‘I TRY MY HARD­EST AND IF I WIN, I WIN’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - TT 2017 PRE­VIEW - By Stephen Dav­i­son ROADS RE­PORTER

‘Fly­ing Kiwi’ Bruce An­stey turned 48 on April 24, the same age as Joey Dun­lop dur­ing the late, great Ir­ish­man’s last TT in 2000. Just like Joey, An­stey has no in­ten­tion of quit­ting rac­ing, es­pe­cially while he is still win­ning. “I am still en­joy­ing it and I don’t want to have to go back to work,” An­stey jokes. “I am pretty sure that the bike and me are both still ca­pa­ble of win­ning and I am still hun­gry.”

An­stey has won 11 TT races, the last be­ing the 2016 Zero race on the Mu­gen ma­chine. He also holds the re­mark­able record of hav­ing stood on the podium at ev­ery TT since 2002 and just two years ago achieved a life­time’s am­bi­tion by win­ning the Su­per­bike TT. Only one ac­co­lade still eludes the vet­eran Kiwi who is now res­i­dent in Wind­sor. “It would be nice to win the Se­nior, to get the dou­ble,” An­stey smiles

His race boss, Clive Pad­gett, caused a sen­sa­tion in the TT pad­dock at last year’s event when he un­veiled a £150,000 RC213V-S Honda in race trim. Af­ter just two evenings of prac­tice the Kiwi was lap­ping at 130mph and the howls of protest be­gun.

“The bike doesn’t break any of the rules or it wouldn’t be al­lowed to en­ter,” was Pad­gett’s sim­ple re­tort but the be­grudgers have fired An­stey up for 2017 suc­cess. “I would love to win on the RCV so we could see all the dum­mies be­ing thrown out of the prams,” he laughs.

An­stey says the small and light V4 suits his style: “I can carry more cor­ner speed on it than I can on the Fire­blade and hope­fully we have man­aged to get some more power this year.

“I reckon I could have got on the podium last year, maybe a third place, if I hadn’t had two big crashes at the North West and TT. They knack­ered me and I just wasn’t fit. If I had been rid­ing the Fire­blade in­stead of the RCV I don’t think I could have done six full laps, so that tells you some­thing.”

An­stey was lucky not to have sus­tained se­ri­ous in­jury af­ter he crashed out of the Su­per­bike race at the 2016 NW200 and again at Kep­pel Gate dur­ing TT prac­tice. Does he worry about the dan­gers es­pe­cially af­ter his old foe, John Mcguin­ness’, re­cent crash?

“The old bones do take a bit longer to get over these things,” he jokes. “But I don’t worry about it. I know I could walk out and get run over on the road to­mor­row. Crash­ing is all part of rac­ing and you just have to ac­cept that.”

Apart from a few mo­tocross out­ings and some spins on a static bi­cy­cle, An­stey does no phys­i­cal train­ing dur­ing the win­ter months. His Pad­gett’s Honda squad also forgo the al­most oblig­a­tory trips to Spain to test each Fe­bru­ary and March. “What works for me works for me and I’m never go­ing to be able to set a bike up in Spain,” is An­stey’s only ex­pla­na­tion.

An­stey has rev­elled in the wel­come em­brace he’s re­ceived from Clive Pad­gett and his Honda team since mov­ing to the Bat­ley-based out­fit from Re­lent­less Suzuki in 2011.

“It is a match made in heaven,” An­stey ex­plains. “I’ve known Clive and the crew a long time. Clive says he goes rac­ing with his mates and I see it the same way. He is good at lis­ten­ing to a rider and then giv­ing you what you want.

“Clive knows his race bikes and rac­ing in­side

out, he even knows more about my TT lap times than I do. That gives you con­fi­dence be­cause you know the bike is go­ing to be 100%. At Cas­tle Combe re­cently the team ar­rived with the bikes set up and we didn’t have to make any sus­pen­sion changes at all.”

Those two ses­sions dur­ing the of­fi­cial Honda tests at the Wilt­shire cir­cuit in April were the first time An­stey had sat on a race bike in 2017 and he was im­me­di­ately on the pace. But his form de­serted him in the mixed weather con­di­tions at the North West where he aban­doned the new 2017 su­per­stock spec Fire­blade in favour of last year’s ma­chine.

“I just couldn’t get on with the elec­tron­ics,” he said. An­stey will also race a CBR600RR in both Su­per­sport races at this year’s TT.

Are there any thoughts of quit­ting rac­ing? Could this be his last TT? “I just take it a year at a time. Maybe An­nie [his part­ner] will break my an­kles and I’ll have to stop! Or maybe I will win the Se­nior and that will do it for me. But then again,” this peren­nial teenager adds af­ter a pause.“i’d love to do Day­tona. I’d love to go flat out around the bank­ing the way I used to do when I sneaked into a velo­drome in New Zealand in the mid­dle of the night and blasted round on my RG250 be­fore the po­lice gave chase.”

Will Bruce be bring­ing his lucky beard this year?

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