of 59 starters. Quali: 5th. ~1,000 spectators
All in all a positive result. The shoulder got better every day and it was not a major problem on raceday other than lack of work out since the race in Zelhem. Qualifying went very well, 5th on the grid, but then difficult first corners at both starts prevente4d a better result. Quite frustrating when you are faster than the guy in front of you, but you just can't get by... ! Therefore 7th overall was a good outcome, but 6th or even 5th was possible speed wise. And on the bright side, I gained one position in the championship to 5th!
|After Zelhem, I saw a doctor and the shoulder seemed heavily
bruised and sprained, but nothing broken. There was no riding possible
though and it needed a lot of rest. It healed well every day and on
race day, riding was possible. On the bike, I ran into issues with the
front brake and also front suspension. I got the spare parts in time
for the brake, so that was fixed, the suspension was less severe and
requires more technical attention. No problem for the race though.
Luckily, I got support from my brother, his girlfriend and my
girlfriend this time, this was very helpful with the still restricted
movement in my shoulder.
|Free practice started off ok, the offroad seemed very slippery and
loose, but no major challenges. One rider went down heavily into the
metal barriers, which caused a long yellow flag time there, but all was
cleared up before the qualifying started. I ran into some traffic, but
also had some free laps, so was able to post a good time. Such a track
requires some time to get the flow right, so the quicker you can adapt
the better for the qualifying. Race pace was faster later on. 5th on
the grid sounded good, unfortunately this meant a squeezed position in
the middle of the grid...
Quali result: 5th
|Start to race one. I came off the line very well, but the two guys
in front of me didn't. I almost had the same incident like at the
previous race in Zelhem and I already thought "You idiot!! How do you
explain that??" But I managed to stay on the bike, braked hard enough
and the outside guy went through. Because of this, a couple of guys
slipped through on the inside and I found myself back in 7th position.
Stuck behind Robin Heeringa, I was passed by Cees Haan in the offroad
on a different line, little I could do and he also managed to get by
Robin quickly, so back to 8th! I was not happy there... and now the
frustration started. I was clearly faster than Robin but did not find a
good spot to make a clean pass. There were two longer straights with
hard braking points, but I was just afraid to hit him on the side if he
turns in unexpected... so I stayed safe. In lap nine, we both passed a
guy who dropped back, so up to 7th. Another hope were opportunities
during lapping riders, but in fact it worked to my disadvantage and I
was caught a few corners where I lost a little direct contact. In the
end, I settled with 7th and hoped for race 2. My laptime was quite ok,
I think I could have shaved off a little more with free riding and even
get closer to 5th.
Race 1 result: 7th
|Starting now from 3rd row on the outside, I hoped to have more
space to maneuver around the action inside first corner. It looked
good, but again lost even one position because the inside came well
through the first corner... So 8th after first lap. Passing 7th was not
so difficult and I already managed during second lap. And then... again
right behind Robin, the same guy as in race 1. Same story, this time I
pushed harder and tried more things, but again no way to get by safely.
ONe regret I have, I should have tried harder on the offroad with
different lines, although it was very loose and there was a risk of
falling. There was enough space behind me to compensate. Instead, I
hoped again for a mistake, got next to him once very close on the start
finish straight, but he pushed me towards the outside and I had to back
off. Then with the lappers I hoped again for some momentum, this time I
stayed very close to his rear wheel in order to not get a lapper in
between and it worked. But again, he managed to not leave any
opportunity for me to pass and I had to settle with 7th position. Lots
of thoughts afterwards and I think I could have tried more things, but
that's racing, you win and you lose and you always learn for next
Race 2 result: 7th
|The next race will be in Lelystad in three weeks from now, I hope I
can do some practice before to be ready to fully attack again!