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Manx Grand Prix 2006 - post-Senior Race Day

  09/02/06 14:07, by , Categories: MGP 2006

I'm writing this on the Saturday after the Senior race.

Yesterday's racing was severly delayed because of a road accident just before the roads closed.  It was a fatality, so the Police had to do several hours clearing up before the first race, the Lightweight/Ultra-lightweigh, got under way.  Which meant that the Senior didn't get away until 3:30pm.

Conditions were good, sunny and dry, tho it was quite windy, especially over the mountain.  Once again my start number had been bumped up, this time to 23 (from 49) because of my pace in practice and the Junior.  I lined up next to Tim Devlin on an SP1, but was confident I'd soon lose him because he'd only managed 105 in practice.  Ten seconds ahead of us, starting alone, was Mike Minns, on 1000cc MZ twin (yes, really).  I'd checked his practice times too, and with a best of 107 I was confident I'd soon be past him too...

Starting 23 means that you're soon away, and as predicted I dropped Tim on the line, and never saw him again.  I set my sights on Mike, and he came into view on the long run up to Ballahutchin.  But, try as I might, and despite my bike being very fast in a straight line, it took me ages to wind him in.  It wasn't until the mountain climb, some 20 miles later, that I got on his tail, and made my move past on the way up Hailwood Rise.  As expected, he stayed on my tail, and was right behind me going into Governors Bridge (where you get chance to see who's following).  I kept my head down and went as fast as I could.  I'd been hoping to wind in some other people who started ahead of me, but the road was very empty.

I was riding my own ride, and was suprised when Mike Minns came past me into Miln Town - one of the bumpiest, hairiest parts of the course.  He must have his bike working really well on the bumps.  Once again I caught him back across the mountain, this time passing on the way into Bungalow Bridge.  There was a hint of rain, and my rear tyre slid slowly but surely as I exited the corner, which I took as a warning that there was no more speed to be found on that particular corner.

My pit stop went very well, as in the Junior - my crew Mike and Andy were completely in control and assured, and I got a drink and a energy gel pack while the fuel went in.  I can only assume that Mike Minns pit stop was a bit slower, because I didn't see him again.  The next two laps were a little more lonely, tho I was caught and passed by a couple of riders further down the order, and tried to hang on to them for a while.  The last lap was lots of fun - the bike was flying, and I was more and more confident about slinging it through the fast sections.  At the end of Cronky-y-voddy, and through the top of Barragarrow, I was stood on the pegs and moto-crossing it across the bumps, and it felt great.  However, I wasn't sure if I was going to make my sub-20 min target.

At the end I was just as tired as on Wednesday.  As usual, we had to wait a little while for the full results, so we spent the time productively in the beer tent.  Final result was another 22nd place, a replica, and a fastest lap of 20:12 - six seconds slower than Wednesday.  My overall race time was 24 seconds slower, tho half the field went slower too, so maybe conditions weren't quite as good.

In the evening we all went to the prize giving and Keith and I collected our replicas (it should have been two each, but they ran out!  Second one to follow in the post apparently).  And we drank quite a lot. 

Today (Saturday) has been spent dealing with hangovers, and emptying the van.  And not much else.

So that's the 2006 Manx Grand Prix.  I've got results which are far, far better than I could ever have hoped, and pretty much loved every minute of it.

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