Cornish Feels the Heat at Czech Grand Prix
Norfolk based supermoto racer Lewis Cornish went in at the deep end last weekend with his debut ride on an official factory prepared Aprilia at the Czech Grand Prix in Sosnova. Lewis had been invited by Fast Wheels Aprilia team manager Daniele Puca to enter the European Championships following an earlier successful two-day test in Italy aboard the Aprilia; needless to say Lewis jumped at this golden opportunity to race against the very best racers in Europe. Following another long road trip Lewis was greeted by a 37 degree heat wave at the Autodromo Sosnova S1 circuit. In early practice Lewis soon showed his pace but as the day wore on the 30 minute track sessions took their toll leaving Lewis suffering from severe forearm cramps (arm pump) and despite making the final qualifying cut he dropped down from 15th to 19th on the grid.
A cooling swim in a local lake, some arm massage and Cornish took to the grid on Sunday for race one. With 30 bikes lined up at the start turn one was mayhem and it was into the second corner that a rider crashed in front of Lewis which damaged his radiator and forced him off the circuit. Quickly back on the tarmac the Nameplate Services/DCR racer dug deep and battled through from the very back of the pack progressively passing rider, after rider many of who are European regulars. Each lap witnessed Lewis move up a place as his elated team cheered with encouragement with every move up the leader board. With one lap to go Lewis was in an impressive 11th place but the dreaded ‘arm pump’ returned which allowed a rival to pass on the tricky off-road section leaving Lewis to settle for an impressive 12th place. Fighting not only from the back of the grid, but moreover the heat and physical difficulties with arm pump it was a great result for a European Championship first-timer.
Race two wasn’t as eventful as the first but once again Lewis showed his skills and determination to take his innovative vee-twin, Aprilia to another safe 12th place finish following some tough racing against some very big names in the sport. Cooling down in the paddock Lewis gave his thoughts on his first race in the championships.
"I’m really pleased with how this weekend has gone, its tough racing at this very high level learning the track is one thing but also trying to get used to a totally unique bike in this heat is another. I’d like to thank Daniele and the Fast Wheels team for giving me this chance and hopefully I’ll be back on the bike again in the near future. Realistically we were hoping for a top 15 place for my first European Championship race and considering the quality of the grid I’ve raced and beaten plenty of big name professional riders here on a bike that is well known to be difficult to get used too. The Aprilia is really powerful and helps on the start straight but I was struggling with ‘arm pump’ towards the end. Finishing 12th place here for my first time is a really good result and if I am provided with the opportunity of another ride I’ll be aiming for a top 10 spot.’’
Lewis is heading up to Rowrah Circuit in the Lake District this weekend to see if he can improve on his 2nd place in round 5 of the British Supermoto Championships and you can follow his progress on www.lewiscornish.co.uk