Tipped up in the paddock
at about 10-45am, there were a whole scutch of vans
and trucks already there.......... keen or what.....
Stuey and Graham had the Awning half up, and we jammed
it in between my Yum Yum Yellow and Stuey's Race Truck.
I had three races scheduled today...... two Open Races,
in which I was planning to use Juan's Bullock GSXR1000
Suzuki again, and one 600 race in which I was going
to use the Bullock Supersport CBR 600 Honda..... Had
the Honda fettled ready and throught scrutineering well
before slack Laxey Boy Juan turned up..... didn't take
that long to be done, as we had done all the necessary
jobs to the bikes after we loaded them up on Thursday
night. When I signed on I was told I was No 14 when
I was under the impression that I was No5 (I was in
the programme and that had been my number all year),
so they ended up swapping visiting Irish rider Adrian
McFarland from No5 to No14, and I had the number 5 that
I should have had........ so that was that sorted (or
so I thought).
The weather was better
than it had been at the Southern 100, and the sun was
shining, although on the forecast, there were a few
light showers for later in the day, but we'll deal with
that if and when they turn up. Practise was delayed
for the first time this year because of lack of Marshal's.......
this was a real pain in the arse, not just for the riders,
but for spectators and officials alike...... you'd think
it would be easier to get Marshal's for a road race
than on Jurby Airfield, but as it was a Saturday, probably
a lot of the usuals were doing sommat else..... a pity
though, as we were all hanging around waiting to get
Practise eventually got
underway and we had two shortish sessions, one on each
bike......... I went out on the big Suzuki first and
it was a handful and a half, and no mistake........
took me a while to get into my stride and then the cable
from my lap timer wasn't routed correctly (my fault)
and it didn't help when it wrapped itself around my
right hand, so had to practically stop to sort that
out...... but after that was sorted, I caught the blokes
in front and passed them, so I had a clear road, but
next time around the chequered flag was out...... pulled
in, and thought that my lap timer was well wrong when
it indicated two laps at 2mins 11 secs..... which was
sommat like 4 seconds underneath the lap record.......????...........
somebody else must have a lap timer beacon just down
the road from where Chris was holding mine, so I set
it differently and phoned Chris for my lap time as I
knew he'd have had a watch on me and he said that I
was doing 2mins 22's............ probably a lot more
Next session on the 600, I led on the road pretty much
straight away and was well surprised that nobody on
a 1000cc bike came past me on the long start finish
straight....... kept my head down and was a lot more
comfortable on the 600, and was hoisting the front over
the jumps and felt in total control of it, whereas I
couldn't really have said that about the 1000 Suzuki......
pulled in after the chequered flag, only another 3 or
4 laps, and I'd gone round in the 2'19's, which was
quicker than I had managed on the 1000......... could
have upped the pace too, so knew that this race was
going to be interesting, with Big 'H' always being the
man to beat round here whatever bike he's on...... knew
that he was the scalp that I wanted and the 600 lap
record off him to boot....... Was thinking that it would
also be a good idea to get the fuel mapping sorted on
this 600 as it still wasn't very good at picking up
at low revs and the midrange was crap..... I'm sure
my V&M R6 is well quicker........ that wheelies
on the power till 3rd gear whereas the only time this
Honda would, is if you put a trolley jack underneath
Race One (6 Laps) was
called and we all went out to form the grid.........
Qualifying times determined the grid positions (apparently),
and I was in second spot with Big 'H' on pole, also
had Adrian McFarland and Paul Duckett joining us on
the front row.......... It started to rain on the way
to the grid and on the line it was coming down pretty
handy, told the officials on the line that we were all
on slick tyres and he said if we didn't run the race
we would lose it as there was no time to call another
delay....... I turned to H and said 'whoever is leading
and thinks that the rain is too heavy to call it'.......
and he said 'okay'...... so that was that sorted.
The flag dropped and
again I didn't get the best of starts, and was down
to about 6th place...... managed to get past Duckett
and H before the fast left hand kink, and had to go
practically in the gutter rounding the bend to avoid
Nige on his Rockett R1 when he feathered the throttle
and I never, there nearly wasn't enough room there,
I can tell you..... then at the big ballsy right hander,
I went up the inside of Gary Carswell and then done
McFarland on the brakes at Ballavarran Corner to hit
the front......... the bike was popping wheelies up
through the gears and it wouldn't keep the front down........
got to Jurby West Corner and the rain was pretty heavy
at this point....... there were plenty of flies and
flying beasties out and when I tried to rip a tear off
off, the tag broke off in my hand, so as I had two of
the bastards on I tried to rip them both off and the
same happened again....... couldn't believe it.......
was trying to go as fast as I could whilst trying to
peel the buggers off with my fingers, but it wasn't
easy with gloves on....... Couldn't believe that I wasn't
passed I was going that slow, but here I was still leading......
