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Nerves. Over thinking. Incompetence. Tires. It could be many things, but today is not going the way I would have liked.
First practice was ok. It certainly felt better than my thursday track day.A bit more flowing, lines seemingly more obvious and im more relaxed. I'm slow though with a best lap of 2:09, but at least I know where I am slow. Then again, I've also had my moments: I managed to somehow run wide at turn three doing a little off roading in the process. I say somehow, but it was a simple mistake - For whatever reason, I refused to commit to the corner. I can't say the abs saved me, but I'm happy I had it and I stayed upright and was able to rejoin the track
Jeff Lowe, my mentor, arrives and we spend some time talking through the course. He tells me the key is 2-3-4-5, but in reality, I need to do better in just about every corner. My problem isfear responses. I'm seeing the patches on the track and slowing too much, turning too early and generally trying to avoid them. For some, such as turn ten and turn two, this is advisable, but for others you can safely run over them, at least on entry and exit, in order to take a better line. However, my fear won't let me, at least not today.
Jeff and I go watch the racers at nine/ten to see the turn in points. I looks so much more fluid when they are doing it and I'm staring to wonder why I can't do it. Again, it's that fear. I'm not looking up and around the corner early enough, focusing instead on the patches on the ground. You can't go quick unless you look where you're going.
Because of the double header weekend, qualifying is Friday afternoon. I think I'm ready but as we head out, I realise I am feeling tired. I have hydrated well and I've had some sugar, but there seems to be no energy and it shows in my performance. First lap out, I'm trying to attack more. I manage to get a good line in turn nine, but then completely blow it on ten coming in way too early and, panicking, almost turning onto the oil spill as I went wide. A lap later, it's the same on turn three. At least this time i don't run off. Two screw ups and vague feelings of nausea and tiredness is enough to make me back off for the rest of the session.
The session is red flagged a lap early: Matt Chandler had been running a great pace in practice and a stunning pace, second only to Nesbitt in qualification, until he pushed a little deep at turn five. From a corner behind him, it looked like he went too deep and grabbed the brakes, which washed the front out. Either way, he slid off track into the hay bales. The damage to the bike was reasonably easily repaired, but a nasty limp and possible foot problems could see him less competitive tomorrow.
Me, i've mixed feeling. On the one hand, I didn't crash and I feel some turns are ok: I'm picking speed up in turn five and two seems ok. On the other hand is my lap times andÂ I can't seem to put them together. The end result is disappointing - 2:12 is all i can manage. It leaves me last on the grid, but I've pretty much been there all season and practice tomorrow is another chance to try again.