Official announcement of the last round of Hellinic Hillclimb Championship 2019 at Platani - Pititsa, in a location near Rio -Antirio Bridge. It is a 3km long climb with alternate pavement slopes. The race took place on the weekend of 16-17 November under good conditions for that time. After my last participation on hillclimb a month ago, apply for this race is my last chance race the car before winter comes.

Daily duties do not leave much free time. In the blink of an eye, the weekend of the race has come. Early in the morning, we are in the race area. Setting the route with the help of friends who also participate in the hillclimb race, before the official trial session with the race car. The time has come. As a matter of fact, i was not as stressed as at my last race. I guess i wanted just to catch the feeling and have a good pace in the first pass. 

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Ready in my bucket, heading to the starting line for warm up. As i approach, i put the first gear, just to realize at that time that i have no clutch. The cluch pedal is stuck to the floor. Immediately, i ask the person who is in charge to withdraw. My service was located close enough, so i am headed there. 

Ανάβαση Πιτίτσας Service

The problem? The cable of cluch was cut. My first reaction is a little frustration that i will not race at all. However, my service along with the valuable help of friends of Chrysafis racing team, managed to repair the cable and get to starting line just in time. The firt session of trials was completed. One more adjustment to the clutch and ready for the second session.

There are parts of road that need attention, mostly not get too close in the first turn and get a lead at the next one. Furthermore, there are several pavement changes as well as "slopes". At my second trial, i memorized the route and managed to improve by 4 seconds. Unfortunately, running out of time, a third pass did not happen. As the day passed, we were back to the hotel for a little rest, food and catching up with friends.

Ανάβαση Πιτίτσας 2019 Κατερίνα Μπράτσου

Sunday morning and everything seems ready by the view of the oragization. The race starts as it is planned. I am stressed (as usual in every race). I am ready to start. During the section of warm up until i get in the start line, i realized a problem with the gearbox. I am really concerned. At the start line, the flag is up, ready to start thinking the "points". However, the problem of the gearbox is much more intense... and bam!

The not-so-obvious but expected senario has come true. An wrong handling in the first meters and a close line to a left turn led to tap the safety bar, resulting in derailment. In seconds the car stopped, and safety marshals intervened immediately. At this point, it is of high importance to refer that every precaution had took place and nobody of the spectators was hurt or threatened.

In the process of loading the race car into the truck heading to pits, there were negative emotions (sadness, anger). But, the spectators' applause gave me some encouragement and relief at that moment.

Pititsa Hillclimb, dnf! A race that i did not manage to get to the finish line. A first "bad" experience (even if we refer to material damage) which is a good "food for thought" and mostly for personal improvement.

Ανάβαση Πιτίτσας 2019

PS: Apart from this experience, i have to say a big "THANK YOU" to all those encouraging messages i received the following days and the help of people i received at that time.

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