Category: "TT2013"

A Good Day in the Sun

June 29th, 2015

The last attempt at racing the ZXR 750 had been a disaster, as detailed at http://champ.org.uk/Racing/blog1.php/pre-tt-classic.  This left me with two serious problems:

  1. I needed to successfully complete a race before the end of June in order to have the necessary six race meetings for my TT Mountain Course licence
  2. I needed to get the ZXR sorted

Problem #1 was going to be addressed by entering the 28th June meeting at Jurby, with the offer of a loan of a race bike by good friend, and all round good egg, Andy Cowie.  Problem #2 was going to be addressed by leaving the bike with Slick Bass.

So I duly arrived on the Island on Saturday, combining my visit with a van delivery service for my usual partner in manx-related crimes, Keith McKay.  We grabbed the bike, grabbed the new fuel pump which I'd ordered in an attempt to address fuel-supply issues, and fitted it Saturday night.

Sunday dawned wet and very windy.  But the forecast was for it to dry out, and it wasn't cold.  We arrived at the circuit and set up, and put the wets in the bike.  Which was a waste of time, because we had to change them back to drys for practice, as the rain soon let off, and the wind and the temperature dried the track in double quick time.  Andy rolled up and we organised the somewhat complex logistics of the day - I was going to ride his bike in race 1, with my transponder and number (271).  He was going to ride it in race 3, with his transponder and number (71).  I'd picked my number to match his with the minimal fuss (I'd actually asked for 171, which might have been even easier).   So we then did the signing on, scruting bikes, scruting gear, riders briefing, etc, and were eventually ready to practice.

First outing was the Open, on a near 20-year-old steelie.  I was there for the finish, not glory, which was a good thing, as glory was definitely not an option.  And, as the finish was essential, I was being very careful.  Best lap - 1:23.  Pole was 1:09.  There were 3 people behind me, mind.   I then got to fire up the ZXR, and ran that in it's class, the Post-Classic (for machines up to 1992).  And it went ok, and reminded me of why I liked riding it so much.  The bike is old, and heavy, and not breathing as well as it should, but it's still lots of fun.  But, it was still important to get a finish for the day, so I was still careful - best lap 1:22, which actually made me second of the post-classic bikes (this race is also run with the Steelies, and a class called 'singles, twins & triples').   After about 6 laps, tho, the bike felt like it was starving of fuel (again), so I brought it in.  Keith looked in the tank and ascribed this to actually running out of fuel, so I said "D'oh!" and we put some petrol in it.  More later...

Race meetings have lots of waiting, and the wait until the first race seemed interminable.  But eventually I lined up for race one, the Open with all the fast boys on their modern bikes, and me on a borrowed 1996 Yamaha ThunderCat.  A finish!  All I needed was a finish!   Which I comfortably got, althought being an 8 lap race I was also comfortably lapped by the front 4.  Best lap (not that it matters at all): 1:21.   So, pretty much the most important thing for the entire weeked had been achieved - without a finish today, I'd not be getting a TT Mountain Licence, which would mean I'd not been riding in the Classic TT.   Which was the whole point of building the ZXR in the first place.

ZXR in the sun at Jurby

Much relaxed, I lined up for the first Post-Classic race (affectionately known as the 'Wacky Races' due to the mixture of classes and bikes).  The ARA club had moved to two warm up laps for this meeting (in an attempt to minimise cold-tyre crashes, I think), and the ZXR did these at pace, and then we were away nicely in the race.  But then on lap two, the old fuel starvation issue reared it's head again, and I returned to the paddock.  Listening to the fuel pump, it wasn't shutting off, which was the same problem that ruled me out of the Pre-TT Classic.  Lifting the tank, Keith saw that just as the tank sat down, the fuel pipe was kinking a little against one of the carburettors, restricting flow.   He had some much stronger pipe in his toolbox, so he and Andy and I quickly swapped this over, and the problem seemed resolved.  But I've thought that before...

