Posts Tagged ‘IomTT’

Flipping ‘eck Michael! I admitted yesterday that I’d run out of adjectives so what do you do? Win two more TTs in a single day? Give us a break man. I can’t keep up and I’m not even riding a motorbike.

Michael at the Gooseneck in the Superstock TT. photo: Alan Knight

Michael at the Gooseneck in the Superstock TT. photo: Alan Knight

Mind, I’ll admit that the old course owed you one. More than one, actually. Remember last year? Leading the first Supersport from the start on the McAdoo Suzuki when you had to retire at Ballig on lap three. Then there was the year before. Same story, wasn’t it? Leading for two laps on the Streetsweep Yamaha and retired at Ballig, your favourite country retreat. It was worse that year because two days before you’d had to settle for fifth in the Superbike TT because a length pitstop dropped you down from second.  And what about the Superstock? Three years ago in that race you lost over a minute having a tyre changed and dropped from second to eighth. In 2009 you suffered three DNFs in the first three races and the Norton you were supposed to ride in the Senior didn’t shape up at all. Oh, yes, that old racing track owed you more than one.

And today you called in the debt. Because you had the determination, the guts and the skill to do so. That’s what champions are made of.

Karl Harrtis, Tower Bends, Superstock TT. photo: Alan Knight

Karl Harris, Tower Bends, Superstock TT. photo: Alan Knight

William Dunlop at Ballaugh, Supersport TT. photo: Alan Knight

William Dunlop at Ballaugh, Supersport TT. photo: Alan Knight

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BBC Radio Cumbria TT chat

Posted: May 31, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Here’s my TT chat with BBC Radio Cumbria’s Mike Zeller from the breakfast show this morning.

Thankfully the gods have remembered it’s TT time and provided some decent weather last night.  We have had no real chance to weigh up the contenders and I really want to see how Michael Dunlop will go with full Honda backing. I take McGuinness to win the SBK race tomorrow but Michael will be a realistic challenger for top spot when the Senior comes around in a week’s time.

John McGuinness in last night's practice session. Photo: iomtt.com

John McGuinness in last night’s practice session. Photo: iomtt.com

The latest episode of Honda TT Legends on ITV4 gave a glimpse of our little empire halfway up the tower. There were two brief shots from inside the commentary box. I must admit I can’t recall the camera operator coming in but my attention is usually so closely focused on following the race that I often have no idea what’s going on around me.

The commentary box is actually quite big. It has to be, because it houses the engineers’ kit, extensive mixing decks and the ISDN terminals, plus an ever-increasing posse of laptops, and the fixed screens and other kit used by three commentators (I’m including Mavis and Heike for French and German listeners), timekeeper Norman and all his records, and producer Eunice with her clipboard, stopwatches and her much-loved seat which she won’t allow anyone to renew or replace. Add to that a stock of sandwiches, crisps and Penguin biscuits without which no TT broadcast would be complete and we really need something the size of a small bungalow.

Not just a good view, but we get good visitors

Not just a good view, but we get good visitors as well

Is it the best view in the house as many people assume? Well, the view of the start and the garlanding ceremonies is terrific. We also have a fabulous overview of the pitlane activity. It isn’t as dramatic as some of the other vantage points though like the foot of Bray Hill or the end of the Cronk y Voddy or the bottom of Barregaroo. The challenge for the commentator in the Grandstand really comes at the end of the race. The trees have grown so tall alongside the rugby field that I don’t see the leading bike until it is about two seconds away from flashing past the chequered flag.  So it’s a bit tricky giving it the full build-up; on more than one occasion I’ve been all set to crank up the excitement only to find a back-marker emerge from the trees.

But – what a buzz. And, it doesn’t really matter if the rider is first or a back-marker. He or she has completed a TT race, and to describe that is to witness one of the most remarkable achievements in sport.

It’s been an incredibly busy week for news from the TT and MGP. In case you missed anything, here’s a round-up of what’s been going on over the last seven days.

  • Entries for the TT closed with all solo classes except Superstock over-subscribed and the Sidecars showing the largest entry since Centenary year 2007. Very sadly, the entries do not include Ian Hutchinson as he continues his fight to recover from injury. They do include Dave Madsen-Mygdal who could become the first rider to complete 100 races.
  • Hutchy will be on the island hosting his Let’s Talk Bikes show, which will be a treat but not exactly where we want to see him.
  • Cameron Donald withdrew from the Honda TT Legends endurance team because it takes him away from Australia too often. He will though ride the NW200 and the TT.
  • ITV4’s documentary series following the Honda TT Legends reached the Isle of Man with highlights of the SBK TT and insights behind the scenes. They’re back at the TT in next Monday’s episode.
  • 25 riders showed up for the first tour of the Mountain Course this year for Manx Grand Prix newcomers. They included a team of four from the British Army.
  • Manxman Gavin Hunt, son of ‘Big H’ Paul, will make his TT debut. The 26-year old will campaign a ZX-10R Kawasaki in the Superbike, Superstock and Senior.

