EUROPEAN WOMEN'S CUP Rijeka (Croatia) June 12th The Grobnick-Rijeka circuit, in Croatia, knows how to welcome you. A gorgeous fast track with a great grip and the possibility to experiment different lines. An inviting place with a nice ...
EUROPEAN WOMEN'S CUP
Rijeka (Croatia) June 12th
The Grobnick-Rijeka circuit, in Croatia, knows how to welcome you. A gorgeous fast track with a great grip and the possibility to experiment different lines. An inviting place with a nice atmosphere, a perfect organization and a delightful hospitality. All that gave the EWC racers - during the last week-end - the perfect climate to really have fun!
13 racers measured themselves against each other in this second round of the European Women's Cup, held in the framework of the European Championship organized by the UEM: 4 French, 7 Italians, 1 Hungarian, 1 Slovenian.
The small number of riders could have lead to a race poor in competition and enjoyment. Due to budget and schedule problems, in fact - the Italian and the European cups having had a very dense calendar - some important Italian riders could not participate: Cazzola, Betti, Valentini and La Licata; Marchetti and Romaniello (respectively among the first 6 of the 1000 and 600 classes in Vallelunga). Instead, this week-end was rich in emotions, great performances, fighting spirit and fun.
Samuela De Nardi couldn't certainly miss this race, being one of the "home" riders along with twenty year-old Petra Sovegjarto, both having raced this circuit during the Alpe Adria Cup.
For the first time in the Croatian circuit and ready to give Samuela a rough time, her strongest contender in this Championship, the French Fabienne Migout, was there. First time in Rijeka also for Alessia Polita, more determined than ever to win the European champion title in the 600 class.
Those were the four favorites and they didn't disappoint: Samuela De Nardi on her RSV1000 scored a remarkable lap time of 1.36.0 during the Saturday qualifying sessions - her best lap ever in this circuit - getting not only the pole-position but also the attention of many of the 125, 250, Supersport e Superstock European Championships' riders.
Alessia Polita replied improving lap after lap, and reaching with her GSXR600 a 1.38.5 that assured her the second place on the grid. The French Fabienne Migout on her R1 posted the third better lap time with 1.39.5.
Behind them, with lap times around 1.42, Petra Sovegjarto (Gsxr600), Lydia Jean (Cbr600) and Annalisa Picariello (Cbr 600) in the 600 class; Sandrine Martin (R1) and Silvia Carletto (636) in the 1000 class. All of the above with great chances to reach the podium. Further back, the young Slovenian Urska Turnsek (R6), the Italian rookie Sharon Mermet (Cbr600), Maria Grazia Vita (916), Francine Jaquet (ZX6RR) and Roberta Dello Siesto (636).
The anxiety for the upcoming race, that was expected to be a hard-fought one, and also so much important for the final championship standings, didn't prevent the girls from partying together on Saturday in the paddocks and release some tension this way.
Sunday morning, after the warm-up, the EWCup's riders were the first to race, under a louring overcast sky that, unexpectedly, didn't rain during the whole day.
Race strategy for all: Samuela De Nardi who would have had to defend herself against the attacks of Migout, who was determined not to leave Samuela win without trying to the hilt to be faster than her. Alessia Polita had to decide whether race the two girls fighting over the first place in the 1000 class - taking some risk this way - or concentrate on the championship and on her class. Sovegjarto knew this circuit quite well, but she had her one bad crash here and it was hard for her to get into her own pace again, but she wanted to prove herself better during the race.
So, while De Nardi and Migout start very quickly, Polita decides to stay behind them, with the four pursuers - Sovejarto, Martin, Jean and Picariello - at a safe distance from her.
During the last laps the Hungarian gets to finally break away from the group and reduce her lap time to 1.41.0. Behind her the two French (Martin and Jean) and the Italian Picariello interchange their positions till the eighth lap when, in the attempt to catch up with Samuela de Nardi, 8 seconds ahead of her, Fabienne Migout - who kept a very fast pace during the race, reducing her lap time by one and a half second compared to her qualifying sessions best lap - slips and falls. Red flags and everyone worried while waiting for news on her health. Unfortunately, the accident resulted in left hand and right foot fractures for the intrepid French.
The race is interrupted and the results as at the seventh lap become the final results; this early ending interrupts also a fighting that could have changed a few results under the checkered flag.
An overwhelming victory for De Nardi (who also scored the race fastest lap), first also in the 1000 class, that excited the bubbly, nice and funny members of her fan club who thronged to support her. Migout, despite her fall and because of the early ending of the race, obtains a well deserved second place. Third place to the French Martin. In the 600 class, Polita gets an undisputed win, second place to Sovegjarto, third Picariello.
Again, on the podium the Italian national anthem played twice, thanks to Alessia and Samuela, a great gratification also for Fabienne who gets to join the prize giving ceremony from the emergency ward, for Petra, Sandrine and Annalisa, for the first time on the podium in this European cup.
After this second round Alessia Polita is at the top of the table in the 600 class with 50 points, followed by Petra Sovegjarto 31, Lydia Jean 29, Picariello, 26, Marchetti, 20, Jacquet 16, Romaniello 13. Polita needs to get at least 7 points at Schleiz to win the championship, while the battle for the second and the third place is still very open.
Among the 1000 cc racers, De Nardi (50 points) and Migout (40 points) will contend for the first place, while Martin (24), Vita (17), Cazzola (16), Dello Siesto (15) will fight for the third.
Next appointment then in Schleiz (Germany) on August the 21st, when new riders are expected (among them the Dutch Vicki Gray, and the German Ela Seestaller), and where the European Women's Cup will crown the first female European Champions in the Road Racing Motorcycling History.