Saturday, 27 February 2010

Manx GP - Frank James

I had forgotten about these pics that I found just after doing the Manx GP in September last year.

During the days of crappy conditions and trying to qualify in the pouring rain, I remember braking from well over a ton at the end of Sulby Straight. I spotted a van out the corner of my eye with what I thought was a cool paintjob.

I was mistaken. Turns out it wasn't a cool flamed paintjob... but the work of a precision Japanese tin-opener.

Frank aquaplaned while braking. His Honda CBR slewed off the road and hit someone's van parked in their front garden.

I believe Frank got away without serious injury.

Lucky lad!
Not so lucky for the van or Honda - looks like only the rear calliper and perhaps rear wheel are salvageable.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Classic Racing

Got these fantastic shots of my friend Mark Herbertson racing classics...

Oil on the track can be a wee bit slipy-slidey!

No... he didn't save it...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Gus Scott - Part 3

"24 hours before his death, Gus Scott wrote this heartfelt account of a 115mph lap at his first TT. We couldn't think of a finer tribute to our friend than to publish it."

Continued from Gus Scott - Part 2...

Into Kirk Michael and I brake just after the 30mph sign. Strangely enough, they put in 300m brake markers after Kim died the other night. Ian Lougher broke down here and said I looked really good through this section. He's been helping me with my suspension all week.

Then accelerate like mad, but this is where something strange happened. In the first few races I was only passed by three riders and I've only caught a few. I went through the Superstock race without seeing anybody. It's quite lonely. It was my fifth lap and my head started playing tricks on me.I went through Kirk Michael and saw a copper and thought, 'What am I doing?' I was flat-out, so I shut off because I'm used to riding on roads. Then it clicked that I was racing. There's nothing to tell you the you should or shouldn't be doing it. It's a really weird situation.

The buildings are tall on both sides. Kerb to kerb to kerb. Apexing yellow line, yellow line, yellow line. You can hear the bikes noise rattling off the buildings. It's bumpy, hairy and scary but an awesome feeling - full-tilt through a 30mph village, throttle pinned, kicking up to sixth.

Hard-ish left, hard over the bumps, back a gear and then accelerate over Rhencullen. Right-left, wheelie so it doesn't go into a tankslapper, then a quick right, down to fourth, down a dip and get the bike absolutely straight over the next rise or it'll tankslap. It's taken me all week to get that right.

Pin it through Alpine Cottage and off towards Ballaugh Bridge. Brake at the 30 signs - bang, bang, bang - down three, then another and accelerate and pull on the bars in the centre of the bridge, but at an angle to get your line right. No one tells you how to do it. I was landing my front wheel at first. I haven't got experience of jumping bridges and I haven't raced motocross like some of the top guys. You hear the front clonk and you've got to get on the gas immediately.

hard up the box to this bit of worn-out road where the surface is like tar. You can feel the wheels moving through the long left-hander, towards Ballacrye - which is scary. You jump about 160 feet, a foot or so off the ground. It's like a little skip and everybody's had a nasty moment here. The bike twists slightly in the air and you get a whip when you land. The other day John McGuinness broke his screen off and his steering damper snapped it was such a nasty slapper.

then there's Gwen's Cottage. Little Gwen is over 80 years old and she comes out shaking her fist at you, to will you on towards the the awesome Quarry Bends. There's a bump on the way in that unsettles you, roll in in top, then back a gear to drive through. get it wrong and you know it.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Crack! Crunch! Tinkle! Slosh!

Knobblies shatter the iced puddles on a crisp clear day.

Started training again out on the green lanes yesterday.

The frozen ground made 'the course' fast. Slewed another 37 seconds off my previous best.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

These are the days... USA

Been reading a great book: 'These are the Days that Must Happen to You' by Dan Walsh. A man on a bike traveling. I love his fast, poetic writing. Here's a bit from the USA:

"Between the towns, the shotgun shacks, run-down enough, poor nuff, to look like reluctant recompense for the emancipated black families that maybe still live there. Nowhere. mailboxes for draft papers, tax reminders, 'Regret to inform that son/husband KIA' notices. Seems improbable that these isolated, rural, poor folks get to vote for the most powerful man in the world.

Just outside Waycross I pull into the perfect diner - chromed stools, Formica'd booths, harassed faded-pretty waitress juggling hungry customers, a restless son and a call-in-sick phone: 'This is the last time, Marcy - you better bring me a doctor's note or just not come back.' I chat with the chef, a capable ginger kid with a smile full of braces, sweating over a grill the size of a snooker table, cracking an egg in each hand, casually flipping pancakes ceiling-high, giggling about my Austen Powers accent. 'What's a wanker?'"

Carlos Nunez

Some great pics from Carlos Nunez.

I love his style! More from Carlos soon...

Monday, 15 February 2010

Cool Art!

A commissioned and completely narcissistic artwork by Tim Beaumont from my first ever race win at Anglesey in May 2009 on the wee Monster.

Thanks Tim!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

BAMF Engine Rockin!

