A Wet WTS Race in Abu Dhabi 2018

After a great 3 weeks of hard training in South Africa leading up to the Abu Dhabi season opener, I was ready to go fast.


After a great 3 weeks of hard training in South Africa leading up to the Abu Dhabi season opener, I was ready to go fast. I love that the race is set within the Yas Marina F1 race circuit. After 2017’s unique experience in Abu Dhabi, I couldn’t wait to start racing on the track. I was expecting a good race, particularly from my own performance.

Mother nature had other ideas. I think there is on average something like 4-5 days of precipitation in Abu Dhabi. Apparently race day was to be one of these rainy days. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a F1 car on a wet race circuit, but the drivers use different racing lines to avoid the places where tyre rubber has been laid down on the tarmac because it has about as much grip as ice when it’s wet. F1 cars have 4 wheels with crazy wide wheels which have an immense amount of grip, we on our performance race bikes, have half the number of wheels and about 5mm of tyre touching the tarmac. It’s a big difference.

Back to the race. My swim start was not the best, not something I’m used to. The swim was only 800m so not enough time for the leading back to ‘really’ get away, but even so, I was behind the leading group and had to push hard in the transition zone to make up time to the leaders. I felt really good coming out of T1 onto the bike and even the rain couldn’t slow my bike skills in the wet. I was about to bridge up with the leading group, only a couple seconds in front of me. Time to get back where I am usually.

But no, two English guys slipped out on the wet tarmac infront of me (aren’t the English meant to be used to the rain – joking!) and I had no chance to avoid them. I collided with them and immediately thought my race was over! It feels like an eternity when you come off your bike, and then have to get back on and get going, but in reality it must only be about 5 seconds. In that time, I picked up my Isostar bottles, checked my helmet, sprinted with the bike and got rolling again, still in the race. Just lost a couple position but the leading group had edged away.

It took me a couple laps and a lot of energy to get back to where I had been before the crash I managed to overtake a lot of athletes in the corners. Most of them were timid because of the amount of crashes that everyone was having on the course. I’m not so timid, I loved the extra challenge and action on the side. There is nothing more fun than a little bit of danger to get the adrenaline flowing.

Just a couple more meters and I’m back with the group. But it had to happen - again! Another athlete’s bike goes out from underneath him, he hits the ground and I ride straight into him. Luckily we were both ok, but I was so angry that I started shouting while preparing my bike to ride again. So much effort and so close to being back in the race with the chance of a good result, I was frustrated. The chain had come off and I had to force it back on the gear. This time I lost a little too much time to be able to make it up again in such a short race. But I jumped back on the bike (my Scott took a real smashing so a huge thanks has to go to my guys at Trophy Bike) and tried to finish the race as good as possible. DNF is not in my DNA ;) so in the end, after a mentally challenging day,

I managed to get 23rd and was really happy with my performance. The hard training in Stellenbosch really paid off and the season is still long. Time to get ready for the next!


Andrea Salvisberg

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