Sunday 13th June
All up by 9.30 and the morning seemed even hotter than previous days. But there was a slight breeze which was most accommodating and to gain full advantage we removed all the sides of the awning, save one, which kept the tool box in the shade. My first job was a visit to the Dunlop Guy, buy that tyre, have it fitted then finish the race prep, which was all done and dusted by midday.
By some quirk of fate our races were scheduled back to back, with the second being an hour in length. Under normal circumstances, tough enough, but in this heat it would have been down right stupid to attempt. So I officially withdrew from the longer event. Leaving us with just the one outing at a 5.05pm start, prompt. And it did, but not before a last minute drama. You really can’t write this stuff but this is what happened. Literally as our race was called a huge gust of hot summer wind blew through the awning catching the remaining side part, shading the tools, thereby filling it with fast moving rising air resulting in the whole awning being launched skywards what seemed like vertically, and quicker than Rik was getting off the line this weekend haha!!! We all reacted with great speed, quite impressive I’d like to add, and so did a few of our neighbours in the paddock. I made a jump for the central pole and foot, which by this time was on it’s way down, acting like some kind of trebuchet gaining velocity as it came towards me. I missed it but IT didn’t miss me. After a slight deflection IT caught me in the face and I was decked. I wasn’t knocked out luckily and it could’ve been so much worse.
There I was 15 minutes before the race, on the deck leaking blood all over the place in a brief moment of silence that these incidents bring on, lasting until I picked myself up and making a grab for the kitchen roll, then pandemonium returned with the realisation that it’s not overly serious. Someone had already legged it over to the medical centre, which we had conveniently parked close to, and summoned some medical assistance. A rather lovely Spanish nurse seemed to suddenly appear, I played hard to get but Rik insisted, so she walked me away to get patched up. The awning was re-secured. A fastening had either worked lose or was not tightened sufficiently, but no damage was done. Rik and Lance were helped by our neighbour and normal service was resumed. Meanwhile, I’m getting cleaned up and it must have looked bad because of all the blood as there was a good deal of fuss but I felt ok. Adrenalin fuelled I suppose. Anyhow after five minutes or so they were happy I wasn’t concussed and let me go holding an ice pack to my nose, which thankfully wasn’t broken.
A little bloodied, I still made it to the collecting area just as the lads were going out on the formation lap. Good timing. By now Rik had formulated a plan to get off the line, it worked a treat saving valuable seconds. Although still last away he was in touch going into the first two corners, out of my sight, coming back into my view with a couple behind and going past another rider lining up a fourth. By the end of that first lap he’d gained 6 places, although from here it wouldn’t be so easy.
Six riders at the front had made a break, one of which was Lance and I firmly believe that had Rik been able to launch off the line in the traditional manner he’d be mixing it in there as well, but hey, it is what it is. Rik was up to tenth and lapping just about as quick as the top six and looking extremely relaxed and comfortable. I was thinking to myself that he’s now made the transition from the smaller bikes and that the new 190 tyre seemed to be working in his favour. Mid race he was up to 7th with a gap of about 10 seconds ahead and 3 behind so it looked pretty set. With 3 laps remaining the gaps, either side of Rik began to shrink, ‘this is going to get interesting’ I thought. By the closing stages of the penultimate lap Rik had closed in to about 3 seconds and the guy behind was right on Rik’s tailpipe and dived up the inside, a little too late on the brakes for a tight right hander, and got by, but Rik had more corner speed and a better exit line. So with that advantage he was able pass straight back up the inside and was still ahead starting the final lap with an outside chance of catching the guy in front. Meanwhile, Lance was in a battle for 3rd and also going well and enjoying himself. The last lap was Rik’s fastest of the race and as it turned out he finished 6th with Lance 3rd. In the Dunlop Cup we got 2nd with another visit to the podium and were all delighted.
All in al, a typical race weekend, shame we didn’t finish a WERC race but had decent results with CLNA and Dunlop Cup, learnt a good deal and came away from Navarra happy.