English version below!
Sadly, it turned out we celebrated the acceptance of my entry for the 2018 Macau Grand Prix as one of only 32 riders in the world a little early. After the initial recovery post freak accident at Frohburg, it turned out a second nerve in my leg was damage. This nerve governs the motor function of my quadriceps, and the result is simply put that I have little to no strength in my leg with the knee bent. Not ideal when you are to pilot a superbike. The nerve damage is temporary (luckily), but how long the recovery process will take is unclear. After some desperate attempts to activate my quad muscles, I presented the situation to the Macau organisation, who decided to postpone my debut due to safety reasons. Shit. They did however appreciate my honesty and I’m welcome to come write history in 2019 by becoming the first woman to partake in the Macau Grand Prix, so that’s nice.
Now it’s pretty easy to just see the negatives of this season, and maybe even give up. Two relatively hard crashes with both requiring months upon months of rehab; maybe road racing isn’t for me after all. As luck would have it, what should have been the lowest point of my year coincided with my birthday, and I received Jonathan Rea’s autobiography. This book starts out with the sentence ‘I’m not crazy’, followed by a rather impressive list of injuries and the statement that every rider who’s reached the top of our sport has traveled a long and bumpy road, often filled with serious injuries. This offers some proper perspective: now isn’t the time to give up, now is the time to push harder than ever. The difference between ‘just some rider’ and ‘a rider who reaches the top’ is made when times are tough, not when everything is going your way.
This season might not have been quite what I wanted it to be, but plenty of positives occurred as well. My entry in the Superbike class of the three most prestigious road racing events in the world (excluding the Isle of Man TT), was accepted by all three organisations. During my debut amidst the world top at the North West 200, I easily qualified for the Superbike class (as first woman ever!) and I finished 21st in Superstock. Finishing a Superbike race will come in 2019, when my team acquires a fuel tank for our ZX10-R big enough to last the distance: with the standard tank you barely manage 6 laps, whereas 7 are required. The Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix I’ve had to postpone to 2019, and though this broke my heart at the time, what it mainly means is my debut there will be even stronger than at the North West 200 this year. Within IRRC I’ve matched my 14th position from 2017 in the overall championship, except this time without any pre-season testing, with injuries, and despite having to completely sit out 2 out of 6 meetings. At Hořice, while still nursing an injury, I even managed to battle in the group for P5, and set a laptime good for 21st all time fastest rider. Not bad as a base for 2019, if you look at it this way.
I’ve never been this fired up for and next season, and have never been willing to put in as much work for a season as now. 2018 was far from perfect, but my team and I have now managed to prove the potential we already believed in is legit. And the best part: 2019 truly can only get better. We are once again going for IRRC, and the NW200, Ulster GP, and Macau GP – the IoMTT will have to wait until 2020. Result wise we’ll be raising the bar once again. I know exactly what I need to do to achieve our goals, in both my role as rider and as team owner.
The biggest obstacle now really is my ADHD, and making sure I actually execute my plans. This is what I’m putting a lot of work into currently, with the help of a coach and soon some medication. I’m able to work out again too, though I’m pissed off daily for ‘only’ being able to squat 40-50kg due to the impaired function of my quadriceps. In a moment like that I quickly realise that I wasn’t even able to walk up and down stairs two weeks ago, and can’t do anything but laugh at myself. No matter how much progression I make, I’m never satisfied, in everything I choose to do. Which isn’t the best character trait in all situations, however for racing it’s invaluable. And in 2019 I’ll truly be able to prove that… just wait and see.