② Catalunya Cup 2023 Day 1 Practice Day

ーCatalonia Cup Saturdayー

9:00 Gathering at the venue

Second day of Catalonia Cup. This day was practice day #1.

The meeting time was 9:00 a.m., so we were back at the Alcarras race track before 9:00 a.m. We started by setting up the course.
First, we set up the course. Together with other racers, we laid out the pylons, removed gravel and sand, and prepared the course.

(Here is a video of the course setup taken by Sandra, a Spaniard.)

This picture shows the entrance to the course.

As we were lining up the pylons, I noticed that the height of the pylons here are 30 cm, and when the pylon covers are put on, the height becomes 40 cm.
Compared to 45cm that of in Japan this calculates to a 5cm lower height.

I am not sure if this affects the driving, but I felt that the lower pylons would make it easier to maneuverer around the course.

9:45 Riders Meeting

10:00 Riding begins

There was a riders’ meeting at 9:45, and the practice started at 10:00.
Since a clear ranking system has not yet been established, the groups were divided into four groups (red, blue, green, and yellow) by figure-8 GP time.
I was placed in the red group… (which is kind of equivalent to the A Class level? (^^;))
I guess they needed to adjust the number of people per group since I’m something like blue or green in Japan.

Marshall duty comes around twice a day.

Here is a short video of the morning practice session.

12:00 Lunch break

After driving for about 2 hours, we took a lunch break. We all eat together in the same cafeteria where we had dinner yesterday.

The meal is just like dinner.

I was sitting near my friends from TeamNL, a Frenchman, and a German, and we had a lively conversation about the strictness of German vehicle inspections. (TUV)

Gymkhana is a sport that requires “street legal condition”.  The German motorcycle inspection cycle is the same as Japan’s two-year cycle, and even sprocket modifications are not allowed.
In the Netherlands, after registering a motorcycle, there are no vehicle inspections, regardless of displacement!

This kind of casual exchange of information is one of the advantages of being in these type of arrangements.

In Europe, the sense of time is more relaxed than in Japan. After lunch, break time continues for a while .

13:00 Start of afternoon practice

Finally, afternoon practice begins!

Each group takes turns running 15 minutes at a time there are 4 groups, so after 15 minutes of running, we have to wait for 45 minutes.
During the 45 minutes, we watched other competitors run, talked with other competitors, and did marshal duty.

Sandra took some photos of the other competitors running from the “escargot section”. ↓↓.

In the afternoon, as in the morning, we practiced slalom. We had a lot of time to enjoy the slalom.

Afternoon alone was 4 hours until we finished at 17:00. Time really flew by!


17:00 Clean-up & Competition Preparation

Practice ended at 5:00 p.m., and while cleaning up, we prepared for the next day’s tournament.

At this point, we had placed the pylons in the areas that would be used for the competition course.
However the way of running through the course, which I was anxious to see, I would have to wait until the morning of the competition.

( In any case I was talking way too much with the other competitors that I did not even check much about location of the pylons.(^^;) )


18:00 Dinner

Tonight, too, we had dinner with the other competitors.

This is one of the points that is different from Japan, and I felt it was the highlight of a surprisingly enjoyable day.
The view of the sunset seen from in front of the restaurant was amazing. I felt joy and gratitude of being able to participate in this event.

Please enjoy the video as well. ↓↓.

By the time we returned to the hotel, we were way too exhausted.
(It’s such a luxury to be able to enjoy such days with riding and until you are this exhausted…!)


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