Archive for February, 2011

CONSPICUOUS BY HIS ABSENCE

Posted: February 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

I hear that the doyen of TT journalists, John Brown, will be absent this year because he’ll be recuperating after an operation. Good luck John and make sure you’re back to full fitness soon.

MY LONDON RECORDING GIG

Posted: February 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’ve been to the Goldcrest film company’s post-production studio in London to record some commentary for the TT 3D film Closer to the Edge. The sequences that I saw are impressive and that was without any 3D dimension. I worked with the editor Sam Southwick and her colleagues to recreate some of the live commentary which featured in Manx Radio’s coverage of the races last year. It was quite spooky to find an immaculately typed script containing the words which originally came out live and unrehearsed – someone has had the thankless task of listening to recordings of the original commentary and trascribing the selected chunks.  The audio technicians had provided exactly the same kind of microphone that I use on the island to replicate the quality of the audio. Standing in front of a huge screen I had – as Roy Moore would say – a trouser-bulging view of the bikes in action…something I don’t see much of when I’m working, you don’t actually get to see too much from the tower on Glencrutchery Road.  The producers from CinemaNX  are using a lot of Radio TT’s output in the movie. My role was to replicate certain sections where the original commentary hadn’t been recorded ‘clean’ – it might have had bike noise or crowd noise over it. My stuff was recorded under the pictures and mixed over original, atmospheric music so I got a good idea of the incredible impact the movie is likely to have. A few days ago the other lads from the radio team, Roy, Chris Kinley and Dave Christian, recorded clean versions of some of their commentaries via a link from the Isle of Man. It shows how much attention to detail is going into this movie. My session, which only accounted for a few minutes’ output, took over four hours to record.

It was a terrific buzz, working in a state of the art facility with such professional people who are dedicated to producing this ground-breaking film. It’s going to take the TT with all its passion and drama and hit the world right between the eyes with it. I can’t wait to see the finished version.

TT RECRUITS SIMON ANDREWS

Posted: February 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

Good news is that BSB star Simon Andrews will make his TT debut this year. The official TT website broke the news this morning. Simon will ride for Paul Shoesmith’s Ice Valley team aboard a BMW S1000RR.  It’s another sign of a healthy crossover between short circuit and road racing. Steve Plater proved it can be done and that’s not a bad role model.

Simon and the BMW. Photo: iomtt.com

Guy Martin on wets

Posted: February 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

A BBCTV series in which Guy builds a canal boat launches on Wednesday March 2nd at 7.30pm on BBC1. Guy goes head to head with Corrie! Mint!

Warm up for TT 2011

Posted: February 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Audio memories of Hutchy’s Senior TT triumph 2010 are now available on the Commentary Highlights page. Just getting in the mood for 2011.

With one stroke of his pen Ian Hutchinson threw the prospects for TT 2011 into the melting pot. If Hutchy had stayed with Padgetts he would automatically have been a big player this year. The chances of him and the team repeating their 5-time victory were always remote but this would still have been the in-form line-up, tried and trusted. By signing for a team which is not yet battle-hardened over the Mountain Course, Hutchy introduces a massive element of the unknown into a mix which is already brimming with the unexpected.

Honda-expert Hutchy will ride factory-backed Yamaha machinery under the guidance of Shaun Muir. Shaun knows the TT of course – several podium places for Guy Martin in the Hydrex Honda livery is testament to that…but a win for Shaun with Guy remained out of reach.

Yamaha have sparkled briefly with the R6 in recent years but the R1 remains a serial underperformer at this level.

So can Hutchy pull the whole package together? It’s hard to see it happening in the two big-bike races.

But then who will beat him? Steve Plater has retired from the TT. Bruce Anstey has left his long-time employers TAS and will now race for Clive Padgett. Now that will be fascinating. The TT’s most successful team matched with the world’s fastest road racer (133.977mph by Bruce at the Ulster GP). And Bruce with a point to prove! Cameron Donald has also left TAS, a move which interrupts what looked like a smooth succession from Kiwi to Aussie which could have kept Hector Neill’s outfit right up there. Instead Cameron rides for Wilson Craig, and a bit like Shaun Muir Wilson finds himself under a degree of pressure to deal with the expectations of a proven TT winner. How will they all get on? And will Cameron be distracted by his pre-TT outing with the Honda Endurance Legends team at the Bol d’Or, where he is back-up to Plater and John McGuinness?

Michael Dunlop photo: CL

Hector and Philip Neill have really shaken up the TAS set-up by bringing in Guy Martin. Few would have predicted either party jumping into bed with each other. The super-corporate Relentless-backed TAS team is not exactly Guy’s usual notion of what road racing is all about, but they say opposites attract and if TAS and Guy give each other what they both most want, a TT win in 2011, then who cares? It’s a fair-sized “if” though.

So who are we left with? The gaffer, McGuinness, will, I believe, win at least one of the two big-bike races. He would have been past his 15-win mark by now, but for a bust chain and a faulty kill switch. Neither the rider’s fault. He is fast, strong, experienced, and he has Honda with him again, wanting to make the same mark at the Mountain Course centenary that they did at the centenary of the TT itself. Keith Amor is damn fast through Sulby and learning quickly. I wouldn’t rule him out if he can get the better of McGuinness.

Anyone else? The joker in the pack is the young giant from Ramsey. Conor Cummins is a phenomenon. He was the fastest rider at TT 2010 (131.511). He was the fastest in the world with his 133.284 at the UGP in 2009, a title he was in no fit state to defend last year thanks to serious injuries in the Senior TT. The extent of Conor’s recovery will determine how competitive he is this time. McAdoo have splendidly backed him and there is a huge buzz about Kawasaki machinery at the moment. If I’m honest I think Conor might have to wait till 2012 for his big year – but he’ll be exciting to watch.

Ryan Farquhar and Michael Dunlop will be in the mix but when all is said and done I come back to the Honda Legends to split the Superbike and Senior spoils. McGuinness and Amor are my tips for the big wins in 2011.

John Burrows’ last hurrah?

Posted: February 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

John Burrows hints strongly in an interview in the latest Bike Sport News that this will be his last season of racing. It’s John’s 10th season racing bikes. He notched 8th and 10th places in 2009 and his aim this year is for a 125mph lap. If it is to be his farewell, I hope he has a brilliant TT. 

John at Braddan 2010. Photo: CL