Last week I went back through on-board video and GPS data from my first full nationals campaign in 2016. It was a real leap into the unknown for me and the start of my 125GP apprenticeship. I learnt so much that year, mainly from hard knocks and frustrating mistakes but that schooling has stuck with me ever since. Ashley Weller (2nd place) whilst having an easy 40kg on me shelled out an absolute beating in the South Island and Rogan Chandler (1st place) consistently shone out front as a solid example of how to win in 125GP.
I’ve come back to these races many times before and it’s usually the battles with Ashley (#63 in this photo) that I relive first. He taught me the importance of consistency. While I had a considerable weight and speed advantage over him, he hit his markers each lap, pushed hard in the area’s he was strong in and took advantage from every one of my stuff ups. In 2 races he snatched 2nd place from me in the last lap where I should have easily won. It killed me, but it also narrowed my focus on my weaknesses.
Coming out of the NZSBK 2016 series I put myself to work on consistency. Racing a F4 or F5 bike on a go kart track is perfect for this. On practice days where the track stays open for as long as your body can handle, I put in some big sessions. 20-30 laps in a row with the GPS running to measure my lap consistency will very quickly showed me where I was or wasn’t improving. Do enough of those sessions and you realise the impact poor physical fitness or poor bike ergonomics has on mental durability.