IT’S TIME TO WIN THE SE­NIOR

Bruce An­stey has just one TT vic­tory miss­ing from his flaw­less road rac­ing CV and he reck­ons 2016 is the year he’ll clinch his maiden Se­nior win

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Stephen Dav­i­son MCN ROADS RE­PORTER

Fly­ing Kiwi, Bruce An­stey is crystal clear about his 2016 TT am­bi­tions. “I will be look­ing for a Se­nior win and then that will be the full set,” he smiles.

The veteran racer will be 47 in April but hav­ing won his first six-lap big bike TT on the Valvo­line Pad­gett’s Honda in last year’s Su­per­bike race, he has no in­ten­tion of tak­ing it any eas­ier this year.

“My bike will be bet­ter than ever be­cause Clive Pad­gett has man­aged to squeeze a bit more power out of the en­gine so I think it will be a match for the BMWS and Kawasakis,” he says con­fi­dently.

An­stey joined Pad­gett’s Valvo­linebacked team in 2011 af­ter win­ning seven TTS, in­clud­ing five 1000cc stocker races in a row, with the North­ern Ire­land-based TAS Suzuki squad. Some thought the 40-some­thing’s best days were al­ready be­hind him but the switch to Honda gave An­stey a new lease of life and he has added three more Is­land wins to his tally, in­clud­ing that fa­mous vic­tory last year. It has also en­abled him to re­tain an even more re­mark­able record.

Since 2000 An­stey has fin­ished on the podium at ev­ery North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix meet­ing. Can he make it sweet 16 in 2016?

“I will be giv­ing it a try,” is as com­mit­tal as the laid­back Kiwi gets but he does ad­mit that re­tain­ing this in­cred­i­ble record is a mo­ti­va­tor.

“I do think about it now and if I don’t get on the podium in the first or sec­ond race the pres­sure is on a bit, so it makes me go faster,” he laughs.

An­stey’s speed and con­sis­tency in main­tain­ing this stun­ning statis­tic is some­thing that im­presses his ri­vals.

“If you look at the North West 200 alone and all the things that can hap­pen at that race, to be able to fin­ish in the top three ev­ery year for so long is just un­be­liev­able,” says Ian Hutchin­son.

Wil­liam Dun­lop’s re­spect is even more em­phatic: “I think that is a more amaz­ing record than any of the TT vic­tory records.”

Typ­i­cally, An­stey takes it all in his stride. Be­yond rid­ing his mo­tocross bike ev­ery week dur­ing the win­ter months and a cou­ple of early sea­son runs on the Pad­gett’s Hon­das “to check that ev­ery­thing is OK”, his race prepa­ra­tion is largely non ex­is­tent. There are no gym ses­sions, no spe­cial di­ets or pep talks with mo­ti­va­tional train­ers; Bruce just turns up on the day and does the busi­ness.

“I think we are do­ing one of the BSB tests at the start of the sea­son and I am go­ing to the first round at Sil­ver­stone but I’ll just be rid­ing around,” he says.

Nor does the enig­matic star spend much time hang­ing around the work­shop try­ing to gel with the team.

“John Mcguin­ness still comes to our staff Christ­mas din­ners and he doesn’t even ride for the team any more,” Pad­gett laughs.

“Bruce has never been to a sin­gle party al­though we know he is happy we are all en­joy­ing our­selves be­cause he sent us a Happy Christ­mas text mes­sage at 3am last year! Yes, he is a bit of a recluse but I couldn’t care less. As long as he turns up on Satur­day, Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day of TT race week I am happy.”

An­stey’s first se­ri­ous gal­lop of the year will be at the North West 200 in May.

“The North West is a good place to see how fast your bike is,” he ex­plains.

“Be­cause you are flat-out for so long there in top gear on the long straights, you can make sure your en­gines are strong enough. And it gets your brain up to speed with all that high speed stuff go­ing on.”

He’s 47 next month but there’s no sign of An­stey scal­ing back his road am­bi­tions Who are you call­ing laid­back? An­stey af­ter his stun­ning Su­per­bike TT vic­tory

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