Sorry I haven’t been in contact sooner, I have had a crazy amount of university work to catch up on before my end of year exams in two weeks. Anyway, following is a report on how the wildcard weekend went..
After picking up the bike on Wednesday we headed straight out to the Island, greeted by beautiful weather. Coming from winter here I thought it was pleasantly warm and giggled to myself hearing Europeans complaining about how cold it was. Thursday was spent setting up the bike, walking the track with Darren from the California Superbike School and attending a riders briefing, plus making myself dizzy doing so many laps in my head.
Before first practise on Friday I was nervous but knew that deep down there was really nothing to worry about, the bike would run fine and this was just about learning the track and getting some feedback from it as to what we can do to move forward next session. Unfortunately the bike just simply wasn’t making any power and was extremely slow. It was cool being on track with the world championship riders. They are the best in the world and I tried to learn what I could from them. After coming in from that session I had the TV crew in my face for the next 20minutes. I didn’t mind but just thought it was funny here they were filming the person in 33rd place in the time standings.. I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like if I was at the front of the field!
After the session we put the bike issue down to it being far too rich on the engine settings and Ozzy got everything geared up for next session, confident it would be much better. Unfortunately it was just the same. Since there wasn’t much we could do then and there I just kept riding, opting to learn some more and sort out a bit of suspension etc. We put a battery on to my bike for the next day as we thought the stator was at fault.
Saturday morning: the big day. I woke up feeling confident and was excited that the bike might actually make it over 200km/hr today! Unfortunately we were faced with the exact same issue so we did a swap of the ECU in pit lane half way through the session. Waallaaaaa… problem fixed! The bike was running much better. But because we had set the engine settings for the underperforming ECU, the engine ran a little too lean and seized up going into Honda hairpin. Next thing I’m going over the bars and the bike is catapulting into my head. I ended up in the medical centre with a headache but luckily no other injuries. I made the decision not to take part in qualifying that afternoon because I certainly wasn’t feeling 100% and didn’t see it as fair for a wildcard to put guys who are fighting for a world championship at risk, especially on a bike we still weren’t sure of.
By Sunday typical Phillip Island weather had struck and none of the races were 100% dry. It was pretty hard stuff to just be watching but I kept telling myself to learn from this and use it to make me stronger and more determined for the future. I got to spend a bit of time in the media centre meeting some reporters and seeing what goes on behind the scenes. You can listen to a radio interview I did here: http://penandpapersports.com/document.php?docID=406
A thank you goes to Tridon Australia and their ‘BikeService’ brand, Jamie Kett & Dion Sellers for the help, and also Darren, Scott and Cully for their support over the weekend. A very special thanks to Chris Osbourne for his huge amount of work with both the bike and myself for the weekend. Also to my uncle Geoff, without his amazing generosity I would have never even considered competing in this event a possibility. Finally, mum and dad for giving me the confidence, support and a huge amount of effort to chase after my goals. I won’t even begin to explain how many late nights (turned early mornings) dad had in the garage getting the bike ready and packed, but having this support from my family is what keeps me going when the going gets tough as it did this event.
Now on to better and brighter weekends, I am looking forward to racing my Wolfpack Racing Honda CBR600 at Taupo this weekend. Bring it on!!
Thanks for reading,