I’m writing to you having just arrived back in Germany after round two of the European Junior Cup held this past weekend at the infamous Assen TT Circuit, Holland.
I was really excited to get back to Assen as the extremely high speed track was my favorite on the calendar last year. It’s a relieving feeling going into the race weekend already knowing the circuit layout, and being able to concentrate on going fast right from the first session rather than worrying about which direction the next corner goes.
In this case however, the first session wasn’t all about going quick straight away as the rain was pouring down and the track was completely wet all day Friday. We fitted wet weather (Pirelli Rain) tyres for the first time in two years and I took it easy to get a feeling for the conditions. I probably rode a little too cautious, ending up 17th fastest of the 31 riders, but at least much better off than the 14 bikes that crashed during the session.
The fans packed in for Saturday which saw World Superbikes race one, and qualifying for us at 3pm in the afternoon. We couldn’t believe the support from the fans throughout the weekend. Once again when I was up on the paddock show stage there were lots of people listening in and also crowded around our EJC tents admiring the bikes & riders all weekend. For some reason (good looks possibly? Ha ha) the two kiwis Connor and I were a big hit with the school kids who were lucky to spend the day at the track. Qualifying was our first completely dry session of the weekend and I managed to ride in a group of extremely fast riders, picking up speed quickly and even proving myself stronger in some parts of the track. I ended qualifying in 12th position giving me a fourth row start for the race on Sunday. My mechanic James and I were really happy with this effort!
Leading up to the race I have never seen conditions change so often and so quickly. It had organisers, officials and teams running around mental! The race prior to ours was red flagged three times; due to rain, oil spills and crashes. So I headed out on the warm up lap of ourrace not sure what to expect from the track conditions, but soon discovered they were pretty ideal. All of the corners were completely dry and the wind was a lot less gusty than previous days.
When the lights went out it was as if my bike was launched out of a canon as I got off to a fantastic start, but was squeezed in turn one a little and lots a few positions. I still managed to round out the first lap in tenth position however. I then made mistake and two riders passed me on the second lap and gapped me quickly, but I was able to find more speed mid race and have a good tussle with a French rider on the closing laps. I crossed the finish line just 0.5 seconds behind him, in 11th position. Another great step forwards!! I was once again first female extending my championship lead in the Women’s Cup.
We were even surprised with another amazing person to present the trophies on the podium – this time 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden.
My physical condition was optimal throughout the race, there is just a few places I can make time up on corner entry. We’d like to try some different foot rest set-ups also as I am really struggling with my short legs that can’t reach the foot-pegs when hanging off the bike around corners! We will be working hard on these areas before the next race in Donington Park, UK in five weeks’ time. Donington was an awesome event last year and if you are considering coming along please check out www.polepositiontravel.com for a VIP package.
Anyway so far all is on track and the dream lives on! I’m more determined than ever to keep working hard and seeing if we can challenge at the very front in the upcoming races. Thank you for being part of this journey and I look forward to keeping you updated over the coming weeks of preparation.
All the best until then,