at Teretonga Raceway
After the first few laps I had been gapped from the leader due to me engaging in a battle with third place. Once I had pulled away I then set my sights on the chase ahead. Within two laps I caught up and passed him to hop into the lead and managed to take the chequered flag. We were super rapt as it was also a new PB time. It felt amazing to finally win at my home track in front of the huge turnout of spectators from around New Zealand.
To stay prepared for my racing endeavours I have been spending a lot of my time training with some mountain biking, gym with my Academy Southland strength and conditioning coach Tyson Huia, as well as some dirt biking in the paddocks at home. I have also been spending time relaxing in Queenstown with my family for the weekend. Queenstown has many fun outdoor activities like luging, mountain bike tracks and more adrenaline-filled activities.
Me and the two papas (dad and coach Steve Bagshaw) ventured into the historic Arrowtown district for some mountain biking. It was fun riding up hills and going through river crossings in the 29 degree heat and it was especially nice when we got to the deep rivers to go for a swim. It is crazy thinking that over a hundred years ago gold miners lived in these hills to find gold.
The river crossings were refreshing!
It's great knowing this training is going to better prepare me for the 2021 season with the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup but nothing beats racing.
At the start of March I will be heading to the North Island for the final two rounds of the New Zealand Superbike Championships. I'm currently leading both the SuperSport 300 and SuperSport 150 classes and aiming to earn both championship titles for my Yamaha New Zealand team. It will be hard work but Hampton Downs, near Auckland, and Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo are two of my favourite tracks here.
Then my dad Stacey and I will move to Europe and I'm so excited to experience the Rookies Cup environment, the KTM RC250R machine and the challenge of the European circuits.
Where I'm heading for Red Bull Rookies Cup ... on a map made of jelly beans!
Until next time, stay safe and keep having fun at full throttle everyone!