I gained permission to run the ZXR in the second open race.  The bike and I were seriously outclassed in this company, and I got lapped again, but I did do 10 laps at speed without any issues, so it looked like the problem was indeed fixed.   So I lined up for the second Post-Classic Race, and my last race of the day, in a decent mood.  By now the sun was scorching down, and it was properly warm.  I got away with the pack, and while the fast boys on twins and steelies (sniff...that used to include me!) got away at the front, I got into a decent dice with Andy Cowie on his steelie, and Richard Bregazzi on his 650 twin.   So I got my head down, and passed Andy, and then managed to get past Richard.  And he came back past me.  And I got past him again, and this time made it stick.  I was enjoying myself!   And I was 8th overall, 2nd in class, with a best lap of 1:16.1.  Which is way off the 1:12s I was doing last year on modern bikes, but still not bad, and a pace I would have been happy enough with just a few years ago, on a modern-ish 600.  The 750 showed some decent speed, and I know there's more to come when we get the airbox sorted and Slick gets it breathing properly.   

So the day ended on a high, and we went to the pub in the sunshine.

Bad times at the Pre-TT Classic

June 2nd, 2015

The Pre-TT Classic was the meant to be the meeting where I a) rode the ZXR on a roads circuit, to see how it worked over the bumps and between the hedges, and b) got the last of the six meetings I need under my belt in order to get the TT Mountain Licence I need for this year to ride in the Classic TT. But things did not go well. I'm still cheesed off about it, so don't expect purple prose. It'll just be the facts, ma'am.

The Pre-TT Classic s a pretty big meeting, held during the opening weekend of TT Practice week. The whole island is gearing up for its annual two week party, every boat is delivering hordes of bikes and vehicles, the TT paddock is a hive of activity, with everyone setting up for some serious work or play, or sometimes both. There's a lot of energy and expectation in the air. I was on the 2:15 am boat on the Thursday. Despite having booked a cabin, I still didn't get much sleep on a boat that leaves after 2am, and arrives at 6am. After disembarking, I met Becca (partner of all round good egg, Keith McKay, who was as usual putting me up), who gave up an hour and a half before work to help me put my awning up in the Castletown Paddock, and then took the ZXR up to Slick for it's first dyno run. This gave us our first problem - it wasn't right. The bike was a good 10% down on power, and two of the cylinders (as measured with an infrared gun pointed at the exhaust headers) were running cool. Slick suspected ignition, and gave it back to me. I didn't have time to do much, as I had to go back to Castletown to sign on. But I did meet up with a Mark Bamford, who I know from Andreas Racing, who also has a ZXR and who lent me a set of original ZXR coils. I had a strong suspicion that converting my bike to use individual stick coils might be the root of the problem. But after I got back from signing on, I has just enough energy to eat then get to bed.

The next morning I was in the garage at 7:30am, jury rigging the two original coils I'd got from Mark, in the place of the four separate stick coils. I was joined shortly by Neil Davis, a friend staying with Keith, and he was an enormous help (more later). I just wanted the bike to be able to run on the dyno, so they were very much in a temporary installation. The bike started and ran, so we took it back to Slick and he gave it a run on the dyno. It made much neared the correct horsepower, and all the exhaust headers were a consistent temperature. So we thought we had fixed the problem, and went back to the workshop (Keith's garage), and set about turning my quick bodge into something that would be race ready. This took us the rest of the day - the mounts for the coils on the race ZXRs is in the fairing, meaning we had to run new long HT leads, and extend and modify the low-tension connections, and make mounting brackets, and... we had to put the bike in the van at 4pm to go to the circuit for the first practice.  We got through scrutineering with just a couple of advisories, I went to the holding area at the allotted time, and....almost as soon as I pulled out onto the circuit, the bike went onto three cylinders.  I hoped I might be abke to do a couple of slow (but not too slow - 'touring' on race circuits is very dangerous for everyone else) laps to meet the minimum requirment, but the bike stopped halfway round.  Neil and I had to wait until the end of the evening session, at around 9pm, to collect the bike and get it back to the workshop.  After a bite to eat, we started to trace the problem, and found it straight away - the 'quick release' connection for the fuel hose from the tank to the fuel pump was leaking, and the airbox (in which the carbs sit) had a decent puddle of petrol in it.  The engine was trying to breathe almost neat petrol.  We quickly replaced the connector, and thought we had it fixed.

