Abbz Thomas put the disappointment of race one behind her as she stormed from the back of the grid to finish tenth in the second.
After stalling the engine in race one on the grid, and unable to get the bike going again, Abbz Thomas was feeling hugely frustrated. She had qualified 13th and a small loss of concentration on the start line meant it was over before it had begun. We knew from when we spoke to her after the Cartagena test how positive and motivated she was for the start of the season.
“I was just, I was gutted. They [the marshals] were pushing me and I was thinking I can’t believe I just did that. Like, it was the first race of Moto3 and I stalled on the line! What made it worse was I had to pull into the pits and there was this camera in my face. I just wanted to go to bed because I didn’t want to be around anyone.”
Fortunately, she had a chance to redeem herself in the second race of the British Motostar Championship. However, it wasn’t going to be easy. With grid positions based on your fastest lap in race one she took her place on row 12 of the combined GP and standard class grid. Seventeen standard class riders took up their positions on the grid in front of her. It must have been some sight, with the grid also including the GP bikes she would have seen a wall of 33 bikes neatly lined up waiting for the lights to go out. She said that she had been nervous coming up to the second race, clearly not wanting to repeat what had happened in race one but a delayed start meant the riders were held in pit lane and she managed to calm herself down. She said, “When it [eventually] got to the race and we got to the grid I was more like, ‘OK get off the line and go and then everything will be ok’ so I was calmer.”
The number 66 rider made a steady start. She knew she had the pace, she had qualified 13th. Abbz said, “To start the weekend I was doing the same pace as everyone in the top ten.” There was no need to panic. She managed to make up two places on the first lap. She was 15th for a couple more laps before calmly moving up another position. By lap eight she was under two seconds behind a group of five riders including four standard class bikes.
Abbz Thomas told us, “I knew what position I was in and so I saw that group I knew that I’ve got to get into the top ten. I need to make up for the last race and I’ve got to get in the top ten.”
By lap 16 she was closing in on the group lapping half a second quicker than the rider in front. She continued to take several tenths out each lap that went by. Once on the back of the group Abbz set about passing them. “Any chance I got I had to take them. It was coming to the end of the race. I have to do it now. I couldn’t wait any longer”, she said.
On the last lap Abbz Thomas was 11th in the standard class after a fantastic race but she hadn’t finished just yet. “I thought I was going to get eleventh because on the last lap I was behind the guy in tenth. I literally got him on the last corner at Clearways”, Abbz said excitedly.
What started out as a promising weekend lurched towards a disaster but the 14-year-old showed great courage and determination to claw her way from almost the back of the grid for a top ten finish, beating some more experienced riders on her way through the field.