Been too long since I have posted up on my blog here! It has been a really busy year! I got accepted to race on the Isle of Man this year in the Manx GP and it was a hell of a ride! The next couple of blog posts will highlight the adventure and give ya some links to follow for more pics and info.
|Jim Hunter put together this little thing for the Manx GP Back a Newcomer program|
I flew out of Tucson, AZ on August 10th and landed on the Isle of Man on the 11th, 7 days before the start of the event to collect my racebike from Andy at AGR Motorsport after he had rebuilt my spare engine and got the bike stripped down and reassembled for the fortnight. Also wanted to get there a bit early to get a few laps of the place in to see any changes to the course, big thanks to John Batty as always being there to lend a hand, pick me up from the airport, and put me up while I am there!
|Home for a couple of weeks!|
We got the canopy sorted and all my crap put in it for the event, grass pits is a bit different than what we are used to over here in the states! Next up was to get signed on and sign my life away so I can go out on the Mountain Course and play!
|Have worked my ass off for a chance to run around this place!|
Then the wait begins, wait for rider briefings, wait for pit lane briefings, wait for newcomer briefings, there is a lot of waiting involved with being able to get out on the roads here. It is totally worth every second of waiting once you get to go out on course, but man have I mentioned there is a lot of waiting?
|Aaron Mellish and I thought the same about all the waiting... ;)|
So after going through all the briefings, signing on, gear check, the fun really begins. Saturday rolls around and it is time to run the bike through scrutineering. Every time before you are allowed on course your bike must go through scrutineering, they check the bike over from front to back, top to bottom looking for anything that could cause a problem on course. I won't go into it too much but they basically give the bike another set of eyes on it which is a great thing for us riders.
|Scrutineering bay full of bikes being looked at to go out on course.|
Once you get through scrutineering your bike gets held in parc ferme, you put the warmers on and go hurry up and wait to go out. Normally you have a couple of hours from the time you get through scrutineering till your ready to go out so again the waiting...
|Bike all set up in parc ferme ready for its first run around the Mountain Course|
As a newcomer to the event you are required to do a guided lap behind an instructor and then 5 more laps on your own before you can qualify to race. My lead out instructor was Nige Rea and when we were called up I got in line behind him and we were all chomping at the bit to get out thre. I have stood up on Glencrutchery Road many times but never as a rider, there are a lot of things running through your head before you take that first ride around the place, even if it is a guided lap!
|Barry Wood giving me some words before going out on my guided lap|
That first lap behind Nige I will never ever forget, the place is sooooo much different when the roads are closed and you can use the entire road. The closing speeds into places are a lot different as well. Had an absolute blast that first lap!
|Coming into the Creg following Nige Rea on my first lap.|
Once we completed that first lap we were held in parc ferme for a bit and then moved up into the pit lane for our first lap on our own. This is a big deal to get unleashed on your own and make your way around the 37.73 mile Mountain Course, there are a lot of firsts here, the speeds take a bit to get used to, the closing speeds take even more to get used to, and your all out there for your first lap on your own with a lot of different levels of riders so it can be a bit interesting to say the least. That tap on the shoulder and your off...
|Special moment caught here, waiting for the tap on my shoulder to go on my own the first time!|
I treated the first lap as a true first lap trying to sort out lines and where to be on course in places at speeds that were way faster than I had ever been around there. A lot of the other riders had different ideas of this first lap and I didn't have as much fun as I would have liked. I got clipped twice with one of them almost taking me out by clipping my front wheel with their rear after going underneath me in an area that I would have never put myself or anyone else at risk like that and then another hitting my right arm hard enough to take it off the bar... I was not impressed at all, I waved some riders by and moved off line at Ginger Hall and just took the rest of the lap to myself and let the chaos unfold. Once I got back we were called into a briefing the following morning that basically said if any of you are caught riding like that again your gone, I think we had 6 riders off that first lap...
|Was just happy to get back in one piece after that first lap on my own.|
All that being said I completed my first lap on my own and we brought it home in one piece. Onward and upward! 2 laps complete, 4 more needed to begin qualifying for the Newcomers and Senior races. Lots more to learn and hoping for good weather for the rest of practice week!
|Joe handed me a beer after getting my two laps in for the night, I needed that, cheered me right up!|
Next blog update will cover the rest of practice week and follow around some of the fun we had on the island this time around! Stay tuned for more!