American racer Patricia Fernandez says she’s arriving at the 2018 MCE Ulster Grand Prix more prepared than ever and determined to break her own record for the fastest ever female racer around Dundrod.
The Magic Bullet Racing rider, who made her Ulster Grand Prix debut in 2014, set a new female lap record last year, clocking an average speed of 119.671mph on board a ZX10R Superstock.
“I had an amazing time at Dundrod last year and was so happy to set a new lap record but I can’t deny that, like every other typical racer, I wanted more! I knew I could go faster and hopefully this year that will become a reality.”
A regular Superstock 600 MotoAmerica rider, the Tulsa native will compete in the Supersport, Superstock and Superbike classes.
“Last year I had signed up for all the 600 and 1000 races, Superstock and Superbike but I was so drained on the Saturday that I had to withdraw from one of the races. I underestimated how physically demanding it was going to be to race the 1000. Before last year I had raced a 1000 on the circuits but not on the roads and I just hadn’t allowed for factors like the road surface and the bumps.
Discussing her ongoing preparations for this year’s meeting Patricia has certainly used last year’s experience to guide her.
“I have never worked as hard to be physically prepared for a race before. I am training 3-5 times a week with a personal trainer and I can honestly say I am ready for this! There are no excuses left. I want to break 120mph and, taking it a bit further, a 122 or better would send me back to Oklahoma with a huge smile on my face!
Speaking at the launch of Belfast International Airport’s sponsorship of Thursday’s Ultra Lightweight/Lightweight race at the 2018 MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix, Fernandez shared some insight into how she has improved year on year and her approach to the 7.4-mile circuit.
“My approach to road racing is a little different to circuit racing. I respect the roads and I respect the risk that comes with riding on them. It’s a learning experience every time I come here and every year I am building up my comfort and my speed.
“To be honest I’m not a good qualifier. I’m a racer. I need to have that carrot to chase and when I get on the grid I look one to two rows ahead and bullseye on someone’s leather. I might not necessarily know the rider personally but they become the carrot!”
Reflecting on what her most successful class will be at this year’s 96th Ulster Grand Prix, Patricia has a good feeling about the Superbike.
“All the other riders I’m gridded up against are very experienced and talented and to be in the ‘big boy class’ with top level racers is still so surreal but definitely the most fun!”