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Manx Grand Prix 2007 - Day Five

  08/22/07 14:39, by , Categories: MGP 2007

Had no 'real' work to do on the bikes today, which is a real luxury.  So I had a leisurely breakfast, gave Keith a hand with a couple of jobs on his 750, and then drove to my borrowed workshop, 1/2 mile across Ramsey.  I pulled the 636 out of the van, put it on the ramp and gave it a 'nut and bolt' check.  The bumps are so violent on the TT course that all sorts of things work loose, so you have to check after every session.  I didn't find anything untoward, but I obviously wasn't looking hard enough - of which more later.

Jan, Keith and I are taking it in turns to cook, so today I prep'd a pasta sauce, so we could heat it up when we got in.  And then it was lunchime, and we ate, and then headed to the paddock.  Today I'd arranged to meet Mike there, but just as I arrived he called to say he'd been ill all night, and all day, and couldn't make it.  I blame the track burger he had yesterday.  Anyway, this left me without a 'helper' (to carry stands, fit and remove tyre warmers, warm the engine, etc).  Fortunately Keith has a million friends in the paddock, and one of them, Tracy, was volunteered.  She did a stirling job - thanks Tracy.

Anyway, before this I pushed the bike through scrutineering - and the bike failed!  There was a hole in the bottom of the bellypan which wasn't there yesterday, so I was sent to the 'sin bin', where I quickly pulled the bellypan off and splashed some fibreglass over the hole. So, no drama really, but I really should have found and fixed this when I was checking the bike.  Oops.

The afternoon was very hot, and we were all bathed in sunshine; while this is bad enough in the (compulsory in pit lane) fireproof overalls, we knew it would be worse in leathers.  So I climbed into mine just 15 minutes before the start, and tried to keep in the shade. The roads closed at 6pm, and practice started only a few minutes after the scheduled time of 6:15.

I felt pretty relaxed tonight - I can't be getting used to this, can I?  Tracy helped me remove the tyre warmers and roll the bike off the stands, and then we rolled down to the start line two by two.  As usual I beat my starting partner off the line (the 636 is so fast!) and headed down Bray Hill.  I had two good laps, but something was different - I wasn't catching people like I have the last two nights.  In fact, I only overtook 3 people; on the plus side, no one overtook me.  But, I was feeling slightly apprehensive we I checked my times in the race office, and I was right - my two laps were 111 and 112mph.  Going slower than last night was not in the plan!

Still, things could be worse - racing mate Keith took two bikes out this evening, and broke both of them!  The 750 had a slipping clutch, so he did one lap and then swapped to his 600, which chose to have an electrical failure at the 32nd milestone.  That's racing, as they say.

When I got home, I checked the full results, and cheered up - tho my '112' was slower than last nights '113', it turns out I was only 2 seconds slower (the difference between 112.892mph and 113.068mph).  And, more importantly, I was still 7th fastest, maintaining my presence in the top 10.  Also, I felt much more comfortable and relaxed on the bike this evening, meaning I can do that sort of pace without working so hard - in fact, despite the heat, I was a lot less hot and sweaty when I came in.  So, there's more to come.  Positive mental attitude is all!

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