Gary John­son

Fast Bikes - - COLUMNIST -

Howdy folks! I hope you’re all well and hav­ing a right old hoot, what­ever you’re up to. You’ve got to en­joy life, and bikes are my num­ber one fuel for hav­ing a laugh. Ad­mit­tedly, I wasn’t laugh­ing quite so much when my trusty old Suzuki chose to stop work­ing dur­ing the Clas­sic TT, but that’s just how the cookie crum­bles. No one got hurt, and I had a right blast up un­til that point. There’s al­ways next year! Since then, it’s been non­stop gig­gles.

Did you make it to Good­wood for the Clas­sic Re­vival? That’s one place that de­serves to be at the top of your bucket list if you’ve never been be­fore, and not just be­cause it gives you the ex­cuse to dress up in your grandad’s clothes and neck lots of cham­pagne. Peo­ple re­ally get into it, with the fo­cus be­ing on re­liv­ing the glory days of years gone by. You get to see the most awe­some bikes, cars and aero­planes, plus some bloody good rac­ing.

I did my bit by join­ing forces with that old fast bloke, Mick Grant. I picked him up from his care home and we shared Bob Chap­man’s three-cylin­der MV Agusta 500 for the re­vival race. We didn’t do bad ei­ther, con­sid­er­ing we’ve got a com­bined rider age of 119 years old (I’m still 23, so you can work out how an­cient Granty is). We bagged a win in the first out­ing and things were look­ing good for us to clean up in the sec­ond race, be­fore we got a penalty that cost us 20 sec­onds. Even still, I think we only lost the out­right win by five sec­onds, or some­thing daft like that.

But it’s not all been fun and games this month, as I’m al­ready fo­cus­ing hard on next year’s TT. It’s mad that no mat­ter how hard you go at it, you’re al­ways left wish­ing you’d had a bit more time to get things sorted ahead of the big event. One class that’s the first to get com­pro­mised with prac­tice time if things start go­ing wrong over on the Is­land, is the Lightweight TT. We’ve got our Ze­bra bike in a pretty de­cent place right now, but there’s still so much scope for im­prove­ment.

I’ve rid­den this bike for a hand­ful of years, I’ve topped time sheets on it, and I re­ally see the po­ten­tial it has. The guys at WK Bikes/CF Moto are proper grafters, and they’re just as keen as me to put the Chi­nese-made bike on the top step of the podium, which I gen­uinely reckon is a pos­si­bil­ity. More so be­cause of the strong po­si­tion it’s now in, and thanks to the fact that we’ve been car­ry­ing on our test­ing pro­gramme, which in this last month alone has seen me rac­ing it with No Lim­its, and tak­ing it on track at Cadwell for a good day of test­ing.

It’s one of those bikes that gets bet­ter the harder you ride it, but there’s still so much scope to bet­ter­ing the pack­age. All we’re do­ing right now is clock­ing the miles and work­ing out what could be im­proved. It might only be a per­cent­age here and a tweak there, but those ac­cu­mu­lated al­ter­ations are what give you the best bike on the grid. It’s gonna be a right weapon by the time we’re fin­ished with it!

Gaz, lookingall se­ri­ous on WK’s new 650 NK. Milking his ze­bra. ‘And then I showed them my belly­but­ton­fluff.’ Dan­ger­ous John­son.

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