What a manic month so far, great way to start the 2014 season!
After recovering from a scaphiod break following a crash flat tracking at Motorland, Aragon, I had 5 weeks to get myself healed in time the Marquez's MotoGP Superprestigio Flat Track event at Barcelona. After 6 hyperbaric oxygen treatments, I cut the cast off myself leaving a couple of days to built strength.
We left for Barcelona early Wednesday morning, driving through France and Spain to reach Llieda on Thursday night. Friday we practised at Marquez's personal training track in Llieda with a load of motogp riders including Baultista and Esparago to name a few amongst the other open class riders that I'd be competing against. Throughout the day I made a couple of changes to my bike, gearing and suspension to get the Suzuki 450 was working great, I felt I was one of the fastest there!
We left Llieda and arrived in Barcelona Friday night. Saturday was race day, we was at the track early for practice and qualifying. I progressed well throughout all sessions, reducing my lap times. I qualified 6th fasted in the open class out of 38 riders and 8th fastest over all with the superprestigio class included (62 riders total).
Heat 1, I made a good gate and was straight into 2nd place, I caught 1st and dived up the inside; driving out the turn I my dropped my front wheel in the gully on the inside of the track which fetched me off as the back end of my bike came round on me.
Heat 2, fresh-headed after my stupid heat 1 mistake, I made a half decent start and had to make a couple of passes to get into 2nd again, bearing in mind I only had to finish top 2 to make the open final, I didn't risk a crash again and settled for second.
Final, I didn't make the best of starts and after making 3 passes I finished in 5th place after the intense 12 laps. I was abit disheartened as a top 3 finish would have secured me a dream position in the 'superfinal', and i'd have been able to line up against Marc Marquez himself! Nevertheless, it was an experience of a life time, and I think getting an invite alone was an achievement.
I can't thank Pete Boast enough for helping me out in Barcelona, to my Uncle Tim for driving us all across France and Spain and to SPE international, Agrii, Spirit of the Seventies, Rip'N'Roll, FTWCO, Global Bike Online and Mum and Dad!
On the way home, we called in at Motorland, Aragon in Spain on the Sunday for another days practice. Myself and twin Tom had the 2 short tracks and TT track to ourselves which was ace as we could do as we pleased. What a great venue they have there; 25 Euros for the day and the choice of 3 tracks, I just wished we had similar venues over here!!
Last night we arrived home after another trip to Spain, this time we was on the tarmac for 4 days testing at Almeria, with Phil Crowe as my mentor.
I had only done 2 trackdays at Cadwell previous to this trip, and since I have registered for my first season of road racing this year I though it was necessary to get some more laps under my belt.
It was my first time on a race bike, so body positioning was the most critical point. After Phil followed me on day 1, I found out that I had to alter my body positioning on the bike after he said I was going to have a big crash if I carried on riding like that. My best time was 2,03 secs lap.
Day 2, I worked on body positioning more than speed, and with that my times came down. Best time 1,58 secs lap.
Day 3, I began to feel much more comfortable and natural on the bike and I was moved up into the intermediate group. Without having to put as much effort in (due to my new positioning) my speed improved and I got down to a 1,53.6 secs lap.
Day 4, I tried to concentrate on getting a faster lap time, knowing that my twin Tom was doing 1,51.9 on the same spec bike and bearing in mind that he had a year of racing experience, I wanted to get closer and I felt that time was within my reach!
I pushed hard put in the 3 sessions that I had on final day, I didn't get one clear lap without dealing with traffic, I bettered my time again, but didn't manage a 1,51, instead a 1,53.4. Nevertheless, this is still a front running time for the club racing in the UK I feel I have learned and awful lot this trip, I'm going to go into the racing with more experience and much more confidence.
I can't thank Phil Crowe Racing enough for his support and guidance this trip, and to Henry Mablethorpe at WK Bikes for supporting me with the newly imported Chinese CF-Moto 650i twin, that I am going to be racing this coming season in the Thundersport GB Minitiwns class.
Pictures from this event to follow.