After a very lengthy hour rider's briefing, we headed back to the pits to get a nice relaxing lunch in and think about the circuit and my lines before practice. ...Until the clouds opened up. It was then panic stations to get our wet tyres onto the spare wheels in case we needed them for practice, so a good 1km trek to the Pirelli stands and another back, we were sorted but I was starving and very irritable - the worst way to get onto a race bike. I scoffed down some lunch and got ready to head out.
We all lined up in pit lane to kick off the 2012 Triumph Triple Challenge with the first official practice, little did I know that I wouldn't be part of it. I pulled off with the pack and my bike cut out as I opened the throttle! We have never, ever, ever had a bike let us down before this! I limped back to the pits and my Dad, with Gary Atkinson's help (Thanks Uncle Gary!) got the tank off the bike to see if it was a fuel problem.
We lifted the tank and fiddle some wires and pipes and got it running fine! Slapped it all back together and pulled off, and had it cut out AGAIN! We stripped and assembled, and stripped and assembled one last time only to look up and see the checkered flag.
We had missed our only practice session for the weekend.
I now had to try qualify with no track time, on top of only ever done two sessions on this circuit (both in high heat, not ice cold) and with everybody set up and ready to go. It was another scramble to the tyre changers for me while Dad sorted out the fueling. I hopped on and got out but the ask was too much. I sat in 16th, worked my way up to 8th but got dropped to 12th after coming in to make adjustments and ran out of time.
In 12th, I am still only 0.4sec off pole. The top 20 riders are covered by just 1sec!
Today is nothing to be remembered, so we're looking to tomorrow for improvement through the day. We're on for morning warm-up (all 8mins of it) at 10:26am, then race 1 at 2:30pm. Keep your fingers and toes crossed!
Check back for tomorrow's update. Also check our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates during the day.
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