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Austin Politelli Column

After a rough start to the season in Anaheim, I was looking forward to showing everyone what I was at capable of at Phoenix. Things seemed smooth and everyone at the 51FIFTY Energy Drink Yamaha team had my bike running great. Practice went ok but should have been better, there were sections I struggled with.

I was frustrated with my qualifying time but looked ahead toward the heat race. In my heat I got a great jump and was up front but made mistakes in the same sections on the track as I did in qualifying and was passed by a few riders. I was getting upset at myself but finished 6th to transfer to the main.

O'NEAL team rider Austin Politelli

In the Main, I hesitated out of the gate and was near last out of the first turn. I was able to slip past a few guys and move up to 11th but made a mistake in a corner that caused me to fall over. I was mad and a little banged up but jumped back on my bike. I was out of mix for a top finish and my emotions got the better of me. The whole day was hard and I had put so much pressure on myself knowing our owner and top sponsors were watching in the stadium. My thoughts were not on moving forward, or the track, I was making big mistakes and felt I was putting myself and the other riders at risk by rolling around. It was something I had not done before but I made regretful decision to pull off the track.

I am not proud of my actions or my results and felt sick about it; this will never happen again. This sport is mentally demanding and to have a small mistake make a huge impact is incredibly frustrating. I am working hard each week to be a front runner in this series. I am honestly embarrassed about what happened on Saturday night and will learn from this error in judgement. 51FIFTY is about living and never quitting, I let them down. I hope over time to earn the respect of the fans and the trust from all the team sponsors.

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