What a hectic day on The Island!
After the inclement weather earlier in the week, we had been granted two sessions for Friday – one in the afternoon and one in the evening, giving us a chance to get four laps in on both bikes.
PIC: Royce on the line, finally staring into a blue horizon.
The first session was on the Ducati. This was its first run since we arrived and it performed extremely well, Royce lapping just behind leader Dave Butler. Royce’s 110mph lap has given the team some much needed confidence heading into race week. Most of all, it was good to just get out there!
It was then time for the Triumph, which performed well following a few suspension tweaks. Royce is still lapping well, sitting in the top 20 riders as he slowly increases pace in certain sections. We changed the oil in the Triumph in a carpark just after the first session to be safe.
PIC: Rowe Racing Repairs – We come to you!
In the evening sessions, Royce was out on the Ducati first up and it was running well, allowing him to slowly build rhythm back up. Unfortunately, this was short-lived as he broke down at the Ramsey hairpin – basically the other side of The Island from the pits.
Royce managed to ring Les and tell him where he was. The recovery operation got underway as Les and Brian headed out to Ramsey, leaving Brian there to look after the bike, and then racing back to get Royce into the pits before the second session (MGP Junior/Senior on the Triumph) which had subsequently begun, ended.
It was quite the drive and we returned to the Paddock just as the session closed, missing it by literally one minute. Locky and Mark had the bike idling and ready at pit exit as we’d phoned them to tell them we were almost there but just missed it.
We then had to get back to Brian once the roads had re-opened, not getting there until about 10pm.
PIC: No rest for the wicked!
The team are now working through the night to get the Ducati fixed in time for an early practice session tomorrow (Saturday). The team have an inkling on what the issue may be, but obviously won’t take any chances on the Mountain Course, so will be checking the entire bike over for outliers.
Although losing two valuable practice/qualifying laps on both bikes isn’t ideal, Royce is still in high spirits and had this to say:
‘The morning started off well, with two solid laps on both bikes.
‘It was great to get some saddle time on the Duke, I felt comfortable on that quickly and will just keep building things up slowly. I’m still finding my groove on the Triumph but am just making sure I don’t rush the process of getting back to my old pace. It will come with time.
‘The evening session was a bit frustrating with the bike losing power coming into Ramsey, forcing me to retire. Ah well, plenty of track time for tomorrow!’
PIC: On the pipe, boy! (Credit: Tracey’s Pics)
The announcement came through not long ago that Saturday’s racing will have an amended schedule to account for some additional practice. The timing now runs as follows:
REVISED RACE DAY SCHEDULE – SATURDAY 24TH AUGUST 2019
11.00: Roads close around the Course
11.30: Classic TT Superbike and Lightweight Qualifying (2 laps) & Manx Grand Prix Senior and Junior/ Newcomers A Qualifying (2 laps)
12.05: Classic TT Junior Qualifying (2 Laps) & Manx Grand Prix Lightweight/ Ultra Lightweight/ Newcomers B&C Qualifying (2 laps)
13.15: BENNETTS SENIOR CLASSIC TT RACE (4 laps)
15.30: Back to the Future: The Hizzy Years Commemorative Lap
16.10: DUNLOP LIGHTWEIGHT CLASSIC TT RACE (4 laps)
18.10: Classic TT Superbike Qualifying & Manx Grand Prix Senior & Junior/ Newcomers A Qualifying (1 lap)
18.25: Classic TT Junior Qualifying (1 lap) & Manx Grand Prix Lightweight/ Ultra Lightweight/ Newcomers B&C Qualifying (1 lap)
19.30: Roads scheduled to open
After finally seeing some track time, the followers back in Oz have been flicking channels to find the best source to hear Royce.
As reported, Manx Radio is great for listening, along with manxgrandprix.tv for cool live footage. In terms of live timing and Sulby Speed Trap, we’ve found that live.iomttraces.com is great – you just need to sign-up with an email address, then pick the session and class you’d like to keep track of.
We also would like to thank every single person who has been showing support over the past few weeks! We’re all run off our feet here, so it’s sometimes hard to reply or pass on news in a timely manner. But, after just ticking over 1000 Facebook followers and regularly getting a couple hundred readers for each post on this blog, the support is well felt!