The 2018 Q3 Qualifiers is Upon Us

Updated 

It was only at the time of writing that it dawned on me that the time between each track days is three months. Three months have never been longer, I don’t think. The wait is almost over. The last qualifier for the 2018 calendar year is already on the way. Schedule is below;

Wednesday:
Free Practice

Thursday:
8:00 – 10:00 – Bike Practice
10:00 – 12:00 – RoadX Practice
12:00 – 12:15 – Break
12:15 – 14:15 – RoadX Practice
14:15 – 15:00 – Break/Clear track of gravel
15:00 – 17:00 – Bike Practice

Friday:
8:00 – 10:00 – RoadX Practice
10:00 – 10:30 – Clear/Clean track
10:30 -12:30 – Bike Practice
12:30 – 13:00 – Break
13:00 – 15:00 – Bike Practice
15:00 – 17:00 – RoadX Practice

Saturday:
8:00 – 9:30 – RoadX Practice
10:00 – 10:45 – RoadX Qualifying
10:45 – 11:30 – Clear/Clean track
11:30 – 12:30 – Bike Practice
12:30 – 13:30 – Bike Qualifying
14:00 – RoadX Race
*The above schedule is by no means certain. Weather and other factors might alter the schedule.

Teams and racers are making final preparations to ensure they qualify as close to the front of the group as possible, as this will be their last attempt before the race finale in November. Over the course of the year, the riders have continued to improve their lap times, new records have been set during the previous two qualifiers which is a clear indication that the riders are getting better acquainted with the track. We hope to see a few more seconds shaved off the current official times at the MRE.

Riders have swapped teams in the pursuit of claiming top step come November. Throttle Heads Racing (THR) announced the signings of Ime Peters (at the time of writing, we are not quite sure in what category he will be racing) and Sama, the 2016 champion. It is quite interesting to see how this affects the team dynamics in the 1000cc category. One thing is clear though, in Jack and Sama, THR have the only riders to have been crowned champions in the ‘big boy’ category. This is not to write off the other teams, after all, BKG racing  currently has the fastest man on track in Gbenga, his team mate, B9 was second runner up at last year’s race. The other teams are not twiddling their thumbs either. 24-7 have had two private sessions since the first qualifier with the outcome of those sessions indicating they are no slouch either. It is looking increasingly likely that the defending champion will not be present this weekend. This means he cannot qualify higher than P3. He could find he is pushed further down the grid after the weekend. THR will be hoping that does not happen. 24-7 racing has just announced the signing of Argo to their team. The addition of the first runner up last year increases their chances of claiming titles in both the intermediate and Supersport class. What an exciting new dawn for motorsports in Nigeria.

In the intermediate class, it looks like Ahmed, the defending champion, is the rider to beat come August 25th. All evidence points to an exciting battle on who qualifies behind him though as he seems to have a bit more than others at this time. To put into perspective, official time sheets put him just under 6 seconds faster than his closest challenger, Blow, and he is fifth fastest in the combined time sheets of both 600cc and 1000cc. During his team’s private sessions, his times were just incredulous albeit unofficial. That said, time trial and racing with others on track might make for a closer battle and possibly throw a few surprises on race day.  The past qualifier saw Blow of CC Racing in second position, pushing Badblood of THR, who was absent, to P3. We are awaiting confirmation on whether BadBlood will partake in racing this year as he is rehabilitating from an unscheduled dismount from his Yamaha YZF-R6 while commuting within the Lagos metropolis. The wildcard in my opinion is Lolu of CC racing, she is definitely fast but has had only a few runs on the track, she might have a better feel of the track and spring a few surprises this weekend. Of course, Dot will have a thing or two to say about that.

Will there be more rider transfers before November, who knows? Will there be interesting battles come August 2018, we sure hope so. Will lap times be broken, you bet they will……. dry track and sunny skies permitting.

It sure promises to be a fun filled weekend for riders and fans alike.

See you track side!!!

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