An eventful Wednesday night practice has left rider Royce Rowe battered and bruised, but the encouraging results have outweighed his minor fall.
The initial session for the Junior/Senior class aboard the Suzuki GSX-R600 was a mighty improvement on the past few days, with Royce’s two laps clocking in at 112.9mph and 113.5mph respectively. Being his first year on the Suzuki, seeing his times slowly climb are a good sign.
PIC: Royce getting to grips with the 600
Jumping back out on the Ducati, Royce was released with a relatively clear track due to an earlier red flag which released half the field then stopped them at whatever point they were at along the track, before slowly allowing them back to base under yellow flags. Following the current Supertwins leader, Royce passed the grandstand on lap one with a 109.8mph time, his fastest ever aboard the Ducati 650.
PIC: Royce really hooking in over Ballaugh Bridge
Heading through each timed speed trap, Royce picked off the top riders one by one, eventually making his way to top position through Ramsey. Continuing his flying lap, obviously in the zone, Royce was fastest again through the mountain section down to the Creg, looking to be on track for a 110mph lap. Then, tipping in through The Nook (right-hander), Royce noticed his shoulder brushing the hedge too early, indicating to a rider that his exit for the corner will be wider than desired. To combat entering too early and hot, Royce has tried to crank over harder which has resulted in tucking in the front. With the front letting go, Royce has gone down and begun to slide on a damp track. This has actually worked in his favour, helping him slide along without too much abrasion. It was a quick entry and slide, so hitting the gutter sent Royce and motorcycle cartwheeling through a picket fence. The impact was far worse on machine than man. Basically everything on the right-hand side has been worn down – handlebar, lever, pegs, fairings. Most worryingly the rear axle has snapped from the abrupt impact of hitting the gutter. Luckily, and weirdly considering we forgot many basic items, the team has a spare!
PIC: After the initial check over, it was back to Aussie larrikin mode
The team has a busy day ahead tomorrow repairing the bike as best we can. Royce was taken to hospital, but released a few hours later after precautionary checks. He has abrasions to his right elbow and chin, plus general soreness all over. Of all the places to learn the limit at the Isle of Man, this would be it. So, after Mum got over the initial shock and we realised the dream wasn’t over, smiles returned. As ridiculous as it may sound, especially knowing the dangers this course holds, the brush with danger has brought us all closer and the team is more determined than ever to help Royce achieve his best results. We may even pass a hat around to chip in for the local’s picket fence repair costs.
PIC: Cranked past the Raven Hotel as punters look on
Luckily tomorrow is a free day, so Royce can rest up – not that he needs an excuse to sleep-in. Paul, our fellow team rider, will still be heading out as a newcomer to gain more track time. He has impressed greatly so far, leading the Newcomers B group with a 105mph lap today. To be clocking in at that speed on only his third official lap of the circuit is hugely impressive, we can’t wait to see how he fairs in the coming races. Compared to some of the extravagant teams in the paddock, we are very proud of how we handled a hectic session and recorded some fantastic results. If they didn’t notice us before, the movers and shakers will definitely be taking notes next week!