Pic: Ryan Fegan
2017 was a more unusual lead up to the TT for us than previous years, with so many elements of our racing program uncertain from the beginning of the year, we made the decision to go with a proven bike for the TT. After a talk with TAS racing team owner Philip Neil, we agreed on a deal for a new BMW S1000rr Superstock prepared by the experienced BMW out t.
TAS done a magni cent job turning the bike around so quickly for us and the bike was ready as quickly as could be expected and in typical professional TAS preparation. The late move to BMW did however render our pre TT testing almost non existent with only one day on track in Mondello park we headed for the Island!
As if tackling the 37 mile course wasn’t nerve racking enough after a year away form it, I can tell you, taking to it on an all new bike was a whole new challenge! Thankfully, when it came to the 600, both myself and WP racing had put together some decent track time on the R6 so I was con dent we were in a good position when it came to supersport.
Pic: Ellan Vannin images Jim Gibson
The lack of track time on the BMW meant we were making changes to the bike in every session which made it hard for me to nd my rhythm. We struggled to get good track time during practice week too which is understandable considering conditions, when Saturday came it was a bit of a last dash to try get some god time on the bike.
I started the rst superbike race in 28th and despite incurring a 30 second penalty I managed to put
the TAG Racing S1000rr in 17th comer over the line which I was delighted with all things considered! Moving on to the 600, we ran into a bit of bad luck with a steering damper failure on lap 1 so we ended up with a DNF in the supersport which is not just disappointing for me, but heart braking for Shane and everyone at WP racing who put in such an e ort this year, hopefully we can give it another go in 2018!
Our next test was the Superstock, so I got my ass back on the S1000rr and once again took to the
start nish on Glencrutchery Road. Although the pace wasn’t as quick as previous years for anybody,
we had a great Superstock race, clenching our best ever TT result of 14th by the time we crossed the line on lap 4 which I was absolutely delighted with.
Unfortunately my elation from the Superstock race was shorted lived. As we took the our Wednesday evening practice, heading over the mountain section behind my good friend Alan Bonner, we encountered some oil left on the track by another rider, I was lucky myself to stay up having almost lost the front end
of the bike but Alan unfortunately crashed paying the ultimate price.
This really shook me up, I considered packing up and going home but I knew if I failed to go out in the senior I would nd it hard to come back again, so I went out in the Senior on Friday and brought the BMW home in 21st place. I was delighted to nish out the week as the fastest southern rider but in all honesty my head wasn’t in it in the Senior after the unfolding weeks events.
I would like to extend my condolences to Gemma, and Alan’s daughter and Family, we have lost a great competitor, a friend, and one of the nicest guys in the paddock. I took Alan over to the TT as a new-comer for his rst laps and shared his last lap, his thoughts were with me for my last few laps and I was glad to collect another replica in Alan’s honour, R.I.P. #122.
I would like to nish by saying thanks so much to everyone who helped my TT campaign, I have a great feeling with the BMW and its all down to the great people I have helping me, both within the TAG racing team and outside it. Thanks to the lads who put in a great week with me on the Island, to WP racing and to Tossi , my sponsors and all the folks back home who were cheering me on, its you guys who make out annual trip to the island possible. I look forward to the remainder of the season and the possibilities that lie with our new machinery!
Pic: Ryan Fegan