Today I taste tested 4th place and man it felt good! Another 0.8s out of my best time in race 2 and ultimately coming over the line by 0.28s in 5th place. That’s easily the best race so far and pretty high in my favourite ever races list. Half a second covered 4 of us at the line with any one of us being able to take it. I think 4th is possibly the highest I can hope to finish on this machine so for me that felt like a 2nd place. Stoked!
I had a rocket of a first lap with my head down ready to push. A good start but unable to climb the hill as fast as the others. I went around the outside of a group instead to claim some spots and then again down the hill to put me into 4th place. I hung about 15m or so back from Rienk for about a lap before he upped his pace and crawled away leaving me riding without any wind cover. I put in consistent and fast laps for a while and it was nice to try a few different lines again to find time without others around me.
I had a solid lead to the next group but a mistake timed with lapping a slow classic closed the gap to them and they swamped me. Geert, Henri, Roland and I went toe to toe for the rest of the race and I saw pretty clearly were all our strengths were. I was 8th, the back of the group, into the last lap and I had to pull something out my ass. I shoved my way through Henri and Roland in one move through the first chicane corner and got good drive to chase down Geert. I went around the outside of him for a block pass into the late braking but very slow left hand corner at the back of the circuit. I’m really strong exiting that corner but Geert’s speed was too much so I had to sacrifice it and hold him up. He still got better drive than me out of it and Henri came up the inside of me to block me out of the last chicane. They ran shallow to block each other and I rode around the outside. My drive was again sacrificed but I held them up enough so that we were all slow up the hill. Geert gapped me to the line and I held 5th.
Epic, epic battle. I’m still grinning. I love being pushed that hard and I can’t remember being so happy to finish a race 5th. More importantly it shows what’s possible and it shows if I ride hard and get my timing right I can get better results on the twisty circuits. As always I learnt a lot this weekend and clearly I’m pretty stoked about it. A massive thanks to the Wobben family for letting me ride their bike in this class. It’s a blast.
Pretty happy to pick up another second and also to have a stupidly close battle with my team mate Roland to the line by 0.07s. We also somehow posted exactly the same fastest lap time. It probably shows just how close it was, we passed each other like 12 times! It’s what I came to the other side of the world for and I came in with a massive grin. So fun. Stoked to be here, what a crazy fun track. Unfortunately we fell off the back of the train early on and that was it for a higher placing race. I’m still battling this bike a lot and haven’t been able to make it rev properly. But I’m still positive over the next few rounds we’ll figure it out. It’s still loads of fun and that’s why I’m here.
I watched a young German Honda RS125 rider battle a few TZ250s and a TZ400 today. I was properly impressed with his pace. You can hear it had some trick bits in it, it really barked out the corners. It had me missing my 125 back home a bit. Riding it here would be truly nuts! If you ever get a chance to ride this little East German circuit, take it with both hands.
4 seconds out of my PB from yesterday! Hahaha that’s better! And my favourite part is that was the only lap I did riding by myself with no slipstream. Roland, Herman and I had some tight battles all session and I got a double downhill slipstream for 149km/hr in one lap. That’s honking for this little machine! Not so fast without a tow though. I know there’s a lot more time on the circuit for me. The bike still isn’t properly revving and I’ve completely run out of ideas on solving that mid throttle hesitation but it’s rideable and I’m able to have some good fun on it which is all that matters. It’s warm and sunny here today with our first race later on. Hyped for some battles. Unfortunately we’re not allowed on board cameras here so you’ll just have to imagine a million downhill RPM on a 50. Check out Bert Smit’s time on the classic for 3rd place, now that’s speed!
This is what it looks like to have your ass handed to you when you get the gearing wildly wrong hahaha. I was top of 6th gear for 12 seconds downhill. Schleizer Dreieck has been around since waaaaay back and the classic 50s have this place well wired. The track is very fast and they make use of their speed advantage. So yeah, 3 classics in the top 10 combined. The field is 32 riders with the time sheet over 2 pages 💪🏽
The bike ran better but annoyingly still won’t rev over 14,500rpm so I’m pretty restricted in setup. But it was dry and my team mate Roland and I had a few good tussles as we pushed for more pace. I’m confident I can bring down the gap to 1st tomorrow with better gearing but annoyingly I will again start the last practice session having taken a big punt on setup. I really wish there was more practice time here because it’s such a cool circuit to race. Really loving it!
A tough start to the weekend again today and I’m pushing to regain that momentum needed to find the pace. New track, fast and narrow, wet and a sidecar sprinkle of oil around the circuit didn’t help. Unfortunately the bike wasn’t revving again and hit a brick wall at 13,900rpm. Slow times and a bit of wind knocked out the sails. Still, the first session is just about learning the track and set up. Since then we’ve made a tonne of changes and test runs up the road to try fix it. I think there is improvement so the next session, which looks to be dry, will tell me how far off I am with gearing. A huge thank you to Roland and Jan for the help in problem solving. I’m usually by myself on solving these issues in New Zealand so the help is really appreciated. That’s teams for yah I guess!
I’m really hyped on this track. It’s so beautiful and technical. There’s some sections where the front gets so loaded up trying to brake and corner at the same time downhill through road style cambers. I’d love to ride here more than just one weekend. I think it would teach you a lot about balancing edge grip suspension set up and super hard front end braking stability. Riding a 600 or 1000 around here would be just wild.