Anthony West returned to WorldSSP action last weekend at the revered Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy.
After a scary crash at the previous round at Assen when the throttle stuck open, resulting in a broken arm and subsequent surgery, Ant West made the trip to Imola with the aim of returning to action on his Kawasaki ZX-6R machine.
West was cleared by medical staff on Thursday to take part in Free Practice. The Imola circuit is one of the most physically demanding tracks on the WSSP calendar with its mix of slow chicanes, fast corners and elevation changes over 22 corners comprising its 4.936 kilometres length. A difficult track to ride at full fitness, few would attempt to ride so soon after surgery.
After completing Free Practice 1 in position 17 out of 32 riders, Ant was determined to try and continue during the weekend. After Free Practice 2, Ant was 18 out of 32 riders missing the Superpole 2 cut, still struggling with strength and mobility in his surgically screwed right arm.
Free Practice 3 and Ant was 15 out of 32 riders, trying a new setup on the bike to deal with chassis issues that were hindering a fast lap. Superpole 1 started with the team making another adjustment trying to fix the handling deficiencies and give Ant a better setup to advance into Superpole 2. Although Ant recorded his fastest time of the weekend, the team missed the mark on the setup and he suffered from lack of grip, qualifying seventeenth.
With a new setting for warmup, and two days on the bike, Ant started to get his confidence back. After a visit to the clinica mobile, Ant was ready for the race.
When the lights went out, he got a good start and started working on moving forward. At the end of lap 2 he was fourteenth, by lap 5 he was tenth. But he wasn’t done yet, he was ninth by lap 8, eighth by lap 9. By lap 12 he was sixth, and embroiled in a battle with Krummenacher and Tuuli.
The battle with Tuuli went all the way to the final chicane where they touched and Ant had to hold on, with a broken arm, through the gravel trap and was able to beat Tuuli to sixth place across the line.
When Ant made it to Parc Ferme, he was completely exhausted. The pain from his broken arm so severe that his mechanics had to remove his gloves and helmet for him. The sixth place result represented the first Kawasaki in the race and propelled the EAB antwest Racing team to ninth place in the championship and first Kawasaki.
With a weekend off before the next World Supersport race at Donington, Ant will now have a little more time to heal and get closer to full fitness.
“Sixth was more than I was expecting after starting sixteenth on the grid and riding with a broken wrist. After FP1 I was thinking there was no way I was going to be able to race. After my surgery, I was really sick the week before the race, I couldn’t hold down any food, even water was making me sick.
“I’m glad I kept pushing now that we got a better result. The team has been working on getting more power out of the engine and it definitely felt better. Now, I want to rest my wrist so that we can be ready for Donington.”
WorldSSP Imola Race Result
J. Cluzel (NRT)
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP team)
R. De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag)
S. Cortese (Kallio Racing)
R. Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
A. West (EAB antwest Racing)
N. Tuuli (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda)
L. Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP team)
L. Stapleford (Profile Racing)
H. Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
R. Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer)
T. Gradinger (NRT)
L. Cresson (Kallio Racing)
A. Irwin (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda)
N. Morrentino (Renzi Corse)
WorldSSP Championship Standings after Round 5
Randy Krummenacher 81
Lucas Mahias 79
Sandro Cortese 77
Jules Cluzel 75
Federico Caricasulo 69
Raffaele De Rosa 51
Luke Stapleford 45
Niki Tuuli 38
Anthony West 27
Thomas Gradinger 22
EAB antwest Racing is a critically underfunded yet competitive team competing in the World Supersport championship comprised of Australian, American and Dutch members. EAB antwest Racing is supported by EAB, Accent Timber Flooring, Putoline, National Tiles, Race-Pro, Riva Moto, FuSport, Arai, Furygan,
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