Valencia Race Report: 20th-22th November 2009
Round 6: CEV 125GP Spanish Championship
Track: Valencia Circuit
One week later, Glenn and the Stop and Go Race Team found themselves cross Spain to attend the last race of the CEV Spanish Championships at one of the most prestigious circuits in the motorcycle world: Valencia. Just 3 hours south of Barcelona, this 4km circuit is a difficult but exciting track for Glenn. Glenn has broken only three bones over his 11 years of racing. Valencia has been the sole claimer of all three. Although Glenn may not have had the best of luck on this course in the past, he was looking to turn this track record around on his final weekend of competition for 2009.
Friday started out well for Glenn, as he raced within three hundredths of his best time (a personal record only three weeks old). Despite his good form, at 1.45.8, his time was just shy of qualifying to race the 71 riders that had congregated for the championship, who included the likes of Bradley Smith, Nico Terol and Jonas Folger, (world championship riders). As he worked late into the night, with his mechanical team, Glenn discovered a gear-box problem which explained the difficulties he had experienced during practice throughout the day.
Well rested, Glenn awoke early on Saturday morning, full of high hopes that the changes he had made to the bike would help to improve his time. Evidently, his determination to solve the problem paid off, as he dropped 1.5 seconds in the first qualifying session, to achieve a time of 1.44.3. This was his best time at Valencia and despite being happy with this improvement, Glenn was still only ranked 12th overall, in his group. Having 71 riders in the competition meant there were two groups which further lowered his rank to 24th on the grid. In his second session, Glenn managed to shave a further 2 hundredths of a second off of his time over the 18 laps. Although he ranked 10th in his group, at 1.44.1, his starting position for Sunday’s race, remained a humble 22nd. Glenn reflected, “I am happy with my time, considering my history here [at Valencia]. However, my position is still not up to the standard I would like. There are so many competitive riders here, as the entire grid of 44 riders only spread over two seconds.” When asked what strategies he would employ to perfect his performance in Sunday’s race, Glenn commented, “I will concentrate on a good start, and with a bit of luck, I should get in a good race.”
With the circuit temperature set to top at 10 degrees on Sunday morning, Glenn wisely invested in a crucial last minute check: running in the new engine and assessing the circuit for changed conditions. As the starting lights blacked out, Glenn found himself amidst his final race for 2009. Although he made some valuable positional advancements off the start, they were quickly lost just two corners later, as the rider in front of Glenn crashed out of the race. Skilfully, Glenn regrouped his composure, before working back through the pack. Finding himself in 25th place, he had much ground to regain. However, by the third lap, Glenn had found his rhythm and was stalking the large group just ahead. Devastatingly, the benefits of his strategic progress were instantaneously crushed, as his race ended all too soon, in a high speed crash. Despite the team critically analysing race telemetry and data, they cannot concede a definite explanation for the crash, because it was a frontend loss on the exit of a turn. Chief mechanic Groka suggests it may have been due to the presence of oil substance on the track. Naturally disappointed, Glenn pondered the race with an honest explanation: “This is racing; it’s hard to face, but it’s true. I am very disappointed, for I feel that this weekend, I was riding the best I have all year. Unfortunately, once again I cannot materialise a result to prove it. This was an important race because it a critical last chance to impress. I needed a good result to help me find sponsors to continue next year. Although 2009 started out well, I feel I have experienced a bit of bad luck in the later months. Originally, I was sitting in the top ten for half the year in the championship, but no point finishes in these last three races, I have been bumped back to 17th. Overall, I remain optimistic: I have improved massively from last year and I am holding my head high, as I look to the future and continue working and learning to improve for 2010.”
Glenn offers his most sincere thanks to Edu and all the staff from the Stop and Go Race Team, for offering him the chance to live the first step of a very big dream. Thanks also go to all his supports that have been a mountain of strength and encouragement throughout the 2009 season.
By Angela Bennett