The next morning I took the bike for an unofficial test ride, and it seemed fine.  Except, when working on it, the fuel pump didn't always stop running when the system was up to pressure.  It was like it had an airlock in it.  But we managed to make the problem 'go away', and loaded the bike in the van again, for the second and last practice session.

Another straightforward scrutineering, we waited in park ferme, my session was called, and I pulled out on the circuit again.  This time the bike pulled strongly to Balla Keighen, and all the way down the long straighto to Iron Gates.  But then it coughed, for all the world like it was running out of petrol.  I nursed it for a bit, but it came to a halt just by Great Meadow.  

There is a requirement for every rider/ machine to complete two full timed laps in practice.  I had not.  So I wouldn't get to race. So I went to the pub.   I know it's a freshly built bike, and 'teething problems' are to be expected, but I was very cheesed off indeed.

I've left the bike with Slick.  He'll get it sorted. 

And also my great friend Andy Cowie has offered me the use of his bike (a 600 steelie) so that I can get the last race meeting done before the deadline.  

Last race meeting of 2014

September 29th, 2014

....or: Why's Everyone Going So Fast? Oh, I'm Going Slow

This was the last regular meeting on the Andreas Racing Calendar (excepting the end-of-season 4 hour endurance). It was a two day meeting, running the track in one direction (clockwise) on the Saturday and the other direction on the Sunday. There was no real pressing reason for me to actually ride, but I'd said I was going to do the full season with ARA, and I thought I'd live up to my commitment. I was in 4th place in both the championships that I'd planned to have a run at this season, and it looked unlikely that I might improve on this. This was the meeting where last year I got seven wins from eigth starts, and I knew that I wouldn't be repeating that feat again.

Saturday 27th September

The forecast was for early drizzle, but the the day started dry, so before scrutineering I changed the wet tyres that were still in the bike from the last meeting in July. This was perhaps poor planning, as the drizzle started soon after scrutineering, and carried on for and hour or more, turning into proper rain for a while, and making the track genuinely wet. It was still a real lottery as to what tyres to use for practice, but I decided the safest option would be a wet front and a dry rear, a decision significantly informed by the fact that changing the front is easy, and changing the rear is a pain.

Practice
I rolled up to the holding area for practice, and noted that every possible combination of tyres were fitted to the bikes there - full drys, full wets, and half-and-halfs like me. So everyone was guessing. We rolled out onto the track, and within a lap I knew I'd made the right choice - the front felt really secure and safe, and being smooth with throttle ensured that the back behaved itself on the damp track. A dry line was appearing, but it was still damp enough that I wouldn't have been as confident with a dry front tyre. And the timesheet proved me right, as I qualified 3rd fastest (and therfore on the front row), for the Singles, Twins and Triples class. Pole sitter was another old stager, Derren Slous, who was back racing after the best part of a decade away, and had used wets front and rear. And had destroyed the rear wet in the process. For the second practice the track was getting even drier, but rather than rush to change the front, we decided to roll with what we had. The bike felt great again, and while I was worried that the front wet might get chewed up, it actually looked hardly worn when I came in. And another 3rd fastest time, and therefor another front row start, in the 650 Twins class. 

Race 1 : Singles, Twins and Triples
Before the lights changed, Derren jumped forward a few feet then stopped again, and then we were all away. I got a decent start, but the regular quick boys are properly fast now, and Nathan Harrison (who has just turned 16!) soon came by, looking fast and smooth. And he was followed by Derren Slous, making up for his botched start. Later on Dean Osborne barged by, and then Eddie Venn on his Steelie (no so worried, as he's in a different class). And so it finished, but the twist in the tail is that Derren was penalised 10 seconds for his jump start, so I finished 5th overall, and 3rd in class. Which is not bad, but I was a little disappointed in my lap times as my best was a 1:15, and previously (well, before my crash at the TT) I'd been able to comfortably run 1:13s.

