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Round 1 – Snetterton

Well we couldn’t have hoped for better weather for round one of the No Limits Racing series in 2014. Sun shining Fri-Sun keeping the temperatures up. Only at night did the chill set in. The bike was ready the afternoon I was travelling up, so we cut it very fine – but it is running like a dream and was faultless all weekend. They measured 195hp at the back wheel after the rebuild, so very healthy.

Friday was ACU practice day, with 20 minute sessions and 4 groups track time was limited. I was distracted by work calls much of the day and didn’t get the prep done I wanted to, but found my way round the new track layout. I loved the old parts of the circuit, but the new, infield section feels very contrived. Definitely not one of my favourites. Scrutineering was painfully slow, holding your bike for an hour in the dark waiting for the 90-second check over.

After a pretty awful night’s sleep in the van, Saturday morning was a bit bleary. Qualifying wasn’t great, but at least I made the cut and qualified. I was 22nd of 42 riders with a time of 1.12. In the race I finished 19th dropping into the 2.09s, happy enough to have gained places rather than lost.  Really enjoyed the race but it was obvious I was not bike fit.

Race two I was feeling good and looking for a good result. I was targeting the guy who was pitched next to me who was around 2 secs a lap faster than me. After an ok start I managed to hook on behind him for a lap and a half, but got suckered in the infield when I carried an extra gear into a tight left and took a trip off track. I lost two places but was still in sight of the crowd I was chasing. Next lap I was so fired up I did the same thing only much worse, overshooting the corner by a lot and losing a handful of places. The race was only five laps as it was getting dark, finished a poor 25th.

Sat night we got free chilli and Pirelli were giving out raffle prizes, seems like there is a fair bit of focus on the paddock entertainment in the evenings which is great. I slept much better Saturday night and felt very refreshed on Sunday.

Qualifying was a decent improvement, getting 15th on the grid with a low 2.09. After a poor race start I had a good race and managed to finish 16th, but it should have been much better. I know I am capable of top 15, need more fitness and definitely more aggression. Race 2 was a long wait and frankly I was exhausted. My start was terrible and through the race I wasn’t anywhere near aggressive enough. From a grid position of 21st I finished 19th – again this should have been better.

Despite the results not being good enough, I absolutely loved the weekend. This is probably the only circuit in our series that I have not ridden before and I am very rusty not having ridden since last year. I need to lose weight, get fit and get a race face sorted out!

Next round is Cadwell in April, this time I hope to have a caravan in tow as three nights sleeping in the back of the van just isn’t going to be practical if the weather is bad for any rounds. So off to view some vans on Saturday. (The shame…). The weekend also highlighted just how many tyres I am going to get through this year. Scary.

Big thanks to Dynotech for delivering a superb bike to me just in time and many thanks to PaulW for making the journey over to support me and for being decent enough to check I was still alive at the end of the weekend! I’m hoping that the hospitality facilities will be significantly better next time!

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