This month Nicole was racing at Oulton Park for the penultimate round in the Thundersport GB series
My next race was at Oulton Park in Cheshire, which is one of my favourite tracks. I couldn’t wait to get there, but this weekend the format would be a little bit different. The normal schedule for a race weekend is a full day of testing, and then two days of racing. Due to noise restrictions in place at the circuit, we were only allowed use the track for two days, which meant one day for testing and qualifying, and only one day for racing. I had rebuilt my engine after the issues we’d had at Anglesey, meaning that I had to spend most of my morning session running it in and keeping it at low revs. This allows the parts inside the engine to wear into each other slowly. Running an engine at full power directly after a rebuild is a recipe for disaster as you can cause damage.
The forecast for the weekend was mixed, and unfortunately for me only three minutes before I was due to qualify it started bucketing down with rain. A rookie mistake, but I couldn’t get my wet tyres onto the wheels on time so I ended up missing my qualifying session. I would have to start from the back of the grid.
Although it wasn’t ideal, it just meant that I had more people to pass off the start line, so a good start would be important. I went for a track walk that afternoon which I always find helps a lot. It lets you see the track from another angle than when you’re on the bike, so you can notice more. The biggest tip I was given for trackwalks was from MotoGP rider Jeremy McWilliams when he told me to always walk past the corner, and then look back. This way you can see the line you need to take for the exit of the corner which is where you need your speed to be.
Race morning came and it had rained during the night so the track was very damp with just a small dry line. We all went out on dry tyres, as if you had wet tyres on and it was too dry, they would overheat and cause grip problems. The only thing was, if you went onto the wet part of the track on your dry tyres, there’s a higher chance of crashing, which is what happened to two riders in turn 1. I didn’t like these conditions, and didn’t have an enjoyable race. However, it was completely dry for the second race and I got a great start. I was passing and being passed by different riders, which always makes it the most fun.. Although I would obviously love to be winning. I am not a paid MotoGP rider (yet ha ha), so for me it’s the most enjoyable races that make it all worth it and builds up my experience. I finished in 10th place, with a massive smile on my face. The last round of the Thundersport GB series at Donington Park is next. I can’t believe how quickly this season has passed.
9th October, 2017