Result : 5th / 3rd in class
Best lap: 1:15.433

Race 2 : 650 twins
Another cracking start from the front row saw me lead into the first set of corners, and down the back straight. Perhaps I should take up drag racing! But after the flat kink of Snuffies, Dean Osborne came past cleanly on the brakes into the bus stop, only to crash as he flicked it from right to left. I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that there are few more pleasing sights in racing than seeing a rival fall immediately after overtaking you (assuming he's not hurt himself, of course). But last year's class champion (and this year's champion-elect), Callum Collister soon came past cleanly and made it stick, followed by the boy wonder Nathan Harrison. Two laps from the end Derren Slous came inside me on the way into Nans, but ran wide and I tucked back underneath him, and managed to keep him behind me until the flag. Not by much though, as we crossed the line less than 3 tenths apart. On the plus side, all my laps were now in the 1:14s, with a best just a few hundreths off breaking back into the 13s.

Result: 3rd /  3rd in class
Best lap: 1:14.045

Race 3: Singles, Twins and Triples
By now the sun was properly out, enough to warrent fitting a dark visor, and conditions were pretty good, with just a medium head wind down the back straight to deal with. I got another superb start off the line, even beating John Taubman's fast 600 Steelie, and led down the back straight again. This glory was predictably brief again though, as Nathan, Dean, Derren and John soon came past and showed me what a difference of 2 seconds a lap looks like. John had a nasty crash at the bus stop on the last lap, which caused the race to be red flagged, but we'd done enough laps for the result to be called from lap five. My pace had dropped off, with most of my laps in the 15s or slower

Result: 4th / 4th in class
Best lap: 1:15.484

Race 4: 650 Twins
By now it was relatively late in the afternoon, and at this time of year the sun was heading to the horizon, and shining into your eyes as you head into the flat out (on a 650 twin) kink at Snuffies. Well, it should be flat out, and I've done it flat before, but today I couldn't help but roll off and back on again just before the turn in. That's probably where a couple of tenths on my lap time were going, right there. This time I didn't make any places on the start, and while I was riding at the same sort of pace as my previous race, everyone else seemed to have got faster. Including a chap called Ian Raybon, on a GP125, who came past near the end and beat me over the line by 3 tenths. OK, it is a full-on race two stroke, with slick tyres, but still - it's only a 125 with probably 45~50 horsepower at most. All my laps were no better than 1:15s, so clearly I'd done my best for the day.

Result: 7th / 6th in class
Best lap: 1:15.197

Sunday 28th September

After feeling a sense of disappointment over my pace yesterday, I gave myself a bit of a talking to. I was out at the track primarily to enjoy myself - this was club racing, not MotoGP. And it was only my second meeting since my TT crash, so even being out racing was something of an achievement. And I was twice the age or more of some of the fast lads who were beating me (with the exception of Derren Slous, and I'm still 10 years older than him). So stop whingeing and just enjoy yourself.

Practice Conditions were mild and bone dry, and would remain so all day, so tyre choice was never something to think about. But without that lottery, grid postions more accurately reflected real pace, and so this time I qualified in 6th then 5th places for my two classes. Still, second row was not bad.

Race 1 : Singles, Twins and Triples
This race was spiced up by the addition of Paul Metcalfe on his GP250, and Ian Raybon finding even more pace on his GP125. I got away with the front runners, but Dean Osborne was on a mission and set what I think is a new class recond of 1:11.0, and a gang of others were running 11s, 12s and 13s, which I couldn't match. Near the end Matty Mylchreest (last year's steelie champion, having his first race meeting this year) came by, and we had a bit of a battle, with Matt taking the honours at the end.

