In between Knockhill and the next BSB TriOptions Cup round at Cadwell Park was a 7 week summer break, and I was determined to make the most of it. First off I planned a 10-day test period in the UK, the main goal being to learn to trust and have fun on the 899 again. It had given me so much mechanical trouble so far this season, I didn't like my bike one bit. Not a good thing when you're supposed to be going as fast as possible!
Step #2 was my physical fitness. Since picking up my training at the end of 2014, I've gained the strength lost with glandular fever and then some, but this came with unnecessary weight. Putting my health/fitness knowledge to use, I made a program, got my head down, and lost a little over 2.5kg in the 3 weeks leading up to testing. My friend Eric came along for this trip, and since both of us love music, our first stop was the Ramblin Man Fair.
28 July - Oulton Park
Considering my not-so-great experience at Oulton in May, I felt a track day there was important. We happened to have a garage next to the most amazing group of people, now our friends, making this day a succes before we'd even unpacked the van. Riding itself was tricky, it rained off and on, leaving the track too wet for slicks but too dry for wets. Despite the conditions I rode every session, learning and loving the track more each time. My last session was dry, and I lapped a full 3 seconds (!) quicker than I did in the race earlier this year. Oulton Park is now my favourite BSB track.
31 July - Croft
When my dad and I were at Croft for our pre-Knockhill shakedown test, I only got about 3 dry laps in, but already really liked this fun little track. In addition, BSB does not race here, making it the perfect venue to simply ride because I love it and gain confidence with my 899. This is exactly what I did, resulting in a cool bit of onboard footage, passing people in creative places.
3-4 August - Cadwell Park
The last stop on this trip and perhaps the most important one, considering my next race would also be at Cadwell. I'd hurt my arm fixing something on the roof of the van the night before, and decided to skip every other session. Day 1 was used to learn the track again and figure out gearing. Day 2 was for speed! Finally comfortable on my 899, I was quicker than last year's race pace straight away. The best part was, however, feeling how much my fitness had improved. Cadwell Park is quite physical, I was dreading arm pump from my experience last year. Now I could ride all day and still feel strong - mission accomplished!
Coming home I first got my arm checked out, the doctor confirmed what I thought to be an inflamed tendon, meaning a few days of rest and ice would do the trick. Then, upon reviewing the onboard footage from Cadwell Park (Eric experimented with camera angles), made this amazing edit. I returned to my regular training schedule as soon as my arm let me, determined to be as fit as possible for the next round of BSB.