Thursday, 4 June 2015

TT Day 5 - A Clear Run

Woke to beautiful sunshine yesterday. The wind had blown itself out and all was calm on the Isle... forecast was good for practice. We are down at the garage for the morning working on the Triumph. Prepping for the evening practice and trying to solve the handling issues.

Through Greeba Castle on the Trumpet :-)

Triumph done, we have time to start prepping the KMR whose practice is on Thursday. At 15h00 we head up to the paddock with the Triumph. We were slightly concerned about the tyre wear, but our man at Metzerler checks them out and assures my it's normal for the first few practice sessions because of all the dirt and much on the roads. It will clean off during the week. I check out some of the fast boy's bikes in skrootineering and they have the same wear on their tyres.

Rear-set is catching the swing-arm... a problem to fix

Nic making some mods to the KMR seat

Heli-tape on the front of the Triumph to try preserve my rattle-can paint job

With just the one bike to skrootineer and setup in the assembly area, things are much easier with just Nic and I. With 2 bikes it's a bit frantic to get it all done. I have time before the session to chill and get my head into it.

With Adam 'Chad' Child

I first met Steve Mercer in my rookie racing year - we raced in the same club

At 19h20 we're on Glencrutchery Road. Minutes later and I'm stretching the cables and hitting 14 000 rpm in every gear all the way through St Ninians and down Bray Hill. The bike is feeling better than yesterday. Still flighty and shaking her head over the bumps, but she's not feeling as harsh. She's still a handful and I can't got flat out where I want to in a lot of sections because I'm controlling the headshake but she's a lot more controllable.

Whenever the fast guys pass me, I go to school. They are so smooth and committed. Perfect lines. It's awesome to see from so close. The two laps go by quickly. I manage 109mph average for my first lap from a standing start and 111mph for my second. Super happy with that. With the bike handling better, we will go faster :-)

80s race legend - Steve Parish

Nuts... wherever this guy goes, there is a crowd... you can just see him in the back of the awning

I come back into the assembly are to meet Nic and have a quick debrief. Clean the screen, visor, get some water and fill up with fuel. We discuss the changes we've made and decide to keep going in that direction so we make some suspension adjustments. A few minutes later and I'm blasting down Bray Hill again.

Dean Harrison and Ivan Lintin getting their hands taped up before practice

We went too far... coming through Braddan Bridge, the rear gets a big pump on. The back wheel is pumping up and down as I try get on the gas. I hold the throttle steady to ride it out, but it just continues so I have to roll the throttle to get it to settle. Damn! I'm aware of this rear pump so am more gentle on the throttle coming out of corners. I feel that pumping again a few times but just minor.

Ryan Kneen of the Kneen racing family

Kamil Holan from Czech Republic. I've done the ManxGP with Kamil for the last few years

The bike is a real handful over the bumpy sections. Even on Sulby straight. On two occaisions about two-thirds down the straight and I'm bounced out of the seat... feet off the pegs. I have to roll the throttle. I try different lines with the same result. Need to ask the other riders if they've found the non-bumpy line.

Future star James Cowton. Watch James... he's a TT winner in the making

I also learn a little trick through Doran's where I got a slide going on the KMR the other night. I did the same in the dry on the Triumph... it's a combination of the camber and bumps. I tried different lines and have found one that is smooth and safe :-)

Alex Pickett - Alex was on a Ducati 848 and his father on a 888 at the Manx/Classic TT two years ago... good to see him again

With Dom 'The Bomb' Herbertson... and Alex bombing :-)

Through Lambfell and onto the Cronk y Voddy straight and I smell burning oil. I see a bike slowing up ahead. I get off the racing line in case there is oil dropped and pass Mark Miller on the awesome sounding EBR. That engine's broke :-(

With the 2 meter man - Connor Cummins

Nottingham University's electric bike... a good example of what a workshop/garage should not look like. Students...

On my fourth lap of the evening, there are yellow flags at the exit of Quarry Bends. Waved yellows and marshals in the road as we approach Sulby Crossroads. I am behind another rider and we knock our speed right off. There is debris strewn all over the road - we pick our way through this and continue. I start to get tired on the last half of my fourth lap of the evening. I keep focused and bring the Triumph home.

With Dean Harrison - he's going to win another TT soon

We manage 110mph and 109mph laps. Happy that we made a move in the right direction - but we still have a way to go. I'm happy that my fitness is holding out. Without being able to ride motorbikes to get fit, I've worked hard doing some running and military/street workout type exercises. Glad to see it's paying off.

Keeping good company on the timing screen :-)

Nic tucking the girls in for the night

When we got back to our accommodation last night, we were saddened to learn that French competitor Franck Petricola lost his life at the incident at Sulby Crossraods. He was doing something he loved. Sincerest condolences to his friends and family.

Franck Petricola - living his dream

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