With solid practice runs the day prior to qualifying, and the morning of qualifying, things were feeling good for Sam. As a rider who’s typically a top 20 ‘protected’ competitor, it’s a new challenge when you once again know that qualifying COUNTS. As Sam admitted, you then find yourself riding conservatively….not yourself, as not to crash out of making the finals. But like other top riders who’ve been in the same position, you work through it.
“What’s wrong with Sam?” This is what we frequently hear. Most in the sport know of his ability, and not seeing him in the top 10, seems wrong. To say it straight, he’s feeling physically strong, his equipment is great, but he’s struggling to find the confidence to ‘let it go’. A few of the top riders in this sport have had (or having) this same experience. At the current level of performance from both rider and equipment, a competitor must be near 100% confident in their abilities to ‘let it go’. With Sam, we are all supporting him, and we believe he will get through this period. As we’ve told him, qualifying, finishing mid field, and remaining healthy/uninjured is not terrible. It’s a place that allows him/us to work forward from. We are working.
Since Fort William World Cup, Harry has been recovering from a shoulder injury (AC separation). It was a borderline injury, that could have put him on the sidelines, or continue on with limitations. We decided on the ladder. Riding at approx. 80%, Harry’s results have been quite impressive. 27th in qualifying placed him fairly close to his personal target.
After strong practice throughout the morning, Harry was looking forward to bettering his qualifying finish, and put one in the top 20. With his current shoulder situation, we thought this would be an excellent result to achieve. On average, Harry is the type of rider who’s performance improves from qualifying to the finals. Unfortunately, he was unable to do so on the day. With his shoulder injury limiting him to about 80%, we think his performances are fairly strong. Once fully healed, we will see the ‘full gas’ Harry back.
Going in to this event, we could see the fire in Fraser’s eyes. He’s been putting in a lot of riding time over the past 2 weeks, focusing on getting more comfortable on his bike change (he went down a size). Practice leading in to qualifying was looking good, and Fraser was putting in more laps then most. Qualifying 74th wasn’t ideal in his mind, but it was a step in the right direction (after missing out at Leogang World Cup).
Again, steps in the right direction. Taking 3 seconds off his qualifying time, and moving 13 positions ahead in position, is no small step forward. As we’ve said before, there’s more to come from this fighsty Scotsman! Spend any time around him, and you see he’s definitely up for the challenge.
Todd Schumlick (owner/manager):
“A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”