Sometimes it just is what it is. I don’t really know where to start with this year’s TT, but any of the guys racing it will be singing from the same song sheet when I say we had naff all track time. That’s no one’s fault, but the weather really did us over and there wasn’t really much the organisers could do about it. I guess it was inevitable, though. I mean, the weather’s been absolutely mint these past few years so there had to come a TT where the rain did a number on us. For those who’d clocked the miles testing and were on the pipe from the off that proved less of a problem, but it caught me out a bit. My whole team’s been through hell and back to get our bikes to the level where they are, and I’m proper grateful for everyone’s graft. It’s not easy running a privateer outfit, but having the kind of mates I’ve got around me certainly makes it a damn sight easier.
When we arrived on the Island I’d say we were about 85% there with the bikes. There’s always a bit of faffing around once you get there, but that’s not normally an issue. The problem is that with less track time, you’ve got less chance to find – and cure – your hang-ups. The Triumph was probably the least of my concerns. John Trigger knows them Trumpets better than most and he had the triple running a right treat. It went well in practice, and I think people were surprised that we were running right at the pointy end from the word go, having lucked out on the NorthWest 200. We were pretty pumped by that, and the WK was working well too, but we’d changed the way we sourced the power from the motor and that bit us on the arse a bit – it just didn’t have the low down oomph that you need around there. As for the Suzuki’s, they handled mint around the TT course, but my stocker had this stupid limiter engaged, meaning I topped out at 186mph everywhere. Every man and his dog was blitzing past on the straights and there was diddly-squat I could do about it. The superbike runs a racing loom, so thankfully that wasn’t suffering in the same way. I’ve ridden a lot of bikes around the Island, but those Suzukis handle better than most other things I’ve ridden around there. The only problem is they could be a bit flighty on the front end, which was a problem we tried in vain to bin-off in practice.
By the time the racing started, things weren’t looking too bad, though I had an issue in the first superbike race and never went the distance. The supersport race got delayed because of the weather and we ended up racing it with some pretty scabby wet patches exactly where you don’t want them. I’m not going to lie, I thought better of it. I saw on my board that I was P3 a lot of the time, but after a few big moments I just edged the pace off. I’ve stacked it on damp patches before and I didn’t want to do the same again. Plus I thought I’d save myself for the second supersport race, which sod’s law got cancelled at the end of the week. The stock race was a bit of a nightmare and I had to pull in from that one, while my WK/CFMoto 650 Lightweight weapon had enough of me saddling it and decided to spring a leak. It was one of the self-inflicted variety, rather than a mechanical failure, but either way it meant I had to get off the track pronto.
Race week rounded off with a red-flagged and re-run Senior, after Hutchy’s big crash. It went okay but it also could have gone a whole lot better. It was a big learning curve with the Gixers, but I know now what we’ve got to do to get them working how we want them. They’re right weapons, as Dunlop proved. We could just do with a bit more time and help to get them where we want them. On a final note, just a quickie to say thanks for the peeps that hunted me down and said hello at the TT. It’s always great to meet you guys, so don’t be shy if you see me out and about.
It wa s n ’ t Gar y ’ s b e s t e v e r TTTT, b u t h e c ame aw ay saf e and w i s e r.