I became the International rider who can't fill out paperwork, is useless in the first round and then crashes into another guy and breaks his leg because he's a jerk. So you just cop flak the whole way.
I was then on a suspended ban which they would monitor for three rounds and then the ban would then be cleared. So the next three rounds I think I finished on the podium every race, I didn't generate great support, but I felt things had levelled off a bit and there wasn't any strong hatred going on.
The next thing was that at Mallory I wasn't happy with the bike and I'd started from fairly low on the grid. I'd made it up to fourth place and with eight laps to go just made an error. I was trying to overtake Chris Walker who's extremely late on the brakes. I'd been following him for four laps and was starting to get frustrated and tried to make a pass which went wrong. I only personally hit Simon Andrews but the bike had let oil out and the next five or so riders fell off on the oil and I went back to being the worst guy in the world again.
That racing incident got viewed in the worst possible light. If it were just a single occurrence it would have been seen as a racing incident but because of all the build-up before it I got a two race ban. That didn't fit the situation anyway because the incident at Mallory was after the initial suspended ban had been lifted.
We tried to convince the tribunal, they weren't to be persuaded though and said they had to consider stuff from the past. So the next two races I had to watch and one of those was Cadwell Park which was the one I was most looking forward to.
Is it important to you what people think of you?
It isn't important as regards whether I continue to race, it certainly is important for my own peace of mind though. It's important to you how you're perceived by the public and you want people to form their opinion from the truth. That was the biggest thing, I felt I was being judged from inaccurate material in the press. If the truth was put out there and people formed their opinion from it then I'd have to accept that.
And do you think the media has been fair to you?
Some media seemed fair and others not. Every media outlet wants a story, they want the big headline. They want the good guy and they want the villain. That's just how it works, I understand the system, they need to sell newspapers. You see that with footballers and movie stars where they can't do anything without being ridiculed for it later.
Luckily in a smaller industry like bike racing you're never in the spotlight like they are but you certainly see that they are still trying to sell papers and get hits on the website so they try to put the most controversial headline they can up there. Sometimes the body of the story doesn't even live up to the headline. Problem is that a lot of people read the headline without reading the material. Understanding it all though doesn't necessarily make you feel good about it.
Do you enjoy the publicity/fame side of the job?
The publicity side of things isn't my favourite, no, though there are certain times when I feel I have plenty of time for people. The problem is that around the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of a race weekend when fans have most access to you, that's when you most need your own space. I certainly have had moments when I've wished that there wasn't so much public access and so many press related duties, but you've got to take the good with the bad and everything in between.
My thing is that I just like to ride the bike, there are people who love the attention. Music stars and so forth really enjoy the limelight, I head the other way though, I don't like to be fussed over.