Mixed bag

Busy week of racing behind me.

Felt strange to be riding my first matches so late in the year.

Started with a South West and Wales League home match against Exeter.

Probably a good one to come back to it after a long injury. I have been training hard to get the laps in and get used to the speed and the bike again. The only thing that I was not sure about was my gates. I was avoiding making them as was not feeling I should. Only in the last week I have done a few. It felt good, but not great, I still feel a bit of pain when I gate.

Exeter match gave me a lot of confidence, 5 good gates and a week of training before the Saturday.

Next weekend was a tough test, it was the HSBC Elite Grand Prix, Round 2 at Swindon. If I’m honest, I think it came a bit too soon. Ideally I’d like a couple of more league matches to get myself fit and stronger, but I had no choice but to enter, if I wanted to race individually this year.

Because I couldn’t race in the opening round at East Park, it put me in the qualifying round at Swindon. Not ideal, if you’ve not done many matches, but again, I had no choice.

Five strong gates and I was in the final. Not the hardest racing I have ever done, but still had to gate and keep the speed going which is not easy around Swindon track.

I was happy that it was over and was looking forward to the final. Not had best of luck in the draw, but not the end of the world. My first ride I was on grid two and was on the wheel of Myke Grimes for 4 laps. Could not make my mind weather to attack or not. It was the opening ride and I did not want it to cost me in the long run. Had a cheeky try on the last bend but fell short. That followed with two wins, which put me on 11 points. Good situation with riders dropping points. I had a grid four and a one to finish off. I thought if I can manage to score in my next ride, I will have all to fight for in the last one. I followed Ben home from four and held Josh for four laps to score a brilliant 18 points. 8 weeks after breaking my collarbone.

There was a run off to win, which I wanted really bad, but with the outside gate to Josh, it wasn’t to be.

Good second place and a strong meeting with good pace. I felt really good. I have made some changes to my bike. I have recently built a new rear wheel with a carbon rim. It is still early days, but it looks like it’s going to be a big improvement. I always wanted to go carbon on rims. The stiffness against a metal rims is just impossible to compare, I can feel it going round the track. It is great. The only thing I struggle with is starting on it. I think it is due to the spokes bedding in and just needing another half a turn to get them tighter.

Next day, we had a tough home game against Newport. For sure the strongest team in the league, who knows if they aren’t the best in the country. This was a completely different match to the day before. I was lacking speed, and was starting inconstantly. One race I’d be struggling to hold off Jack Harrold off four and eventually losing to him, next race I’d be forcing my way around Ben Mould. This was the only positive from me, that one gate which I will be hoping to work on in the near future. I got passed after a couple of laps, so not all good, but I will be looking into the positives and building on those. Unfortunately we have lost the match as well, but again, we will learn from that and move on.

Next stop is Poole away in a couple of weeks, so we are up and away.