Monday, 7 July 2014

Successful Scottish Weekend with Top 10 Pace! - Knockhill Rd.4

Our previous race at Snetterton two weeks ago went really well, seeing us take a solid top 12 finish with matching pace throughout. I was a little concerned at our expectations for this race at Knockhill as I had only ever been to the Scottish circuit once before and it was not my favourite! Fortunately we came away from the weekend with our best pace yet, seeing us consistently lapping in the top 10! 

After a hectic week of meeting was relieved to jump in the truck with boys and hit the road north to Loch Ness country. 

I decided to set aside my expectations for the race and approach it the same way I did for Snetterton. I knew I had the bike handling how I like it, so not much would need changing there, it was a case of finding good gearing and engine tuning for the tight and very physical little circuit. First practice went ok, but exposed a problem we had with the quickshifter when changing gear under acceleration over a bumpy section of the track, which was robbing me of massive time! When I pitted and saw our laptimes, even with us in 27th place, I was pleased because I knew how much time I was losing just in gear shifting! We worked on the settings of the quick shifter and prepared for first qualifying that afternoon.

Qualifying 1 saw only a gearing change for me, but most importantly for me, to test the shifter. I gave it my all, but our problem persisted and I couldn't better 23rd. Again, I felt quite positive with that because when we adjusted my laptime by the amount I was losing on the shifter problem, we would've been 11th! I slept well that evening knowing all we had to do was fix the shifter and we were in the running for a top 10 finish at a track I dislike!

Myself with the Captain of the new HMS Queen Elizabeth 
Saturday qualifying 2 would be my big push for a top 12 start and I confidently knew we were capable of it because I'm really enjoying my bike how it is now, and a happy rider is a fast rider! We suited up, helmets on, dark visors in for the beaming sunshine, it was all in order for a good session - then...RAIN?! Thanks Scotland for literally raining on my parade. We scrapped qualifying 2 as we would not be able to better our times on a wet track. We parked it up with a gearing change ready for morning warm up, but we would now have to start the race in 23rd. Not ideal, but it's what we had.

Sunday what another glorious day and we hit the track for warm up, new gearing in and I pushed as hard as I dared to test it out. It was good but not great, so I would take the gamble of trying a change for the race.In the new settings went and we prepped for the race.

I pulled up to my spot on the grid, the lights went out but I had to hold back my normal starts and accept that I needed a few laps to find shift points with the new gearing. After fighting my instincts off, I had found a good rhythm and felt ready to push hard. The bike was working great under me and it got better and better seeing us go from 23rd, up to 18th, and then on the move to close the gap to the top 15 pack.

The bike was great on the brakes and it lapped up the passing moves I asked of it. I then had clear road ahead of me to chase down the pack which held 9th to 15th. Much to our pleasure, we closed it in every lap and set a whole string of top 10 pace laptimes, but it was only just not enough as I would cross the line just meters behind them. I was wishing for a few extra laps, but it was not to be and we would take 16th place, but our predicted finishing place with 3 extra laps was 9th! A fact we are all over the moon about!

I returned to a joyous team with high fives flying all aorund - just what we needed. Even though it is not our best result, I felt it was one of our best races, and certainly has proved to all of us that our goal posts have moved permanently form top 15 to top 10 now. 

It's a great feeling to see our efforts over the past months coming to fruition. Let's keep the ball rolling!

A bug thank you to Mark, Dan, Ian and my whole MWR Kawasaki team for all the effort put in, much appreciated guys! None of us this would be taking place without the help of our sponsors - Rocket 88, Leatt Corporation, Pawsons Commercials, SA Racers Abroad, my Aunty Kath & Uncle Keith for giving me a bed to sleep in, and of course Mom & Dad! The support has been awesome from everyone - makes me really feel good knowing the backing we have. We're doing our best to report good news every weekend this season!

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, check out our new website which went live last week -
About as professional as you can get, as you would expect!

I'm sitting in Munich right now, in the middle of possibly the busiest 3 weeks of my life, bombarded with travel, meetings, work, training, racing and one of my best friends wedding as I head back to South Africa. It's been a relentless attack on my body and mind of long distances, late nights and early mornings lining up my 2015 plans, and I wouldn't swap it for any other job in the world! Hopefully it will all be worth it - fingers crossed! 

If anyone needs me, I'll be on the beachfront with my mates!
Cheers for now,

No comments:

Post a Comment