Tuesday, 10 April 2012
The morning started with us waking to the sound of rain and wind,exactly what I didn't want to hear, but was honestly expecting. We got to the pit and set up for a wet warm-up. We had 8mins to just get our eye in before the race, so the plan was just to circulate for the track time seeing as we lost out on practice the day before. I rode out pit lane, shivering from head to toe and already wet from the rain, and got riding. I latched onto the back of one of the locals until Phast Phil Atkinson, fellow SA rider, came riding around my outside like I was a rookie at this. I immediately threw all plans out the window and set off in pursuit to learn from someone who was obviously doing it better. The session ended and we returned to the pits in P1 and P2!
Being 2nd fastest in the wet warm-up was great, but the race is what counts, so that became the next focus point.
We waited, without any delays this time, until 2pm when we headed off to line up for the race. The clouds had not relented and the rain was light but steady, leaving the track thoroughly soaked. We pulled off for the sighting laps and I quickly found out that a brand new wet rear tyre is extremely slippery when wet! I had a few high side moments, and decided that consistancy was going to be key to finishing this race.
I took up my 7th position on the line, the lights went out and I got another good start into 3rd place going into turn 1, when I saw Phil Atkinson, on my outside, all of a sudden in full opposite lock on his bike! A rider had crashed on the brakes and taken him and 3 other out with him in turn 1! Luckily I was not involved and held onto 3rd place. Tom Ward then passed me in the last corner at the end of lap 1. I decided to just settle and try match their pace as the conditions were strange to me and I didn't want to push harder and risk crashing. On about lap 5 I was passes again by another rider that looked like he had a bee under his bonnet and was off! He crashed in the next corner big time, and caused a red flag, which ultimately ended the race.
I had finished 4th overall, but the rider who finished 2nd after the flag was not in our class, thus bumping me up to a podium position. A very complicated finish with red flags and jump starts, but at the end of the day we held 3rd!
Our bike sat in the podium holding spot on the "3rd" mark below the famous Brands Hatch podium. I had a great interview with Eurosport and headed up the stairs. They called us onto the podium and awarded the trophies, and then our champagne - it was an incredible feeling!
We had made it, in our first British meeting with all the odds against us, onto one of the most famous podiums in the world! I made sure to spray the champagne as far as I could and all over my elated dad standing below with his mouth open...
What an end to the weekend we've had.
We are now back home in Colchester, and getting ready for round 2 at Thruxton coming up this Thursday. So we're home today, tomorrow, and then this Thursday morning we're off again!
I will post some photos and news from the weekend soon, you can also check out www.triumphtriplechallenge.com