Pitstops key to Hutchy win
Ian Hutchinson arrived on the Isle of Man with a bike he had asked his Tyco BMW team to build to his exact specification.
“Two weeks before the North West 200 the team built me a brand new bike which is basically a superstock bike with a superbike engine,” the British Superstock series rider explained.
“It was either going to work or not, it was my choice. They went with it and massive thanks to them for trusting what I thought was going to work.”
He also persuaded Philip Neill to abandon his team’s long association with Metzeler tyres and make the shift to Dunlop rubber, but the 37-year-old admitted he wasn’t sure if he had a bike capable of winning during the early laps of Sunday’s race.
“I didn’t really know what was what, I just knew the bike felt a bit sloppy in practice so we stiffened it up for the race,” he explained.
“I’m still trying to learn how to ride on the Dunlop tyres and it was so different to how I was riding last year. I was a bit lost on lap one and my first board said P4 which I was expecting because I had been struggling on the run to Glen Helen.”
With so much rain during practice week the track conditions were difficult for everyone but especially so for Hutchy who was trying to build confidence with the new tyres.
“The harder you try sometimes the worse it feels and you sort of get a sinking feeling that you haven’t got the pace to win and you almost want to give in,” he said.
“There’s no rubber on the track, there’s no grip and it feels really vague tipping in so I just smoothed it out and got better as the race went on really. Obviously I had a bit of luck with a few people going out in the race,” he added, referring to Dunlop’s disappointment on the Suzuki.
The 15-times TT winner also needed all the help he could get from his Tyco BMW squad who turned around a series of slow pitstops in 2016 to eclipse the opposition this time around.
His BMW rival, Peter Hickman, was five seconds faster on the road during the race but the Smith’s crew lost eight seconds to the Tyco team over the two stops.
“We practised our stops on the driveway of the house and we were still doing them at nine this morning on Douglas Head,” Hutchy smiled.
‘The harder you try, the worse it feels and you get a sinking feeling’
The Tyco team’s pitstops proved crucial in the Superbike TT
Hutchy kept his head down