Result: 8th / 6th in class 
Best lap: 1:14.428

Race 2 : 650 twins
By now, even writing this the next day, with 8 races over two days, they all start to blur together! So I can't remember that much about this one. It's notable in my mind for the fact that I set my best lap time of the weekend, dipping into the 1:13s for two laps, for the first time this weekend. But another fast youngster, Jack Hunter, had found some more pace (2 seconds a lap since his previous meeting!), and was another person to fill the places in front of me

Result: 5th / 4th in class 
Best lap: 1:13.926

Race 3 : Singles, Twins and Triples
Dean Osborne and Nathan Harrison were clearly on fire for this one, setting low 1:11s and finishing less than a tenth of a second apart over the line. Unfortunately, I was too far back to witness and enjoy this.  I got an OK start, but the guys with more pace than me pulled away, and there wasn't much I could do about it. Including Ian Raybon on his GP125, who was obviously revealing in its awesome corner speed, and had dropped his best time to a 1:12.6 - that's a as fast as I went earlier this year on my ZX10R!

Result: 6th / 5th in class 
Best lap: 1:14.486

Race 4: 650 Twins
Last race of the day, of the weekend, and of the season (probably), for me. The sun was out, and there are many worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon. I got away with the usual group, and felt like I was trying quite hard. Nathan Harrison was away at the front, looking for the limit, and found it, crashing unhurt from the lead at the bus stop. Paul Metcalfe and Ian Raybon demonstrated what GP class bikes are all about, taking first and second positions on their two strokes. Derren Slous finally broke into the 1:12s, and got third (and first in class), and I had a right ding dong battle with Jack Hunter. He passed me down the straight, and I passed him back into turn one. Next lap he passed me down the straight again, and I passed him back into turn one again - unfortunately, we'd gone under the chequered flag just before this, and he beat me by 8 hundreths of a second. Good fun though, and this is what it's all about.

Result: 5th / 3rd in class 
Best lap: 1:14.072

All in all, a great way to end a season that has had it's ups and downs, to say the least. I started to find a little of the pace that I thought I'd lost, and after telling myself to just enjoy it, I really did.  I remained in 4th place in both championships, but that wasn't important anyway.

I'll just take this opportunity to thank all the officials and marshals at Andreas Racing Association for running a season of great club meetings.  And Keith McKay, Rebecca Wallis and Andy Cowie for their help throughout the year, and especially to Dave Clarke for letting me ride his fantastic Supertwin again.  And lastly to all the other competitors in the ARA paddock, who make it the friendliest paddock I've had the pleasure to race with.

Watch this space for 2015 plans...

Moments...

June 9th, 2013

I'm sat on the ferry, sailing away from the magical Isle of Man.  This might be my last post for a little while, so I thought I'd just try and capture some moments from the last two weeks

  • first night of practice, unable to figure out much of the circuit, and wondering if I'd made a huge mistake
  • Second night of practice, flying the ZX10R between the hedges, and loving and revelling in the power (and wheelies)
  • Standing in the queue for the portaloos in Parc Ferme with Bruce Anstey and Cameron Donald, amongst other famous TT racers
  • Hearing that my friend, Inky Anne, was OK after her outfit crashed at the Les Graham Memorial
  • Lining up for the start of my first TT race, the six lap Superbike, waiting for the flag, and launching down Bray Hill
  • Wheeling off the yumps after Ballagearey on the run through Glen Vine
  • Wheeling off the yumps after Cronky Voddy on the way down to the 11th Milestone
  • Standing on the pegs to try and turn the bike through Barregarrow
  • Finishing my first TT, and barely being able to get off the bike afterwards
  • Starting all 7 solo races, and finishing 5 of them
  • Lining up on the grid on the ManTTX electric bike in the TT Zero race
  • Jumping from a slow 100mph average to a much more respectable 107mph on the Supertwin in my second practice on it
  • Clocking 14th fastest time, at 109mph, in the last practice on the twin.
  • Catching and passing people in the first lap of the Lightweight
  • Racing back and forth against Maria Costello for 2 laps, and passing her on the way in to Ballagarey, and again alongside over the jump at the Wagon and Horses
  • Getting it damn near perfect round the Mountain Box on the twin
  • Becoming more and more comfortable with the fast and scary corners - Ballagarey, Crosby, Gorse Lee, the end of Cronky Voddy, Hillberry.  
  • Finishing 17th in the Lightweight, with a last lap of 110mph, and winning a replica
  • Managing a 116.7mph on the ZX10R in the Senior (but so wanting it to be 117 or 118...)
  • Catching and passing Paul Ducket in the Senior (until he woke up and got back past and cleared off)
  • Finishing the six lap Senior TT
  • Receiving my replica and finisher's medal from Phil McCallen
  • Having my dad there to see all the races
  • Doing all the above with the help of my mates Alex, Simon, Barry, Keith, Adie, Andy, Virginia, Alex H, Mike, and my dad, amongst many, many others.  And (mostly) having a laugh along the way.

