Our second attempt at the Manx GP was more eventful than anyone could have anticipated, with all team members coming away with a greater appreciation for the festival. Not only are we ecstatic about the results, the burning desire to win has only been fuelled by Royce’s encouraging performance under trying circumstances.
PIC: Royce aboard the Suzuki GSX-R600 in the Manx GP Junior race (Credit: Nick Wheeler)
The crew had spent days twiddling their thumbs with everything prepared for racing before Royce’s crash at The Nook. Even the rain had held us off early, so the spanner turners, Locky and Brian went from 0 to 100 real quick – essentially needing to rebuild a fractured Ducati while keeping on top of our Suzuki and second rider Paul’s Ducati.
PIC: Pushing hard on the Les Rowe & Associates Manx 650 Ducati (Credit: RC Photos)
It was a tough week but fortunately the idea of defeat never entered anyone’s mind, with all the team getting tunnel vision towards Wednesday’s Supertwin race. The engine was only run in during one practice before the race, so was definitely far from 100%. It’s hard to take after travelling so far for this one shot at glory, but we know numerous teams don’t last through the race mechanically, or even make it to the start line. Scoring a seventh place was a huge achievement, with the whole team content knowing we had done everything in our power to give Royce the best shot possible.
PIC: The team was ecstatic with Royce’s sixth place finish in the Senior (Credit: Alan Teare)
With the crash in mind, it was amazing for Royce to get straight back out on the Suzuki to begin preparation for the Junior and Senior races. An eighth and sixth place respectively was certainly not expected, shocking a number of officials and riders in the paddock. There was some serious machinery up against the little team from Oz, so we couldn’t be happier with our preparation and Royce’s determination.
PIC: Paul van der Heiden flat out through Kirk Michael on the second Rowe Racing 650 Ducati
Adding to the team’s excitement over the Manx GP was Rowe Racing’s own Paul van der Heiden scoring a win in the Newcomers B race. The team were on hand to help with the pit stop and Paul rode like a champion afterwards to keep with his rival until the end. This makes him the first Aussie since Cam Donald to win at the Isle of Man. The celebration was fantastic and he has certainly made a few waves in the road racing scene since.
PIC: Paul van der Heiden on the podium for the Newcomers B race
Since returning to Australia the response has been overwhelming. We have received some wonderful messages of support, with many coming from the Isle of Man of people wanting us to return. Our own Australian Motorcycle News Magazine was good enough to pick up the story, publishing a report on the full Classic TT and Manx GP, giving a special consideration to Royce and Paul. It can be found in this fortnight’s issue (Vol 66 No 06). Unfortunately, as we have found in the past, getting anything motor sport into mainstream Adelaide media is an uphill battle but the team will be working hard from here on to drum up support for next year’s attempt.
PIC: The team was lucky enough to get featured in the current issue of AMCN
From here, Royce will unfortunately miss out on riding his favourite track Mac Park, as the bikes won’t be back from shipping in time for the Master of Mac Park in October. So instead, the next race meeting we’re able to attend will be the Mallala 3 Hour endurance race in November. It is a fantastic meeting that has gone from strength to strength thanks to the promotion by the Phoenix Club. Royce has taken out the first solo rider position for several years running, which is no easy feat considering the demanding track and typical weather conditions.
PIC: The 2016 Manx GP Rowe Racing Team
The final round of the SA Championships is held in December. Royce currently leads the 600 Championship and is running second in the Pro Thunder class. All the meanwhile, we will have the Isle of Man in the back of our minds. The team will have to consider all options available, but hope to gather enough support to return for another shot at the Manx GP.