Just a few days after returning from a wet and muddy race in Kent it was time to get my bike and kit packed up to head out to Szczawno-Zdrój in Poland for Round 2 of the 4x Protour . After a 2 hour flight and a short transfer we arrived. Thursday morning with temperatures around 25 degrees and sunny, I headed up to the track which was only 5 minutes ride from the Hotel.
Andrzej who runs and works at the track full time has put together one of the best tracks I've ever seen, everything about it is perfect. The track was superfast with a few big jumps towards the bottom as well as some quick loose turns which you had to be aware of. After a few runs down I had all my lines dialled in for qualifying on Saturday. Friday was the first official practice day with everyone arriving it was good to meet up and ride with everyone. I had a fun few hours in the morning and then some more riding in the evening getting used to the track under the floodlights which always takes a bit of getting used to. Everyone was looking quick so I knew times were going to be tight in qualifying.
Saturday came and after relaxing in the morning. We headed up for Practice which consisted of some gates and full runs to get ready for Qualifying. The crowds were big and made some serious noise which gave a party like atmosphere. Feeling good after Practice I put together a good run in qualifying giving it everything I had and finished 10th overall. The top 10 seeded riders after me had it hard with the heavens opening and torrential rain which saw a shock exit in Joost Wichman and Micheal Prokop who both went out due to the slick track causing them problems. This really mixed things up going into racing. Because of the delay everyone had a few practice runs on what became a very muddy and slippery track. Due to the weather conditions the pro-line was taped off which meant a slower but safer line for racing would be used . After a quick rear tyre change I was ready to race!
After a long wait at the top I got first gate pick. 15 seconds was called and I waited for the gate to drop, I got a good gate coming into the first turn in first place with 2nd place going round the outside and carrying more speed but I managed to block him and keep myself in first all the way to the finish, a few mistakes half way down but pulling out a good lead which would see me go into the next round. The rain didn't look like easing up. The next heat would see me get 2nd gate pick and after not such a good start I would come into the first corner in 3rd but going round the outside would give me good speed into the next corner which I went up on the inside to put a move in but ended up going down with Smolka. After getting up as quick as I could the other 2 riders had already checked out which meant I was out.
I ended up finishing 17th overall and got some good points from my qualifying results. I was very happy with my riding and had a awesome trip getting lots of riding in as well as some great food.
Here are a few highlights from the weekend
Only 3 weeks off from racing to train until Round 3 of the 4x Protour in Val Di Sole, Italy.
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