Senior Race Day

June 8th, 2013

The Senior Race is the traditional closing race of the TT, the last race over the Mountain Course on the Friday afternoon of race week.  After a fairly relaxing day off on Thursday, we were back on it this mornng - the crew (Alex, Simon and Keith) were up at six and in the paddock at 8am, and I drove over from Ramsey with my dad not long after.

The main race of the day for us was the Lightweight, for 650 twins, as this was the one I had the best chance of any sort of result in.  The first 20 riders in the programme are seeded, and start in that order - everyone else is in qualifying time order.  Wednesdays practice time (see here) didn't count for this, so I was to start in 27th place, which was quite a bit further up the grid than the other races.  The race start had been brought forward 30 minutes to 10:15, which was a bit of a surprise, but we were all ready to roll.   As we lined up on Glencrutchery Road, it was another beautiful hot and sunny day on the Isle of Man - surely the best race week weather I've ever seen.  I paddled forward, got to the front of the queue, waited for the flick of the Manx flag, and once again was away down Bray Hill.

I knew the trick was going to be getting up to speed quickly on my first lap - while I'd done 109mph on Wednesday afternoon, that was after 4 laps of the 600 race, so I 'had my eye in', so to speak.  But I felt pretty good as I headed round the course, and was encouraged to see other bikes ahead of me, meaning I was making ground on earlier starters.  I think I passed three people on the first lap, but I also got passed by Maria Costello, who had started 10 seconds behind me.

The preferred strategy for a three lap race is to pit at the end of lap 1, which I did, along with most of the field.  As always, the crew handled this impeccably, and I soon away on lap two.  I caught Maria again and got past, and hoped I might be able to get the 10 seconds start difference back from her, but she was having none of it, and came back at me again.  In fact, the last two laps were a great battle, back and forth, and speaking to her afterwards, she was having as much fun as I was.  It almost went wrong at the end of Sulby Straight, when after draughting past her I ran out of brakes for Sulby Bridge, and had to use the run off while Maria swept away to Ginger Hall, no doubt laughing in her crash helmet.  But I only lost a few seconds, and got my head down over the bumps to Ramsey, and made most of it back up as we started the climb over the mountain for the last time.  By now I knew Maria was going to beat me, as there was no way I could make up 10 seconds in the last 12~13 miles, but I still wanted to finish ahead, and managed a pass over the top.  But Maria wanted to finish ahead too, and was right alongside as we took the chequered flag.  The results sheet says she was ahead of me by 6/1000ths of a second at the line!  Plus, of course, the 10 seconds that she made up after starting behind me.  

I had a couple of targets for this race - to do a 110mph lap, to get a replica (bronze for finishing within 110% of the race winner's time, silver for 105%), and to maybe get into the top 15 (for which there is prize money!).  Well, I managed the 110mph lap on the last lap, and got a bronze replica too, but only managed 17th place.  It's the nature of racing that you always want to do better, but I'm very happy with this result.  If it hadn't been for the exceptional pace at the front of the field (4mph fastet than practice!), the bronze replica might have been a silver, but I certainly can't complain about that.

