As the curtain closes on what has been my most successful TT to date, I look back on the two weeks that seem to have just flown by, excuse the pun! Preparation for the TT is a year round project, so you always get a big come down post TT race week to go with the sheer exhaustion of wresting the 37 mile course multiple times!
It has been a crazy few weeks of ups and downs, none worse than the loss of our great friends and competitors Dan Kneen and Adam Lyon, it’s a cruel and unforgiving sport but my condolences and thoughts go out to the family and friends of both of these guys, may they rest in peace.
We suffered some small issues that did hamper us but all in all I have to be happy with an overall great TT’18. Our little team of guys and gal! have punched well above their weight and it’s only now that I write this it’s starting to sink in how well we have all worked over the last few weeks! I don’t need to remind everyone how well the weather over the two weeks lent itself to a great TT, as it did on practice week on the run up to the races. I had a little off on my dirt bike on the run up to TT which brought back a neck injury from an off I had last year, but despite this I felt good in practice week, especially on the big bike, it was great to get the weather to get settled in fast and try some different set ups.
Superbike race 1 on Saturday came around fast, it’s always a great build up and yet again the sun packed the roadsides on Glencrutchury Road! I got off to a good enough start with a decent pace on the opening laps averaging 126mph laps. The bike felt great, we had extended the wheel base and changed the gearing slightly which gave better stability and I really felt better and better as the race progressed! I was enjoying a really nice battle with Irish champion Derek McGee, sitting in between himself and Derek Shields in 15th on the timing sheets and had just found a safe place to pass McGee just before Ballaugh Bridge when the big BMW S1000rr blew a fuse which was disappointing! It was through no real fault of the bike, the diagnostic plug came loose and shorted two wires and blew the fuse…just one of those TT things due to how grueling the course can be on the bikes. All was not lost though, I pulled in at Ballaugh Bridge and took the opportunity to get a top notch selfie with some of the worlds greatest motorcycle supporters!
Monday came fast, first out was the 4 lap 600cc race. I hadn’t spent much time on the steedy little Faugheen 50 CBR600 as I had been concentrating on the big bike on the run up, and we put the Faugheen package together later in the year than usual thanks to some very generous public donations! I was seeded 57th on the grid due to not having a decent 600 time from recent years and qualifying hadn’t gone well due to snapping a steering damper bracket early in the session too which really hampered our progress in the race. The TT is just one of those places you have to be especially careful when picking your place to pass, so high levels of traffic are not a positive when you’re trying to settle into a rhythm but we still managed to average 119mph laps and bring it home in 30th which i was happy enough with all things considered.
We rolled the S1000rr back out for the Superstock race in the afternoon. I had qualified inside the top ten for the superstock race so I was eager to get going and see where we ended up. Unfortunately I had very little time on the superstock cut tyre in practice which we really paid the price for.
The Dunlop stock tyres are the same compound and profile as the Dunlop slicks but tend to cause a lot more movement and instability in the faster sections, as do all the tyre brands, it’s just the nature of the tyre due to having cuts in it, so if you haven’t had time to set the bike up a bit better to deal with this it can just be a case of pushing the limits less through the hard stuff, which is tough when you know you’re capable of committing to it more! Pit stops went incredible, the visor on the 6D helmet is an easy change and the guys did a great job getting me out fast again. I ended up bringing the BMW home in 12th, which if I am being honest with I was a bit disappointed with as I felt if I had spent more time setting up the bike for the stock tyre, we could have easily went top ten but its another great results in the TT all things considered.
We broke the wait for the Senior on Friday with Wednesdays second supersport 600 race and again I hopped on board the 2015 Faugheen 50 CBR600. The race went pretty much the same as race one, bike went great, pit stop was perfect, but unfortunately we were largely hampered by high levels of traffic again and to be fair, I am about as aerodynamic as a transit so getting past these small riders in the fast sections is not easy! we brought the 600 rocket home in 30th again, but I am definite we have so much more to offer on the 600 next year with a higher seeding and hopefully less issues and less traffic, we can easily break into the low 120mph lap average and aim for top 15/20.
Friday, the big one, the Senior TT superbike race…I have to say, for the first time, I was visibly nervous! I am not normally nervous before the race, I have great people around me to keep my head where it needs to be and I am generally really good in the run up to a race, but I think we had really proven that we had the pace at this years TT, so I guess it was nervous anticipation and expectation from myself more than genuine nerves, I even had a shake in my hand before the race! I took off down towards Bray Hill and even in the first couple of laps I was making small errors, missing apex’s and running wide here and there and generally trying too hard which can be costly at the TT!
After the first Pit stop which again ran smoothly thanks to the lads, I headed out and got P12 on my pit board, which helped me setlle in a lot and let me find my rhythm. I came in for the second pit stop on lap 4, the boys done an amazing job again, fast and professional, and out I went for the final two laps. Unfortunately due to the wheel change, the chain was slightly looser and jumping on the sprocket which unsettled me a lot. I had considered pulling over until I saw P9 on my pit board so I decided to push on and manage the problem as best I could and try get a top ten result for everyone who had backed me! I managed to land the BMW top ten which I was delighted with. I do still feel like we had more to come, and a 128mph would definitely have been possible on the last lap had we not had issues with the chain, but I have to be glad with the week as a whole and an incredible top ten Senior TT finish with a small little team from Ireland!
I take great consolation in the fact that the top ten was by no means a fluke, we showed we had the pace all week and I am really happy with how the bike felt on the Dunlop slicks, I really feel like we could have ended up P9 or P8 if we had avoided a couple of issues but its great to know we have more to come, and more to bring to the people who help me so much year in year out! to them I say; this top ten result if for you!
Speaking of them, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of them. SO many people help out from the top to the bottom, and without all of the people who help me out, I wouldn’t be here to celebrate these great results with you;
The main man Thomas Fitzsimons, you made most this possible!
Pat Duffy Danny Breen for all there work
Colin Draper, Brandon Kavanagh, Jamie Breen, Jamie Collins, Carol Molloy (the boss) and the lads giving me pit boards thanks for making it happen (Our little team got a top 10 in senior TT WTF ??!!)
Thanks to the faugheen club and members and people supporting the Faugheen 50 CBR600 bike thanks so so much!
Thanks to all sponsors and people contributed, and to Danny Tomlinson for help, Christy Kavanagh, Megabikes, allmotto.ie, Michael Nolan, Ciaran Carruthers roadhouse, Tom Carroll- TC trailers,
Harris group, LDV, Sinotruk, Kearys BMW, J-tec sports, James Halligan, Peter McMahon roadracingireland.com, reactive race, Stevie Steve Heneghan- 6D helmets, Derek Cassells – Tarstars, Gerry Pierce, Sean Egan for making BMW look amazing and, Aidan Mc Namara, Kevin Kinsella- ksport and Hilton Hincks.
Now try to build on this! bring on UGP!! thanks yawl bmac111
il just leave this here 🙂