Okay, here goes… (this is gonna be a bit long… sorry)
Sitting at home, rubbing about 2hrs of sleep from my eyes, thinking about a great weekend.
Arrived back home at 6.00 am this morning, after spending 13 hrs travelling, drove 458 miles non-stop, and been awake for over 24 hrs…
Took off for the first Scandinavian Open race in Denmark on Thursday morning at about 7.00 am, and catching the ferry from Gothenburg to Fredrikshavn in Denmark on 4 pm the same day. Arrived at the “Jyllands ring” pits at about 10 pm.
This weekend none of my regular mechanics was able to join me, but I managed to team up with a Superbike rider with the same problem, so we helped out each other.
The SO race at “Jyllands Ring” is taking place during the Bike Festival weekend, which meant loads of bikers camping outside the pits, huge “beer-tents”, huge crowds, and an awesome atmosphere…
When we arrived to the track, we heard of a mini endurance race called “Cannonball race” that was going to be raced on Saturday evening (40 mins, and 2 riders, and 15 min/rider to qualify). Needing all the track time we could get, since it was our first visit to this track, we signed up.
The weekend started off with a strange FP on Friday evening. Only 6 riders was allowed on the track at the same time, and for only 20 mins, then there was a 10 min break, and the 6 new riders. This meant that I only managed to get one session in, since the Superbike and Supersport riders had first priority. This was a very technical track with lots of double apex corners, tight chicanes, fast flowing corners, and lots of downhill and uphill parts. It was awesome! But hard to learn on 20 minutes…
Saturday morning, and the first (and only QP!)
Unstable weather, with a damp track, and a very light rain, and the tyre choice really gave me a headache. The rain stopped about 10 minutes prior to the session, and I decided to gamble with the soft slicks. Luckily, the track dried up really fast, and half the guys were out on rain tyres. As I saw people driving in to the pits for a tyre change, I pushed as hard as I could, and suddenly a “P-01” showed up on my pitboard. Weeeeeaaaaaaa!
I could see some of the usually faster guys coming out on slicks now, and pushed even harder. I expected to be bumped down as the session went on. I really struggled to find my way around the new track. But I could se my laptimes drop, and still “P-01”
The session ended, with me on pole. My first ever pole!!!!!!!! And in my first race ever abroad!!!
This was surreal!
I did a 1.25,001 with over 1.3s down to second.
After lunch, I had my ”Cannonbal” QP aswell. Got a chance to work on my raceline, breaking points, and gearing. I had some trouble finding the right gears at the different parts of the track, and hade to make some uncomfortable upshifts during really high lean angle.
I managed to take 1.5 seconds off my personal best, but not surprisingly Johnny (the Superbike rider I teamed up with) did our best laptime, and we qualified in 18tth.
It was quite a learing experience to be out on the track with some of the Superbike and Supersport riders during the Cannonball QP. Maaan, these guys are fast…
On Saturday afternoon, we had a short 10 lap exhibition race, with the same starting grid as Sundays race. (IE me in pole… )
This was a very stange feeling. No one else in front of me..
Made a terrible start, and was 3rd into the first corner. Had two brothers from Sweden in front of me (also on ZX-10’s) then dropped to 4th in the next corner as a fast Estonian guy on a Honda stormed past me on the inside. The pace was a lot higher than in the QP, but I felt good. Didn’t have any trouble keeping up, but didn’t manage to get close enough to try any overtaking manoeuvres.
On lap 4, a Danish guy came thundering down the inside of me, and I was in 5th. Damnit!
Managed to close the distance to the frontrunners towards the end, but couldn’t pass them. Ended up in 5th.
For the firs time, I felt that the pace upfront wasn’t that hard to keep up with. And as I could se the other riders fade a bit towards the end, the tactics for the race was clear.
Push hard in the beginning of the race, conserve power in the middle, and the start to push as hard as I can again towards the end.
Saturday evening, and time for the ”Cannonball” race.
Johnny rode the first stint, and made a great start. I think we were up on 13th place overall at some time in the race. When we made the switch over to me, we was in 15th place. I knew this was going to be tough, and thought of it more as an extra training session than a race. Some of the really fast Superbike riders just stormed by me like I was standing still. LOL
One guy came up on the inside of me on the really fast lefthander on the backside of the track, while I was pushing as hard as I could, knee down. And just stormed past me on the biggest powerslide I have ever seen. There was smoke coming from his rear tyre as he just blasted past me. Then he slided the bike sideways into the following sharp right/left combo, then powerslided up the hill, leaving the fattest black lines I have ever seen on the tarmac. Damn!!!!
I went by his trailer after the race and thanked him for the lesson.. LOL
I think we dropped to 20th position during the race, but I was mostly pleased with the progress I made in laptimes. Made a 1,23.000 as my best aptime. 2 seconds better than my qualification time…
Sunday, and raceday!!!!!!
Maaaaaaan, was I nervous….. Had to wait the whole morning for the race. Watched some of the other races to get my mind of things. Saw the guys on the Supersport bikes battle it out, and found some nice tips on cornerspeed…
Made a better start to the race this time. The bike wheelied high as we stormed down to the first corner, had to back off a bit to keep the front end down. Was 2nd in the first corner, then dropped to 3rd into the next one, as the brothers from Sweden stormed passed me once again. But I was determined not to fall behind this time. Saw the red Honda of the Estonian guy in the corner of my eye a couple of times as he tried to outbrake me. But not this time, I thought to myself….
Tried to follow the brothers in front, as they started to pull away, but I just couldn’t keep up.
Could see on the pitboard that the three of us started to pull away, and had about 5s down to 4th.
We were already catching some of the slower riders at the back of the field, and the race became rally messy. Backmarkers all over the place, as I pushed hard to keep up in the front.
I noticed that I was closing in on the 2nd place rider, and the gap just kept getting smaller lap by lap. I was pretty sure he was in some kind of trouble, either tyres or stamina. On the last couple of laps I could see that he started to turn his head to look behind him, a sure tell that he was worried. I really felt that I had the upper hand now, but were there enough laps to go?
On the last lap, I was almost within striking distance, but then messed it up as we were about to lap a backmarker. I was left hanging for 2 corners, and he past him right away. The gap opened up to about 3 seconds again, and I managed to get within 1,5 second at the FL. If there had been just one more lap, I would have caught him!
But I was third, in my first race abroad. And I was overwhelmed!
I also made a 1,20.002 as my best laptime. 5 seconds better that the qualification time, and a 3 second improvement from the 10 lap exhibition race...
It was a surreal weekend, with a lot of new impressions, pole position, and my first ever podium in a Scandinavian Open race.
After the podium, and champagne shower. We packed up och loaded the truck in a hurry, we only had about 2 hrs until the ferry left, and it took us 2,5 hrs to drive the same way on the way down…
We made it with seconds to spare, after the truck was pushed to its limits on the freeways of denmark… LOL
Arrived in Gothenburg, Sweden at 11.30pm, then drove non-stop home, and arrived at about 06.00am this morning.
Damn, what a weekend!!!!!!!
If you can't race fast, atleast you can look fast...
Last edited by Macke; 06-06-2006 at 09:10 AM.