ROUND 4 - AUSTRALASIAN SUPER BIKE CHAMPIONSHIPS - SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK - 9TH & 10TH SEPTEMBER 2016A quantum leap forward......
Three words.... BEST.WEEKEND.EVER!!!!!
So the weekend went a little something like this..... practice went well. I took it very easy and started out trying to get all the fundamentals in place rather than going for a lap time. Looking at the lap times, I think everyone was of the same mindset. It does take me a session or two to warm up and get into it. Nothing supersonic was happening at this point that's for sure.
Without further ado.... qualifying was next. Lap times started to come down, I was still a way off my PB at this stage. Super coach Alex Cudlin worked out fairly quick that the second sector which comprised turns 4, 5 & 6 was going to be area which I needed to work on. I was constantly loosing time here, I just couldn't get turn 4 right which has a snowball effect on turns 5 and 6. I would run wide on the exit of 4.... it would make it a very quick change in direction at 5 and that would result in poor drive up the hill into 6. It was also identified that my top speed down the straight was a little off the pace. So.... these areas became my focus.
Debriefing.... there's so much to work on!
Race 1: My strategy was to threefold.... Get off the start line faster, sort out sector 2 and stop being such a Nana down the straight!!!!! So that's what I did. It was my best start so far and I knew that sticking with the pack was absolutely critical. I have in the past struggled to get put myself in the mix. For those who havent raced, its pretty crazy those first few corners until everyone finds their place and settles into a rhythm. TV does not do it justice. Its pretty damn scary! I have in the past been a bit timid..... today was not that day!!!! I chased Lee Appleby down. Poor guy, he was the first person Ive really got to race and I was racing for 'sheep stations!' When I finally worked out where how to pass him I was not stopping for anything. I rode as hard as I could.... I had no idea how close he was (I dont yet own a pit board). In my mind he was right behind me ready to pass. I set a PB of 1:41:944!!!! That's pretty damn respectable I reckon. For the first time I actually got to race someone...... the best feeling ever. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. My third objective achieved!!!!!
Race 2: and the battle continues, this time with Marco Bortolussi which was a lot of fun. There was a fair bit of passing going on..... of course my weak areas really were highlighted in these exchanges. Id pass between turn 1 and two.... he would pass me back between 5 and 6. All in all I think he enjoyed it as much as I did. There were some big smiles evident post race thats for sure.
Me behind Mark Bortolussi.... trying to carry some corner speed.
I had quite a few supporters gathering on Saturday at turn 2 wearing some very trick looking shirts. It looked like quite a party going on over there. Having my own ninja army was an absolute blast. There were some very funny photos taken, they still make me smile.
Warm up: the track was a little damp after a fair bit of rain overnight. I decided to brave it and check out where the water was, scrub in some new tyres and make sure all was OK with the bike . Needless to say I was cautious.
Race 3: Was one of the more exciting races, I went out full of confidence and my objective was to ride right up into the middle of the pack if I could. I knew I needed to brake as late as possible into turn 2 where there is a bit of a bottle neck. Again, some great battles were going on and I worked on catching one rider at a time. It helped me a great deal to have someone to really chase. I think I had a bit of the 'red mist' happening. It was game on! I ended up 15th which is by far my best result.
'Stars of Tomorrow' : I managed to get a little dusted up at turn 2.... surviving my first exchange of paint I gathered myself and continued on. In the melee I lost quite a bit of ground. I rode as hard as I could but I couldn't seem to make any real ground on them.
Race 4: I went out there determined to really be aggressive off the start line. I tried out a slightly different technique to get off the line a little faster.... it worked so well that I got a 15 second jump start penalty:( So despite passing a few competitors.... got relegated to last and at the back of the grid. Arrrghhhh so frustrating. But as always, I learnt something..... that is no moving whatsoever.... not even a whisker!!!.
Race 5: The last race, nothing too supersonic but in a very exciting moment.... I managed to completely run off the track at turn 6. I missed a braking marker and came into the corner way to fast. I threw the bike into the corner hoping Id make the turn but I didn't have a hope. I ran very wide on the exit. So wide I was on the grass ready for a picnic.... so over the entrance to the South Circuit, over the grass, some gravel, a drain and a ripple strip and finally back onto the black stuff. Woops!
All in all I was really pleased with how much progress has been made. I'm even more happy that Ive reached my third objective which I think is an important milestone. No point racing unless you can race someone and race I did!!! A few of the guys from the team called it a 'quantum leap' forward. I tend to agree. Looking back on my progress since Mallala.... (getting lapped badly) to finally being in the mix. I'm very pleased with myself;) I even won my class and have an obscenely large trophy to show for it!
My own ninja army gathers at turn 2!!!
I have to thank a few people. Kathy and Johnny March from JPM Crane Hire, you guys rock!!! I hope you enjoyed your first race day. Thanks so much for being there and your unwavering support xxxx
Police Bank thanks so much for all of your support and encouragement. Having you on board this round and at the races yesterday was just fabulous.
To Andrew Smart from Ricondi Leathers thanks so much for the coolest shirts... they really did look great. I'm looking forward to wearing your leathers real soon. Hope u like the pics!
Tristan from Aussie Sports Bike Gear for the fab bits and pieces but especially for the new Thermal Technology tyre warmers. They are amazing!!! You were so right, they the business!!
David West from West Sliders for coming on board this year. I'm absolutely stoked. I'm loving the sliders already. They feel and look great. Im very excited about this.
From Left to right: Super coach Alex Cudlin, Johnny March (JPM Cranes),
yours truly and David West (West Sliders)
BC Performance as always. Thanks so much for all of your support and expertise. Even better is the amazing team environment and the laughs. There is never a dull moment.
Phil Burke thank you for all your hard work on the spanners and your encouragement it means the world.
So for now Ill leave it there. Until next time, thank you all.