We are asking our sporting personalities how they are dealing with action coming to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected their daily lives.
Today, we speak to World Superbike rider Eugene Laverty, from Toome, based in Portugal and looking forward to getting back into action with his BMW team in August.
Q: How are you keeping?
A: I'm in good form, thanks. The main thing I'm missing is racing my BMW S 1000 RR Superbike. To be honest, I haven't missed riding other motorbikes for fun all that much. Instead I've really missed that aspect of working together with my team to find those vital tenths of a second and then going racing.
Q: How have you been affected?
A: My wife Pippa and I were ultra careful for the first month of lockdown in Portugal because, like many, we were anticipating the number of cases in our area to dramatically rise. However, our local government handled the situation fantastically and there have been just 380 cases on the whole of the Algarve compared to 34,000 in the rest of Portugal.
Q: How are you keeping fit?
A: I was training indoors on a stationary bicycle for the first six weeks but now I'm back outside running and riding my bicycle again. I didn't want to do too much training early on until we had an idea of when we'd be likely to get back racing. Now that the comeback races have been set for August, it's given me a date to work towards and I'm building up in the same way that I would for the start of a new season.
Q: How are you maintaining morale, yours and the team?
A: Morale hasn't been a problem as I've been in much worse circumstances over the past two years laid up in hospital with injuries. The fact that everyone is going through the same situation means that I would have to be a very selfish individual to make it all about myself. I understand that this crisis is bigger than just me. There are families struggling to get by right now and my heart goes out to them.
Q: Where are you drawing your personal strength from now?
A: My motivation comes from the will to win races again. Too many years have passed by since I last stood atop the podium and I long for that feeling. It was always nice to be able to talk with my father on the phone after winning a race and share in the success. For six straight years from 2009-2014, I enjoyed that feeling so it's hard to believe that another six years have passed by without it!
Q: Can you recommend a book, film or box set you think stay at home sports fans might enjoy?
A: For motorbike racing fans, my advice would be to take a step back in time and watch races from 30 years ago. As a racing fan myself, I love watching races when I don't know the outcome. If you already know the result then where's the fun in that? Watch a race from 1990 and there's a good chance that you've forgotten the finishing order.
Q: What life lessons are you learning from this?
A: You just never know what is around the corner. At the beginning of the year, we watched the awful scenes of the bush fires in Australia and thought that Round One in Australia may be cancelled. Never did we imagine that Australia would, in fact, be the ONLY round that would go ahead during the first six months of the year! Without being pessimistic, I always find it strange when people say things can only get better. Appreciate what you have as there's always someone in this world worse off than you.
Q: What is the first thing you will do when all this is over?
A: I'd like to travel back to Northern Ireland to meet my little niece, Cara, who was born four months ago. And, of course, I'd take a stroll down to our local pub, Mallon's in Toome, with my brother John to wet the baby's head in true Irish fashion! Thankfully we're still able to interact with friends and family via online video apps nowadays but nothing can replace real human interaction.
Q: And your message to sports fans?
A: We don't have long to wait now! A few months ago, there was a genuine possibility that the 2020 season as a whole could be scrapped but thankfully we're set to go racing again soon. I think it's fair to say that once sport can resume as normal we'll all appreciate live sport more than at any other period during our lifetime. As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Never has that been truer.