Saturday was always going to be hectic as it’s the big race day for the Classic TT, which runs in conjunction with the Manx GP. The Island had scored pleasant weather conditions and while the classic racing commenced, we prepared for the Manx Grand Prix qualifying sessions scheduled to take place in between races.
PIC: Two great minds: Royce Rowe and the infamous George Shuttleworth, Speed Demon
We were on track with the Triumph at about midday, which finally provided a semi-normal listening hour for fans back home. The Ducati went out at about 7pm, so it made for a long day.
PIC: Royce starting to feel at home on the Trumpy (Credit: Tracey’s Pictures)
We’re getting closer to having the Triumph’s handling sorted but Royce is experiencing some problems at high speed. The team have a couple of solutions in mind but have to wait for final practice on Monday to try them out.
PIC: Royce passing through Gooseneck (Credit: Steve McDonald Photography)
At home on short tracks, it’s easy to send Royce out to do a couple of laps, come back in, make a few adjustments and then send him back out again, therefore solving these problems quickly. At the Isle Man, we have to get the feedback and then wait until the next day to test the changes.
The improvements with the Triumph have shown up in lap times, however, with Royce posting a 119.69mph lap, lifting him back to third in the Junior and fourth in the Senior. This means Royce is knocking on the door of the exclusive ‘Tommy Club’. Entry is awarded only to the first 36 Manx GP competitors who lap in the 120mph bracket, created in honour of Tommy Clucas – the first rider to break that barrier, who sadly passed away at the age of 36.
PIC: Rowe Racing support crew watching from The Crosby pub
The lap times of the top ten in the Junior/Senior are very close, Royce being half a second behind Jamie Williams and half a second in front of Barry Lee Evans, over the 37 and 3/4 miles.
Royce managed a 112mph lap on the Ducati, putting him third in the Lightweight class. After a long day, Royce said, “A step forward in the right direction for the Triumph was made today. The steering felt more comfortable, but going faster in straight-line speed has now presented more problems that need to be sorted next session. The Ducati is on song and I’m just working on corner speed. The straights all feel a little bit slow after getting off the bigger bike, but all is coming along nicely.”
PIC: The Ducati is performing well, as always (Credit: Tracey’s Pictures)
Cam Donald was kind enough to approach Royce during the day to see how he was going, and as Royce described the problems we were experiencing, Cam offered some great advice from someone who knows the Mountain Circuit so well.
A highlight of the classic programme was Michael Dunlop doing a lap on a replica 500 Gilera 4 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Bob McIntyre’s first 100 mph lap of the circuit in 1957. There were plenty of parade laps throughout the day, including one involving Ben Birchall, of Birchall Brothers Racing, who took his dad out on the TT winning sidecar for his 70th birthday. He had never ridden a sidecar before, so Ben surprised him by saying he’ll be swinging around the Isle of Man!
PIC: Team member Pete ‘Wylesy’ Wyles and Royce hounding TT legend Ben Birchall for a ride on the outfit in next year’s TT
Tomorrow the team will make further changes to the Triumph to try out on Monday and prep the Ducati for its race on Wednesday, then a Sunday roast for lunch at the famous Creg Ny Baa pub.
HOW TO: WATCH LIVE TIMING
The best way to keep up with all the action from the Manx GP is by following live timing online. This website shows the riders passing through seven sections of the course, clocking their average speed and position in the race. There is also a button that will launch a media player for Manx Radio, which feeds live commentary for the event.
When no racing is happening, the page will be blank. You just need to provide an email address and name, then the page will automatically load.
The page is ttlive.iomtt.com/ or just Google ‘Manx GP live timing’ and click the ‘TT Live Sign-up’ page.
If you’re just interested in listening to the events, or enjoy songs of the swingin’ ’60s, just Google ‘Manx Radio’ and click on the ‘Manx Radio TT’ link. This provides a schedule of events and a further link to ‘Listen Live’.