Practice/Qualifying 1 : I went out in practice C with 62 other Lites riders competing for a top 40 spot to make the night program.
I went out for the first couple of laps and was amazed at the track; it had rutted up after one practice. The track was a little more intense than what I have seen in Australia; including the Super X series tracks. I was going alright with not much practice under my belt, only having ridden twice on the new 09 YZ250F since arriving four weeks ago in the USA. Although I have not ridden competitively since the last Super X round early December 08, I was super pumped just to be riding in an AMA Supercross.
I did the triple by lap 3 and the rhythm section smoothly and things were looking up.
I was skimming the whoops by lap 3 but towards the end of the whoops, I dropped the front wheel and went over the bars, the bike cart wheeled over the top of me.
This was not a good start, I pulled off to the side of the track and a marshal stopped me saying that I can’t continue to ride because I don’t have a ‘Hats off Device’. I had no idea what a ‘Hats off Device’ was. Apparently it’s compulsory; it blows air into your helmet so it’s easy to take off your helmet if you’re knocked out. I then had to race over to the Asterisk Medical tent to apply one to my helmet, by the time it was fitted my twenty minute practice was over. This caused me to miss most of my twenty minute practice session which I needed as the track was quite technical. This left me with only a fifteen minute practice/qualifying time to try and get a good qualifying time when all the others had two full practices.
Practice/Qualifying 2 :
I went to go out for practice 2 but the bike would not start, great just what I needed. After a fair few kicks, no luck so we jump started it and away I went. I said to myself “I have to do this if I want to qualify for the night program”. I cleared all the triples and did the rhythm smoothly whilst putting in a few fast laps. I struggled a little with the ruts as the bike wanted to pull in all different directions. My best qualifying time was achieved on my last lap of practice.
Qualifying 48th, I missed out on the top 40 by 0.7 of a second. This showed me that the intensity and pace of all the riders back to 60th place was extremely fast.
If I had bettered my time by two seconds, I could have been running in the top 20. All the competitors are more than capable of doing everything so it comes down to the corners and racing aspect.
It’s good to know that I can run at the pace that is required to get through for qualifying. On this occasion, I was disappointed that I did not make the night program. With another week to practice, I feel that I can achieve the goal of knocking off a couple of seconds.
With only 2 short practice rides in the past 4 weeks, it’s hard to feel comfortable going out on an AMA Supercross track. Before Indianapolis, I will ride as often as possible. Hopefully, four days straight which should help with my confidence and riding fitness?
Feedback that I received, was that myself and other aussie riders like Daniel McCoy and Cody Cooper is that we are not aggressive enough with the track and especially the corners. They say that we are too concerned about clearing the jumps and sort of “babying the corners”.
The entire event was unbelievable and the racing was good.
It honestly is an amazing show. You have to be there to experience how fantastic it is, “Only in America”. I can’t wait until Indianapolis next weekend. My goal is to make the night program and we will go from there.