Cartagena Test and life in lockdown
The Cartagena test which took place from 5th-8th March 2020 with the Nova Racing / Go Racing Development team prepping all 3 GP2 race bikes over the winter. The first day was mainly used to get used to riding a bike again after a long winter break and wearing in the new leathers, boots and gloves; working towards a good lap time towards the end of the day. I felt very comfortable from the off, we had to make a few changes to handle bar position and foot peg positioning just to get me comfortable again. After the first proper session myself and the other riders in the team (Tom Oliver & Cameron Horsman) started to push closer to the limit as the weather and conditions were perfect. Following a successful day 1 it was time to put some fresh tyres on and again try to get more comfortable, first session of the day and I was able to post a 1:37.3 which was 1.6 seconds faster than the previous day. I was really happy in being able to get down to this lap time almost straight away which gave me a lot of confidence to keep pushing on. In the next session I was able to post some more fast consistent lap times but a slight mistake going into one of the faster right hand corners saw me hit the deck. But with the hard work of the team we were able to get the bike ready for the last session of the day to make sure everything was still up and running. Thankfully the damage from the crash was very limited and I was able to get back out and feel comfortable again in the last session.
Day 3 came around and I was ready to keep learning and improving, but due to very strong winds there it was very difficult to get down to any sort of lap times. This was no worry as part of testing is to try new things in set up and also with riding style. Therefore we used this time for me to try the thumb brake on the bike and figure out when it would be most useful to use it and how the bike reacts. In addition to this we also changed the springs in the bike to see if that would help braking into corners. a change that appeared to be successful. Again putting in multiple laps to be able to build on what we had learned in the previous days. Day 4 was similar, I was able to push to some good times but at mid day when we put the new rubber on the track temperature had increased quite heavily from the morning so it was difficult to improve. However, I used this time to put a string of laps together and managed consistent 37s throughout the session and managed my fastest lap on the last lap of the run. I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to get into the 36s but I was surprised I was able to get up to speed as quick as I was and overall it was a very successful test for myself and the team.
Following on from the Cartagena test the World has been under attack from COVID-19 which has caused a lot of distress and grief for families and loved ones. It has been a difficult time for everyone but hopefully we will pull through together and come out the other end stronger. This has also meant that the first few rounds of the British Superbike season have been postponed with no information as to when the season will kick off again. As I have currently been on a placement year as part of my Business Management Degree, I am fortunate enough to be involved with a Big company that is supported by the Government. At first, this meant working from home but as the Automotive industry was taking bigger hits the Government retention scheme was introduced. Therefore I have been using my time off to train harder than ever to make sure when the season does eventually kick off I will be as fit as possible. I am really missing the race season as we would have been at Silverstone last weekend (12th April), but it is important that everyone stays safe during this time and we continue to do so until it is safe. I also want to thank everyone who is involved in making this year possible, when we do eventually go racing again I have a feeling it will be a good one!