second time round I managed to get one of the tear offs
half way down my face and then the bloody thing filled
up with water....... was really starting to get annoyed
by this time and it was costing me shed loads of time........
got to Jurby West for the second time and the rain was
at its heaviest here, and the road was soaking......
took it steady, and even though I never had a slide,
I decided it was dangerous enough and was going to call
it........ crossing the line I stuck my hand in the
air and waved to those on the line and wanted them to
stop it......... crossed the line and waited for the
red flags to come out..... nowt!...... the only thing
I did see was McFarland zoom past me on his ex ETi 1000
Suzuki............ Christ that thing can go!.........
caught him back up on the run to Jurby West and Big
'H' dived up my inside......... could have blocked him,
but let him through and wanted him to drag me along,
its a lot easier following I reckon..... 'H' was side
by side crossing the line with McFarland, but the Irishman's
superior speed left even him in his wake, but when we
got to Ballavarran, we were both up his chuff.......
through the Pill Box section H was on the grass trying
to pass him and I could see him shaking his head.....
so was I when I saw it.... McFarland was using the whole
road and was a lot slower than both of us through here,
but he was pretty good on the brakes though........
but H still managed to do him at Jurby West Corner,
the rain had stopped and the road had near enough completely
dried which was handy...... I then got held up by him,
but passed him a couple of times only for him to get
me back on the long straight.... I managed to get the
rip offs off my lid by turning my head sideways down
the huge straight, whilst flat out in top gear, the
wind blast forcing them loose enough for me to grab
hold of........ thank Christ for that........... McFarland
was slower than me in a lot of places but it wasn't
easy to get back past....... he gave me a couple of
'moments' when he rolled the throttle where I didn't
think he was going to, with me right behind him...........
'H' was about 50 yards ahead and starting the last lap
just had to get past, make it stick and chase after
the big bugger....... was starting to struggle to hold
on to the beast and the old arm pump was there again,
(these big bikes are just arm pump machines) and managed
to do McFarland before we hit the coast road for the
last time...... had a hairy moment at the top of Killane
when I went right out towards the grass, but dodged
it okay and when I tipped into the last corner knew
I had got second place which was not too bad...... H
being not too far ahead...... Big smiles from the team
when I pulled in.... only had three of four laps of
practise on the big bike and then raced it, so had to
be happy with second spot (and £150 prize money
- whay hay)....... H came over and asked me why I never
called a stoppage, and was well surprised when I said
that I had, then Gary said he tried to get them to stop
it too, but nothing happened there either........ a
bit of a break down in communication there somewhere........
everyone wanted the race to be run, but it was bloody
dangerous when it was wet, and at the time we all didn't
know that it was going to dry out....... Noticed that
I had lapped at 2'16.3 which was the fastest that I
had been round here, so a PB to boot...... know I can
go quicker than that if I could get used to the bike
and it didn't tire me out like it did........ the bloody
big bastard.......... apparently I was pulling a big
lead out at the start of the race when it rained, and
had I not encountered the problems I had, the others
might not have made up the gap and I could have went
on to win........ bloody rip off visors....... that's
the first time that they have let me down.
Was soon out in the 6
lap 600 Race and again on the front row.......... thought
I had everything right, but the bike bogged down on
the line and I was passed by loads...... even Stuey
from the 3rd or 4th row, he got a good start then.......
Bollocks!!........ as soon as I got the thing at the
pointy end of the rev range I started to pass a few
and went in between Stuey and I think it might have
been Goose, on his R6, there was only just enough room
an all...... then up the inside and around the next
few at the flat out left kink....... was in second spot
by the time I got to the big ballsy right hander and
after taking it flat out passed Nige who had been leading.......
hit the front at Ballavarran Corner and took off up
towards the farm...... a couple of big wheelies and
jumps ensued and then I got my head down and arse up
and tried to pull a a gap...... Knew that H was going
to be the one to challenge me in this one like the last
road race here in May, where we had a right ding dong
and finished 0.07 seconds apart and smashed the 600
lap record....... felt that I could still up the pace
even though my lap timer told me I was in the 2'18's
after my first flying lap....... passing my pit board,
Chris had +2...... kept at the pace I was going and
then next time round it was +1 and then +0...........
right then, he's caught me......... upped the pace and
was in the 2'17's, (lap record pace), and still I got
+0........ knew then that it was going to come down
to the last few corners because I couldn't shake him......
still that's what I expected would happen anyway, what
I wanted to happen was to bugger off at the start and
leave him in my wake...... but alas, its the Isle of
Man, not Fantasy Island!............ had a very steady
run and could have pushed harder, but there really wasn't
that much point as he would just come with me, so starting
the last lap, just said to myself to steer clear of
any mistakes keep a tight line to stop him barging through
and I'll have it...... felt that I was doing okay and
although I could hear him behind me coming out of the
corners, he still had to get past......... on the run
down to the top of Killane, I saw two back markers ahead.........
bollocks, I could do with getting these cleanly........
had to throttle off approaching the bottom and they
definitely cost me some time, just hoped that they would
do the same to Big H............ saw that one of them
was Angus, and he's usually a real gent and moves over
and gives you loads of room, but this time he didn't
know I was there........ had to wait till I got my chance,
and went around the outside of them both at the bottom
of Killane and haired off to Cronk Corner............
