Ulster GP: Fernandez fired up to break fastest female record
American Patricia Fernandez says she is arriving at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix better prepared than ever and determined to break her own record as fastest ever female racer around the 7.4mile Dundrod Circuit.
The Magic Bullet Racing rider made her UGP debut in 2014 and set the new female lap record of 119.671mph on board a Superstock ZX10R Kawasaki.
"I had an amazing time at Dundrod last year and was happy to set that record," the Tulsa native said, "but like any typical racer, I wanted more. I knew I could get faster and hopefully this year, that will become reality."
Patricia is a regular Superstock 600cc rider Moto America competitor and will compete in Supersport, Superstock and Superbike races at the Ulster Grand Prix.
"Last year I had entered all the 600 and 1000cc races, but I was so drained on the Saturday, that I had to withdraw from one," she said.
"I underestimated how physically demanding it was going to be to race the 1000.
"I had only raced it on the circuits, but on the roads, I'd just not allowed for factors like the road surface and the bumps - it was hard work. This year, I'm better prepared physically, training 3-5 times a week with a personal trainer and I can honestly say I'm ready for this.
"No excuses, I want to break the 120mph barrier and if I could even manage 122 I'd go back to Oklahoma with a huge smile on my face."
Patricia was speaking at an event to launch Belfast International Airport's sponsorship of the Ultra Lightweight/Lightweight. Which takes place on Thursday 9th August, during Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week.
Patricia reckons Superbike could be her most successful class this year saying: "All the other riders I'm gridded against are very experienced and talented and to be in the 'big boy class' is still so surreal, but definitely the most fun.
"I'm not a great qualifier and need a carrot to chase, so I look two or three rows in front of me on the grid and bullseye on someone's leathers.
"I may not know the rider personally, but they become my target in the race.
"I respect the roads and the risk that comes with riding them. I'm still on a learning curve and building up my comfort and speed every year. It's certainly a little different to circuit racing!"
Meanwhile, in the Suzuka 8-hour endurance race in Japan the Kawasaki Factory team of Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Kazuma Watanabe could only finish third, a lap down on the race-winning Yamaha team after mid-race troubles.
Rea, who was leading, the race stayed out an extra lap in his stint and almost ran out of fuel, limping into the pits losing over 40secs, re-joining down in third position.
Then the triple-world WSB champion had a slow speed crash on a soaking track on slick tyres, before returning to his garage behind the safety car.
An overnight typhoon delayed the start, then a flurry of crashes and worsening conditions meant the safety car was deployed for more than an hour. Michael Laverty and Christian Iddon ended the race in 15th position.
Elsewhere, during the fifth round of the weekend's Thundersport GB championship at Brands Hatch, Indy Circuit, Upperlands rider Jason Lynn scored two wins on his Walter Bell Yamaha in the Sportsman & Elite class (Supersport). •Armoy Road Races on Saturday were abandoned after a serious accident involving a paramedic was followed by deteriorating weather conditions.
Cancelling the races was a tough call for the club, celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the meeting. Clerk of the Course Bill Kennedy said: "Saturday began with a serious non-racing incident which involved paramedic Allister McSorley.
"He was taken by air ambulance to hospital, and as I understand it, his injuries are not life-threatening.
"We wish Allister a very speedy recovery and my thoughts are with Dr Fred and his whole family, as well as his colleagues in the MCUI Medical team who treated him initially.
"After that, the weather seriously deteriorated.
"Armoy Road Races are a year-long undertaking and there is an awful lot of organisation, so on behalf of the club I'd like to thank the members, officials, marshals and the many volunteers who played a vital part in getting things ready over the last year."