IF you have never been to Parkalgar near Portimao in Portugal then get yourselves there next weekend for the final round of the World Superbike Championship, it’s going to be mega.
The circuit is epic – lots of gradient changes, blind corners and a super fast straight. I’ve ridden there before and it fantastic to ride, a real racers track that separates the men from the boys. It is the home of my Parkalgar Honda team so I cannot be more motivated.
The other thing about Portugal is that the golf is great in the Portimao area. I’ll be staying on after the race for a day or two to get in a few rounds with my brother Alex.
I play a fair bit of golf and enjoy it. I’m no Rory McIlroy but I do play off a handicap of 11. The bonus for being a professional sportsman is that I have time to try other sports and golf relaxes me.
I’ve scored two second places in the last two races and came close to winning again at Magny Cours. Luca Scassa was just too fast at the end and I did my best to hang on to him but he had the pace. It was a good race but a little frustrating to again get so close to the top step but still not to have achieved my maiden win. I want it to happen at Parkalgar for sure.
My Parkalgar Honda is a great bike and certainly a package that can win. It is quite frustrating when you hear armchair pundits say it is slow. At Magny Cours my bike was one of the fastest all weekend but even then, it’s not just about top speed, it’s the package that counts.
My bike enters turns, carries corner speed, exits turns, accelerates incredibly well and has one of the best top speeds in the field. I passed Chaz Davies at Magny Cours on the inside with my front end confidence. All the detractors don’t turn around and say what a great package I have, they say the bike’s slow. Let me put the record straight – a bike that can finish second in the last two races is anything but a slow bike. It is a potential race winner in the World Championship which makes it one of the best of its breed in the world – and that means one of the fastest.
That sort of criticism of my team bothers me, my technicians and the guys behind the team all work hard and have delivered me – and to be fair my stable-mate James Ellison – bikes that can win races and have proved it race after race. I wouldn’t change anything on my bike or team.
I mentioned passing Chaz and now I’m going back to him to say congratulations on winning the 2011 World Supersport Championship. He’s had a fantastic season and is a deserved winner. I have enjoyed racing with him.
Obviously from a riders point of view it’s never easy to see another rider win the Championship but it makes me want to dig deep and make it mine in 2012.
We want to bring the title back to Honda next season – and with what I’ve learnt this year about World Championship racing, my bike, my team and the circuits, I think that’s very possible.
But first of all…Parkalgar and another opportunity to win.
Sam Lowes, Parkalgar Honda