Lightweight TT Results

There was only around 90 minutes from finishing the Lightweight race to the start of the Senior, in which time I had to rehydrate, eat something, clean my visor and fit new tear-offs, and generally get prepared.  All of which was managed, and the race was started and I was about 4 or 5 back from the start gate when there was a delay, and we were told that the race had been red-flagged.  There had been a big incident at the bottom of Bray Hill, with a bike crashing into the crowd and injuring multiple spectators.  80% of the field was out on the course, so in a way I was lucky not to have started, and we could just put the bike bacl in Parc Ferme.

There was an extensive delay - 11 spectators were taken to hospital, although thankfully none of their injuries were life threatening; also, the rider was perfectly ok.  But the police needed to record the scene, and clear the carnage up, and all the bikes round the course had to be brought back to the paddock, and then re-fueled and fitted with fresh tyres (for the top teams), etc.  There was even a question mark over whether, with 11 new arrivals at A&E, Nobles hospital had the capacity to cope with any other casualities that might result during the race.  But eventually it was announced that the race would restart, for the the full six laps, at 4:30pm, so we went through the whole start process again, and this time the race got away cleanly.  

For this, the last race of the week, my aim was to just enjoy myself, relax a bit and see if a bit more speed came from not trying too hard.  I'd found in the Lightweight race that I could carry a lot more corner speed through a lot of corners than I had realised, in a higher gear than I had initially tried, and I hoped a similar 'more haste, less speed' approach might work well on the 1000, as well as being less physically demanding.  So with this in mind, I covered the initial laps to Ballacraine, and was pleased to see another bike in the distance - perhaps it was working?   In fact it was, as my opening lap was the fastest of the whole fortnight, but also the rider in front of me, Paul Duckett, was having an erratic start to his Senior race.  I caught him eventually, diving underneath at School House corner on the way into Ramsey,  but he came back past me on the start/finish (I must be really rubbish ou of Govenors Dip, as I've been passed a lot on the start straight....).  So I chased him again, getting back past att he 13th where he was inexplicably slow on the exit towards Kirkmichael.  This was job done, I thought, and headed round and across the mountain to my first pit stop.  But then on lap three Ducky came past again, and this time just cleared off into the distance.  Speaking to him later, he told me he'd "been asleep" for the first two laps.

While I wasn't finding riding the ZX10R as tiring as I had in the opening race , it was still pretty physical.  Right at the end of lap three the two leaders on the roads, John McGuiness and James Hillier, came past me at Govenors Dip, but then immediately headed into their 4th lap pit-stop.  This was sort of expected - they started over 10 minutes ahead of me, and were lapping more than 2 laps a minute faster.  Of course, at that pace they quickly made up the 45~60 seconds that spent in the pits, and came past me again about half-way round the course.  Now I was aware of being caught by the front guys, of course, made obvious by pit boards being made ready in hedges, and the TV helicopters in the air.  But only a couple more actually came past on my fifth lap, and then once I'd started the sixth I knew the fast boys would all be finished.  I was relieved to be on my last lap, and knew that I was slowing down, but it's easy to make a fatal mistake in these circumstances, so tried hard to keep my concentration up.  It was enormously gratifying that all around the circuit, despite being the last bike on the roads, hundreds and hundreds of people in the crowd waved as a I passed them. 

As I came down the mountain to Douglas, I knew I was going to finish my final TT race, and the most prestigious, the Senior TT.  I took the chequered flag and gratefully pulled off the road onto the pit return lane.  Again, 100s of people clapped and cheered me - what a feeling!  Simon was waiting to take the bike from me, and Keith had to help me remove my gloves before I could get my helmet off -  I was done in.

Senior TT Results

My fastest lap was the opening one - 19:23.822, which is 116.709mph - which is my fastest ever round the TT course.  And my total race time was under 2 hours, which was also very pleasing.  There were around 67 starters and I finished 47th out of 50 finishers.  Very much at the back of the field, but as everyone says, finishing a Senior TT is achievement enough.