That’s my 2017 race season finished now after getting home from the 7th round for race 11 of the CEV Repsol European Talent Cup at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. It’s been another hard but amazing weekend, as we struggled with my setup and never really got it sorted but I have loved racing on this circuit again and now can’t wait to go there again for testing with the British Talent Cup in March.
We arrived on the Thursday and as with most of my race reports my dad had to get my bike repaired from my crash in the last race. We would normally have testing on the Thursday as well but as the MotoGP had been testing there we only had the Friday for testing. The Friday test is just two sessions so it’s important for the bike to be right, unfortunately I knew quickly in the first session that there was something wrong with my clutch as I struggled to get it into gear but I just tried my best. My dad put a new clutch in for the second session and I was quickly doing some good times but was struggling with the bike vibrating/chattering as I entered the corner so wasn’t able to push and go as fast as I wanted.
My dad fitted a quick-shifter on the Friday night and we also made some changes to the suspension to try and help the chattering. The quick shifter worked really well and really helped me but the suspension changes made the bike feel worse so when I came into the pits in the first session we had to change them back and tried something different. This made the bike feel a bit better and I managed to set a good lap time which was almost 1 second quicker than my PB at this circuit. For the second session we had new tyres thanks to the kind companies that sponsored me for this race. Unfortunately the new tyres seemed to make the bike vibrating/chattering come back worse! We tried to fix it mid-session but it didn’t really work and I wasn’t able to improve on my time from the first session. This was a bit disappointing and I qualified in 33rd position out of 36 riders from my time in the first session. After qualifying I went through my data with John Mcphee who had also been out on the track to ‘spot’ for me and he went through where I could improve in the race so I felt quite confident.
We changed the suspension again for the race and it felt better in the warm up but hadn’t gone away. Charlie Atkins who I will be racing with in the British Talent Cup next year was doing this round and had qualified 31st just in front of me, my plan was to try and stick on his tail as he was just a bit quicker than me in qualifying. The changes worked but the chatter hadn’t gone away, as usual I didn’t get a great start but held my position and was concentrating on and catching the riders in front. The race was then red flagged on lap 2 and we just had 10min to get ready for a fast start and an 11 lap race. I was determined to get a good start to be with Charlie and the group in front, I managed to get a good start and made up a couple of places. I was less than a second behind Charlie and I concentrated on trying to close in on him and the group of riders he was with. I managed to keep a good pace and we made up a few places but with 4 laps to go I made a small mistake and fell 4 seconds behind, I tried to put in some fast laps but I made a couple of more mistakes and didn’t get a good rhythm because I was trying too hard. In the end I finished in 26th position and I was happy with that as I did a new PB lap time that was nearly 2 seconds faster than the last time I raced here and the setup of the bike wasn’t great.
I’ve had an amazing unforgettable experience racing in the FIM CEV Repsol European Talent Cup on some of the best tracks in the world and had a fantastic season overall. Next year is going to be even more exciting with the British Talent Cup and my 2018 season starts now with some serious fitness training. The David Lloyd club have kindly agreed to give me a personal trainer and I will also be cycling and bouldering along with still playing for my local football team.
I can’t thank everyone enough who has helped me this year but a huge special thanks goes out to Bill Davie of the SACU who supported us this weekend (and was even my brolly dolly lol) along with Balustrade Maintenance and Sales Ltd, GR Griffiths Builders and Injector Removal Scotland for sponsoring my tyres. Another huge thanks again to my long standing sponsors who continue to support my dream.