Saturday brought along the festival’s first full day of riding, rather than the 6pm road closure and ride until sundown. Royce had Junior/Senior practice aboard the Suzuki GSX-R600 scheduled for 1.25pm, which set off around 10 minutes late due to the first Classic race of the festival taking place beforehand. The team was watching from Quarter Bridge, so luckily the five-deep crowd of beige clothed spectators hobbled off after the race, leaving the full corner in clear sight for us.
PIC: Royce heading through Quarter Bridge
Setting off in a busy session, Royce blocked out his niggling injuries from this week’s crash and set a starting lap of 115mph. Coming around for the second time, Royce got held up with a yellow flag, giving those watching on live-timing some serious heartburn. This slowed the lap terribly and he was eventually flagged to return straight to the pits, therefore not crossing the line. The initial lap though was faster than yesterday’s, so at least we know he’s on the mend and still slowly improving aboard the new bike. As we found early on with a few practices being back to back, much like his endurance racing back home, Royce tends to perform better as he warms up – getting his eye in and riding in the ‘zone’. This may just be beneficial come Wednesday as his Junior race will end as the Supertwin race begins.
PIC: There’s plenty of pubs along the Mountain Course
The Supertwin practice began at 6.10pm tonight. After seeing the damage done only a few days ago, we all had our concerns that we might not have the means to bring everything together. The clock was working against us for a while, but thanks to some long days and hard work from Brian and Locky, as well as Les sourcing parts and Ali delivering them, it has shown the just rewards from the tenacity of a tight team working towards a common goal.
PIC: The very last corner of the track at Governors
Setting out, Royce was tentative with the bike, knowing that many parts had only just been bolted on. Also, the team had tried to alter the rear sprocket by losing one tooth. It didn’t take him long to get back into the swing of things, posting a 109mph lap. Although being able to go straight past the Grandstand for another flying lap, the team had already decided to have Royce come in to check over the bike. Unfortunately, Royce had noticed a slight engine rattle and not enjoyed the gearing change.
PIC:The team trying to diagnose the problem, while Milky informs us the session is about to end
It’s unlike any other rattle Brian has heard, so it’s very hard to diagnose the issue – especially without any showing symptoms apart from the noise. So, Royce obviously chose not to head out for another lap. Back at HQ, the team are now pulling bits apart and trying all methods to find the problem. The other option to consider would be putting the spare engine into the Ducati. This hasn’t been run in, so would require us heading to the local track at Jurby to clock up some hours. As well as the obvious man hours of pulling out the old one. Whatever we do, it needs to be sharpish as Monday will be our last chance to practice before Wednesday’s race. We’ll keep you updated with the latest plans of attack.