Race Report - Shannonville Rd 7 - Vicki Schouten
September 5, 2007
Some news about my weekend.....it was an emotional roller coaster to say the least....
First and foremost, I am pleased to say that both Kawasaki ZX-6R's are back up and running again with all of the help and support from everyone-- Kahuna, Canadian Kawasaki Motors and Kawasaki Motors USA, as well as some great work from my mechanic Brad Clarke and suspension tuner John Sharrard-- the back-up bike has been reassembled and successfully tested on Friday morning at Shannonville...the ZX-6R ran great with no issues whatsoever....thank goodness as it turns out I needed it on Sunday!
As usual, I was entered in the AM600 field with the guys, as well as the Women's Cup Challenge race. I was feeling really solid on the bike all day Friday during practice and was in great form for qualifying on Saturday afternoon...and it showed! I managed to pull off the second fastest laptime in the first wave of AM600 qualifying with a personal best 1:11.5 laptime! Eventually I was bumped down to 5th fastest in the first wave, but still an incredible qualifier and definitely the talk of the paddock--- Vicki Schouten was BACK on her Kahuna Kawasaki ZX-6R! The women's qualifier went equally as well, as I brought my times down to a 1:11.2 and qualified 6th in the women's race. I still had plenty of energy left after both qualifiers and was extremely pleased to be right on target for Sunday's races--- where I know I always go even faster!
The first race up on Sunday was the highly competitive AM600 National field. I was all set to go on my ZX-6R...the bike felt great all morning and I could almost taste a top 10 finish! The light went green and that's when the unthinkable happened! My start was not as solid as I would have liked, it took me a split second to come off the line...and the next thing I know I am being run into from one of the riders behind me! His bike hit my leg hard enough that my entire femur is black and blue and sore...the rider who hit me highsided and broke his collarbone. His bike also broke my shifter in the process of hitting me. I had no choice but to pull off the track as I could not shift my ZX-6R at all. Lucky for me, the race was called to a complete re-start and we were able to get my back-up Kawasaki on the grid for the re-start. My leg was sore but I was able to ride through the pain--- nothing was getting in the way of my aspired top 10 finish! Once again the light went green and off I went.
Somewhat hesitant from the previous start, I got off the line with a little less aggression than usual. I got stuck behind some traffic and had to settle for a 26th place finish. Not exactly what I was looking for since my qualifier went so well the day before. It was an emotional roller coaster as I was feeling so good on Saturday, to have all that happened on the start of the AM600 burst my bubble to say the least...but looking back I am glad we had the back-up bike running and I was able to hop on and finish the race. The next Regional round will be better!
By the time the women's race had rolled around it was late in the day and no amount of ice or Advil was making my bruised and swollen leg feel any better. Still, I toughed it out for the 12 lap final as I wanted to secure my overall points in the women's series.
By this time we had a new shifter on the primary bike and I was ready to head back out with more grit and determination than ever! I rode hard but not hard enough off the line. The field spread out quickly and after several laps of hunting down another rider and left leg throbbing at every shift, I had to settle for 7th place. I still maintained my place in the points standings and will definitely be back with a vengance next time!
We've got one more regional round to go at the end of September where I will be contesting the Regional AM600 as well as a Women's Cup Challenge double header. As I look back on what seems like such a short season, it has definitely been full of some ups and downs. The best part of the season has been the pleasure of riding some of the most amazing and competitive equipment on the market-- the 2007 Kawasaki ZX-6R-- and working with such a great team of people from Kahuna Kawasaki, Canadian Kawasaki and Kawasaki Motors USA! My laptimes have come down consistently all season ...by as much as 4-5 seconds over last year's novice season for that I am very pleased. The downs of course, sitting out for 7 weeks after a bad concussion at Tremblant, and now this past weekend's emotional roller coaster and the consequences of being hit from behind by a fellow competitor. We've got one more round to go and I've got plenty left in me yet so I have no doubt the final round is going to be a solid one!