Sakakibara Race Report - UEC European Cup Rounds 1-2 - Verona, Italy
Our ﬁrst International race for the 2018 season! We ﬂew out of Brisbane airport on Sunday March 18, and made our way to Verona, Italy for the opening rounds of the European Cup. It was an exciting trip for the pair of us, being our ﬁrst time in Italy, and also our ﬁrst time racing a European Cup round. The track, and the whole facility was top quality, and it was a big weekend of racing with over 900 entries altogether. It was an important race for Saya and I being a World Championships qualiﬁer event, and the racing wasn’t going to be easy.
The race day was challenging, both the racing and trying to keep warm before each lap when weather conditions were in the single digits. I had a few fast girls in my races so there was no slacking oﬀ at any point in the race. I ﬁnished with 1st, 2nd, 1st in qualifying and I qualiﬁed 1st for my semi ﬁnal. I had another clean lap and ﬁnished 1st. I was ﬁrst qualiﬁer for the ﬁnal! It was a challenge to put aside the fact I was racing idols and Olympians, but over the weekend I learnt not to look left and right; and just to look straight ahead.
I had lane 1 and I had a good gate but I was quickly shut down by Laura Smulders from the outside. Coming out of the ﬁrst turn in 3rd place, I was riding hard to keep that podium position. But on the very tight and technical third straight, I over jumped the ﬁrst jump which made me completely lose control of my bike and I was down on the ground with a popped tyre in just a ﬂash.
Disappointed that I crashed but I was still so happy about my day and how much fun I was having racing these fast girls. 8th place for day 1, and it was time to rest up and get ready for day 2.