Weather has halted two practice sessions in a row these past nights, leaving the team holding their breath in pit lane all dressed up with nowhere to go. The team has been doing everything possible to keep momentum after the successful initial run, but unfortunately nothing can compare to real track time. There’s now a running joke around the paddock that us Aussies have spent more on beer than petrol so far!
To help with setup and gearing, team mechanics Brian and Greg set out on a flying lap overnight to give the data-logger used on the Ducati a better grasp of sector lengths, corners and so on. Not quite a 120 mph lap, but it would have guaranteed a podium in the Manx Hire-Car TT.
Pic: Andrea Hawley
Tuesday afternoon turned out to be sunny and fresh, obviously irritating the waiting racer in Royce. But right on cue, the thick blanket of fog rolled in around 7pm showing just how quick things can turn for the worst on the island. Similarly, Wednesday night was dreary before turning downright miserable as the blanket was pulled over the mountain once again. All very disappointing when sweating in full sun around the track earlier that day.
Pic: Waiting for weather updates… again
With nothing to do but sulk, the team headed out for supplies. When trawling the Douglas Shopping Mall, we stumbled across current TT lap record holder John McGuinness – talk about being in the right place at the right time!
The 23-time TT winner, only second to the immortal Joey Dunlop, was extremely down to earth. He was happy to give Royce some tips on the course and general hints about how things tick a bit differently on the Island as opposed to a normal circuit meeting. John will be competing in the 500 Classic TT on a Paton 500, which he said although may be slower in a straight line, still carries the same corner speed as his superbike – a daunting thought after looking at the skinny tyres underneath him!
Technically, Royce needs to complete six laps of the circuit over the practice week to qualify for his races, regardless of what lap time he sets. Thursday is set to be fine and sunny, so fingers crossed he can begin ticking them off.