Monday, 30 September 2013

Classic Duke 888

Alf of Alf's Motorcycles was running a Ducati 888 Corsa at the Classic TT. It was ridden by the able Mick Godfrey. Mick was flying in practice with a lap of 113mph. From Alf's Facebook page:

Unfortunately they had engine troubles. Overheating in practice and then an internal knock at the Jurby Festival (the day before the race) prompted and overnight engine change to a standard SP5 unit. The new engine did 3 laps of the Formula 1 race before a broken wire put an end to the valiant effort. Alf say's they'll be back next year.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Ducati Cafe Racer

We love ducatis, we love monsters and we love café racers. Found this awesome Ducati café racer on the Pipeburn site by Manuel Ayllón...

Full article on Pipeburn.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Cool Guzzi Racer

Got the link from Tom Whiting. One badd-ass looking Guzzi racer from Davide Caforio from Ruote Fiere.

Full article here.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Isle of Man 2013 Thoughts and Pics

It's been more than a week since I got back from the Isle of Man. Been struggling a bit to get back to reality and normal life. Every afternoon I look out the window, check the weather and road surface. If it's dry, all I want to do is go out for practice. Lapping the TT Mountain Circuit on closed roads is like nothing else.

Ballacrye - a big jump at over 140mph - breathtaking!
Barregarrow - starting to get it right... 7 years of trying...

Sitting on a race bike on Glencrutchery Road, the eyes focus on that narrow, curb-lined, blue-grey strip of asphalt that disappears through St. Ninians traffic-lights and down Bray Hill. Throttle is opened as far as it will go, tacho needle kissing the red-line as the gears get hooked-up. First, second, third, past the grandstand and scoreboard, the low stone walls and trees are moving quickly. Fourth, the high hedges on the left of the road approach even faster. Fifth, hugging the left curb, brush past the green hedges and pull the bike to the right. Sixth, as you apex on the right of the St. Ninians traffic-lights. Revs rise momentarily as you hit the first jump at well over 100mph with the bike cranked over. In the air, the bike moves a few inches to the right, you land. The tyres bite into the asphalt and grip. You haul the bike to the right to hit the apex of the next curb...

Famous jump at Ballaugh Bridge

Duke through Lambfell

Skimming the walls between Waterworks and Gooseneck

All the time, expense, hassle, blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice suddenly melt away. It is you, your machine and the course. Single minded. Complete focus. Pure. It is the Supreme Ultimate, the Tai-Chi.

Threading your way along the oldest race track in the world as fast as your dare. Lined by trees, stone walls, gateposts, telephone poles, hedges, fences, homes, pubs and people come there to watch. A bit later on the brakes here, earlier off the brakes there. Everywhere counts. Need to go faster... everywhere.

Suzuki through Cronk y Mona

Suzuki bursts into the evening sunlight at Greeba Castle
Pushing through that blind corner just one or two mile per hour faster than you have before. You know you're on the right line, you've turned in and timed it perfectly. But you're not 100% sure your tyres will grip while leaned right over with that extra bit of speed at well over a ton. You've got to try. Take a breath and go for it.

Rain in the Supertwins race

Suzuki giving all she's got through Lambfell

Your brain is screaming "Too fast! Too fast!". That stone wall is approaching at warp speed. You're moving your weight off the bike and pushing hard with counter-steer. At that speed, the bike just want's to go straight. It reluctantly changes direction to the constant battle raging in your mind. The survival part of your brain screaming to roll the throttle, another part wanting to keep those cables stretched. When the latter wins and you hurtle through the corner faster than you ever have before... and survive... it's an incredible feeling.

Hustling the big Aprilia through the Bungalow

The old Duke booms through Kirkmichael

This is some of the allure of going as fast as you dare on the most challenging, best race circuit in the world.

The old Ducati worked hard

Post Manx Blues. Most of my Isle of Man race friends suffer from it. Withdrawal symptoms. Time to reflect.

Only got 4 practice laps in on the Aprilia... she felt better than ever and we went progressively faster

The 2013 Isle of Man campaign will go down as a vintage year in Speed Therapy history. 3 classes entered. 2 races started, 2 replicas earned. A TT Silver replica, finishing 3rd in class and my fastest lap ever on a 22 year old Ducati (that just didn't make sense for the Isle of Man) has to be the highlight. Then, bettering that personal best lap by 1.5 miles per hour average from a standing start on the big Aprilia in practice and the outgunned little Suzuki putting in a spirited performance in the harrowing, weather plagued final race would also be up there. The only blight on the fortnight was the cancelled Senior race - an anti-climax to a superb event. But... we mustn't be greedy. For the first time in my Isle of Man racing, there were no fatalities.

The old lady looking good for 22 years

Supertwins race
TT Mountain Course - no race track like it

Spending time with my brother Nic was awesome - Nic gave so much to come out from South Africa to be with me and help work on the bikes, prep, practice and the race - you're awesome Chief!

Also, the support of the Love of my life, Alex. Pit crew Ian, Steve and Mandy. I couldn't have done it without any of you. Also, to my sponsors RedMax Steve Hillary for building such a strong engine, Oronero PeterSouthern Cross Don Plane,  MD-Racing Mike Dawson and all the support, encouragement and well wishes from friends, family and all the folks I don't know on the phone, forums, Facebook and blog. THANK YOU!

After the disappointment of 2011 and 2012 (we limped home to get just 1 finish from 4 races), 2013 has been brilliant. The support, help and people around me have made the difference. Thank you again.

It's been epic!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Post Manx Blues

As with most of my racer friends... been struggling with 'Post Manx Blues' for the last 2 weeks. All I want to do is go as fast as I can on closed roads...