Light at the end of the tunnel

It’s showtime! This is the time of the year where leauge enters its final phase. Sunday’s match against Sheffield was our penultimate at home. Can’t believe it really, it has gone so quickly. Stars is a bizarre team, capable of great things, but every year they fall short. Inconsistent rider’s rooster, lack of a team manager makes them very unpredictable. They always had Andy Angell they could rely on for motivation and some experience. Nowadays Andy seems disinterested, the team is losing momentum. Pre season big signing of Damian Zareba lasted one match, Stars have struggled away from home this year always short of one or two.

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My riding was compromised by lack of sleep. I was attending a wedding in Poland a night before and we had a morning flight back at 6am. All in all I ended up with 2 hrs of sleep, not enough by any means. How important the match was, you can tell from that significant picture next… no vodka for me.

My reaction was awful. First race I was going to have a go at Jamie Ball off the gate, I ended up fending challenges of Ryan Hoyland from the outside as was half a wheel behind. Second race of grid one, I was half a bike behind Pawel. You can see the experience gap though. Idziorek did not close the door early enough and I managed to squeeze him out and went on to win the race. I was very unhappy about the way I was coming out of the blocks. As if somebody was holding on to my rear wheel.

Second half was a lot better. My gating improved and I managed a good pass on Andy. It does look like he’s going through a similar phase I was going through in 2011. I was training and still was hungry for wins and motivated, but things just weren’t working out for me. Looks like he’s got a massive weight on his shoulders (pardon the pun). I still have him as a favorite to win the Brits. This is a different kettle of fish. His pedigree in individual competitions is second to none, and I believe he will be standing on that rostrum.

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My heart goes out to my team mate, Mark to win it this year. He is as hungry as ever, especially now that we had lost two matches already. Training has been going extremely well, and I see Mark is peaking at the right time. His abilities on the track are probably the best I’ve seen, and his improved fitness this year makes him hard to beat. I hope he wins his second shirt.

Disapointingly, I didn’t hold on to the Match Race Trophy. Pawel was too quick for me on that tight track. Shame. I was looking forward to taking it to Baiter in three weeks. 

New frame is coming along nicely. It is now built and ridden two full training sessions. It is different to its predecessor, mainly due to different front end. New Archie is finally sporting an 1″ 1/8th fork, something riders were looking forward to see. The choice of headsets available is endless, a lot more colours and varieties, it is a step forward. The bike has a re-designed rear end too. This is a massive step in the right direction, with a lot more clearance arount the back wheel, and I mean a lot! I’d risk it saying you could probably fit a 2.1 tyre in there, not that there is any need for it. I’m quite happy with the way it’s riding too. It seems to be extremely stiff and rigid. I now have quite a dilemma as to what tyres to use. I am still happy with Small Block 8’s, but I am contemplating fitting a 1.9 to the back now. Front end seems to be higher though, I still have to reduce it somehow, thinking of a new lower stack stem.

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I now have another confirmed sponsor, and quite an innovation to introduce. I will slowly do it in time, I’m still in a process of completing the equipment. I believe the experiment will save me quite a lot of weight off the complete bike, but also will make the drivetrain more efficient and quicker. I also hope to increase the pedal to ground clearance. This is another thing that had always happened before big tournaments. My tendency to changing and “improving” my gear. I think it’s just my nature.

Trainings are still intense. As I said, track time at Horspath is getting better every week, I also still enjoy running. Doing 10 km runs at least twice a week, still aiming for that 1hr run before Oz. I’m only 10 minutes away. I also introduced a diet regime which is a big thing for me. I’m looking forward to Bank Holiday Monday, hope to support my friend all the way to the top. 

It is a year of a Hammer, after all.

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