I arrived in Italy safe and sound and very excited about the six months ahead! My plans here include racing the Honda CBR600 Trophy (a very competitive class run as a support races at the Italian Championship Events) and also contesting another series – of which the details are yet to be announced – also on the cbr600rr. I am riding for the same team as last year, Technicamoto, and also similar to last year am being supported by WIL sport management and my family to be here as well as many others. Their support is much appreciated as this year will be a big one! The championships I am racing in are super competitive and if I can do well in these and we can find the financial support, the goal is to race in the European stock 600 championships next year.
Mugello hosted the first round of the Honda trophy was at this past weekend. We had tested there the Monday before the race so things were looking very positive for the weekend ahead. Friday saw freezing temperatures and lots of rain. The team very reluctant to let me ride but I really wanted more track time and actually enjoy riding in the wet, shown as I ended the day 5th fastest. The forecast for Saturday was fine and with two qualifying sessions on the schedule I knew I was going to have to get stuck straight into it. I went out and beat my fastest lap at Mugello on the first flying lap! I went a second faster again in the second session putting me in the top 8 until the very last lap of qualifying where I was forced back to 11th on the timesheets. I was really happy with the progress we had made and reasoned that if I got my usual flyer of a start on Sunday we would be in with a shot of the top 6 or 7.
Well it was a flyer of a start for sure, I headed into the first corner in about 8th and came out 5th. Going into the second corner I tried to make another pass, so entered really tight on the inside and the front tire washed out from underneath me. I was understandably very angry to crash on the first lap but these things happen when you are fighting near the front. And lesson learned: when racing in sub 10 degree temperatures it may be a good idea to let the tires warm up before going 100%.
All in all there were many positives to take from the weekend and perhaps most importantly I’m feeling confident for the year ahead.
I can’t say thank you enough to everyone who supported me over the NZ championships and here in Italy, I hope to pay you back with some great results!