I wasn't really in the line I wanted to be in now and
hit the bump all wrong before the last corner, I usually
hoist the front and wheelie over it, but this time I
landed on the front wheel and it went into a wobble,
thought that H would do me up the inside but he never
and I tipped in to the corner first........ thought
at the time 'I've got it'........... then I heard his
bike on the outside of me...... my bike bogged a bit
and again we were side by side going up to the line......
he got the power down better than me, his lardy arse
putting more weight on the rear tyre giving him more
grip and he was slightly ahead, but me being lighter,
I was dragging back past him and we were side by side
looking at each other crossing the line........ I thought
straight away that I had just shaded it...... H shrugged
his shoulders and pointed as if to say 'you or me' just
like he did last time, but this time I pointed to me
and indicated that there was only an inch or so in it......
was happy enough, but felt it was closer than it should
have been......... Got to the paddock and was told by
the team that Chris Kinley had given me the win on the
radio...... then H came over and said that he had just
been told that he had been given it......... What!!.......
thought he was winding me up and during his merry little
jig, I went to the race office to find out what the
official result was......... and they didn't even have
me in the results........!! Couldn't believe it.......
the cock up on the numbers obviously hadn't been sorted
as I thought it had......... then surprise, surprise
I was then placed in 2nd spot.......... didn't find
out till much later that they had officially posted
Big H a quarter of a second ahead of me......... which
in real terms, at the speed we were going, is at least
4 or 5 bike lengths, which is a total load of bollocks,
what race were they watching?......... H said it was
too and he reckoned, if anything, it was a dead heat,
but I still think that I just shaded it, if I reckon
he had, I would say so, like I did at the May meeting............
Its hard enough to beat the big Bugger round Jurby South
without him getting it like that, it would be a bit
harsh to say he was gifted it, because he had to work
bloody hard, but it still pisses me off ...... looking
back, as he was on my outside, I should have sat up,
blocked him, and gave him the choice of either to brake,
or the hit the pavement, H did say he was surprised
that I didn't............ but at least I learnt sommat.
Knowing that mad bastard, he probably would have gone
on the pavement to get past me.
Wasn't long before we
were out again, and I chose to use the 600 again in
the last Open event, felt like I was a bit too tired
to haul the 1000 Suzuki safely round for another 6 laps.........
got to the line and settled on my 2nd spot and saw that
the race was reduced to 4 laps............ had I known
that I would definitely have taken the big bike out........
the last two laps being the hardest, but too late now...........
was absolutely murdered down the long straight and went
up the inside of the Pesky Kid on a ZX-10 at the fast
left hand kink, then he came back past me but I got
him again on the right hander then a couple more on
the anchors into Ballavarran corner.......... was then
behind Paul Duckett on his GSXR1000............. he
pulled a bit on the fast bits, but I reeled it all back
in on the brakes....... out round the back section he
was holding me up and I was having bites at him all
over the place and only got past him on the anchors
into Cronk Corner....... he blasted back past me on
the straight and buggered off, but after hitting both
corners flat out in top, was on his tail again........
his bike was wheelie-ing all over the place, and it
was pretty frustrating to try and do him cleanly......
had a bite at the top of Killane and he completely wiped
my nose and I was lucky we never touched, then at the
bottom, I went around his outside, but he wiped my nose
again, when his bike was faster out, I out braked him
again, and again he passed me on the straight........
I'll have to do it again then....... it was still the
same till the last lap, where this time I was closer
and made the move stick at the top of Killane and managed
to get clear and came home in 5th spot............ 'H'
winning again, then Carswell, McFarland and Beattie
being the top four......... had I ran the 1000 Suzuki,
it would have been different for sure..... but more
time on the 600 won't do me any harm...........
So two 2nds (??) and
a 5th wasn't a bad end to the week, a few more dust
collectors and a few more quid, which will buy me another
set of tyres for the MGP...... Still felt that I had
won the 600 race fair and square though, wins are hard
to come by, so you have to grab em when they do.........
but what can you do........ having me that far behind
Big 'H' was a joke, I know mistakes can happen.... funnily
enough mostly where I'm concerned...... but if there's
been a f*ck up, why don't they just say so..........
Not got anything else
planned till the Manx Grand Prix, where hopefully, we
can have a bit of luck this time around and get the
results we're looking for........... fingers crossed
that it will happen....... come to papa....
So, tune in for another
very exciting, hopefully top stepping episode of.....................................................
Tommy Clucas Racing.