Race Report: CIV Italian Championship, Round 3, Imola

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CIV Italian Championship, Round 3, Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola

On the 21st of June the JDS Moto team and I headed to the historic track Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari which is near the town of Imola – the circuit named after Ferrari’s late founder Enzo and his son Dino.

There was no Thursday practice due to noise restrictions, on the other hand I was able to test a few weeks before, but it ended in disaster for me as I made eight laps all together at the test for it to be cut short when another rider had crashed into me and left the bike un-repairable for the next session. Anyway, I made myself familiar to this new track and managed to find a basic setup in the little time I had.

On Friday I had one free practice session, I was able to pick up the lines quite quickly because I was able to follow some of the riders who had previously rode in the world championship a few weeks before at the same track. The first session I placed ninth, but this wasn’t my main focus we were working hard to find a good setup in preparation for qualifying one.

The first qualifying went well, I had a good feeling with the bike but unfortunately lacked a good slipstream, this was worth half a second or more, anyway I was eleventh and I had a good plan for qualifying two.

Saturday and I was up early getting ready, we made some significant changes to the bike setup to achieve a stable feeling in direction change, the Imola track is known for its ninety-degree chicanes. These are the most important corners on the track you come from a slow speed entering a long straight, so if you can manage a good exit speed then it helps you down the straight.

I headed out for qualifying two, I found my way into a big group, the problem with groups is that when you are in the corners you are slowing each other down because not everyone brakes or accelerates at the same point, but it is compensated and outweighed by the speed gain in fast sections behind riders that block the wind. When I was in the group I noticed some loss of power on acceleration, I seemed to be losing one or two bike lengths out of each corner.

I thought to myself they must be getting on the gas earlier, so I started experimenting and it got to the point that I had the gas full tapped before the apex with the tires barley holding on. I was able to make four or five bike lengths in the middle of the corner but then on the exit where I still was flat out, I lost ground again. The situation was manageable, but I knew something wasn’t right. I kept on with qualifying and managed eighth overall. It was damaged limitation, but I was happy that I adapted to the circumstances and still put myself in contention for a good race.

It was race time and I was excited to make a good result, off the start line I had a good jump but as I wound it up through the gears the bikes in front of me pulled four or five metres and the riders behind me started to go around me like I was standing still. I knew there was a problem, but I continued to fight. the first group was of about ten riders and I was tagged on the back of it desperately trying to hold on, but slowly I dropped off and the bike seemed to be getting worse. I finished in thirteenth position.

I was eager to strip the bike and find the problem, after a late night we found the problem, it was the thermostat sticking not allowing enough through to cool the engine, which caused the bike to overheat and lose power, we replaced the faulty part and prepared the bike to test in Sunday morning in warmup.

I was excited to get out in warmup and test the bike, the bike didn’t feel any better, the bike just didn’t seem to have any torque or pull on acceleration. We replaced the engine with the spare one – we had two hours and had to prepare the spare engine to CIV spec, with twenty minutes until I was out for the second and final race we got the spare engine into the race bike just in time, well so we thought…. We went to start the bike and it didn’t run properly it was only working on one cylinder, there was ten minutes before I was out.

The team were doing everything, even other teams came to help but could not find the problem. The siren rang, the race started without me, I knew we did everything we could to make it happen, but it wasn’t to be. It was a difficult weekend and quite disappointing, but I know these weekends will happen to every rider at some time in their career. We will just keep our head up and come back stronger, smarter and hungrier in Misano on the 28th and 29th July.

Thank you to the Team, my Supporters and my Sponsors!!!

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