Got the BAMF back from Andy at Southern Cross. It was waaaay down on power on the Isle of Man following the rebuild. Back in 2005 she was giving us 130 bhp at the wheel.

Andy is the Aprilia RSV guru. He fitted the big throttle bodies and sorted the fuelling. He did loads of dyno work, experimenting with different airbox configurations and velocity-stack lengths. He built a custom airbox in the end.

The final tune is the blue line (short stacks).

Look at that torque!

Not as much power gains as I'd hoped for, but the dyno is probably calibrated a bit different to what it was 5 years ago.

She should now be good for 180 mph down Sulby Straight... I can't wait!

Frustrating Trials

Got out on the trails bike today.
Ant and Mike have learned how to get up a 2.5 foot step-up (without destroying the bike or hurting themselves).

With my healing wrist, I didn't want to try anything brave. I might try it next time.

I just pootled about doing a few wheelies and cutting about down the field. It was damp in a few places...

The mud was bad. My shagged tyres would get all clogged up and the front wheel would just jam. This meant lots of front-end tucks and frustration. Did more falling and scraping mud oout from under the front mudguard than riding. Eventually called it a day when the gear selector came off and then I broke the clutch lever.

Then ant broke his handle-bar - and still rode the bike back to the house. It was good to get out but I didn't have a great day. Frustrating.

The wrist held up good. My great looking staples - they're coming out tomorrow!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


I couldn't resist a peek under the dressing (against the nurse's orders...)

Still limited movement, but surprisingly no pain. The staples feel a bit weird though. Started the physio and rehab yesterday... Looking good!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Indy Mile - in full color!

A great little two-part show from VBS.TV on Flat Trackin' and the Indy Mile. Great quality.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Man! Those Harley Thunderbikes sound awesome!

Thanks to Sideburn for the link.

Saturday, 6 February 2010


I think the local anaesthetic's wearing off. Ouch! Need more Guinness and some pain killers.

Some loveliness to ease the pain:

There must be a fire in that garage... she's smouldering!

Back from Surgery

Back from the hospital and feeling a lot better than I thought I would.

Surgery was at 11h00 and went well. They gave me local as well as general anaesthetic, so my fingers are still numb and there is hardly any pain. Not expecting it to last through the night though!

Mouth is as dry as a convention of nuns because of the anaesthetic. Impossible to eat a biscuit - I tried. The Guinness helps.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Under the Knife

I'll be at the hospital at 07h00 tomorrow for the surgery to remove the plate in my wrist. Not looking forward to it... but looking forward to my wrist not giving me trouble. I want to fast forward my life 2 weeks.

A simple procedure: slice open my arm, unscrew the 12 screws, chisel the plate off, close the cut and stitch. Done!

As the title of a great book I'm reading: "These are the days that must happen to you."

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Gus Scott - Part 2

"24 hours before his death, Gus Scott wrote this heartfelt account of a 115mph lap at his first TT. We couldn't think of a finer tribute to our friend than to publish it."

Continued from Gus Scott - Part 1...

I'm on the climb to Sarah's Cottage. Third gear uphill, I ran out of road here before and thought, "I'm in the bales." You don't want to look at what you're going to hit, so I looked up the road. I was lent over at full tilt, I had my knee down, boot on the ground, everything, then I felt the wheels hit the bales, flick me up, and I was still going, so I just kept racing. this place gets you like that.

My heart was trying to pound out of my ribcage, I had eyes like frisbees. That could've been it. Get it out of your head, get it out of your head. You think about pulling over, then just keep building up speed top Cronk-y-Voddy. It's hard at the end of there. I had some nasty slappers, lock-to-lock with loads of people watching. On the video it looks like DJ just rolls it off, but I've found it better to pull on the bars to take the load off the front.

The funny thing about this place is you accelerate in to a lot of the corners before you see them. that lifts the front end and you wont believe how smooth it makes it.

Into top gear, towards the big bottler at the bottom of Barregarrow. what's going to happen this lap? Back a gear, brush the brakes, and accelerate into it. you've got to do your turn beforehand because everything bottoms out and you can't turn it, everything compressed, the bike won't go anywhere.

Then into the 13th milepost. the first time I went into there I thought it was straight. it isn't. It's bumping all over the road, a kerb on the right pops out right under your wheels, brushes your footrest. Then you're onto the nice smooth tarmac towards Kirk Michael.

In the first practice I floated round and thought this is the next best thing I've ever done in my life. Next time I went a bit faster and had some big scares. I got lost, I nearly ran into some walls and then a Swedish lad I was out with on Saturday night was killed. He got lost and ran into a wall going into Kirk Michael, a tight, third-gear right-hander. Spectators said he went on full tilt, he just got caught out. I know how it felt. He was over here for all the right reasons. He was 39 and wanted a bit of a ride. It really fucked my head up.

Part 3 (final) coming up soon.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Babe of the Day

Surgery Rescheduled

Got a call from the hospital on Friday. They've had a cancellation and can move my surgery to take the plate out of my wrist to this coming Saturday. Yeeeeha!