    Gavin Hunt at the 2010 NW200. Photo: Kirth Ferris

    Gavin Hunt at the 2010 NW200. Photo: Kirth Ferris

  • Blackpool’s Roy Richardson announced his retirement from the TT but will continue at the Classic TT in August where he has 10 victories under the old MGP Classic banner.
  • Guy Martin announced his 2013 schedule which starts at Cookstown on April 26 and includes NW200, TT and Southern 100.
  • Olie Linsdell will again ride the SMV Engineering R6 in the Supersport races, and the Steve Bond / Flitwick Motorcycles Fireblade in the three larger capacity classes, and the Suzuki V-Strom racer in the lightweight race. For the inaugural Classic TT, Olie will ride all three races.

    Experts on and off the bike: Olie Linsdell and dad Steve

    Experts on and off the bike: Olie Linsdell and dad Steve

  • Olie’s former team boss Ian Lougher will join the team at the Classic TT riding the Royal Enfield that Olie took to second place last year.
  • KMR Kawasaki, run by Ryan Farquhar, announced that former Irish Superbike champion Brian McCormack will be joining the squad for the International and National road races. The deal was announced a day after KMR signed MGP Newcomers winner James Cowton who will contest the NW200 and MGP among other meetings.
  • Farquhar and McCormack do some blue-sky thinking. Photo: Stephen Davison

    Farquhar and McCormack do some blue-sky thinking. Photo: Stephen Davison

  • It’s been just over a year since Keith Amor announced his retirement from road racing due to injury but the Scot hasn’t been idle and can now be found in Cyprus running ‘Enduro Paphos’, his own off road/adventure business. Further details can be found at www.enduropaphos.com
  • Kawasaki all-time great Kork Ballington will be at the Classic TT in August, riding in the lap of honour and appearing at the Festival of Jurby on a Kawasaki H2R 750 triple. This will be part of a spectacular contribution to the Classic TT by Team Collins and Russell (Des Collins and Ronnie Russell) who are bringing up to 12 classic Kawasakis to the island.
  • Former MGP Lightweight winner Tony Duncan has been appointed chief travelling marshal for all Mountain Course events.
  • And finally, last Monday would have been Joey Dunlop’s 61st birthday meaning thousands of people worldwide spared more than few thoughts for the modest genius from Ballymoney.

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TT Legends titleLast night’s episode in the ITV4 TT Legends series was the one we’ve been waiting for, the moment when the circus arrives on the island. With the help of North One’s pictures and Manx Radio’s commentary the producers gave us their very selective take on practice week and the Superbike TT. In many ways the plot worked out very well for them because two of the Honda TT Legends team, John McGuinness and Cameron Donald, took the top two places and the third team member, Simon Andrews, made dramatic headlines of his own by crashing heavily at Graham’s Memorial and being airlifted to hospital.

The series scores with its behind-the-scenes insights and we saw plenty of those last night. The cameraderie of the riders came across clearly and there were some entertaining moments in the motorhomes of John and Simon. I thought the programme could have done a better job in explaining to non-aficionadoes why Cameron was suddenly in a different team from the others, and of course we have to remember that the whole series is focused on the Honda TT Legends team, which explains why third-placed Bruce Anstey barely got a mention last night.

Overall, though, it is so good that another production company (Gaucho Productions) is bringing the drama and vibrancy of the TT to a wider audience. It’s also intriguing to see how, like Closer to the Edge and Duke Video, they are using Manx Radio’s commentaries to illuminate the pictures. I thought it sounded quite exciting!

Going behind the scenes of any big sporting event is always fascinating and the new ITV4 series on the Honda TT Legends by London-based Gaucho Productions got off to a promising start. This first episode (there’ll be eight 30-minute programmes in all) swept across the globe and back again, setting the scene for more detailed portraits to follow.

McGuinness the movie star. photo: Gaucho Productions

McGuinness the movie star. photo: Gaucho Productions

We saw and heard a lot from John McGuinness, Cameron Donald and Simon Andrews and there was some really interesting detail from all of them. McGuinness’s small daughter Maisie looks like being another star of the movie.

 

What a sport of contrasts this is. On the one hand we saw evocative views of Morecambe Bay with John and Becky reliving days picking cockles on the sands, then we saw the shape of Simon Andrews’ right leg after various operations and heard team boss Neil Tuxworth describing the accident that ended his own racing career, the massive traumas that he had to deal with and his emergence from years of intensive treatment.

I love a lot of sports and admire many sportsmen and women, but I do think that those who choose their heroes from the world of road racing have chosen pretty well.

MGP new logo

Exciting few days ahead for the Manx GP and its organisers the Manx Motor Cycle Club. On Friday of next week the excellent and entertaining (and I have to admit not too bad a golfer) Nick Jefferies is guest speaker at the MMCC’s annual dinner; then on Monday week, Feb 4th, the good and the great, and the lucky, will gather at the Villa Marina for the premiere of the new movie, Grand Prix Racer, filmed at last year’s event by Greenlight. One day later and a one-hour version of the film will be shown on ITV4 at 8pm. All this and a new logo (above) plus the arrival of the MGP’s 90th year. I’m only sorry that work commitments and the breadth of the Irish Sea prevent me from attending the dinner and the premiere but I was delighted to have been invited and wish everyone a brilliant few days. Practice and qualifying for the 2013 races commence on Saturday 17th August and the Manx Grand Prix races will be run on Wednesday 28th and Friday 30th August, right after the Classic TT, also run under the auspices of the Manx Motor Cycle Club, on Saturday 24th and Monday 26th August.