Well that was a baptism of fire. I thought we’d have enough time for a couple of laps on both bikes, but I ended up getting four laps on the FlyaSpitfire.com Kawasaki and two on the Surf Bar Triumph. Today was a good day. We’ve well and truly blown the cobwebs off.
The 2022 Isle of Man TT has officially begun with a night of practice on the Mountain Course. We spent most of the morning investigating an issue we’re having with the Triumph (which I’m hoping we’ve fixed now). Then, at about lunch time, we took both bikes up to scrutineering (where the officials check your bike over to make sure it’s safe, legal, etc) and then parked them in the pit’s ready for practice (which is actually qualifying, too).
The first riders to go out were the newcomers. Then it was our turn. I took the big bike out first partly because of the fact that I’m probably more comfortable on it, but also because of the fact that we were still unsure whether or not we’d fixed the issues with the Triumph, and I didn’t fancy getting stranded half way up the mountain on the first lap of practice. If that was going to happen, it would have been nice to get a couple of laps on the big bike under my belt first.
There were absolutely no heroics tonight from me. It’s been a long old time since any of us have raced around this place, so my plan was to have a reasonably steady ride round just to reacquaint myself with exactly how bonkers this place is. And it was less than 30 seconds after setting off down Glencrutchery Road that it all came flooding back to me! Words really can’t express what it’s like, going as fast as you want on a stretch of tarmac that was, only an hour ago, open to public traffic.
Racing at the North West 200 a few weeks ago definitely made the first few laps easier, but the speed you have to carry round this place really does take some getting used to. I did four laps on the Kawasaki ZX-10R, and each one was a little bit better, and a little bit faster than the last. The last lap on the big bike was 119mph average speed, which was roughly 25th fastest.
I’ll be honest, after four laps on the FlyaSpitfire.com Kawasaki I was ready to park it up! The Supersport bike is a lot easier to ride round this place so I was more than happy to jump on it for the last 40 minutes. I’m not much of a 600 rider, and I’ve not done a lot on the Surf Bar Triumph in the last few years, so, again, I didn’t set off like a scalded hound, instead favouring the more mature (slow) approach. I did a couple of laps on the 600 and really, really enjoyed them; it’s such a lovely little thing to ride.
My fastest lap on the 600 was 116mph – it seems bizarre that I was only 3mph slower over a lap on the 600 than I was on the 1000. But in all fairness, by the time I jumped on the 600, I’d already done four laps, so you could probably say I’d started getting up to speed. A little bit at least. 116mph put me 22nd out of all the Supersport bikes, but don’t get too excited about that because not all of the lads with Supersport bikes, were out on them tonight.
There is more practice tomorrow, but tomorrow’s practice is in the evening, so hopefully we’ll have some time tomorrow to chill out a little bit and catch our breath. In the meantime, I’m going to have a cup of tea and a slice of cake; I’ve just done six laps, so I feel like I deserve it.
Talk to ya tomorrow.